I am a new mother and the challenges do not seem to end. I was assured by everyone around that the responsibility lessens a great deal once the baby is 6 months old. I was looking forward to that day eagerly.
As the 6 month mark started closing in, I commenced my research about starting solids for my little one. There are two ways you can do it – Traditional Or Baby led.
Well, well, well ! Why does the baby not come with an instruction manual, God!!! I had to make a pick between the two and I started making mental notes of the Pros and Cons.
Here is my list which might be helpful to you too.
|Introduction to family food - Baby is not on purees, which makes it easy to introduce family food.
|Gagging and choking - Child will gag. That is how the body us made. But, you need to be vigilant about choking. The consistency and size of food needs to be correct.
|Family that eats together - Baby eats on his own while you hog on your food. That is pretty convenient and meal times can be a family thing!
|Messy affair - There is a lot of mess. The baby is only figuring it out and will drop a few morsels and mess itself and the surrounding.
|Raising non-fussy eaters - It is said that self feeding babies grow up to be less fussy eaters. And the baby is not force fed and hence learns to convey when he or she is full.
|Convincing your family - Your support system (in-laws, husband, parents) needs to be on board and that is not always easy.
Clearly, I did not take the cons lightly.
Overcome the cons first
- Read about Choking. Watch videos on youtube and if possible attend an infant CPR class. It is scary & you might never need it. But, no harm in being prepared for the worst. It is advisable to be cognisant of the problems that might entail.
- Read about the consistency of food. All fruits and vegetables offered should be easy to mash between fingers but not too mushy for the baby to hold.
- Read about the type of food that is a choking hazard. For me, joining a few FB groups .
- It is a mess and you will get used to it. Equip yourself well. The market is full of variety of bibs you can pick from. Cover the floor with old sheets or newspaper and make the cleaning easier.
- Bringing the family onboard is important if you are not the only caregiver. Your husband/wife should be the one you start with. Show them videos of children eating on their own and explain the initial struggle but make them look at the bigger picture.
Nothing is easy when it comes to raising babies. Some parents find traditional weaning easier than baby-led weaning and you should make your pick according to your convenience.
As for me, I am glad I chose Baby-led weaning. I had it easier perhaps. Ahaan took well to food. He enjoyed eating. My family was pretty supportive. It was new for everyone around but inspite of the apprehensions, they hopped on with me and sailed through all the ups and down of BLW.
I have learnt that it is important to offer food to the baby at his happy time. He should be appropriately fed and well rested. A cranky baby will not support your self-feeding endeavours at any cost.
So, make sure you are not offering food at his sleep time. It is good to have the family meal times in line with baby’s meal time. There should be a gap of 30-40 mins between breastfeeding and solids. It can be longer for formula fed babies.
You are looking for equal co-operation from a self fed baby. Whereas if spoon fed, these things might not play such an important role.
My baby is almost 10 months old and completely on family food. His favourites are sautéed carrots, roasted fox nuts, bitter gourd and dal-chapati.
I will be posting more about our BLW journey. Do ask any questions and I will try to answer them with my limited experience thus far.