, ,

Babies and table food

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 Leave a Comment

As my son nears his first birthday, I realize that his weaning process is nearly done. He's only breastfeeding at night now, and he pretty much eats what we eat at mealtime. I thought I'd be sadder about this, but right about now I'm feeling worn out, like my bones are brittle and the energy needed to sustain that little ball of life is more than I can possibly provide. So I'm feeling kind of relieved it's just about over.

My 4 year old, who used to be a good eater, has reached that stage where he only wants toast or bananas or pizza or penne pasta, plain. So I'm paying more attention to the foods I introduce to my baby -- whole foods, more vegetables, less refined flour products.

As soon as he started eating solids, I was busily boiling carrots, mashing up sweet potatoes and butternut squash, pureeing broccoli, and freezing them all in little containers. That lasted a few weeks, until holding the spoon and digging his hands into the bowls became more important than eating. Spoons were flung, food was spit out or thrown, bibs were thrown off, and I started giving him real food.

Soft chunks of banana and avocado and squash. Chunks big enough for him to hold. Spaghetti was his favorite food at nine months -- I wouldn't have dreamed of feeding my first son spaghetti, with sauce, that early. If I cut up an apple or red pepper into too-tiny pieces that he can't grasp, he sweeps them on the floor. But give him a whole apple to hold (well, I hold it for him) and he's in heaven. He sort of sucks at it, he might carve off some shavings with those two front teeth, and definitely plays with it more than eats it, but this is what he wants to do.

Dig into a bowl of noodles on his own. Chew on a chunk of pizza. Suck on chunks of melon, squish banana through his finger, smash soft potatoes into his hair.

It's a huge mess. And I can't just give him things and go about my cooking. It requires my (almost) full attention.

Well, this has a name: baby-led weaning. You can read about it at The Nourished Kitchen, my new favorite blog.

What was your experience transitioning baby to real food?