My sister is a Registered Dietitian specializing in Pediatrics over in the UK. I looked to her for advice on introducing solids to my baby boy, and she recommended a mixed approach of Baby Led Weaning and purées. She also mentioned that I did not have to start with cereals, and could in fact start with anything including fruits and vegetables.
What is Baby Led Weaning (BLW)? This approach is to basically let baby feed himself by putting age appropriate foods within grabbing range, and let your baby stuff them in their mouth themselves. It does not mean that they are weaned off of breastmilk or formula.
So how did it go? After a slow start, we are definitely getting the hang of things. I was fairly nervous at first, and there is a certain amount of gagging and spitting out, especially at the start. However that really dies down and I can see he really loves feeding himself. It’s fun to watch him improve his coordination and eating, and my confidence in him grows daily. I am introducing new foods all the time. If he doesn’t like a food at first, I will always try it again. In fact, did you know that it can take up to 21 attempts until baby learns to like something? Interestingly, some foods he didn’t seem to like in puree form he loves in finger food form (green beans! see photo above!)
Our meals are combinations of purees, real food (like stews), finger foods, and dessert (such as yoghurt). Our beginner finger foods included avocado, banana, soft cooked carrot and ripe pear. I am now introducing a wider variety of cooked vegetables and fruits including green beans, cucumber, kiwi, and papaya.
I didn’t look forward feeding at first, but now I think it’s fun seeing what he likes and doesn’t like. Plus it’s encouraging seeing him progress into feeding himself which he really loves (even if most of it ends up on the floor!)