My three-year-old daughter has issues with food and eating in general. We think it is related to power and control. Assuming that we were the cause of her issues, I sought out a different way to approach eating with our son. As I browsed around Eco Baby Gear a few months ago, I saw a book titled Baby-led Weaning. I bought it and read it over the next 3 or 4 weeks and decided to put the baby-led principles into practice with Li Li.
When our family doctor suggested giving Liam rice cereal at his 4-month well child visit, I was armed and ready. I whipped the book out of my diaper bag and proudly declared, "We are doing THIS."
He flipped through it and said, "That looks fine, but you can give him cereal now."
As Liam approached 6 months old, he began showing an interest in food and eating. Even though the book said not to introduce solids until he could sit up unassisted, I decided to give it a try given that he was 6 months old. I gave him some fingers of banana, cooked baby carrots, gluten and dairy free pancake, and cooked broccoli florets. He loved it all, but the fruit was too slippery and the broccoli fell apart in his hands. He seemed very happy when I would take some broccoli on my finger and put it into his mouth. He wanted to be fed.
Going against the baby-led solids advice, I did an experiment with spoon-feeding. I pureed some carrots and smashed up some pears. Liam eagerly ate them from a spoon. Sometimes he would grab the spoon at which point I allowed him to attempt self-feeding. I watched for his signals and he let me know when he wanted more and when he was finished. Even though I spoon-fed him, he led the way.
I still consider myself a practitioner of baby-led weaning/solids. We are still giving Liam finger foods. We look to him to let us know when he wants to be spoon-fed, when he wants another bite, when he wants to use the spoon, and when he is full. He is still breastfeeding on-demand when I am not at work. When he wakes at night, I nurse him back to sleep. He is in control of his own feeding.