7 March 2012, by Mandy Loh
It’s been 2 months since we started Cristan on baby-led weaning, and it has been really great so far!
What I love most about this approach to introducing solids, is that Tim and I can actually enjoy our dinner while Cristan busies himself with his food! And on his part, Cristan also really relishes joining us at the table and eating, just like one of the grown-ups!
You see, because we don’t live with our parents and do not have a helper, it’s highly important to us that we’re able to at least have dinner together as a family, instead of frantically spooning puree/ porridge into the baby’s mouth while gobbling up our own food. At least we’re able to enjoy some quality time together before the nightly bath-storytime-bedtime routine.
Best of all, when we’re out for a meal with friends, we’re delighted that we can actually have a leisurely meal while engaging in decent conversation, instead of having a food battle with the baby for the first half of dinner, and then excusing ourselves from the table for the second half (because baby is bored and needs to be walked around outside the restaurant).
I’m also constantly amused by the reactions from friends and strangers alike, who are amazed by how well this little baby can handle real food. On hindsight, I wish I had taken more pictures of THEM watching Cristan eat! In fact, after watching him, some friends have even decided that they would let their own babies try baby-led weaning too!
There are two things I’ve found challenging though: firstly, even though Cristan can technically handle whatever we’re eating, we have to constantly be mindful of his salt and sugar intake (as babies below the age of one cannot handle too much sodium nor sugar in their systems). When cooking at home, I would usually have to cook his portions separately, because sadly, we grown-ups cannot live without our beloved seasonings! I’m now trying hard to find healthy recipes that can be flavourful without being high in sodium or sugar. It’s just rather tough when we’re talking about Chinese cooking, when almost everything has to be seasoned with a generous dose of soya sauce!
The other challenge has been handling THE MESS! It’s really cute when you see Cristan chomping down on his broccoli, but when you look at the floor at the end of the meal, its not a laughing matter at all! We’ve been lining the “disaster zone” with newspapers at home, but there’s still the high chair to wipe-down, and the random bits that land way further than we’d expect. When we’re out, I’ll always make it a point to wipe-down the high-chair and pick up most of the food bits from the floor, so that we’ll be able to dine there again in future! Needless to say, it’s a bit of a chore, but its worth the hassle because we could enjoy most of the meal. And besides, even with purees, I’m sure there’ll be SOME mess to clean up afterwards as well!
I’m proud of what Cristan’s tried in these 2 months, a very adventurous repertoire of tastes and textures for a baby his age! Besides the usual soft foods like steamed veggies, and fruits like bananas and strawberries (his all-time favourite!), he’s even had steak, IKEA swedish meatballs, and most recently, yong tau foo! Looking forward to even more food adventures ahead!