Baby-led Solids: Part 1: Reflection and Experience

I said in an earlier post that Baby-led Solids and Weaning feels like a key piece in my attachment parenting. Certainly, it feels key in raising an independent child. Converse to the sentiment expressed in the name, my attachment parenting is about raising a child that is able to detach herself from me — the womb, world and woman she knows as mother — and is capable of doing so with self-assuredness and self-awareness. As an attachment parent, I am struck by how frequently I hear people touting early independence, often for parental comfort and convenience. I know parenting is complicated and chaotic, but people are always telling me how fast the young years go; then they seem to want me to rush towards pushing her out of my arms and out of my bed and out in front away from me. At the same time these very people are expecting me to mash up everything my child eats, spoon-feed every bite to her and push her hand away when she tries to feed herself. When I don’t do the expected, or I ask them to respect my wishes for living differently, all kinds of things can happen.

When I wrote that baby-led solids was perhaps the most important part of attachment parenting I do, I actually surprised myself because I didn’t intend to write that. (Sometimes ideas write themselves, you know?) I had to think about it. Do I believe that? Since then, up to this moment, I have come to realize that perhaps that strength of sentiment comes from my experiences of challenge and confrontation around that one particular piece of my parenting. Having a virtually pain free homebirth, carrying my baby in a sling often and still, pottying from four weeks old, having my child sleep with me in the bed, and nursing openly have not had me in the heated situations I have found myself in around my child and food.

In my experience, emotions run high around food. Why is that? Well, I imagine for many reasons. To me, food is everything — kitchen is the heart(h) of a home and the way to the heart is through the stomach. Good food is good health as digestion (the gut) is the main source of nutrient absorption and the major part of the immune system. I have had bad eating habits in the past. I want to be conscious and intentional in the earliest years of my child’s life, when her development is under my control to the greatest extent it will be in her life. Most people around me make different choices for their children than I would. As she is very young, I have had to say no to certain foods people have offered her, mostly those containing high sugar and salt levels or no natural (actual) food.

I love food, and we eat fairly well and healthily with my child as my guide — whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, full fat and foods with fatty acids (hemp, flax, avocado). I have learned tremendous amounts from her in such a short time and this experience about myself as a mother and a person. When I get home and my husband, child and I eat, I have learned to slow down and enjoy my family more. Slowing down is, perhaps, harder for me than others, but in this way BLS/W has given me the blessing of family, My Living Family. I am grateful for having learned about this method from my midwife (Christy Santoro of Motherland Midwifery out of Philadelphia) and my friends who have a child three months younger.

6 responses to this post.

  1. I agree, the push to independence seems more for the parents than the child.
    The solids issue? From an early age, our youngest wasn’t having a bar of any mushed up baby food and, self led, at 15 months can use a fork and spoon pretty effectively. Mess is just part of it. Like every stage, it doesn’t last forever. Sounds like you’re doing great – the coolest kids I know are attachment kids.

    Reply

  2. Thanks for your support, mum! And thanks for sharing your experience. : )

    Reply

  3. […] « Baby-led Solids: Part 1: Reflection and Experience Won’t My Baby Choke?: Baby-led Solids and Choking […]

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  4. Very interesting. I’m researching baby led weaning now. I’ve always heard but wasn’t sure about it. My daughter is only 5.5 months old and now when I feed her she will open up or grab the spoon to feed herself without me ever teaching her that so maybe she is capable of doing this! Thanks for you post and the information you’ve provided.

    Reply

    • Thank you for checking out the posts!

      She’s grabbing the spoon? Sounds like she’s getting ready! (to explore, not necessarily swallow). If you were asking me, I’d say she’s not only capable but that she is built to do it! (And you didn’t even ask…..) 😉

      Seriously, though, I truly did find that my baby-led solids experience has been the greatest influence and learning experience — created the foundation of trust that gave me confidence to trust elsewhere as well. Whatever you end up doing, you have some fun times ahead!

      sheila

      Reply

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