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How should we feed Henry?

Henry has taken to eating the vegetable soups in his bottle without any issues. But after a few weeks, it is time to think about the next step. My latest question to answer is how we should feed Henry.

The most important food rule for how to feed a baby is not to leave them unattended with food. A parent or caretaker should be with the baby while they are eating just in case there is an emergency, such as choking.

Originally, I had planned to make homemade baby food purees for Henry. Jarred baby foods are notoriously unappetizing, filled with preservatives and expensive, so making my own healthy versions seemed like a good idea. I know many moms don’t have time for this, but since I cook most of our meals anyway it seemed like a natural extension. I have a very nice food mill that works well for mushing up cooked fruits and vegetables. My mom and I even canned applesauce last fall from the apples in our backyard. I was planning to store them for the baby, but we’ve already eaten several jars. 

If you’ve never tried it, homemade applesauce is delicious and easy to make. We used this recipe. It is the perfect accompaniment to pork chops, potato pancakes or spread on a toasted peanut butter sandwich.
I must admit that I am not very excited about spoon-feeding Henry after watching other parents spoon-feed their children. While some kids take to spoon-feeding easily, other kids want to do anything but eat from a spoon. Parents struggle to get them to open up and take just one more bite. The airplane spoon distraction trick never works for long. And many babies just spit the food right back out. Plus, the parents and children don’t eat together with spoon-feeding. The parent feeds the baby, then cleans up the mess, and then eats their own meal.

As a result, I have been wondering about alternatives to spoon-feeding. Why not let Henry feed himself? Obviously he is not able to handle a spoon yet, but he is becoming very skilled at grabbing things and putting them in his own mouth. In fact, those are two of the developmental milestones that demonstrate he is ready to start eating.

A friend suggested the Baby-Led Weaning (BLW) model as an approach that I should investigate. BLW proponents claim it is easier and less stressful for the whole family when baby feeds himself. Baby gains new skills as he navigates how to eat food with a variety of shapes, textures and flavors. He joins in with family meals instead of having separate mealtimes, and he decides how much to eat. Plus, parents do not need to spend time pureeing separate foods for baby. BLW sounds promising and I’ll have more posts about it as we explore this option with Henry.


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