Today I want to tell you about our very first day of baby-led weaning, because one thing is to read it in books and another is to actually start it with your six months old. It’s a bit scary, but it’s exciting at the same time to think that from an early age Oliver will learn to recognise food in its real shape, not just pureed.
We decided to do everything by the book—this amazing book that we had read before starting—so we started the day that Oliver turned six months and with simple foods; until that day Oliver ate only breast milk.
On our first day the menu offered cooked and raw carrots, broccoli, zucchini and chicken. We soon became much more adventurous, but the first few days we decided to take it easy and see how Oliver would react to this new experience.
Well, let me tell you, it wasn’t as dreamy as we had hoped for. Oliver didn’t want to sit on his chair for long, he didn’t like almost anything, he’d take the food to his mouth, pull the most disgusted faces and throw it on the floor. Basically, almost everything went on the floor (Colbie was over the moon)!
Except for a piece of broccoli that, maybe because it was softer and the consistency more interesting, he decided to… almost choke on! Yes, on the very first day! And we even have it on video, until the moment when we decided to stop recording and be ready in case he needed our help. It turned out he was OK, we didn’t even touch him and he solved the problem by himself.
I’m sharing this with you because I know very well that the first instinct is to help your child, but you have to give him the opportunity to solve the problem by himself.
Even when they do the reflux gesture, they’re probably not choking: the reflux reflex in babies is very much to the front of their tongue, so it’s likely that they’ll start showing signs of choking when the food is still on the tip of their tongue. It’s very important you give them enough time to solve the problem on their own: sit on your hands if you have to, put a smile on your face and try to let them fix the situation by themselves. That’s how they learn, and they do so very quickly!
One last thing: if you’re about to start this new adventure with your baby, I highly recommend a first-aid course. It was extremely useful for me and, among other many interesting things, I learned something that I didn’t know: when your baby seems to be choking, don’t pat him on his back; instead, lift him up and hold him parallel to the floor, with his mouth facing downwards. It happened only twice to us, but that manoeuvre was enough to fix the problem without any further assistance.
Baby-led weaning is a beautiful way to introduce solids into the baby’s diet and it’s amazing how fast they learn to eat and appreciate any kind of food. And even when they take a bit longer before getting into a proper eating habit (Oliver took a good few months during which he was relying on breast milk more than foods), it does happen, they will sit on their chair for longer and longer, and they will enjoy (and let you enjoy) a meal. So stick with it if you can and I’m sure you’ll be very happy!
Today Oliver (15 months) is a very good eater, and he’s just started to use the fork with easy foods like vegetables and pasta. I’ll leave you with a picture from this morning of Oliver sitting at the table like a big boy and eating scrambled eggs with a fork :-)
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