My little one was turning 6 months in Jan and I was super excited.
I was going to START HER ON SOLID FOODS.
But I was kind of scared about this.
I heard a lot from various people about how babies don’t eat and become fussy eaters.
As per tradition, we had a small ceremony at home.
‘Rice Kheer’ was prepared and we were all excited about her FIRST SOLID FOOD.
I was so happy to see that my LITTLE ANGEL was more than eager to eat more.
Next few days went by.
I started feeding her some mashed MASHED KHICHIDI or MASHED VEGETABLES.
I was happy…yey yey!! My baby is eating.
Within 10 days of starting solids, she STOPPED EATING.
Whenever I offered her food using a spoon or directly feeding with my hand, she used to close her mouth.
I thought it’s just a phase.
The doctor asked me to try Cerelac etc.
But, Cerelac was like her enemy. She wouldn’t even open her mouth.
One day, SOMETHING HAPPENED!
Me and my hubby were having boiled sweet potato.
My daughter suddenly grabbed a piece and ate it!
We were so happy. We clicked few photos, took a video etc- Basically, the usual, what all new first time parents do.
Then I tried to feed her solids again.
But as soon as I or my hubby tried to feed her, she again closed her mouth shut.
This continued for 2 days!
I looked around forums and groups for help.
“When will this phase go?” I used to ask.
Finally, one of my friends said “Have you heard about Baby led weaning? Read about it”.
That was it!
I searched the net and then understood.
WHAT IS BABY LED WEANING?
BABY LED WEANING is nothing but how our forefathers, our great great grand parents would have brought up children.
At a time when there were no blenders, no mixers to mash food and no processed sweet food available in market.
Baby led weaning is basically a way of letting the baby decide how much and how to eat by himself.
This not only encourages a baby’s independence and confidence, but also reduces the chance of your baby becoming a fussy or picky eater.
It goes by the philosophy that till age of 1, solid food doesn’t replace Breast milk or Formula milk.
Milk remains the main source of energy for babies, but it only allows them to start exploring different tastes and textures so that by 1 year they are ready to eat with the family.
How Will Baby Led Weaning Help?
It will help your baby explore taste, textures, colour and smell.
It makes uses of all your baby’s senses to enjoy and identify food.
2. HAND EYE COORDINATION
Since your child picks and eats by himself, it greatly enhances hand-eye-coordination and chewing skills.
3.HAPPIER MEAL TIME
4. MORE FINGER FOODS
It allows babies to skip pureed /processed /jarred food completely
Move on to finger foods like steamed carrot/ Broccoli/ Cauliflower/ Sweet potato/ All fruits sliced.
5. NO MORE FORCE FEED
There is no need to distract your baby to feed him or force him to eat the last two morsels.
All healthy babies given the opportunity would be able to self feed themselves roughly by the age of 6 months or whenever they are able to sit unsupported for some time.
IS YOUR BABY READY?
Here are some of the developmental signs that you can see and judge if your baby is ready for Baby Led Weaning:
Baby should no longer have tongue thrust (automatically pushes solid food out of mouth).
Baby is able to sit up well with little or no support – This is prevents choking.
Baby grabs objects by herself and puts them in her mouth.
Baby is eager to see what’s in your plate and wishes to join in.
Baby watches intently on how you and your family eat.
MY TESTIMONY ON BABY LED WEANING
It’s my baby’s 4th month into Baby Led Weaning.
My little angel has had all food herself.
She has also started using a spoon to feed herself, though most of it still falls down.
She watches intently and tries to imitate us.
Most of my friends feel this way will lead to choking.
But I simply say –“A child knows. He will usually gag and then spit it out and next time, he’ll take a smaller bite.”
Other frequently asked question is “How do babies without teeth chew?”
Since they don’t have teeth they should be given mashed or pureed food.
NO ! Try giving your finger in the baby’s mouth and feel how strong his gums are.
The gums and teeth underneath the gums, together help them chew down mostly everything.
Note: There are still few things which are not supposed to be given like whole nuts, salt, sugar and chillies.
Do read the book “My child won’t eat – by Carlos Gonzalez”
Trust me, after reading the book and going through baby led weaning, mealtimes will be fun and you would enjoy your baby’s childhood and your parenthood even more.
About The Author:
Gauri Shukla is a mom of a baby girl. She worked as a Digital Marketing Manager and currently lives in Bangalore.
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Note: All images in this post are used for representational purposes only.