Baby Led Weaning

When I got pregnant, I had these delusions of grandeur that I was going to be super mom and I was going to do it all myself and I would make my baby’s food and she would love it and everything would awesome! (like that Lego movie song)

Unfortunately, then life happened. After I made all the baby food when she was 2 months old and stored it in the freezer and waited with baited breath for her to be 4 months old so we could start solids… She hated it. She didn’t know how to swallow properly, she wanted to play with the spoon, she wanted to spit food everywhere, it was just awful. We even took a week long break because I could not handle the thought of her screaming and crying when I plopped her in her play chair.

Wonderful Husband bought her this fancy high chair that’s pink and has multiple settings and reclines. The thing has a tray cover so the tray doesn’t get dirty.. It’s fancy. So, I felt obligated to use it. Twice a day, every day we would sit in that high chair and I would make train noises and whistle the theme song for jaws and basically act like an idiot while my daughter sat tight lipped staring at me like I was trying to poison her. It was awesome.. Not.

Then one day, a friend of mine said she had done Baby Led Weaning with both of her kids. I was intrigued. For those of you who aren’t going to click on the link the basic concept is this- you skip all the mush and gush of purees and go right to big people food. You just give baby small soft pieces of what you are eating. When I asked my friend to elaborate she said she had started with puffed rice cereal sprayed down with breast milk. Seems easy enough.

I bought rice krispies because I was terrified Little Darling would choke on anything bigger. There passed another week of sitting at the high chair with a handful of rice krispies and Little Darling screaming. Fun.

For several months now, I had been using this awesome little net thing we found at Babys R Us to give LD berries and stuff. She loves to suck on strawberries and grapes and just about anything I put in there. So I had an epiphany. If she likes eating the stuff through the net, then maybe she would like little pieces!

I let her eat a pear through the net for a little and then I cut up a nice ripe pear and put little bits on her tray. She slowly smooshed it all into a ball and threw it on the floor. Dear God- This child is going to starve to death in the future. This went on for about two days where I was trying multiple fruits and veggies and nothing was working. I resulted to sticking krispies to my finger and putting them in her mouth. She would eat those. But she couldn’t seem to get the hang of picking them up and eating them.

One day, we were sitting in the kitchen, her with her tray of krispies and fruit and me with a pack of graham crackers trying to how her how to eat. In frustration, I held out a half a graham cracker. She plucked it out of my hand, put it in her mouth, bit off a piece, gummed it to mush and swallowed it.

What.

She ate the entire thing. She only gagged once when she got a large piece. I took another one and broke it into grab-able pieces and sprayed it with formula. She slowly picked up each piece, mushed them around, and ate them. A few ended up on the floor, a few were mushed into oblivion, but most ended up in her mouth.

Now, she is slowly getting the hang of spoon feeding, she still eats graham crackers every day, and we are expanding on her solids. Just about anything soft and small she will at least try. Avocado is still a no. Just today she ate a whole graham cracker, an oz of peach puree and a bunch of pieces of sweet potato. She also eats those little baby puffs they sell at the store for toddlers. It is kind of scary sometimes when she is trying to swallow or chew, but 98% of the time she is fine and works it out. There has only been once or twice that I had to pull her out of the high chair because I thought she was choking (she wasn’t). They just have to practice.

I am so glad that someone told me about this, because it is so much easier than the baby food. I am glad I did the baby food because now we have it and we can work on the spoon feeding and get a well rounded experience, but on baby number two I am not gonna bother. Grahams and Krispies for everybody!

Homemade Baby Food

Today Little Darling mastered the sippy cup. Granted, it is the “training sippy cup” which is like a glorified bottle, but she did it, and we have been struggling with this for some time now. It got me thinking that I have been meaning to post about making her baby food.

Although most of her homemade baby food is sitting unused in the freezer because we are somewhat falling into Baby Led Weaning (I will post more about this later), when she does eat her baby food I can feel really good about it because I know what she is eating. When I decided I wanted to make all of her baby food, I had the idea that it would be this huge undertaking and I would have to stay up until midnight making complicated recipes and then brag to all my friends about my homemade organic food that took me 7 hours to make one serving- what can I say, I am a glutton for punishment? Boy, was I shocked when I actually started researching it…

Homemade baby food is basically blended versions of human food. It takes me a grand total of one hour to make enough food for a month. In one day, I made enough food for her to eat until she gets teeth and transitions to real food. Wow.

To start, I grabbed a few over ripe bananas in our fruit bowl, mashed them with a fork, added a tiny bit of water, poured them into the handy silicone homemade baby food freezer bowls that my friend gave me, and put them in the freezer. Done.

Then I roasted three sweet potatoes in the oven for about 20 minutes (?), cut them open, scooped out their insides, mushed them with a fork, added water, poured into trays, freezer. Done.

I prepared frozen peas according to the package, put them in the blender, added some water, blend, blend, blend, pour, freezer.

I ground up regular oatmeal (the stuff that comes in the big cylinder) in the blender, boiled it with some water on the stove, and froze it. This one does thaw a little gooey, like oatmeal tends to do, so I just add a little formula when I thaw it and it is fine.

SO EASY. No reason to brag, there is seriously nothing to it. It was easier than buying baby food at the store because I didn’t even have to leave my house.

All in all, I made several foods for LD: banana, apple, kale, spinach, peas, sweet potato, oatmeal, and pears.

Once we started on baby food at four months, it was a total disaster. LD didn’t know how to swallow and spit food everywhere, she hated everything I gave her because she was used to breast milk which is super sweet and doesn’t compare to gluey oatmeal, obviously. Wonderful Husband thought that maybe she didn’t like my homemade food and store bought would be better, so he stopped one day and got store bought bananas and peaches. I was appalled at the ingredients on the “organic” bananas. All types of oil, and preservatives, random other fruits? The doctor specifically tells you to introduce one food at a time to check for allergies. So when LD got my banana baby food, she got bananas. When she the Gerber organic banana baby food she got a little bit of banana, and tuna oil, and sesame oil, and pear juice, and ascorbic acid. Gross. And she didn’t like the store bought stuff ANY better than my stuff.

We ended up having this weird, slow, transition to Baby Led Weaning for the most part, but today she ate almost 2 oz of homemade sweet potato food at lunch so I will call that a win.

Basically, making homemade baby food is a personal choice. I do understand the convenience of buying the jarred stuff at the store. It really can make life easier if you are busy, or if you don’t keep a lot of fresh fruits and veggies in your house on a regular basis. Totally your decision if you want to do it. But, if you are even the slightest bit interested, give it a try! I doubt you will be disappointed.

That being said, check out Baby Led Weaning… Graham crackers have been my saving grace.