Baby Led Weaning Part II: The Return Of The Food
FROM HIM: I’m watching a lifesaving first aid video on youtube.
Because we just nearly killed Edgar and we’re keen to know how to bring him back to life.
We’re fond of him.
We don’t want to end his life with a bit of turkey; despite how it looks.
Baby led weaning basically means watching your hapless subject break in half a bit of turkey, gum it a bit, then swallow it whole.
He will then begin to choke as he’s eaten something the size of a mini cooper.
You comfort and pat his back to soothe his tears.
Then you realise that he’s crying because he doesn’t have any more turkey.
Before weaning I thought he just liked to stick anything in his mouth, but the truth is he thinks everything is food.
With every object previous to food he was just disappointed he could not digest it.
We thought he’d been sucking his fingers, he hadn’t… he was trying to eat himself.
Some foods make him screw his face up with disgust, before he swallows it and goes back for more.
Nothing is dismissed.
This is his moment, what he’s been waiting for all his life… digestible matter!
Fine: he grabs food in the wrong way and then tries to eat his hand.
Fine: he pushes food around in a way that does not satisfy him so he growls with anger.
Fine: after 10 minutes he’s so frustrated not enough things are in his mouth he’s inconsolable for an hour.
But for the brief moments when food enters his facial orifice he’s as happy as a lamb.
Obviously we could feed him.
We could take the food, blend it and spoon it into his gob.
Less food would be wasted, less time taken, less mess made… but where’s the fun in that?!
Eating is a game – the type where there are only losers.
You have absolutely no concept of how much has been eaten, if any, which is probably risking your child’s life.
But it’s a game!
And games are fun!
If your child can pick something up by themselves, stick it in their mouth and then swallow it, they are ready to eat.
Expecting them to chew is another matter.
Despite all advice telling you it’s surprising what they can gum, I can tell you it’s not.
If it’s firm enough for them to pick up then it’s too firm for them to gum.
The only thing that works is broccoli, because it has a firm stalk and soft gummable top.
So if you want to do baby led weaning then I hope your kid likes broccoli.
Yet even with the slightest smidgeon of broccoli passing his lips, the smallest sliver of floret, will cause a catastrophic and monumental change to what comes out of the other end.
Goodbye sour milky poos of yesteryear, hello thick peanut butter you can smell from the moon.
No need to shove your face in his pants and sniff any more to see if he’s done a poo.
Tell tale signs now are you start checking the bottom of your shoes, or your partner has sicked up on themselves.
That’s not the only thing you need a strong stomach for either.
The wife and I have a thing about wet bread, and if you share that thing too, which I believe is really innate in all of us, you’ll be doing as we do, which is to shout insults at your vile offspring and clean up wearing a decontamination suit.
And before you think I’ve finished talking about the grim bits, ‘what about their vomit?’ I hear you eagerly ask.
Well it’s now proper vomit.
You know, the kind where someone throws up in Coventry and you can smell it in Norfolk.
The type where you don’t bother to clean the car, you just buy a new one.
We’ve had to move house twice.
But I digress.
Only a week down the line and instead of shakily trying to pick up a piece of sweet potato and shoving it into his nose he’s moved on in leaps and bounds.
The other day I saw him opening the fridge and tutting.
I feel genuine joy when I see him sucking on a lamb chop lollipop, and not just because his mum is pescatarian (you just never know what’s genetic – even teenage idealism).
But now, because he’s adept at grabbing and shoving things into his gob, he takes things a bit too far.
Whilst gnawing on a head-sized bit of chicken, he will proceed to try and add at least three other things in, before topping it off with his fist.
‘Where did he learn to do that?’ asks the wife.
Then she turns to look at me as a cow pops his head out of mouth and says ‘moo’.
So in conclusion:
Is it better at breakfast time to hand him spoonfuls of porridge and know he’s eaten the majority of it and you don’t have to worry?
It has its plus points definitely, but essentially it’s boring.
Spit roasting a pig and gently lowering it onto his head exclaiming ‘what are you going to do with that?’ is fun!
A lot of bringing up a kid involves chores, so why turn feeding time into another one?