Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Weaning

Since Ryan was six months old and started showing interest in our meals, we've been introducing him to solid food. We adopt the baby-led weaning approach, which is to let Ryan feed himself and to let him choose what he wants to eat (from a selection provided by us). We don't put things into his mouth and we don't spoon feed him. All food is placed in front of him, appropriately sized for his hands, and he will pick up whatever he chooses to taste and feed himself. This also means we don't do purees, cereals, mashed food or porridge. We did try porridge once - Ryan insisted on using his hand to grab the porridge off the spoon and, being rather unsuccessful, promptly lost interest.

Letting him decide what he wants to eat extends to his milk feeds as well, so as long as he wants to have milk instead of solids for his meals, that's what he'll get. At the moment, Ryan is still on breastmilk for 100% of his nutritional needs. We do let him have some fruit or biscuits or vegetables whenever we sit down as a family for a meal but that does not count towards his feeds. We don't give him any food outside of family mealtimes.

At first, much of the solids that Ryan took ended up on the floor (and was efficiently vacuumed by the dog) and he did gag quite a bit as he was learning to accept solid food travelling to the back of his mouth. Gradually, the gagging eased and the food started showing up in his diapers, which incidentally provided a source of entertainment for us - "honey, can you guess what Ryan ate today if I told you his poo has red bits in it?" (yes, I know we need to get out more)

As for what he eats, well, we generally give him fresh fruits (except citrus fruits), vegetables and biscuits. We stay away from salt, sugar, wheat, gluten, preservatives, eggs, dairy and nuts. We also don't do bread or pasta because of the salt and eggs normally found in them.

Many people are surprised to learn that Ryan is not on three solid meals a day and, in particular, that he isn't taking any cereal or porridge. To us, as long as he's healthy and happy, we're happy to leave him on 100% breastmilk, at least until he turns one.

Here's some photos of Ryan trying to paw some fruit muesli from Richard.

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