In the last few years, baby-led weaning and purees have become a hot topic. I honestly had no idea baby-led weaning was a “thing” until just recently when I researched feeding schedules. Whichever way you decide to feed is totally up to you.
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Watch For Signs
When your baby is four months and old, begin to look for these signs for when to introduce baby foods:
- Your child is able to sit upright and hold head up on their own.
- They have no tongue thrusting reflex or is very minimal. Babies will push some food out of their mouths at first.
- Your baby is interested in food. Do they reach for your plate? Watch you eat at dinner time and quietly judge you?
If your child is not showing these signs around the four month mark, do not panic. Every baby develops at a different rate.
Starting Cereals and Oatmeal At 4 – 6 months
The first food your doctor will recommend will be cereals. I did very few cereal spoon feedings. My daughter had rice cereal added to her bottle since several weeks old due to moderate reflux issues. I would offer cereal feedings several times a week to let her experience spoon feedings.
Mix 1 tablespoon of cereal to 4-5 tablespoons of breastmilk or formula. You can adjust this recipe to your baby’s liking.
Baby Food at 6 months
Once you receive the okay from your doctor to start baby food, you will first introduce vegetables, fruits and meats. Give your child one new food every three to four days in case of an allergic reaction you will be able pin point the food.
Foods to avoid:
- Honey (until your child is over a year old)
- whole grapes and berries
- thick peanut butter (thin amount of peanut butter on a cracker is preferred. I will talk more about peanut butter below.)
Recently the National Institutes of Health has found giving your child peanut butter during their first year will reduce the risk of peanut allergy. You can read more about their study here.
My doctor recommended a small amount of creamy peanut butter on a cracker or finger. I first let my daughter have a small dime to penny size amount from my finger. After several days of this method, I used the same amount thinly spread on a teething cracker. Needless to say, she chases me down when she sees the peanut butter jar now.
Choosing Purees Or Baby-led Weaning
I had no idea what baby-led weaning was until I saw a post on Pinterest one afternoon.
If you are like me and having been living under a rock for several years, what is baby-led weaning you ask?
Baby-led weaning is offering your child thick slices of food and letting them decided if and how much they want to eat. This idea goes against the old-fashion bite-size piece of food on your baby’s tray. This method of feeding will help with hand and eye coordination and fine motors skills like grasping.
Purees have been around for years and are a great source of nutrients. With spoon feeding, your child still learns oral motor skills and has bonding time with their caregiver.
Why I Chose Spoon Feeding Over Baby-led Weaning
Since birth, my daughter has had choking issues due to reflux. Even with daily medication and formula thickened with rice, she would still choke drinking her bottle. When I heard about baby-led weaning, I knew it was not the right choice for us at all.
Just thinking about giving my 6 month old a thick slice of food to gnaw on, made my anxiety go through the roof. Not only as a choking hazard, but the mess she would make. I barely keep my house clean enough now so let’s not add fuel to the fire.
When we started spoon feedings at 5 months old, it took a few weeks for her to learn not push her food out of her mouth. My babysitter recommended pushing down on her tongue with the spoon. This helped her learn how to move the food from the front of her mouth to the back.
Once she mastered spoon feedings, I felt comfortable letting her try solid foods in a mesh feeder. She is able to learn pincer grasp and how to feed herself in a controlled environment. With mesh feeders, I do not have to worry about her biting off a large chunk of food and getting choked.
My daughter has been on solids for several months and she is thriving. If your child is eating better with the baby-led weaning method, that is great! As a new mom, do not think you need to jump on the bandwagon of every new trend. Yes, some mothers will judge you for not trying baby-led weaning or try to convince you to try it. If you do not want to, speak up! You are the parent and knows what is best for your child. Developing fine motor skills, like pincer grasp, can be learned in other activities.