Wednesday, August 21, 2013

First Foods

I had decided that I wanted to look into doing baby led weaning with Hannah a while back, but wanted to completely understand it before I started. I am going to touch on some of my feelings and some things we are doing in this post, but would highly recommend you reading the book (I borrowed mine from the library) I figured this would be a fun way to keep track of what she's been eating and how her tastes evolve through the next couple of months. led weaning is basically just waiting until your child is 6 months old and then letting them feed themselves instead of pureeing everything for them and spoon feeding it to them.
For me, the pros were:
  • We can all sit down as a family and eat together instead of one person feeding the baby while the other eats and then trading off.
  • Hannah gets to make her own decisions about what  and how much she eats. She is still getting all of her calories and nutrition from breast milk, so there is no stress about her not getting enough of this or that... I can just let her explore all the different foods I offer her....there is no pressure to "get her to eat" with tricks or whatever else- we just let her eat what she wants.
  • You can just feed them a little of whatever you are having - which in the future will help them become less of a picky eater since she has been eating vegetables, fruit, meat, hummus, casserole, etc since the beginning in it's actual form. This was my biggest pro...I'm really hoping to raise a non picky eater... I know I obviously can't totally control that, but I will do what I can. We had chipotle the other day and I was able to pick pieces out of my bowl for "her lunch"

And at our favorite Indian Restaurant she was able to snack on some garlic naan so mom and dad could enjoy eating their dinner too.

  • They start to recognize the foods they like instead of everything looking the same coming at them in a spoon. She gets so excited when she sees sweet potato fries end up on her tray and goes for them first.
  • It's really fun.
  • It can be really scary. No matter how soft something is, if a giant chunk of it ends up in their mouth, it's terrifying.  That being said, the book said that's when their gag reflex will kick in and they will eventually gag and spit it back out and that happened every time. That doesn't make it any less scary though.
  • It's a giant mess. It's ok sometimes when you're at home to take an hour to eat every meal and have to clean food from every crevice of the baby's body, the high chair, the floor, etc...but sometimes it's not. Especially if you are eating at a friend's house or a restaurant.
  • They don't necessarily eat much. I know "under one is just for fun" when it comes to food and that she is getting everything she needs from milk...but she really LIKES food and gets really annoyed when it all ends up on the floor or in her bib.
You can't tell from this picture, but I have avocado in my ears.
So after looking at all these pros in cons, we decided to go for somewhat of a puree feeding/baby led weaning hybrid. I put "finger foods" on her high chair and let her pick those up and eat them but we also feed her purees. Usually it's steamed carrot sticks, sticks of peeled seedless cucumber, watermelon sticks, sweet potato fries, etc. She can start to snack on these while we finish plating up our dinners and in between bites of purees. I also usually try to give her something appropriate from what we are eating and either cut it up small and feed it with a spoon or give it to her to hold. It seems to be working out well for now and she has loved every single thing we've given her....and we give her a WIDE variety :)

As far as purees go, they are Oh so easy to make. I basically peel (if necessary), steam, puree and then put in containers... It's been fun to think of combinations to put together. I usually try to give one pureed vegetable alone (I want her to develop a taste for veggies on their own) and then one fruit (with some veggies mixed in) We use organic fruits and veggies and bonus points for getting them from one of our many awesome farmer's markets around town (organic, in season AND local!) Zucchini and apple puree was a recent hit... The zucchinis were even from my cousin's garden!

Since this is supposed to be a food blog, maybe I will do a post on some baby food making fun.... There is really nothing to say about it besides what I already said but I can share what we're eating and what my favorite tools for baby food making and storing are. (See that post here and an update on what we are eating now here)

And today I leave you with this video...because it shows how much she absolutely loves to eat. Hysterical.


Anonymous said...

She is SO adorable! I found this so do you manage checking for food allergies? Did you introduce each non-pureed food one at a time?

Jen Lilley said...

THank you! We did not. Our pediatrician was pretty chill about the whole one food at a time thing since we have no food allergies in either of our families. We will probably wait a while to introduce any high allergy foods like honey, nuts, etc.. but other than that, we've just been feeding her new things every day.

Nancy said...

Jennifer, I can't wait to have lunch with Hannah!!! She's adorable...

Sara said...

That is adorable - I love the how excited she gets for each mouthful! My little girl has just turned 6 months and we're taking a similar approach with a combo of puree and finger foods (although we started fruit and veg purees at about 4.5 months). We saw our doctor for 6 month immunisations today and they gave us a good resource link on some of the current research on foods that are potential allergens (Australian website but based on international research) - basically the current thinking is not to hold off on potential allergens, as there is no evidence it reduces allergy risk, and some that it may actually increase risk.

Looking forward to varying things up with our little girl's meals - she loves food as much as your Hannah :)

Jen Lilley said...

Very interesting article. Thank you!