Baby Led Solids: Research & Experiments

Baby Led Solids: Research & Experiments

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This video is dedicated to all you mamas (and papas) out there who are asking yourselves "how do I begin?" Mmmm...pear!

Ask yourself: why use a sippy cup when you can use a shot glass?

My main gripe against sippy cups is that I would actually have to go out and buy one and put it in one of my already-overpopulated cupboards. Also, I want my kids to know that if they are thirsty they should go get a drink, not carry one around with them all day. That's just my preference, though. There are other more scientific reasons to consider not using them.

Sippy cups:
  • require a child having to relearn to drink from a regular cup at some point, possibly after forming a comfort attachment to the sippy cup. Doesn't sound fun to me.
  • can affect speech and mouth development, and oral hygiene
  • are hard to keep clean, and contain plastics (which are now known to leach toxins)
  • teach breastfed babies a different way of sucking that can cause pain to the mother while nursing

Here is a good article by a pediatrician
When starting baby-led solids it is recommended to offer your baby "french fry-shaped" foods. That's because anything smaller than that: a) is nearly impossible for a baby to successfully pick up and put in their mouths, b) could pose a choking hazard. Once your baby has developed a pincer grasp, however, a whole new world opens up to them. When babies fingers can pincer small items it's a sign that their mouths have also matured to the point where smaller foods become safe. You obviously want to still avoid hard, round items (candy, nuts, hot dogs, whole grapes, etc).

Here is Buttercup demonstrating the pincer grasp:

I have a theory that babies who have always fed themselves using the baby-led solids method will actually have an easier time eventually using utensils by themselves. After all, they have had so much practice maneuvering food to their own mouths already! Buttercup is now learning to use spoons and forks after 6 months of using her hands to feed herself. It's a good thing I never lost any sleep thinking she might still be eating with her fingers when she's 16. 

Buttercup watches Hubby and I eat with forks and spoons, and quite successfully gets food to her own mouth. It was just a matter of time before she connected the two.

At any rate, here is a video that demonstrates Buttercup learning to use a fork all by herself: