I consider myself a fairly "crunchy" mama ~ I prefer to use natural methods whenever possible for whatever I am doing, and parenthood is no exception. Part of that philosophy includes something called "baby led weaning" which basically means you don't force your child to eat on a schedule or by a certain age, but rather you watch for certain markers that indicate your child is ready to start eating solids, then let them take the lead (using safe foods, of course). You typically end up avoiding purees, and most babies that start solids using this method do not start eating solids until they are between 7 and 9 months old, and sometimes older. The markers to watch for are a) sitting unassisted, b) loses the tongue thrust reflex, c) shows interest in eating, and d) is at least 6 months old.
I had totally intended to use this method with Serenity. And I did ~ it just didn't turn out quite how I had expected.
Serenity started showing interest in what we were eating at only 4 months old. I was not thrilled, but figured she'd be fine for another 2 months. Not so much. At 5 months and 1 day old, Serenity grabbed my fork with both hands, and just about managed to stuff it into her mouth before I got it away from her, and she threw the biggest fit I have ever seen on a baby this age. Screamed and screamed and screamed!!! So we went back to the drawing board, and decided that since the only marker missing was her age, we would go ahead and start her on solids a little early, and just take it slow.
We started with egg yolk. She wasn't much impressed...
You might be wondering why egg, and some of you might be freaking out because eggs are not recommended until a year old because of the risk of allergic reaction. Fear not! I have an explanation.
The allergenic properties of egg are found in the white portion, not the yolk. So as long as you remove all of the white and the membrane, you're golden (pun intended, haha).
"What is this stuff?? I think she's trying to kill me!!"
Serenity was more than ready to grasp things with her hands, but she wasn't yet scooping small objects with her fingers, so she wasn't getting the hang of picking up the pieces of egg yolk. She wasn't a big fan of me sticking pieces of yolk into her mouth (she's already incredibly independent, and wanted to feed herself), so I mushed up the yolk with a little water and smeared it on a spoon. Handed it over, and off she went! Happy as a clam, and ate almost a full yolk before she got tired and pooped out.
So starting solids didn't go quite as I had planned. But she's taken right to it, and is happily chowing down on something yummy once a day for over a month now. So far, baked sweet potato seems to be her favorite *smiles*