If you're a parent anything like me, you want to do the best for your kids, without going totally loopy from obsessing. So you read what you can, research, and give serious thought to baby 'issues'.
The little Wildflower took her first solid food a few days back (Nov 4th). After reading and reading and reading, I decided not to do the whole puree mash-uped food thing.
You see, baby-led weaning is the idea that what is most natural for babies is not to have their food mashed to a pulp and then have it shoved in by someone other than themselves, with an unnatural instrument like the spoon. Instead, what is supposedly more natural is for the baby to grab and chew when the baby is ready to eat solid foods. Baby-led weaning is as it sounds - the baby decides when to eat. And according to some, what to eat as well, within safe limitations.
The idea is that the baby's eating habit works alongside her developing motor skills and naturally growing appetite. It also seems logical, that having teeth seems the most natural time to want foods that require chewing.
Now, y'all know how I feel about using my intuition before following the advice of anyone - doctorate degree or not. Not only do I believe that mama's/papa's intuition is the first communication between parent and child, but let's face it the advice of experts changes. Next year they'll be telling us that feeding babies upside down is the most natural method.
So part of me was, 'yes, this sounds good'. I like this baby-led weaning business, as it sits well with my other parenting ideas. Namely, that children have brains and aren't here to be controlled.
But I don't know. The Wildflower seems hungry to me. She seems to be ready for something more substantial. She actually swallowed some banana on her 2nd attempt. Which I believe is quite good considering most food in these early attempts ends up in their hair or on the floor. She ate quite eagerly.
However, it doesn't seem that she is ready for finger foods. She isn't interested in holding the banana, although was happy to poke at it, and definitely isn't interested in anything that requires chewing. She's very happy for me to offer it to her pre-chewed.
I concede that it's very early days. But here's the thing. It could take days, weeks, or even months before she is happy to chew (teethless) food. In the mean time, she is becoming less and less satisfied with just milk.
I helped wean 4 babies whilst I was a nanny. All of them were given pureed food. They gobbled it up. I also witnessed this with my youngest niece. As soon as they were ready to grab food, they were given finger foods.
I just don't recall any adverse affects. Despite the logic and common-sense theory behind BLW, I'm not 100% convinced this is the best method for all babies.
As a fan of the Continuum Concept, I like the idea of following more primitive (thereby most natural, supposedly) baby-raising methods. I imagine tribal mothers giving their babies pre-chewed foods using their fingers to guide it into baby's mouth. Sure, no spoons are used, but other than that fact, there isn't anywhere near enough information about such mothers waiting until the baby could feed themselves.
I'm still mulling this one over...