This guest post is written by Rachel Crownoble. I have to share a bit of personal background here…
Rachel was my roommate in college – we’ve known each other over 11 years now, though most of it has been long distance since we graduated!
As we’ve been somewhat in and out of touch over the years, it’s been so fun for me to see the many similarities in our parenting philosophies. I now look to Rachel as a role model in more than one area, as a new parent and an aspiring doula. (I’m sure she’s blushing now! ).
I asked her specifically to write this post after a comment I saw she had written on another friend’s question on Facebook on what she should start feeding her 6 month old. Most of the other answers involved different purees and rice cereals…but Rachel’s comment was along the lines of: Don’t worry about it! My kids didn’t start eating until a bit later and then they just started grabbing food off my plate.
It was one of my first introductions to Baby Led Weaning!
I’ll share more of my perspective on the whole idea in another post, but I was really excited to hear from Rachel, as she was doing this some years ago and had great success with it.
Rachel is now a certified birth doula and aspiring midwife in Southern California. Aside from this exciting work, she is mom to two beautiful girls – Abigail (Abie) and Amileah (Millie). She also blogs about her amazing experiences with birth at Doula Rachel. You can find her on Facebook as well.
Without further ado, here is her post…
It all started with what could be considered an “accident”. I thought I was being a super-duper-cool mom when I would share small tastes of everything I ate with my baby. I would give her tiny bites of my Quaker oatmeal, and let her dip her fingers in my strawberry yogurt, and hand her my apple so that she could gnaw on the core.
As a matter of fact, I thought that if I were to tell our pediatrician about my super-duper-cool generosity, he would think it was a bad idea to give her anything other than pureed baby food. But it just made sense to feed her this way. More sense than feeding her canned food with a long expiration date, or boxed cereal flakes, which she hated and spat out anyway.
I had no idea that there was a name for this type of feeding, and when I discovered that what I was doing was in essence Baby Led Weaning, or BLW, and that it was a legit way to feed your baby, my excitement and super-duper-cool generosity mounted to a whole new level!
BLW is a way to transition your baby (or more precisely, let your baby do the transitioning) from milk to solid table foods. In general, you skip the steps of serving your youngster pureed and mushy foods, and instead you serve them food straight from the table. There is no grinding or pureeing involved, just the typical cutting and small bites you would give any child.
Here are 4 personal reasons why I have found BLW to work for me:
1. I am a cheapskate (it’s cheaper):
It’s true. I can’t really claim to be frugal, but I can claim to be cheap. This means that I find $10 too high a price to pay for most shirts. (Strangely, I have no problem spending $5 a day on a premium cup of coffee from Starbucks. My priorities may be a bit skewed…)
So, if I pay 80 cents for one jar of baby food ($1.50 if I go organic), and if I buy 2-4 jars a day, this brings me to spending roughly $3.20-$6 per day on jarred baby food. There goes my daily premium cup of coffee from Starbucks.
But, by letting my baby eat off my plate, or by giving her little tiny portions of what we eat on her own plate, I save approximately $5 a day, $35 a week, $140 a month….see where I am going with this? I can almost buy my own Starbucks store with these savings!
2. I am lazy (it’s easier and a lot less hassle):
Boiling and grinding and pureeing my own baby food sounds like an ideal way to live. But, let’s face it, in the time it takes for all the smashing and freezing the little cubes of baby food, then defrosting them one or two or three at a time, and doing this 2-5 times per day…well, I am just not that motivated. I mean, it takes time, patience, and a lot of extra dirty dishes to wash, and uses counter and freezer space. I would rather spend my time doing other things, like cleaning, going to the park with my kids, or hanging out at Starbucks.
I find it less hassle and less mess to clean up if I just give my child teeny, tiny bites off of my plate, or cut up our dinner into small pieces for her to feed herself.
I tend to think that eating fresh food is better tasting, and probably more healthy, than the commercialized baby food. I used to give her a soft banana for a snack, a few of my spaghetti noodles for dinner, or even a few kernels of rice with potatoes. This is all instead of serving ground-up, year old bananas and rice and pasta out of a glass jar.
In honesty, let me tell you: I used to occasionally buy jarred baby food, just to have on hand (fruits and veggies), and I mostly used them for occasional snacks, or to stir into a bowl of oatmeal, or to bake into some cookies for my very picky preschooler.
To my wonder, there are some newer brands of baby food [i.e. Ella's, Plum, Happy Baby, Earth's Best] that serve organic puree in squeezable packets, and I have found them to be ideal for travel snacks or small side snacks. You just untwist the top, hand it to your older toddler or preschooler, and let them suck it right out of the package. You don’t even have to use a spoon. My girls love them! And so do I.
4. It just makes sense:
I can be cheap. I can be lazy. I can serve yummy and healthy food. And all the while I can still have my daily premium cup of coffee. I can be a super-duper-cool mom.