A major and exciting milestone has been reached here in the Morrison household. Little Graham has ventured into the world of real food! It happened a few days ago when my parents and sister were […]
A major and exciting milestone has been reached here in the Morrison household. Little Graham has ventured into the world of real food! It happened a few days ago when my parents and sister were over for a big family dinner. Among other things, Matthew and I had fixed some boiled Yukon gold potatoes that we had grown in our garden. Graham was sitting in my lap during dinner and kept staring at my plate, persistently reaching out to try to grab a piece. We have been researching “baby-led weaning” (no purées, allowing baby to learn to feed himself) and had decided that that was the route we would take once Graham was ready for solids.
I was really trying my best to wait until exactly the 6-month mark, but 5-1/2-month-old Graham had other plans. Now that he was showing signs of readiness (great head control, sitting unsupported, showing interest in food, doubling his birth weight, etc.) I decided to go ahead and let him grab a potato and see what happened.
Little Graham brought the potato right up to his mouth and started biting! His eyes lit up. It was so exciting to see him tasting food for the first time, and he seemed to love it! I don’t think he swallowed very much, but that’s OK. Baby-led weaning is all about letting baby explore his food and feed himself as he wants.
There’s a lot to learn before food becomes a significant source of calories for baby, such as fine tuning motor skills to pick up foods and bring them to the mouth, learning to bite and to chew and learning to bring the food to the back of the mouth to swallow.
The next day, we let him try a slice of peach, which he loved. The day after that, we gave him a banana. We went out to dinner that night and handed Graham a piece of bread, which he did not show much interest in. Today, I steamed some spears of zucchini (fresh from our garden) and let him try that. Little man made some awfully funny faces but kept bringing it to his mouth to gnaw on some more. I’m not sure how much of anything he’s actually swallowed so far; we’ll probably see some interesting changes in his diapers once he does.
I love that we’ve entered this new stage of babyhood! It’s so exciting to see our little boy work on new skills and try new flavors. We decided to take the baby-led weaning approach to feeding solids because it allows babies to learn about more textures and flavors early on which tends to lead to less picky and more adventurous eaters.
It also allows baby to decide when he’s finished eating, as opposed to when parents feed purées and often feel compelled to encourage little ones to finish their bowl/jar of food. It’s important to allow baby to regulate eating based on his own hunger/fullness cues—this helps decrease the risk for overeating habits and becoming overweight later on in life.
We can’t wait to see what kind of eater Graham becomes! We’re going to have a lot of fun including our sweet boy in family mealtime from now on.