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In the babyfood world, there are two methods: Parent-fed purees and child-fed pieces of food.
Purees are the classic approach; this is the way most of America feeds their infants.
Self-feeding known as Baby Led Weaning (or some prefer the term Baby Led Solids which paints a nicer picture) is where you give you baby suitable sized pieces of food and the baby feeds himself.
Originally I was gung-ho about Baby Led Weaning. It made sense; if you wait to feed your baby till at least 6 months old then your baby can handle pieces of food. With Baby Led Weaning there isn’t as much of a concern of over-feeding, which can easily be achieved with spoon-feeding purees.
However, my daughter had other ideas. Things started out fine. She ate pieces of fruit and even some veggies. However, as the weeks went on she decided that she didn’t care for vegetables in chunk form. Lovely.
Since she still needed to get those veggie nutrients, I started pureeing them, usually mixing them with broth and/or coconut oil. As it turns out, my daughter loves (most) veggies if they are pureed.
In conclusion, I think Baby Led Weaning is great. However, if it’s just not working then by all means revert to the purees!
Now for a brief overview of what both of these methods look like and how to prepare the foods involved. I’m not going to go through all the details right now but I will give you the basics.
Purees or Baby Led Weaning
You could buy the stuff sold in jars at the grocery store but many times they have additives and at the very least they are not as fresh and thus nutritious as homemade. Making babyfood is incredibly easy and you do not need a new kitchen appliance to do so.
Basically you steam your fruit or veggie (some fruits do not need to be steamed such as cantaloupe) and then blend it in a blender or food processor. If you want it to be thinner simply add some water, broth, or breastmilk to the puree. Once it’s pureed, transfer it to a container and freeze it. If you have lots of little glass jars then go ahead and use those.
However, if you do not then you can freeze the puree in an ice-cube tray. Once frozen, just pop them out and stick them in a freezer bag or freezer container. The ice-cube method is particularly great because you know that each cube equals 1 oz (depending on your ice cube size.)
Baby Led Weaning
The great thing about Baby Led Weaning is there is practically no work. All you really do is feed baby what you are eating. Now this is where I stray from the general Baby Led Weaning train of thought.
I do not think baby should just start eating anything and everything. As per my earlier post, babies shouldn’t be eating grains until after 1 year and meats should be introduced until 6 – 9 months. However, the basic idea is still there.
If you are preparing cooked carrots for dinner then save some for the baby (generally before you load them up on salt or some kind of sauce.) If you aren’t already cooking food for you, then it’s not to hard. Just steam up large pieces of food for the baby. It only takes a few minutes. If the food is pretty soft already (like avocado) then just slice it up and serve.
Generally you want to start with large sticks of food or potato chip size pieces. As your baby progresses and gets the hang of things, you can cut the food up smaller.
So there you have it: Purees or Baby Led Weaning… Two different methods and both work great. One might be less messy; the other might help baby’s motor skills.
In the end run though… your baby will learn to eat. Trust me. Your child will not be 2 years old and not know how to chew their food because you chose one method over the other. Just chose the method that appeals to you most and follow which ones works for your baby the best.
I did a combination of purees and BLW. I liked the idea of BLW but couldn't handle all the gagging and potential for choking. I mostly fed my son purees but at least once a day would try to offer him something that was easy to eat (avocado, sweet potato "fries", etc). I really liked doing this combination because I knew that my son was getting nutrients from the spoon feeding, but also learning how to eat chunks and having fun playing with his food. 🙂
I loved doing baby led weaning! My son is 10 months and has never choked and eats everything we eat. Your information on when to start meats is out of date however, meat should be one of the first foods introduced at 6 months along with iron rich vegetables because iron stores start to deplete around that time. When we started solids, he wasn't really eating much, but that's fine since most of his nutrition is supposed to come from breast milk for the first year anyway so I was never worried on the days where he didn't eat much. Now he's started selective eating, where he'll choose one type of food and eat mainly that all day then a different type the next day, he's learning to read what his body needs and supply it instead of being forced to eat everything and potentially becoming deficient in some nutrients because he's over-fed others.
If you will notice my recommendation on meats is 6-9 months so I fail to see where you think it is out of date.
You said they should be introduced closer to 9 months, but the newest recommendation is to start with meats at 6 months. Not a huge difference though, in the grand scheme, and every baby is different.