Aug 20, 2011

Baby-led weaning

The past week or so, my life has been consumed. Mostly with travel - again to Toronto. This time to apply for Dutch passport for baby-boy. I had obediently followed all the online instructions, booked my online appointment, and rocked up at the embassy first thing in the morning with a pile of paperwork. All set. Or so I thought. Stupid of me to assume that the information on the embassy's website was complete and correct. Turns out that a bunch of the legalized documents they claimed they needed actually need to be apostilled as well. Nowhere does it mention this on their site.

I stayed polite but pointed out firmly, in Dutch, several times that they really need to say this in their instructions. The woman behind the counter was frazzled - probably in general, not just because I was being firm but polite. She was all over the place. In the end, I got her to stamp and sign all the documents that were right, so that baby-boy and I don't have to go back there in person, but hubby can just rock up with the other documents in tow and get the damn application done. At least, so the lady claimed. We'll see whether the Dutch decide to change their minds again with half-arsed instructions. 

So, the next week will consist of getting necessary documents apostilled, by mail or in person depending on the destination. What a pain.

Meanwhile, baby-boy reached 6 months this week. Happy half-birthday to him. We celebrated by letting him recover from his flight back from Toronto and then began the process of weaning the following day. You will probably think this means I spent days in the kitchen puree-ing stuff. Not so! My cousin introduced me to a new concept used widely in Europe called baby-led weaning. It's a simply idea. You just give your baby whatever food you eat. With some minor modifications: e.g. babies shouldn't have salt or sugar and a few other things.

I was excited to start this process. All the evidence, though not a large scale statistical study, suggests that babies become very comfortable with food this way, and it never becomes a battle-ground. Perfect for me, since I was such a picky eater when I was a child. So the main question was what to feed him first. You can give them anything you want, in no particular order, and a mix of stuff (none of this "introduce X for 3 days, then move to Y"). The theory is that if you wait till the baby is 6 months old, his digestive system is strong enough to handle pretty much anything. You don't have to puree stuff; the baby can chew things with his gums. The main challenge is making things the right size and consistency so that he can actually pick it up from his tray or plate.

We started with pear slices for breakfast. Hubby and I held our breath as we positioned baby-boy in his high chair and presented the slices on his tray. Of course, no one had told baby-boy what the plan was. So he looked at us curiously. Smiled. Laughed. Explored his bib. Ate his bib. Explored the high chair strap. Ate that. Smiled some more. And eventually got fed up and asked to be let out.

So much for that then. But you're not supposed to interfere, so I trusted the process and moved on to lunch.

Lunch time came with some rice cereal and avocado slices. Avocado is super slippery, as it turns out. But baby-boy showed interest in the stuff on his tray. This time, he mushed some of the cereal around and even tried to stuff it in his mouth. Better. Maybe he was getting the idea.

Dinner: I cooked some chicken pieces, with fusilli and roasted veggies (squash, bell peppers and carrots). Baby-boy's interest was picked. Now there was a bunch of stuff on his tray he could try. We'd followed the advice of only putting a few things in front of him to avoid him becoming overwhelmed, but keeping some food aside so that the tray could be replenished as needed. Baby-boy thought dinner was fabulous. Especially the squash. He manoeuvered everything into his mouth, though most of it fell down into his lap. But I believe he did manage to get some squash into him, and he even sucked on some chicken. 


After a second day, I'm thinking I really like the BLW approach. Baby-boy has shown interest in everything on his tray so far. And he even really likes the washing off process afterwards because I sit him in the sink and let him play with the water. The only drawback is the mess. But our dog, very happily, helps out with that.

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