Baby-Led Solids: The Final Verdict
November 3rd, 2011
Now that Buggie is well and truly weaned — no bottle, no bink — it seemed like a good moment for some final reflections on our baby-led solids adventure. If you missed the start of this conversation, take a look back at the premise of baby-led solids as well as the history of baby food. It’s fascinating stuff.
Having read up on the topic, I became a convert to the school of baby-led solids and Buggie never had any baby food. Seven months later, would I do it that way again?
I’m not just a convert anymore. I’m a zealot. I cannot fathom why I ever spent hours pureeing food for Miss Mouse and I’m appalled by the baby food industry in general. The price, the questionable ingredients, the price, the nasty flavor combos — did I mention the price? Plus, baby-led solids just worked so darned well. Buggie started right in on bananas, graduated quickly to pasta, and has never looked back.
I see three main benefits to the BLS approach, at least in terms of how it impacted our family:
1) Family Dinners Work Earlier — It took us a long time to incorporate Miss Mouse into our family dinners. It wasn’t until she was really comfortable eating “table food” that we included her in meals. For many months, her non-bottle dining was done solo, strapped into her high chair while I spoon fed her stuff in the kitchen. We ate after she was in bed. It was just easier that way, rather than trying to coax spoonfuls of mush into her mouth while also trying to eat myself.
Buggie joined the dinner table immediately. Some of this is probably second-baby syndrome, but since he was managing his own meals from the start, it was no big deal to pull his high chair up to the table and let him gnaw on his food while we had ours. Family dinners are really good things, so I’m thrilled that he was able to be a part of them early on.
2) It’s Just So Easy — Making baby food isn’t hard. You cook some fruits and/or veggies and puree them in a blender. But it is definitely more work than just slapping some of whatever you’re eating on a plate for your offspring! Granted, we had to do some tweaking to our meals early on to be sure that the pieces we served were Buggie-approved (big enough to hold, soft enough to gum, etc.), but on the whole BLS made dinnertime prep a snap.
3) BLS Promotes Adventurous Eating — Buggie will eat anything (including injera). Miss Mouse eats virtually nothing. Some of that is personality. But I firmly believe that the BLS approach has helped mold Buggie into the food-lover that he is. He loves to eat. He wants to try everything and gets mad if he spots a side dish that isn’t on his plate. It brings me endless joy to watch him pack away with gusto the dinners I prepare.
Miss Mouse’s biggest stumbling block is that she Will Not Try New Things. She won’t put them in her mouth. And she’s been that way since she was first eating table food. Buggie, on the other hand, has always had the freedom to explore his food. He was never “force fed” anything. He picked things up. He licked them. He spit them back out. He sniffed them. He rubbed them on his head. It’s all led to a fascination with food and a willingness to try just about anything.
I suspect there may be other side benefits as well. Buggie has really good hand-eye coordination and I wonder if that may also be a product of manipulating his food from an early age. You have to develop decent coordination to get a piece of food into your mouth.
Somehow I doubt there will be a revolution against the baby food companies anytime soon, but I’ve convinced a couple friends to try baby-led solids so I feel like I’ve done my part for the movement!