Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Preparing for a "solid" start

We're getting pretty close to Brayden's six month milestone. He must think it's some kind of deadline for development, because he's been progressing like crazy the last few weeks. He started sitting on his own last week and has really been experimenting with crawling. He enjoys laying on his belly and kicking his feet wildly behind him. Lauren has dubbed it the "superman." I think he just looks like he's trying to do the breaststroke on land. Alternatively, Brayden will get his legs tucked under him, but when he raises his arms, the legs shoot out behind him half the time and he ends up going backwards (pretty adorable, actually!). He has had some success however. This week he was able to inch across a small quilt little by little.

Crawling. Sort of. In reverse.

I think Brayden also had a recent growth spurt (I can usually tell when these happen because he ends up suddenly feeling heavier in my arms) and seems to be organizing his sleep (finally!). The next item on his "to do" list is starting solid foods. The health benefits of exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months really made it a goal of mine to come close to that mark. I'm really happy I was able to do this for little guy and continue to give him every health advantage I possibly can.

After considering the different philosophies of solid foods, I've decided to do sort of a hybrid between the traditional puree-based approach and Baby-Led Weaning. I read a great book that discusses both approaches as well as one that is specifically about Baby-Led Weaning. The BLW book is very informative, but clearly biased (and a touch judgemental). Because I already knew the objective facts from the other book I read, I knew when the author was sugar-coating or stretching the truth a tad. (Both books were helpful in their own way, but each had its own short-falls.)

Essentially, I'm going to take a BLW approach, but add in some homemade purees. I love pretty much everything about BLW -- it promotes experimenting with food; it allows babies to experience different textures, colors and tastes instead of having everything blended to the same consistency; it allows for greater independence; it avoids the potential problem of a well-meaning parent giving a baby too much food (or too quickly); it supposedly prevents fussy/picky eaters in the future. What I don't like about it is that it could take quite a while before the baby is actually eating the food (rather than playing with it or chewing and spitting it out). Several nutrient stores babies receive in the womb become depleted around six months (i.e. iron) and babies then start tapping into their own and needing more. The BLW book definitely down-plays this, but in my mind, it's better to err on the side of caution and not risk nutrient deficiencies. My ped - who also thinks BLW is a great approach - agreed with me on this and is totally on board with my hybrid approach. I figure I'll give Brayden three different fruits/veggies every 4-7 days. I'll put out the steamed/roasted strips of each and then also a puree of one of them occasionally. Best of both worlds.

Lauren and I are really excited to let the little guy start experimenting with food this weekend. Brayden definitely seems ready, too. Just this week, I was eating a banana while holding him. Before I knew what was happening, Brayden grabbed it and started sucking on it and trying to bite off a piece. When I took it away, he even complained a bit. Go figure. (He really must be picking up a trick or two from daddy)

It should be tons of fun seeing an opinionated kid like mine experiment with different foods. Pictures to come. Of course. :)

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