I recently had flashbacks of those early days after Paige was born. Those days when I realized that the whole breastfeeding thing wasn’t going to be as easy as I had imagined. Those days when I thought I could just hold her up to my breast and she’d latch without a second thought. You see, once Paige turned six months I was just so excited to start feeding her solids. I had done the research, decided what I was going to feed her, and when. I had a whole system figured out (what? I’m a dietitian, that’s what I do!). I was literally counting down the days until she was six months, as if that was some magical age that meant she could start eating solids and would accept them without hesitation. Again, I was naive.
She didn’t like solids. And by solids I mean purees. I figured I’d start her on purees like all the books said; and, quite frankly, like I had started when I was an infant (at that time it was normal to start purees at four months!). I bought her some fortified oats, and then made some pureed butternut squash, carrots, and peas. This was the face I got in return for many, many days (see below). Weeks even. To be blunt, she wasn’t having it. She thought I was playing a game. Nick and I tried and tried and tried, to the point where she would start to cry and then I simply couldn’t continue because I didn’t want her to hate eating and get stressed out whenever I put her in her highchair.
She enjoyed sitting in the chair though, and looking cute. As long as we weren’t trying to get her to eat, she was happy. I even started giving her pieces of really soft avocado. I was thinking a modified “Baby Led Weaning” approach might be better. Still, she wasn’t having it. She was just making a mess.
So, I completely got rid of all purees and decided to strictly use the “baby lead weaning” (BLW) for a bit, and have her feed herself with her hands. I went on Amazon, bought the book. Done.
So far, so good. She still hasn’t ingested much (as in, she’s six and a half months and has probably eaten four tablespoons of actual food) but she’s actually grabbing hold of the food, putting it towards her mouth, chewing on it with her gums and not spitting it out (at least not all of it, some still comes back!). To me, this is success.
It’s true that a majority of the food ends up on her lap or on the floor (we have it protected with a plastic sheet) but still, I feel so far this approach has been better for us, and for her. Here is what we have given her (ie: displayed on her highchair food tray):
Banana (still in the peel, see below)
Well-cooked baby carrots
Well-cooked broccoli florets
Oatmeal cereal cookies (take 1-cup infant oat cereal, 1 banana, mix well and bake 11-13 minutes at 350 degrees)
And just yesterday; rice cakes with smooth natural peanut butter. You’ve read the latest research on introducing allergens, like nuts, earlier rather than later, right? She definitely belongs to Nick and me, because she took this PB to the face!
So what the heck did I do with all of this pureed food I Had already made? I found ways to use it. Oh yes, I’m thrifty and sustainable. I used the mashed sweet potato and carrots in my breakfast (mixed with oats or greek yogurt. Don’t judge, it was really tasty! Remember this post?).
Look how prepared I was with all these colorful purees!
Stay tuned for a follow-up post. We’re only about 2-weeks into the BLW approach, but I’ll be back with more after a while. In the meantime I have to really work hard to get her babysitter to understand that we aren’t feeding her purees, but instead whole foods. This is a concept with which she is not yet familiar.