I SO wish I had come across this sooner. You know, before I’d made up all of those baby food purees. This is one of those things that doesn’t seem to get talked about enough, leading people like me to have their ah-ha moment a little late in the game, when hindsight is, of course, 20-20. (I’m constantly reminded of when, after I had been driving my car for miles and miles and miles in high school, my uncle was flabbergasted that I’d not had the oil changed. Well, nobody ever talked to me about oil changes, and I sure wasn’t born knowing about them!). ANYWAY.
I’m talking about baby led weaning, and I have Stephanie to thank for planting the seed in my head. In an email she asked if we ever gave Sadie actual pieces of food. I thought, duh, of course not. She’s a baby! Why would I ever give Sadie a piece of food she could choke on–she’s too young to chew, right? It’s always been one of my top 10–no, top 5–fears about babies: CHOKING. I’ve got a slew of nieces and nephews, and I can’t count the number of times one of them would be eating and start hacking on something, and someone would jump up from their chair and begin whacking on the kiddo’s back. I think this is largely the reason for my extreme fear of choking–to me, it looked like these tots were choking on food left and right. Having done some reading online, I’ve come to realize that what they were more than likely doing, like 99 percent of the time, was gagging (something I am quite familiar with). Turns out, there is a DIFFERENCE between gagging and choking. Gagging is a natural part of learning to eat solid foods, a protective measure that works on its own. Choking is still scary, but at nearly eight months, isn’t something Sadie will likely do very often.
Think about it…Sadie’s not going to learn to chew by having pureed food shoveled into her mouth by her parents, is she? No! She’s going to learn to chew by chewing. So we’ve said “goodbye” to the ol’ spoon, and “hello” to “Feed your own darn self, Sadie.” And so far, so great! Sadie has had steamed carrot bits, chunks of fresh pear and organic wheat cereal (like Cheerios, but sans sugar), and she’s lived to tell the tale. She had an absolute blast, and I cannot wait to introduce her to even more foods.
I’ve wanted to figure out a way to get Sadie eating roughly the same foods we eat so we can truly meal-share, and I think this is step one. Step two is figuring out how to revamp our weekly menus so that they’re more nutritionally-balanced (I don’t think loaded baked potato night or red bean taco Tuesdays are going to cut it for Sadie). Oh, and I’m lightening up a little about the food allergies. Let’s just hope I’m not kicking myself when she’s violently allergic to wheat or something.
Here are some websites I’ve been reading to get my mind wrapped around this.
Now, I just have to figure out what to do with all those darn purees! I think the peaches, pears and apples might work out for smoothies. But green beans? Squash? If you’ve got any ideas…I’m all ears.
I can’t wait for Sadie’s first Thanksgiving!