Wednesday 4 May 2005

food for thought

I came across the concept of "baby-led feeding" in one of my many books, but had forgotten about it until Lisa S. pointed me to this site during one of our chats. Jack won't be introduced to solids for a while yet (the current plan is to do this at 6 months), but this is definitely something I want to look into and try out. In a nutshell, instead of spoon-feeding pureed things to your child, food is placed in front of the baby (in large pieces to avoid choking) so that s/he can experiment with it themselves. Of course spoon-feeding is still necessary when Jack cannot feed himself, but I love the idea of also letting him have a go at some food himself. I don't think food should be something that's only shovelled into a baby's mouth; it should be something they can explore themselves and enjoy. Plus, sometimes I secretly long to grab my food with my bare hands and smush it. I can do this vicariously through my child.

The only part of the article that I don't really agree with is this:
"It is not clear whether a baby-led approach to the introduction of solids is appropriate for babies who are bottle fed; more research is needed to establish this, since bottle-feeding seems to be more mother-led."

Isn't breastfeeding also mother-led? Unless your baby is clever enough to come to you when s/he's hungry, unclip your maternity bra, and latch on for a feed, I don't think this theory is accurate. I think the problem lies with parents who insist that babies finish the entire bottle, and perhaps in this sense, feedings become mother-led. In other words, the baby isn't feeding at his or her own pace, or feeding until s/he is no longer hungry. I think as long as you're not doing that, this approach should work with bottle fed babies.

I am really looking forward to teaching Jack about food and getting him involved in cooking. This has nothing to do with any plans to have two men who can cook in this house. *cough*

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