Gimmie THAT! Baby Led Weaning

As a new mom, some fall in love with nursing. I’m not that one. With my first (*I nursed all four of our children*) the struggle was almost more than I could endure. Only because of the nurse on duty that night was I able to have that tiny one latch on to nurse. We lived in a town of 81 people in Missouri and the closest town with a hospital was 2500 people. So let’s just say in 1991 the option of a lactation nurse was simply unavailable. Thank God there was an old nurse who was a “tough ole broad” who scared me so much I’d do whatever she instructed. She was right every step of the way. Success!

By two months old my newly born baby had two full bottom teeth. It’s quite unusual but biting never stopped. Weaning started early. There’s nothing wrong with a bottle baby. How you feed your baby is a choice, just like introducing solid food. Back in the day, we’d start with cereal mixed with water or milk. Not now! My Grandmother advice was quickly turned aside. Now as I explore, I’m all in on this approach.

Baby creates that hand mouth coordination. With spoon-feeding suddenly we’re forcing the baby to “finish” when they’re instead full at that point. They soon learn to self-regulate. Starting with soft foods like bananas, avocados or yogurt. Suddenly there’s no need to puree, freeze, reheat and no tiny jar collection! Cut pieces in long thin strips, very small morsels or even give them an option of a spoon for yogurt. You load the spoon. They have the party!  #momwin

Arlow and bananas!
Yogurt face
All done with food! ARLOW celebrates

There’s no pressure for baby to eat. They’re naturally intrigued about grabbing things and yes, putting everything in their mouth. Expect a big mess every time in the beginning. Never leave the baby alone to explore. They learn to chew. They learn to use finger thumb coordination, but first, use the hand rake method. Take your time. It’s a party every meal!

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“Haha…I just was really lazy to make purees and so I started researching it and apparently a lot of people do it, you just still have to introduce foods in case of allergies but I’m not really too worried.”-my oldest daughter Mary indicates.

Baby soon realizes how to enjoy the family meal even if it’s a time to explore with tiny bites. They’re super skilled in gag reflexes too. A bit of barf is always part of child-rearing, so be ready.

“She’s entertained while we eat! Self-led baby weaning works.”-Mary

When we had our tiny ones that’s kind of what we did! But didn’t have a cool name for it. We just call it “Keep baby busy, so Mom and Dad can eat training.” Smash, smear, squish, toss, drop, wear, is just the beginning of baby learning. Take a large garbage bag, place it under their chair then get that camera ready. Each new taste is a new face. What you eat they eat, but without all the spice! No salt, not fun? Babies don’t have developed kidneys to process the amount of salt we normally add to everything. Start simple.

Not every baby will catch on quickly, so go at your own pace. Breast-milk or formula is still their mainstay. As with introducing puree foods from a jar, don’t overload the options. Our dinners are filled with choices and flavors. Babies don’t know any different. Give them simple tasks by leading their spoon to their mouth if it’s tough. They’ll catch on, just watch and enjoy.

Options and the “right” way to feed your baby will change throughout the years. When I was a baby, they told my mom that formula was better than breast-milk. I survived with formula and so did Mary. She was weaned at two months with two full bottom teeth. 

The bottom line is that baby is your baby and not your friend’s baby, not your mom’s baby, not your in-law’s baby, it’s YOUR baby! That baby is God’s gift for you and your husband. Some days we all feel like #momfail. In that fail, it makes us human. New mommies stand tall! You’re raising that first baby as the “test” baby. Because by the time I had my 4th child all I could do was apologize to my oldest, Mary. Do what you think is right at the time and learn from your mistakes. I’m now that “tough ole broad” not with a degree in nursing, rather mine like yours might be from the “University of Life.” We should get a team logo!

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