I just came across a very interesting concept in infant feeding/eating that I want to share with you: Baby-Led Weaning. The idea of it is to involve babies with family mealtimes from the start, and to give them "real" food from the start rather than thinned out purees, etc. Here are the basic principles of how to get started with baby-led weaning:
* Sit your baby upright, facing the table, either on your lap or in a
highchair. Make sure she is steady and can use her hands and arms freely.
* Offer your baby food, rather than give it to her - put it in front of her,
or let her take it from your hand, so that the decision is hers.
* Start with foods that are easy to pick up - thick sticks or long strips are
best at first. Introduce new shapes and textures gradually so that your baby
can work out how to handle them.
* Include your baby in your mealtimes whenever you can. As far as
possible - as long as it’s suitable - offer your baby the same food as you
are eating, so that she can copy you.
* Choose times when your baby is not tired or hungry, so she can
concentrate. Mealtimes at this stage are for play and learning - she will still
be getting all her nourishment from her milk feeds.
* Carry on offering breast or formula feeds as before - this is still your
baby’s main source of nutrition until she is a year old. When your baby
needs less she will reduce feeds herself.
* Offer your baby water with her meals so she can drink if she needs to.
* Don’t hurry your baby or distract her while she is handling food -
allow her to concentrate and take her time.
* Don’t put food into your baby’s mouth for her or try to persuade
her to eat more than she wants.
This is from the leaflet "Baby-Led Weaning"
I see a lot of the philosophical elements of food introduction that I've been using with William included in this method, and I'm excited to learn more about it! I'll let you know what I discover. In the meantime, go to the Baby-Led Weaning website for more information.
***An added bonus: 100 Baby-Led Weaning Recipes!