Letting your baby feed themselves solid foods at six months old seems appalling to some parents. But for some families, it's working just fine.
According to babyledweaning.com, baby led solids, aka baby led weaning, simply means allowing your baby to learn to feed themselves solid foods at the start of six months of age, when most babies start to become curious about food.
"All I have to do is give her what I'm eating. It's stressful enough working full time and trying to take care of your child and making sure you find time for everything, to play with them, to do this or that. The last thing I wanted to do was to waste time making this whole separate meal for her when it made sense to just feed her what we were eating," said mother of one, Jennifer Heikkila.
Baby led weaning just means to cut up the food you are eating into larger pieces, so the baby will be able to easily grasp the food. So no more purees.
Then, if the baby likes the food, they'll eat it. If they don't, they won't. It's that simple.
"My number one fear was she's going to choke. I'm going to give her all these big chunks of food, and oh my gosh, my daughter's going to choke, and I'm going to feel like the worst mom. But around six or seven months, babies have a gag reflex, so when you're giving them those big pieces of food, they'll gag if it goes too far back in their throat as they're learning to move it around in their mouth," Heikkila said.
The main difference between baby led weaning and the traditional parental spoon-feeding of purees, is the order in which children learn to eat. With purees, babies learn to swallow first and then chew, which is a backwards way of how people eat normally. With baby led weaning, the babies have to chew first in order to swallow.
And whether certain foods you offer are organic or non-organic, it can make a big difference, based on the use or non-use of chemicals.
"Those foods that have a much more porous skin or are low to the ground or sitting in the ground, try to purchase those things organically," said Kelly Cantway, Outreach Director for the Marquette Food Co-Op.
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