Baby-Led Weaning

I mostly didn’t feed Cedar.  She fed herself.  And did a bang-up job of it.

I’m a big believer in starting solids by sharing what you’re eating.  With Norah, we never bought baby food.  Jar food seemed wasteful in packaging and unappetizing.  We mashed up sweet potatoes, pureed peas, ground cereals.

Then I learned about baby-led weaning.  It goes like this:  The gag reflex in a baby is near the front of the mouth.  When you spoon-feed, you bypass this protective gag reflex.  When baby feeds herself, the gag reflex offers a safety mechanism.  It also gradually moves farther back in the mouth as she matures.

So this time around, I started with finger foods.  Very soft foods like bananas, avocados, small pieces of sweet potato.  And she mastered them quickly.

Of course, I still used a spoon sometimes.  Namely with yogurt and at restaurants.  But Cedar practiced with a spoon and learned to do it herself.  And even without teeth, she ate small chunks of chicken and turkey, roasted beets, and rice crackers.

It made sense to me.  And it worked well for Cedar.

I love watching babies explore textures and spices.  Cedar loved lemons, pickles, cinnamon, and spicy beans and rice.

One thing, though.  Baby-led weaning is messy.  Oh yes indeed.

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