(I stole the title from the opening bit of one of the fantasy football podcasts that I listen to – but judging by how I’m doing this week, I should probably start listening to someone else’s advice!)
If I like eating (which if you know me, I do!), Darcey loves it! On a scale of 1 to 10, if I’m a 7, she’s a 12. If I’m an adventurous eater, she’s a goat! A good 40% of the pictures I have of her on my phone are of her in her highchair.
There’s literally nothing that she doesn’t like. That’s not to say that sometimes she doesn’t feel like eating, or that she doesn’t have a day where she just wants to play with her food but by and large, she’ll very happily eat whatever we give to her.
I think at least part of that is in her nature (she IS my daughter after all!) But also, some of it is how we’ve introduced her to food and how we eat ourselves. She was always quite aware of food, she’d be looking at what we were eating from quite an early age, obviously pretty interested.
The official advice is to not start babies on solid food until they’re around 6 months old. Darcey had her first taste on Christmas day when she was just a fraction under 5 months. She had some mashed up swede and carrot. She wasn’t given very much but she really enjoyed it.
We subscribed to the baby lead weaning method. We would give her food on her highchair tray and basically let her try and see if she could get it somewhere near her mouth. The point isn’t for her to immediately start feeding herself, or that this is the way that she sustains herself, she was still getting all of that from her milk.
The point is that she’s learning about food herself, at her own pace and in her own way. It’s not forced. It’s definitely much messier than the alternative, but longer term it’s means that she knows that she’s choosing to eat what she’s eating. We’re not talking about mashing her food up, either (although that is what we did the first time as part of what we were all eating was mashed swede and carrot). It’s appropriately sized food that can be exactly the same as what you’re eating they can feed themself (or borrow from a friend!)
The only considerations that you need to make outside of what you make for yourself are the size of the bits of food you give your baby, the temperature of the food and salt content. Babies can only have 1g of salt per day so it’s very important to monitor their intake. There’s plenty of information at www.babyledweaning.com.
Obviously, we all approach this how we feel is best for us and our children, this is the one that worked for us. If you don’t believe me, just see below.