Baby Led Weaning

Charlotte (now 2 or 27 months to be exact) was a relatively easy baby.  She took a bottle fine and took a paci for a little while, ate baby food, slept great and was super happy all of the time.  Claire on the other hand.......flat out refused a bottle, refuses a paci, can scream bloody murder in an instant, and did not start sleeping through the night until 6 months old.   She has been quite a handful however we still love her to pieces!  
We first introduced her to baby food at 5 months old and the mushy green beans made her gag like no other. (I have it on video)  We tried other veggies and the same response.  The only baby food that she would eat were pureed apples and pureed pears.
I must've been casually talking about it with some of my friends when they mentioned baby led weaning.  I had vaguely heard of it but did not do any research on it.  Basically, babies have the ability to chew soft foods with their gums and they do not need teeth to chew!  This concept sort of scared me at first but I decided partly out of laziness and partly because I was sick of wasting baby food, that I would give it a try.  
Some benefits of baby-led weaning include an early foundation for good eating habits and sharpening of developmental dexterity.  I will say, her fine motor skills are excellent now.  She has great hand and eye coordination and can even pinch food and put it in her mouth without even looking at it.  Baby led weaning also offers babies the opportunity to explore the taste, texture, smell, and color of all kinds of different foods.
We started Claire with sweet potatoes because we eat a good bit of them.  During dinner, I cut mine up and gave Claire a few chunks on her high chair.  She housed them.  I gave her more and she ate them too, snorted, and dropped a good bit.  I have found that the silicone bibs with a front pocket (food catcher) are ideal.  Tommee Tippee and Baby Bjorn make them!   When she runs out of food on her tray I just empty her bib pocket back onto the tray.

Since sweet potatoes were such a hit, I next tried white rice because we had that for dinner the next night.  Same thing, she loved it and could not get the rice to her mouth quick enough.  Since then she's eaten all kinds of things.  Avocado, Northern beans, black beans, peaches, mandarin oranges, pasta and rice noodles, chicken, ham, ground beef, salmon, peas, cheese, strawberries, blueberries, Subway, and more.  She's even gotten a hold of Charlotte's breakfast muffins and goldfish crackers.  I do keep a close watch on her while she is eating and try to tell Charlotte not to give Claire food, only Mommy and Daddy can.  We caught Char giving her an almond the other night. 😮

Claire is also able to stop eating when she is full.  I give her a little bit at a time and once she finishes, I will put more on her tray.  When she's though, she will just sit there and no longer feed herself.
I wish I had learned about this earlier and had started sooner with Charlotte instead of sitting there everyday feeding her gross baby mush.  I feel like it is teaching Claire independence and she is getting to explore her senses with real food.  It is quite amazing how well she can pick up food and get it into her mouth in such a short amount of time that she has been exposed to it!  We basically feed her everything that we eat now.  It makes dinner time much easier and allows me to feed myself instead of spoon feeding her at the same time.  She still nurses about the same amount as before as this child doesn't skip any meals.  She gets it honest!

*Update, Claire is now 8 months old and will finally take a bottle.  I feel like I have had a dip in supply so now she gets at least two 6oz bottles of breastmilk/formula mix a day. 👌It is so nice that I am finally able to have some sort of freedom and Cliff was able to put her down to bed the other night for the first time since she was born!  It was a miracle!  Now that she is eating more real food (basically 3 meals a day) she is a much happier baby!  She's started having a little separation anxiety but does really well with her Daddy so I went out to dinner with friends again last night!  Hallelujah! 


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