photo challenge, 5

From a high angle.

A rainy, Saturday morning.

* Thank you all for your kick ass encouragement regarding my job search. You’re a great community, and I feel upheld.

* We’ve been reticent to try baby-led weaning*** as a form of introducing solids – largely because we’re terrified of Bram choking – but having been at purees for two straight months, I think I can say confidently that our son hates.hates.hates.hates.hates blended food (almost as much as he hates a baby spoon). No matter what we’re feeding him, he looks at us like it is poison. Every time. Every bite. BLWers: Could you tell me how to start? Is there any real research out there? All I can find so far is conceptual information; I’d love details about how small things should be, what foods to try first, what has worked for you and what hasn’t. Also: how do you handle allergies? With purees we’ve been introducing a new food every four days, so we can account for reactions. How do you do that with BLW?

*** For anyone not already familiar with this term, the word “weaning” here is in keeping with its U.K. definition – which is “introducing solids” – and not the U.S. definition of cutting back on breast milk. We are (we hope) a long, long way from that.

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16 thoughts on “photo challenge, 5

  1. I don’t know that we did strict BLW per se but we definitely wanted to get beyond purees as quickly as possible. We started purees at 5 months and by 6 months tried giving the boys small pieces of regular food. Around that time, the Lion sort of choked on a piece of watermelon, and neither boy seemed very ready for solids yet. We continued to offer them though and one day, around 8 months, they just really “got it” and started to get into eating solid food. They figured out how to chew (or gum really) food and so we started to give them almost everything we eat in small amounts. I say start with small things like cheerios, banana slices, small pieces of soft bread, etc. B. will “choke” a bit but even though it is scary as heck to watch, it isn’t dangerous or life-threatening, he is just learning how to chew food.

  2. We did baby-led weaning from 6 months and never really did many purees. Our daughter is 14 months now and eats pretty much anything with the exception of a short list of things she just seems to genuinely dislike, like potatoes (strange girl). When she was 6 months old it was January so the produce selection here in Alaska was not good. I did a lot of roasted squash and carrots and things cut into pieces about the size of my pinky finger. We also gave her broccoli and cauliflower florets about the size of a golf ball. We cut most things into finger-sized pieces until she was about 8 months and had good pincer grasp. Before that she would grab food with her whole fist and nom the end of it. We would put maybe 5-8 pieces of food on her tray at a time and just let her experiment.

    Her first foods were: avocado slices (rolled in smashed Cheerios to make them less slippery), roasted squash and carrots, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and snap peas, apple and pear slices with the skin removed (we microwaved these on a plate for a couple of minutes), stir-fried tofu in finger-sized pieces, and berries (we fed her these off of a fork or she’d smash them).

    We didn’t worry too much about allergies because she didn’t show any sensitivities and myself and the donor don’t have any food allergies. I know Bram has some sensitivities so I’m not sure how you’d handle that. We just fed her what we ate ourselves, with very few exceptions. It was a great way to introduce Juju to food, and she is an excellent (voracious!) eater now. Good luck!

  3. No teeth R has recently had success with: steamed carrots, peas, and corn; cottage cheese; quinoa elbow pasta; and bbq pulled pork :)
    We started her on organic baby puffs and yogurt drops as first finger foods. I know those prob aren’t your thing, but that’s where we started because we knew they would dissolve in her mouth, allowing her to practice chewing without choking (and therefore allowing DP to breathe).
    We’re hoping to get more adventurous soon, but again, she doesn’t have teeth, so we’re not quite sure what she’s capable of! We have squash and green beans on the agenda next.
    When we gave R fresh strawberries in one of those mesh feeder things at 7 months, we gave up worrying about allergies for the most part – though we are holding off on the biggies – peanut butter, fish, eggs – until one year.

  4. so cute. we kind of did baby led weaning and kid of introduced things are we could. a little combo. with twins it was a bit more complicated. but all in all it worked out. and the kids eat well. your little man looks like he is growing well and keeping you busy. life is good.

  5. I think with #2 we will try to do more BLW. We did a little with The Bean but also did a lot of purees, which we still give him especially with veggies as he seems to prefer them (i.e. eat more of them) –but my thought is maybe that they’re just what he is used to but as he gets older I find myself wishing I could give him more solids and know that he would eat them.

  6. We did green veggies first (avocado cubes, purees work well sweetened with apple sauce -asparagus, green beans, broccoli, peeled/cut grapes, kiwi cubes). Orange veggies next (cubed baked sweet potato very popular, carrots w/ applesauce, butternut squash or acorn squash). Adding a bit of cinnamon is nice too. We also tried to do veggies before fruit – to not set him up for only wanting sweet. It’s best to stay away from grains for a while. They’re tough on the digestive system and tend to cause allergy issues. At meal time, we would nurse first, then put some cubes in front of him to play with/explore. We started doing when he seemed to take interest in what we were eating (around 6-7 mos for us). I love the French way of doing things. As natural foodies, they see it as their job to introduce their children to the world of food (taste, texture, color, etc). They’re kids are eating Camembert at 3 at daycare! So have fun with it!

  7. I’m too tired to read all the comments before, so I hope I’m not overlapping too much. Goldie has only eaten purees that come in that form (yogurt, applesauce) and she also doesn’t like to be spoon fed. She has mostly spoon fed herself these things for several months now which is cute and messy. We liked the book “Baby Led Weaning Cookbook” because it states the philosophy and some details and also gives food ideas. We started with strips of avocado and spears broccoli. Goldie was 6 months old at the time, though, and so she probably didn’t have as solid an ability to ingest it as Bram does now. In the beginning we cut everything into strips so she could hold it in her fist. Now that she’s older we actually make things smaller because (with no teeth) she doesn’t always want to tackle a giant piece of something.

    I won’t lie, it’s scary at first to hand your baby a big piece of food and trust them with it. But we gained confidence in G’s abilities fast and we have a pretty good understanding of what sizes and types of things she can handle now and, more importantly, so does she. Bananas are great either whole with some peel on (cut back all the way to make an ice cream cone-like handle) or sliced or chunked. It basically becomes an instant puree. Blueberries/raspberries/blackberries/grapes cut in half are great because they’re so mushy (we give G whole raspberries and she demolishes them). Goldie loves pieces of scrambled eggs (we break off either strips or little chunks big enough for her to pick up with her pincer grip but still pretty small). G also loves little bits of cheese (caso fresco is one of her favs and it’s a great starter cheese because it’s mushy). Oh, peaches! G loves peach bits – we leave the skin on but dice it. She also loves to gum an apple that we’ve started but since B has teeth, he might make more of an impact on the apple. O cereal and puffs are big hits and easy for her to manage.

    We aren’t giving her honey or peanut butter in the first year, but not avoiding any other allergens. We didn’t really stagger the foods either after the first couple. Maybe we’re just lucky, but it hasn’t been a problem. I could talk for a while about this but I need to go to bed! Apparently I’m too tired to keep from rambling too (or editing this) too!
    Good luck!

    • I just got into bed and told fern I left the most add comment on your blog. Then I was trying to fall asleep and my mistype flashed in front of my eyes. I meant queso :)

  8. I forgot to mention one of G’s favorite foods of all time is home made yogurt drops. We couldn’t find store bought (freeze dried) ones without sugar, so we froze little dollops of blended yogurt and fruit on parchment lined cookie sheets and then stored them in freezer bags. She could eat an unbelievable amount of those! And they help with sore gums. Looking at my comment, it appears we just give her fruit. Though it’s her favorite, we make sure to get lots of other food in there as well. Peas are a great food for babies with a solid pincer grip. And G loves pasta of any shape. Ok, enough of me. Let us know how it goes!

  9. My daughter is a few days younger than B. She has approximately half of one tooth and is loving the BLW process thus far. Her favorites are whole fruits like peaches, nectarines, or plums. I have to take a bite or cut a chunk out and then she just kind of sucks the fruit out of the skin. Riper than I prefer seems to work well because it’s more juicy and slurpy-like in her mouth. She does gag on the chunks of fruit that are large and not squishy but she always gets them back to the front of her mouth to eject or mash more. Bananas and cantaloupe are good too. She loves broccoli and will eat it by holding the stem or eat the stem. She’s been sucking hummus off pita lately and then gumming the pita until she’s able to swallow. Our biggest gagging (which scares the crap out of me) foods are cucumber (the way it breaks off in her mouth) and sometimes harder fruits. She’s also recently been able to pick up peas. We pre-load spoons for her and she eats yogurt that way. She doesn’t like to give the spoon back so we have two that we trade with her. Most of the food we give her is in stick or finger shape so it’s big enough for food to still stick out of her hand when she has her hand completely clasped around it. She’s done okay with rounds, too, like sauted zucchini.

    Reading the BLW book, and rereading the part about gagging has been helpful. My wife is less inclined to freak out than I am when baby gags and coughs but she is always is able to move the food as needed. The book is reassuring in that regard about how strong the gag reflex is for babies so they are able to move the food back to the front of their mouth.

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