When we started Scribble on solids at the end of February, we intended to start with purees. We loved the idea of BLW, but were a little nervous about giving him solid chunks of food to gnaw on when he wasn’t sitting up unassisted consistently. Still, Scribble was fascinated by the eating process. I had been giving him my empty cup and spoon to play with for a few weeks and they were without question his favorite toys.
But that’s the thing about Baby-Led Weaning…it truly is led by baby! When we tried to feed him, he immediately reached for the spoon! We gave it to him, and Scribble gleefully chewed on it.
Emboldened by his interest in self-feeding, I decided to try a soft banana the next day:
He liked it, but not as much as he loves spoons! With a piece of food, he’ll show interest for a minute or two before dropping it on the floor (making mealtimes awfully expensive!). And he doesn’t seem to know what to do with the food when I give it to him (same goes for the mesh feeders). But he knows exactly what to do with a spoon and loves to gnaw on them just like he sees mommy and daddy do.
So now our family loves feeding with a loaded spoon!
A loaded spoon isn’t technically BLW. But I’ve never taken a dogmatic approach to parenting trends! I want Scribble to enjoy fresh, unprocessed food and to be comfortable eating what the family eats–and how the family eats–at the earliest possible age. I want to encourage him to self-feed, and to be flexible when eating at restaurants and at group functions. I don’t want to be the parent toting a special kid-friendly meal, cup, and utensils to Thanksgiving dinner. I am not sure if those goals align completely with the purpose of BLW (I haven’t researched them), so it doesn’t matter to me if my process looks a little different from other folks! My task is to funnel any enthusiasm he shows toward good food into appropriate channels. This means letting him try my food if that’s what he wants to do, and letting him self-feed with a spoon if that’s what he enjoys about eating.
At this point, we take three approaches with solids. I start by offering Scribble a large chunk of food (so far we’ve only tried avocado and banana, which are both easy to handle– I usually give him one half of a banana or a quarter of an avocado). If he loses interest, I mash a little up and give it to him on a loaded spoon. On a few occasions, when I wanted him to get a taste of the food, I’ve put a little bit on my finger and fed him this way. Since he is mostly interested in doing what I do, I schedule his feedings around my lunch time so we can share our food. I do this until he loses interest or all the spoons have fallen on the floor! It is more playtime and mimicry than feeding.
Here’s a little video of Scribble feeding himself yesterday:
Teaching Scribble to self-feed with a loaded spoon is a messy process and it takes more time than it would to feed him myself. Right now, we aren’t even doing solids every day! I took my pediatrician seriously when she told me that “food before one is only for fun.” Still, I am thrilled to see his fine motor skills improving through his use of the loaded spoon and I think once we hit upon a flavor that Scribble loves, his interest in the process will increase!
Do you give your baby a loaded spoon? Does he or she like to mimic you?
Start Solids – How To part 7 of 71. Getting Started with Solids, Purees, and Baby-led Weaning by Mrs. Bee
2. Operation Solids by Mrs. Yoyo
3. feeding an 8 month old by Mrs. Jump Rope
4. My Modified Baby-Led Weaning Approach by Mrs. Pen
5. Introducing Baby to Herbs and Spices by Sarah Crowder
6. Figuring Out Food at 9 Months by Mrs. Hopscotch
7. "Bad" BLW: Feeding with a Loaded Spoon by Mrs. Sketchbook