I read a lot of stuff on the internet about babies and raising kids. Maybe too much. For every positive review on a method or parenting style out there, you can find a negative. Obviously this means that there is more than one right way to do things, and you have to figure out what the right way is for you. Keeping Beckett on a schedule and having him sleep in his own room are two things that work very well for me, but some parents prefer co-sleeping and on demand eating. Just the very thought stresses me out, but if it works for other families then it's the right thing for them! The older Beckett gets the more I'm thinking about how I want to introduce food and how long I want to continue nursing. Many people start rice cereal right around this age, and I've debated if I want to do that or not. I may lean toward that more if he weren't sleeping through the night, but since he generally does I'm fine to hold off. Rice cereal doesn't have much nutrients, and it's not something his body needs. I'm in the middle of reading Baby Led Weaning and so far I'm loving the book. It's based on the concept of skipping the whole baby food/spoon fed stage and going straight to letting kids feed themselves solids. I'm planning to start doing this with Beckett around 6 months or whenever he starts to show signs that he's ready. The first few weeks he probably won't even eat anything, but he will just be exploring. By the time his body needs more nutrients than just milk, he will hopefully be eating a large variety of healthy foods! It just makes sense to me. I'm not going to go into all the pros and cons of doing it this way because then I would just be rewriting the book, but here are a few of the reasons it appeals to me:
- It's fun! Watching him discover the new tastes and textures will be much more exciting for him and me rather than me shoving a spoon of goo down his throat.
- We can all eat dinner together instead of taking turns feeding him and then eating our own cold food.
- His body doesn't actually need more than milk quite yet so I won't be stressed if he isn't eating a lot at first. Nursing will still continue the same at the beginning and the solid foods will be purely for learning and having fun. After a few months then we can start to depend on the solids more and slowly decrease how much milk he is drinking. My current plan is to stop nursing when he is a year, but we'll see what happens.
- I don't have to make baby food and I don't have to buy baby food. At the beginning I will stick to very limited soft fruits and vegetables, but once he gets the hang of it he will most likely be able to just eat whatever we are having for dinner. I think it will encourage me to eat vegetables more often!
- Studies have shown that kids that start feeding themselves solid foods from the beginning enjoy a larger variety of foods, eat more nutritious foods, are more willing to try new foods, and have a healthier BMI.
- I was concerned about choking at first, but after doing a little research I'm finding that this might actually be safer. The first thing to recognize is that gagging and choking are different. Gagging happens to prevent babies from choking. When babies are younger their gag reflex is actually higher up so they are more likely to gag if they try to swallow a piece of food that is too big. They learn fairly soon what sizes of food they can swallow. Babies that start feeding themselves when they are older have not learned what sizes of food they can swallow and do not gag as easily which can cause them to choke.
Ok I know this is gross and no one else will find it cute, bet Beckett has started blowing spit bubbles and he thinks he is pretty clever! It's only been a couple of days so I'm finding it very funny. I have a feeling the non-stop spit sogged shirt will get old soon though. I don't think "sogged" is an actual word.