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Parenting myths I believed: Part 3 – weaning

22nd April 2013

What I believed: Babies should start eating solids by being spoon fed puréed/blended foods. Feeding them ‘proper food’ is dangerous and they can’t eat it anyway due to lack of teeth

When I learned of the ‘baby-led weaning’ concept, my immediate reaction was “…um, how on EARTH can babies eat proper food without teeth?! They can’t possibly get any nutritional benefit from it, and they’ll choke on it.” Of course, I was proved wrong; I saw several parents employ it and use it to great effect.

When D reached 6 months, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in with weaning. I was a bit iffy about BLW still, so when we were bought some jars of baby food to start us off, I thought we’d try them. We reached the 6 months mark when we were amid family, so they were all keen to see him eat his first foods and BLW was not even mentioned, let alone considered.

The baby food route… didn’t go well. As D had had to have various medication to do with his wind issues and eczema when he was younger, he was really not happy to have someone put anything at all in his mouth. We had some success with him taking the spoon and feeding himself with it (sort of, heh) but in general he refused any sort of food if we tried to give it to him, despite being increasingly grumpy during mealtimes and grabbing at our plates. As we were getting ready to give up on the jars, D grabbed a piece lime off someone’s plate, and began to chew it. He did the same with some toast a few days later, so when we got back home, I decided to prepare him some special food, that was like ours but not quite (bit salty/processed for him, I thought) and was not baby food either. We started with bits of fruit, vegetables and things like bread and toast. He loved it!

The reaction to him feeding this way was mixed: some people thought it was amazing how independent he was, wanting to feed himself and be in control of his food at this early age; some thought it was ridiculous that we should expect him to eat like an adult when he has no teeth or concept of how to eat properly. They said that all babies do what D did to start with; we just gave up too easily and ‘let him have his way’ – again (see co-sleeping and feeding stories…). We’ve tried since to spoon-feed him some things – we had a few jars left, one of which he allowed us to feed him (must have liked that one!) but the others, he didn’t want. We’ve tried to feed him soft stuff he had trouble grabbing with his hands (porridge, mashed potato, etc) which has been a bit hit and miss.

Now that D can eat more foods, and our diet is (somewhat!) under control, we are staying on the BLW route, with him eating the same foods as us. Another part of this myth that I believed was that babies should wean at 6 months and that’s that – no more milk. D is still having milk 3 times a day, as well as 2.5 meals (breakfast never really goes down too well…) and I hope it continues for a while yet. :)