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self-feeding/baby-led weaning support thread...

post #1 of 581
Thread Starter 
My almost 6mth old starting begging for food a month ago, and we finally said okay. He reaches for and grabs food and eats it, and he also grabs spoons w/ food on them and puts them in his mouth. this is so so different from ds1 who we tried to entice to eat for so long (even still) and who we spoon fed (unwillingly- yikes!)

We've let ds2 have bananas, rice, carrots, green beans, apples, pears, and potatoes (I may have left something out.) We're not following the "one new food for 4 days" rule. I'm just so much more relaxed about it this time around. And besides, we are all free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, dairy, eggs, pork, tomatoes, and most nuts! I know it sounds crazy. I don't have many food sensitivities, but ds1 and dh do (and ds1 still nurses.)
post #2 of 581
Were you hoping this could be a thread for those of us starting to do self-feeding? I'd definitely be interested in having a continuous one for questions, experiences, anecdotes, etc, as they arise. And I've noticed a lot of threads around this subject lately, so it might be convenient to have one thread we're regularly adding to... (or maybe even a separate forum, mods? It definitely seems to come up a lot, and I know I have a lot of questions! The current forum on "child-led weaning" seems to have more to do with weaning off breast milk completely, or night weaning, but maybe I just haven't looked at it closely enough?).

We're just getting to the point where we're starting DD on solids. She's 5 1/2 months and while I meant to wait until 6 months, she seems ready and interested. SHe's been sitting up unassisted for well over a month now, and is always trying to grab things off our plates. All I've given her so far is chunks of banana to play with - she was intrigued and got some in her mouth and swallowed (and far more on her clothes and hands). I think we'll try broccoli flowers or spears of steamed carrots next. I still always feel like I have questions about which foods, how big to make chunks, whether to do single-ingredient foods for now or just do whatever we're eating, etc. We don't have allergy histories so I'm not too worried, but I think I might stick to occasional steamed veggies and fruits until she's 6 months old, and then maybe over the holidays start giving her more complex foods - a bit of whatever's on our plate - to play with.
post #3 of 581
Thread Starter 
yes, that's exactly what i have in mind. i have lots of similar questions, but can't find much info out there. i have no intentions of weaning from the breast (heck, i'm still nursing a 44mth old!!)

tonight for dinner, we didn't have much that he could eat- he's about 2.5wks older than your dd. i made some thickish rice cereal and he alternated b/w grabbing it out of the bowl w/ his hands and feeding that way and me putting it on the spoon while he fed himself. he did the same with some plain applesauce. he sits at the table w/ us (in a "me too" chair) and demands food if we're eating.
post #4 of 581
I'd be interested in a thread of this sort as well. DD is going to be 7 months in a few days and is almost sitting up on her own. That was the last sign of readiness I was holding out for....she's been obsessed with our food for awhile now I am (finally) emotionally ready to begin the fun of solids and really want to do the self-feeding thing, but I have tons of practical questions!

My biggest question is how big to make the chunks of food. Does it vary by food? Like...if I am giving her a really ripe banana, should I give her the circular-shaped slice, or cut that in half, or fourths?? I am paranoid about choking but I am all for the self-feeding and I want to do it safely.
post #5 of 581
I've heard that french-fry shaped chunks area good size, but I have the same question. But i think sometimes bigger is supposed to be less of a choking risk than smaller - the idea being that they'll bite off a small enough piece, and won't bite off something that they'll choke on.
However - I tried broccoli and steamed carrots tonight, and neither worked. DD put them in her mouth, and seemed to really like the carrot (she hated the broccoli and made a really funny face), but then she just sucked on it. Since she doens't have teeth, I'm not sure how she'd actually bite off a piece of the carrot - even steamed it takes some strength to bite it off. So now I'm wondering if I should cut them up into "bite-size" pieces after all. Or give her softer things like banana (which she likes). or soft stuff like avocado, roasted sweet potato, etc, spread onto a piece of toast (which seems to be popular at the babyledweaning.com site).
Or maybe the fact that she doesn't have teeth and can't bite it off means she's just not ready? I certainly don't care about her doing more than experimenting at this stage, and I'd thought I'd wait longer. But she's SO eager to join us, and so advanced for her age in a lot of ways.
post #6 of 581
It took till DS was around 8 months before he really got the pincer grasp and self-feeding thing 'down'. We let him play with food from the time he was right around 6 months, but it took that long for him to figure it out... Now we give him little chunks (bite-size), on the table and he picks them up and eats them...

All that said, before he really got the pincer grasp down he liked bigger chunks (french frys, aple slices, etc), to really just grab and chew on.

Oh, and DS has been eating just about whatever it is we're eating the whole time... I made green chili enchiladas a week or so ago (very, very spicy new mexican dish)... and he screamed cause' we werent sharing... so I dipped alil tiny bite of tortilla in the chili and he LOVED it!!! So... yeah... its really been VERY surprising what he likes/doesn't like (cranberries, for example !!
post #7 of 581
Quote:
Originally Posted by acp View Post
WThe current forum on "child-led weaning" seems to have more to do with weaning off breast milk completely, or night weaning, but maybe I just haven't looked at it closely enough?).
I think you haven't looked at it closely enough because it's about not weaning your child at all but allowing your child to decide when to wean. So it's not about weaning at all. It's about the challenges those who are following child-led weaning experience.

I did self-feeding with DD#2 and I loved it. She fed herself everything and it was just great. Big chunks that they can get a real handle on is what you're going for here. That way the baby can hold on to the food and munch on it. Has everyone read this link? http://www.borstvoeding.com/voedseli...uidelines.html

It has great info and it's what turned me on to self-feeding. It just made so much sense. BTW DD#2 will eat anything. DD#1 who we spoon-fed is very picky. Good luck!
post #8 of 581
It doesn't matter if baby is "only sucking" on the food and not "biting", "chewing", or even "swallowing" or "ingesting".

At the beginning stage, solids should be ONLY about the experience and the experimentation -- taste and texture. The "nutrition" of the food is irrelevant. It completely doesn't matter whether or not they're actually "eating".

Enough "quotes" lol??

DD started around 6mo sucking on broccoli and asparagus. Sometimes she would bite, and sometimes she would swallow what she had bitten and sometimes she would play with it in her mouth a bit, then spit it out. She was experiencing the taste and "practicing" how to move food around in her mouth.

Around 7.5mo, she started actually *eating*. Deliberately swallowing and looking for more food, rather than the curious exploration of before.

I've come to think that one of the great benefits of BLW is *exactly* the fact that they are *not* actually ingesting much food at first. Rather than spooning multiple ounces of substances into their bodies to suddenly have to digest and deal with, it's a much more gradual introduction for their systems. And they are in complete control of how much -- if any -- food actually gets "inside", even while they're fully exploring the food on the outside.

I always like to post my DD's BLW pictures in threads like these...
http://flickr.com/photos/lovecat/set...7600330803313/

I've got a few more recent ones I still have to upload, she's starting to learn to use a spoon and makes a great mess with sloppy joes!!

Anyway, for other BLW support, there's always the BLW blog and the yahoogroup. Tons of other mums and their experiences and tips and suggestions!
post #9 of 581
Am also interested in a self feeding thread. My DD is 10 months old but still will only eat very small pieces of food and not very many foods either. She likes bananas, sweet potatoes, and carrots. That's about it. Oh she'll eat apple sauce too. Anything sweet. She prefers the breast over solid food- Before, after and sometimes even during!
post #10 of 581
Quote:
Originally Posted by wasabi View Post
I think you haven't looked at it closely enough because it's about not weaning your child at all but allowing your child to decide when to wean. So it's not about weaning at all. It's about the challenges those who are following child-led weaning experience.
Sorry - I probably didn't explain myself well enough. I know that, I just meant that it's not about "child-led weaning" in the more universal sense of the word weaning - i.e. not about transitioning off of nursing, but about introducing something in addition to milk. I think the terms are confusing because we tend to use "weaning" to mean the gradual end of breastfeeding, but the term "child-led weaning" is also used more broadly to describe introducing solids - which is what I'm interested in – which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with nursing. I meant that it's not a thread for self-feeding
post #11 of 581
acp -- you'll find that "child-led weaning" is generally used (at least in North America) to mean the cessation of breastfeeding. The philosophy of child-led solids, self-feeding, etc, is referred to as "BABY-led weaning".

It is still confusing, with the different usages of the term weaning (I myself prefer the British use of the term). But if you're trying to do research on self-feeding etc, you want to look for "baby-led weaning", that's the commonly accepted terminology.

It makes sense if you think about it... the introduction of solids happens when still a baby, but the actual cessation of breastfeeding happens when they're an older child.
post #12 of 581
:

I'm very interested in this thread as DD will soon be 6 MO and is definitely displaying many of the signs that she's ready to try solids.

:
post #13 of 581
I'm interested in this, too. Although, DD has some sensitivities (egg, dairy) and we have a family history of major allergies so I'm limiting her exposure to foods with lots of different ingredients.

tankgirl73, your DD is beautiful. And can you please share the name of those awesome long-sleeve bibs???? :
post #14 of 581
Quote:
Originally Posted by wasabi View Post

I did self-feeding with DD#2 and I loved it. She fed herself everything and it was just great. Big chunks that they can get a real handle on is what you're going for here. That way the baby can hold on to the food and munch on it. Has everyone read this link? http://www.borstvoeding.com/voedseli...uidelines.html

It has great info and it's what turned me on to self-feeding. It just made so much sense. BTW DD#2 will eat anything. DD#1 who we spoon-fed is very picky. Good luck!

yeah yeah I love this site, but I still am worried about the SIZE of the chunks.....bear with me....first time madre here

I totally like the idea that she might not actually swallow any food at first, I'm down with her regulating her intake etc...I just don't want her to choke How big is "bite-sized"?????? When DH takes a bite of something, half of it's gone. Ok, bad example...obv that would be too big...but you get my drift. Are we talking a chunk the size of....I don't know. I can't think of anything. Hm.
post #15 of 581
I am glad to see this thread. Ds is almost 7 months and just today I gave him some banana bite size pieces ( a round piece cut into 4ths), just to see what would happen. He didn't eat any of them...just squished them around and played. I noticed his grasp isn't quite there yet and he can't sit unassisted so I'm in no hurry to start him on solids. I'll let him explore once in a while still, and keep lurking around here for more advice. I guess my main question is about the size of pieces I should give him. I have visions of me giving him a long piece of soft carrot and him sucking half of it off and trying to swallow it. So I look forward to reading more in this thread.
post #16 of 581
My DS is 8 mo. He's been eating solids since he was 6 mo. He has always been super interested in foods - and particularly in feeding himself. We didn't initially intend to do baby-led weaning, but that is essentially what he wanted to do!

Some of his favourite foods to eat are:
- bananas - I break off a third of a banana and hand it to him. He eats it all (what doesn't end up on his hands, face and shirt!)
- toast - I usually just give him a quarter piece of brown toast (more because he likes to eat it than for the nutritional value)
- rice cakes (see toast!)
- pear - I peel it and give him 1/4 or 1/3 of a pear. Same idea as banana.
- Steamed potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes - I just give him pieces (say, ping-pong ball sized?) and he eats them.
- I can't think of what else... He loves chicken, but we mostly eat veggie so he doesn't have that too often... Beans - I made a bean soup and gave him a bunch of the beans from it (he's just figuring out the pincer grasp - but it takes him a long time to pick up the beans!), then he drank some of the broth...

I've found that if he takes too big a bite or the food is too hard, he gags on it a bit, then spits it out and reaches for something else. I've read quite a few posts on here with people who have had similar experiences.

Oh, and I didn't mention... at this point, he usually gets whatever we're eating (lentil stew spiced with cumin and cayenne was the last thing, chili, you name it). I did start out with the slow introduction of individual foods, just to see how things went. We did that for about a month, then moved on from there...

Hope this helps some of you! I'm still at the beginning too, so I've got lots of questions, but he seems to be directing things in my case - so I'm just following his lead (in most cases!).
post #17 of 581
Thread Starter 
Today at the grocery store, ds2 (6mths) was begging for food the way he does! I had just nursed him...

So, he was intro'd to another new food: plain rice cakes. He did fine with them- they get soft and mushy when wet. He also tried quinoa flake cereal this morning (that's what we were having- the hot porridge kind.) He wants to eat anytime he sees someone else eating!

Does anyone get worried that they WILL wean from the breast early? There's just so much happening that ds is easily distracted when nursing. Of course ds1 (3 1/2) will nurse anytime the opportunity presents itself- and he's a very different eater.
post #18 of 581
DD is 5.5 months old and we're trying the baby-led weaning too. She's had a variety of things so far, most just get soggy and disentegrate though she does like oranges and tater tots She started being interested in what we were eating at 4 months and would lunge at our plates in restaurants. We started giving her rolls just to keep her occupied and it grew from there. Does anyone else's babe LOVE: spoons? DD can't get enough, she just chews and bangs and keeps herself occupied throughout dinner.

Must admit DH has taken to pureeing fresh banana in DD's evening MM bottle. She loves it and sucks it down. Then she sleeps for 9-10 straight hours. Tried avocado first but DD hated it. Not sure it fits with the baby-led philosophy but DD and DH seem to enjoy their "special" bottle together.
post #19 of 581
I am so glad to see this thread! DS will be 6 months old on the 10th of Dec. and is interested for sure in food! He watches intently everything that goes in my mouth! He's not quite sitting up on his own, but is getting there! I think I will start with banana and go from there! I am so nervous and so glad I found this thread! It sounds like we all have alot of the same questions, so hopefully we will be able to answer each others questions!
post #20 of 581
My baby is a year old and I've never mashed anything for him. If I'm eating soup I share with him but mostly he grabs stuff that he wants from my plate or I give him bites if it is something like pasta which uses a fork.

His first food was a pear that I was eating. He grabbed it and ate half of it. Ate, not slobbered or spit His second food was an avocado.

He eats pretty much everything now, within reason. I don't eat anything that I don't want him to have. I don't have peanut butter in the house at all. I try to stick with one new food per week but I'm not always strict about that. He does not like anything bland.

A couple of weeks ago we were in the grocery store and he was pointing at and begging for a box of frozen Gardenburger bites. I bought them, and when we got home he saw the box again and started begging again. I cooked some and he LOVED them. They were the perfect size for his little hand, just the right texture and nicely flavorful.

I will give a warning: cashiers in grocery stores look at me very, very oddly sometimes when my baby is holding and eating a pear or a string cheese just like a regular kid. (I always buy the item before allowing him to have it- sometimes the baby is hungry when we're there. Nobody who is not a baby is allowed to eat in the grocery store
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