I was going to title this post “How we did baby led weaning”, except that we didn’t actually DO baby led weaning. We did what worked for us. We did some purees and smooshed up stuff and some baby led weaning stuff and we played it by ear. Nobody died and they kept getting fatter so it seemed to work out! So, part of the purpose of this post is to prove that you don’t have to subscribe to one parenting philosophy and then its “til death do you part”. You modify, you adjust, you just go with it.
Z-bone started solid foods at 5 months (see previous post). Ro-money started solids at about 7 months – he wasn’t interested until then. Plus, Z-bone had much better manual dexterity and more developed fine motor skills and so he thrived with the baby led weaning approach, while Ro-money really preferred to eat purees and smooshed up stuff (like bananas and avocados). He didn’t have the skill set to hold on to food well, even food with a “handle”. And you know what? THAT’S OK. Your twins are different people and will have different strengths and weaknesses and skills and learn things at different times and in different ways.
So with each baby we operated on a different time schedule, but followed a similar routine. I know you’re supposed to introduce one food at a time and then not introduce another for a few days to make sure there’s no reaction and we usually followed that rule, although sometimes I admit I introduced two things at once.
So here’s what we did, more or less:
- We started with smooshed up stuff – I would finger feed or spoon-feed mashed-up sweet potato, avocado and banana. If I was feeling particularly energetic I would give them some to smear around and lick off of their fingers. This strategy was more important with R then with Z. Ro was very into textures and often wouldn’t try foods until he had been able to touch and play with them, whereas Z was just hungry and wanted it in his stomach as fast as possible. During this period I was also introducing them to various purees – carrots, peaches, strawberries (careful with this one – allergies), peas, green beans, etc. I never really feed them just plain rice cereal, but I would often use it as a thickener in my purees (see previous post). Use rice cereal to thicken, breast milk or formula to thin.
- Once they seem to have mastered the whole swallowing and chewing thing I started giving them small pieces of soft foods, and also “food with handles”, like bananas with the stem attached and green beans. I would cut up bananas and avocados as well as pieces of roasted butternut squash and steamed carrots and let them feed themselves. *Here’s a trick – if they have a hard time picking up slippery food like bananas, roll it in a little bit of dry rice cereal. This coats the pieces and makes them easier to grip.
- After they were able to feed themselves the soft pieces of food I just gave them whatever we were eating, cut up into appropriate sized pieces. If we were having pork chops with green beans and baked potatoes then that’s what they were having too.
Now, at 20 months, they eat basically everything that we eat, including chili, thai food, and Mexican.
- At some point (12 months? 14 months?) I started letting them eat stuff with spoons, like hummus and yogurt. But to be truthful, this is super messy so I really only did it on bath night.
- Don’t be afraid to give your baby/s spices. Don’t melt their face off with jalapenos or anything, but it’s not going to hurt them to lightly salt their edameme, or add some cinnamon to their sweet potatoes.
- Try to give them as much variety in flavor and texture as you can, and don’t be discouraged if they don’t like something the first or second or even third time you offer it. Offer lots of foods, lots of times. It took Ro forever to eat broccoli, and now it’s his favorite.
- Once they’re feeding themselves give them lots of things on their plates to choose from. I find that sometimes once my guys get going they’ll keep eating everything I give them, including the things that aren’t their favorite.
- Chilled celery is excellent for teething. They can chew and chew on it, but the strings keep the pieces attached. You do need to monitor though, and occasionally cut off the gnawed on end. Also, don’t leave them unattended with the celery stalk just in case they manage to chomp off a chunk.
- The things that worked for my babies may not work for your babies. THAT’S OK. There are a million tricks and tips and some may work for you and others might not. Some kids are big eaters (Z-bone) and others aren’t (Ro-money). There’s no hard and fast rule for how much they should be eating, or when. As long as they are growing and gaining weight you’re doing a good job!
What types of things worked for your kids? Do you have any advice that might help new MoM’s get food in the bellies of their littles?