A couple months ago we started ‘baby led weaning’, but I didn’t exactly know that’s what it was called. I definitely didn’t know what it was called 10 years ago when Pip rebuked the standard baby mash and we just followed his lead. This meant he tried foods here and there until eventually around 10 month he was enjoying a few bites of food at every meal with us. Not bites of jarred or pureed food, bites of OUR food. The only fail being when I let him taste my peanut butter slathered English muffin and he blew up like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man. Oops. Lesson learned. Five years later, his sister would get introduced to foods the same way (minus the anaphylactic reaction – in fact, she’s never even tasted a peanut).
Ten weeks ago, we decided to let Mack (the baby) start trying foods. His other nickname around here is Grabby McGrabberson and everything he touches goes directly in his mouth. Since this is one sign of readiness for solids, I figured he was ready to start even though he is growing fine and seems satisfied with breastmilk. Like Pip and Hopper before him, I wasn’t even going to bother with baby mash or cereals. Besides the fact that none of the store bought ones can be trusted to be completely gluten free, there’s an undertow of diabetes in The Man’s end of the gene pool so we want to strike a better carb/protein/fat balance from the start.
A few bites of avocado, a spoonful or two of sweet potato, but he wasn’t really interested. I haven’t pushed him and honestly I’m leery due to Pip’s peanut allergy and our cavalry of other intolerances (just this morning Mack showed me I was eating something with hidden corn in it when he blossomed his little ‘corn rash’ on his face. Damn. No more chocolate chips for mama)
I came upon this website about Baby Led Weaning over the weekend and it was like a breath of fresh air and put a little spring in our ‘introduce table food’ step. Seeing those pictures of sweet babies with food covered faces, oh heavens, love it! It helped me ease up, especially since some of the other families have food allergies and sensitivities, too, and their mamas are forging ahead. Deep breath – we can do this!
We put together the high chair and all systems are go! So far, he’s had rice pasta, gluten-free/vegan pancake, gluten-free/vegan blueberry muffin and some ‘Nomato’ sauce (beets, carrots, etc). Just a few bites here and there. He’s digging it. And he ‘gets’ it – he’s chewing and working the food with his tongue. I was worried that because of his posterior tongue tie that he wouldn’t have the dexterity in his tongue, but no gagging or choking (phew!). Even though he had the tongue tie released, he’s still got quite a bit of restriction in his tongue. Plus I’m really good at worrying about stuff. Heh.
It feels good to be here with him, trusting him. The last couple weeks with The Man home have not been as smooth as I would have liked. In an effort to regain some internal balance, I’ve been pushing Mack towards The Man, wearing him less, trying to squeeze out alone time to work on freelancing and regrouping. I’ve been coming at it all wrong and I realized that the other day when I started to feel the disconnect that Mack was clearly already feeling. He’d become more fussy and fidgety, not the placid baby I’ve known for the last 8 months. I could feel myself tight and wound and anxious, frantic to find some balance. I didn’t know that introducing solids and baby led weaning would bring us back around, would provide us another opportunity to connect, to loosen those constricting ties and allow me to reconnect with not only the baby, but myself. Food is indeed good for the soul.