First, having just finished reading Our Babies, Ourselves by Meredith Small, I want to say, I LOVED it. It helped me put TCC in perspective. Well, reading that, and learning from the discussions here and on the TCC mail group. I read TCC for the first time a couple months ago, and promptly lent out my copy. Not having it in front of me, I cant go check exactly what JL said about small infants eating, but here are some conclusions I have come to:
I cannot do exactly as Yequana do, because I am not Yequana. I wasnt brought up with their expectations, their sensibilities, a tribe, a tribe mentality, no one role modelled Yequana life for me. Furthermore, I have been brought up in a white, middle class, middle america, Western culture. Myself and my baby(s) will have to determine our values and behaviours by integrating what the culture at large do and what is modelled in our home.
Reading about parenting and child treatment across cultures and times in OBO made me recognize the essential truth about what babies biologically expect and need to thrive. Pretty much universally this boils down to cosleeping, breastfeeding in terms of years, almost constant touch with primary caretaker or very committed team of caretakers with communal expectations.
Things that are discussed in TCC about danger, work, non coercion, etc, are behavioral expectations and not biological, and are different depending on the goals and lives of the community. Even among "traditional", or Non Western, or cultures living without modern technology. Its hard to say which is "best" or even "better". It really depends on any culture or group adapting for survival.
At any rate:
Re: the eating thing: There is evidence that monkeys eat partially masticated food from their mothers.
Also, there is a people called the Ache in Paraguay who supplement breastmilk with insect larvae.
Yequana subsist mostly on manioc and cassava, as I recall. (must get book back!) And they grow, harvest and process all their own food. If I were to be really CC, I guess I would at the very least have my own garden and not have organic produce delivered to me from a local farm. :LOL
As for my 10 mo old, she is just now showing any interest in solids, but she refuses anything on a spoon, and would prefer to nibble off whatever I am eating, sandwich, pizza, etc. She will pick up small bits of food off her tray to try and eat. I see my job as to provide her with manageable sizes of regular food, and if she wants to consume it, fine. If not, fine. I dont see why a CC mother would not break off a smaller piece of banana for her child to try, rather than give a whole fruit. On the other hand, a CC baby/child would have a dozen other child modelling eating behaviours for them all the time, and it might be more likely they would manage a large fruit if thats what the norm is.
We just cant know for sure, so I just go by my instinct. If your instinct is to be a nervous wreck about giving a chokeable item, then dont do it, even if your instinct may be "tainted" by your nonCC culture. Instinct is instinct. IMHO.