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Baby-led Weaning

August 25, 2010
By Jessyka

Sorry about the delay in posting this – between my brother’s Marine Corps unit being deployed to Pakistan a month before he was originally supposed to go (leading me to take Evie on her first plane ride to North Carolina) and other insane goings-on, life has been pretty hectic and I haven’t had time to even THINK about posting.

Anyway… on to the good stuff!

When Evelyn was born, I set a primary nursing goal of 6 months. As a first-time mama, I had no idea what nursing was like, so I didn’t want to set myself up for feeling like a failure if my nursing relationship with my daughter was not healthy for both of us. In the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I became increasingly terrified that breastfeeding would be wrought with supply issues, plugged ducts, and mastitis.

Luckily, my nursing experience has been wonderful. We have surpassed our primary goal, and I haven’t really set another one. I’ve decided to employ my own version of Baby Led Weaning, letting Evelyn decide when she would like to stop nursing. I don’t really cater to the belief that it’s disgusting for 2 and 3 year olds to nurse, so it really wouldn’t bother me if she decided to continue that long. I do, however, plan to keep breast milk as her primary source of nutrition until at least a year.

Incorporating solids is a lot easier than I thought it would be. We use food as a learning and exploring tool since she’s getting her nutritional needs met by nursing. Instead of giving her goopy cereals and strange mush in jars, I hand her a small slice of melon or chunk of peach or banana and watch. She doesn’t have teeth yet, so she usually just sucks the juices out of things or mangles it to death with her gums. Sure, it’s a sticky mess, but we get bath time afterward and she loves it! For things like peas that she can’t pick up and eat yet, I puree them myself and give her a small amount with a spoon (and have the mop ready for afterward). None of her pureed food gets thrown away after I mill it – anything I don’t give her right then, I freeze in ice cube trays and toss the serving-sized cubes in a Tupperware container once they are frozen.

Evie is a big fan of Mum Mums  – a little rice biscuit that, instead of having to chew, just dissolves when she slobbers all over it. Another little item that has saved my sanity is a mesh feeder for when Evie is feeling especially sore in the gums. I take frozen chunks of fruit (or one of those handy frozen puree cubes) and put it in this amazing device, and Miss Evelyn is back to toddling around in her walker, gumming the life out of whatever frozen goodie she got and chasing the dog about the house. It’s a more natural soother than Orajel or Hurricaine, and Evie gets the opportunity to learn new tastes and how to handle self-feeding (and I don’t have to worry about her choking herself!).

The bottom line for me is to take it day by day. I let Evie have the opportunity to try new things as I see them (“Oh, pears are 5 for $3? Let’s give her a chunk of that!”). I don’t follow anyone’s schedules or desires but hers, and it hasn’t been a problem thus far. So why rush it?

  • Sol

    We are in the same boat. I’ve been doing something like this with my 8 month old son. I love watching him try out new foods and seeing his face when he tastes them. He likes to touch it with his hand and place the food against his cheeks. I suspect to feel the texture.

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever tried the Mum Mums? They’re surprisingly not bad! We also did the same thing with the mesh feeders - frozen berries worked well.

  • Vega Velocity

    Ooh I haven’t done the frozen berries thing yet! So far she has had: peach, canteloupe, pear, peas, mango, avocado, and the mum mums. I want to get her started on new veggies, any suggestions?

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