Like most other things in the Lopes’ household, we decided to go the nontraditional route when starting solids with our son. Also, like most other choices we have made together on our journey through parenthood, we have done our research and chose what was best suited for our baby and our family.
The traditional way of starting solids is by introducing puréed fruits and vegetables and/or rice cereal at 4 months of age. Starting with purees you work your way up to mashed, then to true solids.
Starting solids at 4 months is a very controversial topic, so I’ll skip that for now.
Baby lead weaning is a completely different ballgame where you introduce solids based off of a few different guidelines.
- Baby is atleast 6 months of age
- Baby can sit up unassisted for atleast one minute
- Baby shows interest in food
- Baby has lost the tongue thrust reflex
- Baby is developing pincher grasp
There are many reasons as to why we chose baby led weaning for our son and here are a few-
- When babies are born, they come out the womb and root for the breast by instinct. They have always fed themselves, so why take a step back and do it for them?
- Babies are given the same foods you are eating (with little to no modification other than size based on age). That means no extra preparation or costs of purchasing jarred foods!
- Babies learn and develop motor skills at a faster pace while also learning different shapes, sizes, textures and flavors. Which means you can enjoy your food while they’re exploring theirs!
- Babies decide what they do and do not want to eat, and how much of it. They are not being force fed and can stop on their own terms.
- Babies are less likely to choke because they decide the amount going into their mouths and are able to work it through.
- Babies are less likely to become overweight or become picky eaters.
- Babies gain confidence in doing things for themselves and grow up to become more self sufficient.
Most people who haven’t heard of this think that my husband and I are just being millennials and doing crazy “new age” stuff but the truth is, there is a lot of research to back this method up.
If you’re at all interested in learning more about baby led weaning, I highly recommend the book Baby-Led Weaning : The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater.