I read this article on Baby led weaning and solid foods. It is fascinating, and I think is a great way to introduce solid foods to infants. I used this method with Mairead. I stumbled upon it when Mairead was about 6-7 months old and was refusing all pureed baby foods. I knew delaying solid foods until at least 6 months was the new recommendation from the Academy of Pediatrics, but I didn't know there were other ways to introduce baby food than the traditional cereals or bananas.
When Mairead was an infant, she was just like she is now independent and precocious. You couldn't do much for her that she could do herself, or at least want to try to do. When she turned six months, we started to introduce some solids, but she wanted NOTHING of it. She wanted to put foods into her mouth herself. I thought how in the world can that work? I found an article similar to the one above that talked about this baby led method.
I started Mairead off on homemade chicken soup! I would make a soup for me and Kevin, and a separate one for Mairead. I would use pastina (very tiny, tiny pasta), fresh, homemade broth, and diced up veggies of all sorts. I wouldn't skip out on the garlic or any seasonings. Flavor is good, and I didn't want my children to not like flavor. I'd even use the food processor for some to really get them tiny. I would shred up the chicken in very tiny pieces. I'd cook it all until everything was almost mush. She LOVED it. From that point on, she stuffed bananas in her mouth, everything. I would use a mesh feeder for fruits/veggies so she could do herself. I'd give her a whole apple, peeled, for her to suck on, and explore. Once she got the hang of it, she was eating everything we were eating. Very rarely would I make her something different, and if I did, I would thaw out some chicken soup. By 10 months, she was eating fish (salmon, mahi, haddock/cod, etc), chicken (just diced up nice and tiny), steak (same way as chicken) she LOVED it all. Now, at almost 4, she eats just about everything. She never had baby food, or even cereals. Her diet is amazing. We will go to the grocery store and she will ask for steamers (clams), and even lobster/shrimp.
Lilah was the same. At about 7 months, I introduced the mesh feeder and would put fresh bananas, avocados, etc in it. She loved it. Once she got used to the texture, we introduced the table foods, especially the soup. Like Mairead, Lilah is an amazing eater. They eat all meats, fruits, and vegetables.
Now, don't get me wrong, we may just be lucky our girls are such great eaters, but I really do attribute their love for fish, meat and fresh foods to the way we introduced food to them at an early age. I don't know about you, but I don't like food in the form of mush. Texture is good. Once kids learn to like texture, they'll start to appreciate different foods. Another thing we do is that we don't make separate meals for the kids, they eat what we eat. Period. I am not a short order cook, and having multiple kids does not mean that I am going to make multiple meals. If our kids don't eat what we eat, then they don't eat. We will make exceptions if we are eating something strange, but we're a meat/fish type family...not much strange going on here!
What are your opinions on introducing foods to infants? Do you think this method is crazy, or do you think there is some truth to it? It's fascinating!