Baby-Led Weaning: Best Idea for Lazy Parents!

Amy Keyishian
14

abby eatingThe first time around, I was so careful about everything that went into my baby's little mouth. I have a fear of choking to start with, and she was such a petite little creature, I strictly controlled each new food.

And then there’s my Abby. Big, brassy, strong as an ox, and at 9 months wearing clothes Penny wore as a 15-month-old toddler, she could wrestle a banana away from Koko the Gorilla. Also, she’s the second child of ineffective housekeepers, which means she crawls around on a sea of discarded cheerios and raisins. So while I still buy jars of puree, that’s mostly so I can be sure she’s rounding out her diet -- because without my realizing it, I’ve been, by default, doing baby-led weaning this time around.

It’s nice to know my parental laziness and ineffectiveness dovetails with a popular baby-feeding movement!

Of course, there’s more to it than watching Abby stuff something in her mouth and charging across the room to fish it out, but not making it before she’s managed to chew and neatly swallow it. But here are some ways BLW rules and my rules have become a match made in heaven:

No bowls: BLW says babies are ready to eat when they can grab and chew food, and bowls are just another distraction waiting to be “flung heavenwards.” Good thing, because I can’t find half our bowls -- and the other half are growing crust in the sink.

Feed the baby semi-naked, because there’s a mess: Great! Because Penelope demands a bib whenever Abby has one, and then squirrels them away somewhere. Shirts off, girls!

The more effort you put into making baby food, the less likely they are to eat it: This is great news, because I have no time to make baby food, and she’s eaten more off my plate as I balance her on my hip than her own tray.

Don’t get hung up on three meals a day: 
Oh, don’t you worry about that ...

Don’t put too much on the high-chair tray at a time, because it’s overwhelming: Poor kid -- by the time I manage to get her sister's food on her tray, return my mom’s phone call, and flip the chicken breasts, she’s lucky if she gets her second round of steamed carrots before they’re cold.

Don’t put food into the baby’s mouth: Well, I still sit down with her and we grin at each other as I spoon as much food as I can into her little gob. I can’t help it, I worry that she’ll starve, and I love baby-feeding so much! But she also grabs the spoon and guides it into her mouth, giving me a sly smile as she does so, and once or twice a week I have to get up to stop something boiling or someone falling -- and by the time I get back to the high chair, she’s upended the jar and devoured the rest. 

Do you find that you end up doing something close to baby-led weaning the second (or third ...) time around?

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