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Refreshing Alternative but Blinkered
on 19 January 2010
This book offers a refreshing alternative to traditional weaning in "stages" with purees then lumps etc. Especially now the official advice is not to wean before 6 months, it is possible to introduce your baby to a range of solids from the start with all the associated benefits.
However, the book is very critical of other approaches and in my opinion tries to oversell the idea. Many traditionally weaned babies are not force fed spoonfuls of pureed vegetables and are offered plenty of finger foods. It also oversells the practicalities of your baby eating the same meals as the rest of the family. Avoiding too much salt means mostly cooking from scratch and so freshly cooking 2-3 meals a day for the family as well as for the baby is no small task and limits the choices for family meals. In addition, sensible times for the baby to eat are often not so sensible for the rest of the family - for example if the baby goes to bed at 7pm and dad gets home from work at 6:30, finding a slot to eat together isn't so easy.
In addition, the book repeats often how safe it is and how it is rare for a baby to choke if they can get food into their mouth themselves and is sitting up properly. However, there doesn't seem to be any scientific research to back up this theory, the book is based on a very small study.
Having said that, we have used many of the ideas from the book and have taken a kind of hybrid approach. We started on mostly soft finger foods rather than purees, such as roast sweet potato, well boiled veg and soft fruits. We eat together when we can and the Sunday roast is a great meal we have shared from very early on in weaning. When she has food that is best from a spoon, we preload the spoon and let her hold it - either on her own or with some support. We have never put the spoon into her mouth without her guiding it there so no force feeding. I do batch cook suitable foods for her and freeze them so we can continue to eat seasoned (and convenience) foods and I can feed her when it fits best with her routine and we don't have to wait for our meals around her naps etc.
I love the ideas behind this book but don't like the "all other ways are bad" style of presenting them. All babies are different and this approach, or elements of it, will work for some and not others. My advice, read the book, try what makes sence for you but don't be brainwashed into thinking you have to take the whole package or nothing.