Baby-led Weaning: Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food
by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett
(Vermilion, 2008, 256 pages)
This was a different type of food book from what I used to read, but with a baby in my life and starting to eat solids this was a book I was curious about. Essentially Rapley and Murkett make the case that you don’t need to go through the process of introducing your child to food by spoon-feeding them super-pureed baby food. They explain that once your child is old enough to start eating solids you can allow them to eat the foods you are eating. Obviously there are guidelines with what types of foods you should share and how they should be “prepared,” but the point is that babies will respond well to exposure to different tastes and textures.
The logic is pretty sound. Starting out babies don’t have a lot of dexterity so you’ll want to offer food that it will be easy for them to grab in their fists and eventually maneuver to their mouths. With that in mind, the idea of them choking on food isn’t really something you need to worry about. Also, the case has been made that this approach helps children to be more adventurous eaters while simultaneously encouraging the family to eat healthier as a whole (if you don’t want your baby to eat it, you shouldn’t eat it yourself). So less processed foods and encouraging the “family meal” dynamic from a young age are just a few of the perks from baby-led weaning.
I already started testing a few things out with my daughter this weekend. While I’m still going to use the baby food I have at home, I’m also going to feel more comfortable with the idea of exposing her to the food I’m eating and allowing her to explore her food however she wants. I’m already used to the extra cleaning that comes into play when a baby’s diet expands so we might as well all have fun with it. 😉
This is a book I’d recommend if you’re a parent who’s interested in learning more about different ways you can approach introducing new foods to your child.