Friday, August 24, 2012

Experimenting with flavor

Penny's 6 month mark is upon us.. and I've been looking forward to it and also pulling back a little.

It's the start of my baby's journey to solid foods. I'm excited for her but also begining to mourn the end of our breastfeeding relationship. It feels really selfish to want to hold on to these precious moments we have left. I definitely am planning on nursing her past a year, but part of me worries that she will "outgrow" me and wean sooner than expected and take off after solids... It wouldn't be a bad thing, we'd find other ways to give her the milk she still needs.

Nonetheless, I've decided that in preparation for getting her started on solids, we'll be introducing some of the juicy summer fruits in season for her to suck on and get accustomed to having a different flavor in her mouth.

As a side note, breastmilk doesn't always taste the same. Just like how pastured, organic, grass-fed cows make different milk than those who are not. Your diet will change the flavor of the milk you produce. I've never actually stayed away from any certain food while breastfeeding, with the exception of alcohol. I'm hoping that my diverse diet (which includes delicious shrimp jambalaya from last night!) will pave the way for Penny to be excited to explore different foods, flavors and consistencies.

So far, we've tried letting her suck on a pear, a piece of watermelon and a slice of cucumber. The pear doesn't jive with Penny. She no likey. She's been really interested in putting her mouth on whatever I have in my hands (cold glasses, mainly), so I let her check a pear out that I was eating. She liked it until she got to a part where I had bitten off a piece and after a second of tasting it, she pulls away in total shock and horror... Looks at me as if to say "Why???"

Another night I tried with a slice of cucumber, which she seemed to enjoy. Then when we switched back to the pear or watermelon, the same look of confusion came back.

What this tells me is that she's interested, but isn't quite sure what she signed up for.  We'll continue to offer her things to taste, but maye will wait a while on solids until she's able to show more interest. She has the rest of her life to experiment and enjoy solids, so even at six months old, I don't feel the rush to push her into it if she's not ready.

I'd really like to feed her according to the "Baby Led Weaning" style, meaning starting your children (after 6 months of age) on table foods that are pretty close to what we eat as adults. Of course, that doesn't mean jambalaya, or other complex flavors to begin with - but eventually - yes. The plan would be if we are having spaghetti for dinner, then Penny would get a few pieces of penne pasta, some steamed veggies, and maybe a taste of the sauce.

BLW means not having to spoon feed your child, because they are in charge of what goes into their mouth. They graze at will, and experiment on their own what they want to try. Many parents worry about whether their child will choke or not, but with proper supervision and portions, your baby will be able to figure it out. A large part of the world uses this method, as 'pureed' options are not always available. It also allows the baby to decide when they are full, rather than having the parent depend on portions set out by baby food companies. BLW is an ideal choice for us because I want Penelope to primarily depend on breastmilk through her first year, and solids will be more of a fun and sensory experience. If she ends up getting any calories out of it, great, but she still should be dependant on milk more.

This doesn't go to say that Penny won't be getting any food via spoon - afterall, fall is upon us and this family loves applesauce.


  1. We never withheld flavors from the kids. As u can see. Santi lives jalepeno.chips and amilia is a champ with every meal!! Santi is definatley a snacking child as upossed to main meals...Maybe dueo to my anxious 'always feeding him" to make him happy as a baby. Any Way u choose will be best! Keep up the happy positivity!

  2. I can't wait until my baby is old enough to try solids!



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