From before I got pregnant I was doing this parenting thing against the grain. I’ve never thought of myself as counter-cultural, but the evidence is starting to add up.
First I discovered out-of-hospital birth and found that my fear of birth melted away. I followed through once I got pregnant and delivered in a freestanding birth center a few blocks away from a hospital.
Then I heard of EC. It seemed a little strange, but if it was really possible it made perfect sense! Why teach a kid to not mind sitting in their own waste, and then teach them to dislike it again a few years later? Starting at one month we tried it part way (she still wears diapers but we try to primarily use the potty) and we love it!
Today my baby turned six months old. And tomorrow we’re starting her on solids. By which I mean actual solids. Not purees. We’re doing baby led weaning (BLW).
BLW basically consists of offering your child hunks of solid food and letting her go at it from the beginning. No rice cereal, oatmeal, or purees needed.
This is another instance where I wasn’t looking forward to the standard course. Shoveling food in my daughter’s mouth while dodging her hands and fighting her protestations? It is normal to take 7-12 attempts before she likes a food? Sounds fun! And that’s ignoring what it does to her diapers!
You see, my daughter is strong willed. I have no idea where she gets it. She is currently on antibiotics and Tylenol for bilateral ear infections. If I try to put the syringe in her mouth she screams and turns away. If I’m successful in squirting in some liquid she screams louder. But if I hold the syringe in front of her she’ll eagerly grab it, put it in her mouth, and be happy every time I squirt some in. My little control freak just wants some control over the process. (Again, NO idea where she gets it.)
I dislike eating. To me it is a chore. It is much akin to showering: sometimes enjoyable, but usually a requirement I don’t want to take time for. This is largely because I was forced to eat more than I wanted, faster than I wanted, of things I didn’t like as a child. I was not looking forward to putting something in my daughter’s mouth of my choosing and on my schedule instead of hers: basically taking the “bad guy” role from my own childhood.
That is part of why BLW appeals to me. More, though, it just makes sense! I have let baby love breastfeed on demand her whole life. She picks when she eats, how fast, and how much. BLW is a natural extension of that. I offer her food, and she controls her own intake. It is so logical to me!
And yes, it’s safe. Provided you’re not dumb about it, of course. Don’t give baby whole nuts or grapes, for example. If you take basic precautions, it’s safer than purees in many ways. No food put in baby’s mouth when she’s not ready. No liquid running back to her airpipe and taking her by surprise. She learns to chew from the beginning. Choking is very rare. If you think about it, this is how babies have been fed for ages!
I really discovered BLW a few days ago. Since then I have gone from reluctantly anticipatory about starting solids to bubbling with excitement. Letting baby girl approach and discover solids at her own pace puts the whole thing in a positive light for me. I can’t wait to see how she does with her hunk of banana tomorrow!