So, we made it to one year. Most babies are eating table foods by this point, but most have not been doing so for six months. Here are some things we have discovered about the baby-led solids method of introducing solid foods:
- Buttercup has never been iron deficient. Yep, she's had her blood work done and everything! There is this myth that if you don't use the processed baby cereal starting at 4-6 months (or earlier in lots of families) that your baby will somehow be nutritionally deficient. Not true! Breastmilk is an amazing source of bioavailable iron. Also, Buttercup has always had a wide array of foods from all the food groups, so she has eaten plenty of naturally high-iron foods (as opposed to the fake stuff they use to fortify baby cereal that is difficult to digest and absorb into baby's body).
- Buttercup has never been constipated once in her life. I know constipation is a frequent problem when introducing solids to your baby. I strongly believe that by giving your child control over what goes in her mouth and down her gullet you are helping her digestive system to not get overloaded with foods it's not ready to break down.
- Buttercup is anything but a picky eater. She has eaten spicy foods, any number of exotic fruits and vegetables, fish, tofu, goat cheese...She loves it all! I think because she's always been the one putting food in her own mouth it makes her more excited to try new things. Food has never been something that's been imposed on her; rather it's like a fun game with toys she gets to swallow!
- Someone recently told me that Buttercup has more dexterity and more refined motor skills than any baby she's ever seen. I definitely attribute this to baby-led solids. Food is a great motivator. Buttercup learned to use her hands to move food to her mouth starting at six months. She had a solid pincer grasp at 7 months, and could drink out of a cup on her own at 7 months, too. I don't actually care about these "milestones" because I know babies develop in their own good time, but it is interesting to see the differences.