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Like every aspect of raising a child, there are so many opinions out there and it can be difficult to decide which the best is. Of course everyone is different, as is every baby. What is great for one baby may not be for another. So when J reached the 6 months milestone, amongst all other things, figuring out what to feed her was the trickiest! I wanted her to eat almost everything – my husband & I are big time foodies, but I wanted to take it slow with her for the fear of allergies and choking.
But then should I start with Traditional weaning or Baby-led weaning – was confused. While her pediatrician & Dadi suggested the Traditional way, there were many ‘mom groups’ which suggested Baby Led weaning method. So what is the difference?
Traditional Weaning (TW) – spoon feeding your baby smooth purees to start with, progressing to mashed/chopped foods & moving on to finger foods by 8-9 months
Baby led Weaning (BLW) – letting your baby take the lead – offer the same food to baby as the rest of the family. You start with solid foods right away & miss out on the pureed food
After numerous discussions with my husband & contrary to the new fad, I decided to go ahead with the Traditional (TW) method. Primarily because I wanted to keep a tab on the right nutrients intake.
But I was very sure that I will never feed J any processed food items & strictly no honey, no salt, no sugar & no spices till 1 year. So I started with homemade cerelac. It being her first food – was quite an experience! We slowly moved to pureed banana which she quite relished. Gradually I started introducing Suji(semolina) with Apple and khichdi with veggies like Pumpkin, carrots, beans etc. to make her food rich of vitamins & add flavor. There were times, when she totally refused to eat anything, would not open her mouth at all, reject certain foods and test my patience ;-). But I kept offering her & slowly she developed tastes. Meanwhile I kept getting a lot of unsolicited advice from elders in the family on what to feed & what not. I listened to all of them but did what I wanted to.
Now J is almost 10 months & amongst her favorite foods are Roti with any Dal/spinach puree/curd, Boiled egg & pancakes! And yes we are progressively moving towards Baby led weaning (BLW)! With her gross motor skills and pincer grip forming, she picks up the pieces & feeds herself, discovering new tastes & textures by playing with the food items. Now we follow a roster of sorts with breakfast, lunch & dinner which includes oats with dates, suji apple, veggie khichdi, veggie dalia, idli, pancakes, roti with various dals/spinach, aloo parantha, methi parantha, boiled egg, steamed apple and home baked cookies as a treat.
So my final thoughts & tips are:
- Every baby is different and so is every parent, choose what is best and easiest for you and your baby. (Actually this applies to all aspects of bringing up your baby, but that is another story!)
- Keep calm and let the baby decide! Some days your baby will eat well and the next day she won’t just open her mouth. Do not force-feed and trust your baby’s appetite.
- If a food is rejected by the baby, don’t lose heart & try it again after a week. Keep trying till the baby finally develops taste for it.
- No salt, sugar, spices and honey for at least one year
- Listen to all unsolicited advice regarding your baby from people who do and do not know you, but do what you think is the best. It’s your baby and you have all the right to take any decisions about them.
While there is no right or wrong way, it just depends on how comfortable you are when it comes to baby eating her food. Like my baby who eats the way we both like it. Happy baby, happy me!