When I talk to people about introducing babies to solid food, I'm keenly aware that most have not heard of the concept of baby-led solids. Baby-led solids is a commonsense method of introducing solid foods to babies without pureeing, mashing, grinding, spooning, or making humiliating airplane noises. Simply wait until your baby is 6 months old and hand him appropriately shaped foods, letting him feed himself! Tons of new research proves the benefits of this amazing method, and one advantage is that it encourages your baby to become a confident eater. But what about mom's confidence when faced with skeptics?
Everyone who's ever known the joy of handing a slice of pear to a 6 month old and watching him pummel it into his eager face has also dealt with these skeptics. They can come in the form of your sister, who has six kids and clearly knows all there is to know about child rearing, or the random stranger who has an overwhelming urge to contribute his two cents to your child's upbringing. If you're ever in a position where you are tempted to question the sanity of baby-led solids here is an insanely logical argument to bring you back to firm footing: babies naturally put things in their mouths. That's right! Nature intended babies to eat "real" food from the age of 6 months onward, which is why they desperately want to chew on anything within reach, especially if it smells like food.
As anyone who has ever been within a fifty foot radius of a 6-month old knows, everything goes in the mouth. Babies don't know they're "not supposed to put things in their mouths." That's the great thing about giving them real food - they automatically put it in their mouths. They don't worry about whether they're getting enough iron, or if they're going to choke. I'm not saying to disregard reasonable care in these things (see FAQs page of blog). Babies come with all sorts of nifty safety features: they have hands that are incapable of picking up most choking hazards and they have gag reflexes, to name a few. I am suggesting you remember that babies are hardwired to do things that benefit them. Just as "demand-fed" babies are rarely undernourished, self-feeding babies can automatically balance their diet if given a healthy selection of food to choose from.
Imagine all of those moms out there who spend all of baby's playtime preventing things from going in the mouth, then spend all of mealtime repeatedly shoving a spoon into said mouth...Why fight nature? Let them chew broccoli!