I used to be very by-the-book on what solids to feed Lil Z-Bear. He started with a little bit of rice cereal at around 4 months, and then around 6 months we introduced bananas, sweet potatoes and butternut squash. We slowly kept building his repertoire with single ingredient mashed and strained fruits and veggies (although I did add spices to his food early on). I waited longer than the required 3 days between new foods, and every time he ate something new a part of me felt nervous. At 8 months now, I have stopped being so cautious. Because Lil Z wants to eat whatever we are eating. So instead of letting a chart decide what is and isn’t ok for him, I am letting him lead. And I found out I am not unique in this; there is a whole slew of baby-led weaning mothers out there.
Now when Z-Bear sits at the table with us, I give him little morsels of whatever we are eating and he loves it! I have been horrified for so long by seeing what passes as ‘Country Chicken Dinner’ in a jar at the store. It seems unnatural for baby not to know what real food should smell, look and taste like. He has no teeth yet, but I am in love with how he chews his food. I cannot help but wonder if chewing is a natural reflex just like sucking is for babies, or if he is imitating what we are doing. Either way, he loves to be included during meal time.
This weekend I made curried chicken, and I fed it to him with bits of naan and he was delighted. He did not mind one bit that there was red cayenne pepper and a sprinkling of green chilies in the dish. He LOVED the spicy taste and he had no irritation after eating it either. I love this new stage with the little one because now I am mindful of preparing food that is more organic and has very little salt so it is good for mama and papa as well. And although I still continue to feed him home made baby food, he can have a few nibbles with us too.