To introduce solids to Ada, we are taking the approach of Baby Led Weaning (BLW). Pretty much what this means is that we give Ada food that looks normal, if you will…not pureed or smashed to oblivion.
Ada told us she was ready for more than breastmilk when she sloshed her hand into my bowl of spaghetti one night. She only played with the noodles and sauce and surprisingly didn’t put anything to her mouth. A few days later we were eating dinner at my parents house, and, while I wasn’t looking, Ada grabbed some squash skin off of my plate and started sucking on it. It was definitely an “earth to Mom” message (OMG that phrase brings me back to the 90’s).
(Here’s Ada officially eating dinner for the first time – sweet potato – and clearly couldn’t be more thrilled.)
With Ada, we’ve started slow but I think she’s chomping at the bit, so to speak, to eat more food. Besides squash (instant favorite), we also started with steamed broccoli, steamed carrots, and avocado. Since then, we’ve moved onto some more adventurous foods, including brown rice, potatoes, applesauce (she sucks it off of a spoon), and green beans.
AND SCOUT IS IN HEAVEN.
Here’s what we’ve learned in our very amateur experience with BLW:
Chill out. Instead of making sure Ada is getting enough food, we view meal time as a chance for her to play and experiment with different textures. I love giving her “goopy” foods because, although I might load up a spoon for her to put in her mouth, she loves spreading these foods across her tray. Ada did surprise us and got way more down from the beginning than we expected (the evidence was in her poo).
Prepare for food to be flung. Okay, so, there is nothing neat about BLW. Our apartment, with its carpeting and light-colored walls, isn’t conducive to flying food. We stick a large towel under Ada’s high chair, make sure the dog/vacuum knows it’s mealtime, and chock up other messes to our apartment’s battle scars from baby. We also dress Ada in clothes we don’t care about.
Ahem…poo becomes fascinating. I got really into examining Ada’s poo. Tom would save the diapers before throwing them into the bin so I could see what ended up in there. At first, there were just bits of carrot and broccoli in an otherwise-normal breastfed poop. Just this week (after 1.5 months of solids), Ada’s gotten lumps in her diaper instead of liquidy poo (too much information?!). It’s kind of fun to see her body adjusting to the food, and from a cloth diapering perspective, it’s so much easier just to shake some lumps into the toilet. She’s also going a few times per day now, as opposed to only once per day.
Get ready for some gagging. Something my parents have had a hard time adjusting to is that Ada gags a fair amount while eating. I’d say one to two times per meal, depending on what she’s eating, she gags for a few seconds. We watch her, and she figures out on her own how to push the food out of her mouth. Gagging (which also happens with purees, frankly) is something we just need to be comfortable with. Tom and I are also very aware of the differences between gagging and choking, and have been trained in infant CPR so that we are ready if anything should go wrong.
This week, we are taking on doing 2-3 meals per day (besides breastmilk, of course). I think Ada is craving more solid food in her tummy but she is overwhelmed by all of the choices! I’m going to participate in A Healthy Slice of LIfe’s Munchkin Meals this week, so stay tuned for some details on exactly what Ada is eating.