When your little one has gotten to the stage of eating, that opens a whole new set of worries. I know what your thinking, of course there is another worry. That’s basically parenting isn’t it? Spoiler alert YES. Truth be told, especially if this is your first, there will be many many worries and starting solids is one of those worries.
Lately there has been a new craze and way of feeding babies. This is called Baby Led Weaning. As apposed to the traditional method of introducing food by starting with purees and so on. Personally, my family takes a far more traditional approach. For many reasons including anxiety of starting baby led weaning. Ill talk about that further down.
Traditional feeding is when you start with purees. As baby ages you make things more chunkier, maybe you make it lumpy, and so on until they are eating food regularly. This is the way that I would guess 90% of us born before 2000 have been fed. A lot of times parents, myself included would even make their own purees. It really is simple to do (trust me!) And saves money in the long run as well instead of buying baby foods in the jars all the time. Truth be told, when my first son was born we did in fact get a few jars in case we were on the run instead of bringing cubes which was fine. Except for the fact that it was SO LIQUIDY! It was really hard to even judge how liquid it was and we ended up putting some powdered cereal in it to make it a bit thicker. We never bought jars with our 2nd and instead. Bring a fruit puree pouch, water, and powdered cereal to make a quick meal for them on the run. I go into more detail on homemade baby food vs store bought baby food here if you want to read a bit more details on that too.
Now to baby led weaning. This is where essentially you are feeding your little one the exact same things you are eating but you are trying to put it in specific shapes and sizes for their age for them to “eat” normally. I say “eat” because they really aren’t eating a whole lot, especially when they don’t have teeth. Like peppers can be given if cut length wise. Or grapes which are quartered. Some things like popcorn and nuts aren’t to be given at all though. As they are still choking hazards until far later. Even waffles and pancakes can be given if cut into strips too. This is also by far a way more messier route because of the mushy up of foods in hands and things that baths may be given for more frequently and a mop and broom may need to be used multiple times a day. That is unless you have a dog who loves the extra freebies too! And before I hear “Well babies get messy” Yes they do, But that doesn’t mean they need any extra help doing so! They can do it just fine on their own!
As I mentioned above, a major reason why we never did this route was because of anxiety. The thought of giving our little one the exact same things we ate but cut into appropriate sizes was so daunting. Especially since our oldest didn’t have teeth till he was nearly 10 months old. And our 2nd now at 15 months had just 4 top and bottom teeth too. While we understand gagging is normal we just felt nothing was wrong (and it isn’t!) with the traditional way of feeding a baby. While more and more people seem to be doing the baby led weaning route, sticking to this old school method is totally fine. Another thing that a lot of peoepl say in regards to food is that “food before one is just for fun” while that is the case and a lot of nutrients are still coming from formula or breastmilk, it still is very important that as your little one is growing bigger and bigger that they are in fact getting nutrients from actual food as apposed to fluids. You too will find that as they eat more solids and drop bottles that they will more than likely also be sleeping better too because their bellies are becoming fuller and fuller. Don’t discredit that food is still important in their growth and development even if they are still learning how to pick things up and what not.
Another thing I noticed which also may be by chance, is comparing my kids to ones who do baby lead Weaning (I know comparing kids is bad blah blah blah) my own who did traditional have been WAY NEATER eaters without throwing spoonfuls of food on the floor or in their hair or faces. More often than not my oldest will still make sure he has a bib on because he wants to be neat. We always used bibs to make sure we would protect their clothes easier. We never really made them go without shirts to prevent stains. Or we simply used a shirt that was already stain filled to make it easier! I have talked to a friend about this theory and they too took the more traditional route and too have noticed the less messes to clean up also!
Whichever you choose, please research. While baby led weaning is kind of popular now compared to traditional feeding there is absolutely nothing wrong with either way. However baby led weaning requires some researching due to the certain shapes things need to be cut up as so that the choking risk is very minimum. You can’t jut give a baby a grape or blueberry, or an apple or piece of chicken and hope for the best. Even chicken too needs to be shredded to keep a choking risk to a minimum!