When I was still pregnant I stumbled on a NYT article with a fabulous quote about the baby food industry:
Jeff Boutelle, chief executive of Beech-Nut Nutrition [a manufacturer of prepared baby food], said, “When I got here a year and a half ago, the common sense was that the category was declining because birthrates were down.
“But I knew that birthrates had stabilized,” he added, “and babies are not getting any thinner.”
“Underlying our problem, there was a silent, pernicious trend going on that no one was really paying much attention to,” he said — mothers making their own food at home.
The mommy blogging machine went nuts over that quote, as I bet you can imagine. And I sort of figure if there’s a multi-billion dollar industry riding on my decision as a parent, chances are I want to at least investigate how to do things differently.
A few months earlier I visited my friend Michelle in Ottawa (yes, she of the baby sign language advice) and was impressed at her toddler’s eating habits – she ate what the adults ate, at the table with the adults, and sometimes requested snacks between meals: “Daddy, can I have some pineapple?”. How did Michelle do that?
She told me she’d used baby-led weaning (BLW), which in North America usually means allowing the baby to stop nursing when she is ready, but she had read that in the U.K. it means something entirely different: skipping purees, and introducing baby straight to solid foods.
I was intrigued.
As usual I did a lot of reading around on the topic (this is the classic book), but the basics are pretty simple. This video explains it nicely, and here’s a lovely video of a child’s skill improving with BLW between 6 1/2 and 10 months. The basics are: Continue Reading