Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Your baby eats WHAT?

No offense to the fine baby food companies (ahem), but baby food is gross. Seriously yucky stuff. So I tried to do solids the "right" way... pureeing my own veggies, shoveling it in her mouth three times a day, trying to distract her enough to open her mouth... but it took WAY too long, was way too messy, and quite frankly, was not a pleasant experience for anyone. Totally frustrating.

Beef stew and blueberries - definately a favorite!

That's when I gave up. I read a book called "Baby Led Weaning" by Gill Rapely. Full disclosure: this not a scientific book. The only scientific study referenced in it was done in the early part of the century. It's full of first-person testimonials, which are interesting but definately not scientific. That being said, I found a lot of logic and rational thought in it. Primarily, do you really think that moms through the ages spent hours pureeing food for their babies? Or wasting so much time trying to spoon-feed little ones who clearly don't desire to be spoon-fed? I doubt it. I don't buy everything in the book, but the basic concept seems sound. So, last week (just in time for Thanksgiving), we switched our approach: Gracie eats what we eat.

Chicken noodle soup

She's actually doing surprisingly well with it. I know she's eating (we cloth diaper... use your imagination), and actually eating a lot more than I thought she would. She's tried pretty much everything I've put in front of her. Sure, it's messy... but you should have seen what we were dealing with when spoon-feeding. Believe it or not, this is cleaner. And she's SOOO happy! We all sit down for our meals together, with Gracie getting a small portion of whatever the meal is. Sometimes I'll cook her something a tiny bit different: last night we had fish but I didn't season her piece, and for lunch today I didn't put sauce on her pasta. But that's minor in the grand scheme of things. We're teaching her not only what food is, but also what family mealtime is. She's a part of our family, and family mealtime is something we very much believe in.

Some kind of sherbert, and yes it's a spoon, but her face is priceless!
This kid makes the best faces.

Has anyone else done this, or something similar? I have a couple friends here that have done solids basically this way. It just seems so natural. Thoughts?


Sarah Jane said...

Yay for solids!

Personally, I think eating this way is totally natural for a baby. And there are so many natural foods that are soft and easily chewable/digestable just the way they are. I wouldn't give a 3 month old toothless baby a piece of steak, but what about soft bits of banana? Or softly cooked rice?

We did do some baby foods with David. . .none with Judah, although he did get cereals for a little bit. (I was just going off what people told me to do) :/ but by the time Malachi came around I let him decide when he was ready for things. He always sat on my lap at the table even when he was exclusively nursing but he quickly wanted to eat what we were eating so he has been on solids since a very young age. And he isn't developmentally delayed, or have social problems, or have brain damage because we didn't do baby food. :)

If we have more, I will definitely them decide when they are ready for solid food. Just giving Malachi breastmilk and whatever it was we were eating made life SO MUCH EASIER for me (handy when i had 2 toddlers to take care of as well as an infant!) and he seemed to thrive.

Emily G. said...

I haven't read that book, but I do pretty much what my mom did, and it seems like it is also what is described in that book from what I hear.

I wanted to delay solids, but both of my kids had teeth and were hungry by 6 months so that's whey they began. I usually do some mashed banana and avocado, mashed peaches if they're in season, applesauce (unsweetened), and yoghurt (plain or with a little mashed fruit or fruit syrup in it) for the first few weeks as the baby learns to mash and swallow food in his mouth. I add tastes of appropriately soft table foods as well. I get tired of mashing up stuff pretty fast, and after a few weeks the baby eats what we do, within reason. Things get chopped or mashed. If the meal contains something that just won't work for the baby, they eat what they can and if they need more food I fill in with chopped fruit, yoghurt or applesauce. Like if we eat stir-fried beef and veggies and the veggies are too crisp, the baby might get plain rice, and yoghurt with fruit mixed in. I do spoon-feed a fair amount. I did a lot less with Maria because with just one kid if she got filthy, I didn't care. I've been less inclined to let Henry play in his food because it's easier to keep him clean. I still feed him his yoghurt, though he uses a fork and spoon tolerably well at 13 months.

I think the whole thing of jarred baby food is an expensive racket. Babies don't need that nasty stuff. Toddlers certainly don't need all those nasty microwave meals they make for children that age.

I don't know what you are doing for cups, but here's my thing: sippy cups are expensive , and without a dishwasher they are very hard to keep appropriately clean. Those valves get moldy fast and that's just gross. I use sippy's a little when I have to (mainly in the car, or for a snack I don't wish to supervise because I'm using the snack as a diversion so I can get something done). We use small cups at meals. I bought these little 2.5 oz steel cups at Sam's Club that Henry uses. He drinks from a cup very well, though he's fond of sticking his hand in it.

I think you're doing great.

Jenny P. said...

Sarah, it is soo much easier :) I just talk to my mom friends who let baby sit on their laps... but then wrestle bites out of their hands and instead try to feed them yucky runny "solids" that the baby doesn't want.

Emily, I'm still mind-boggled that they even sell those nasty toddler meals, and that moms waste their money on them. I mean, if you're gong to go with yucky stuff, why not at least buy the cheaper stuff marketed for big kids/adults? Its all the same overprocessed crap, right?
We're using an open cup to, tho typically ours is a little shot glass we ended up with somewhere along the way. She also uses plastic dixie cups when we're away from home (the 2.5oz size). She has no interest in a sippy - she bites the spout so water trickles out, then just grins, so she wears every bit of it. I give it to her occasionally but it isn't something I actaully expect her to use. Water only!

Gillian said...

I think my mum did pretty much what you are doing with Gracie, at least by the time my younger siblings came along! I remember getting to feed David banana (scraped off the whole fruit with a spoon, so it was "mashed" without the ordeal of actually mashing!) and we have lots of baby pictures of all of us with a goodly portion of the "big people's" food smeared over face, hands, and highchair ;-D I don't remember mum ever specifically making "baby food" or pureeing anything. We all grew up big, healthy, and not picky eaters at all, so I think it works!