Thursday, October 28, 2010

Table for 3

BLWing at home is one thing. We have dogs to clean up tossed food and a proper high chair with a nice, big tray on which Chicken can squish and smear her food. It's basically just playtime, but with food instead of toys at this point. We love watching her work to get food to her mouth and giving her the opportunity to watch and mimic us.

Eating out is a whole different story...In some ways it's very easy. We don't have to pack jars of food or worry about keeping things cold etc. In theory, Chicken can just eat whatever we eat. In reality, I'm not ready for her to eat everything I eat, nor do I think everything I eat is healthy for an infant. So, we bring a few things like breadsticks, cucumber spears, etc and then prepare ourselves for her to demand to share what we're eating. It's amazing how strong she has become physically and how vocal she
has become about what she wants. Just weeks ago she barely acknowledged food and was perfectly happy with toys at the table. Now, she sees us eating and wants what we've got.

Depending on the place, it's sometimes easier for one of us to hold her rather than do the whole highchair thing. Although she can sit in a highchair, she's still little and isn't always sitting up as well as we'd like her to be if she's going to be chowing down. Also, it's a little easier to contain her discarded food if it ends up on the table rather than flung about from the highchair.

We don't eat out very often, but we can. We went on a mini-vacation recently, where eating out was pretty much the only option. Chicken managed a lunch on the road, two dinners out and two breakfasts at the hotel. Here she is helping herself to some of her dad's lunch. :)

The banana learning curve...

So, we started a couple of weeks before Chicken turned 6 months old. I'd read a bit online but wasn't feeling totally confident. I'm pretty sure these are the photos of Chicken's first experiences eating, aside from the banana and watermelon that she snagged while boating with Grandpa and Grandma.
She started with some sweet potato (I think) and banana. Cucumber was also an early arrival on the eating scene. It turns out that both of these are favorites of teething babies...banana because the peel is a wonderful texture for gumming and cucumber because it's cool and refreshing (Think cucumber slices on your eyes at the spa...AAHHH...).
You may notice that the first banana introduced got no love. It turns out banana is very hard to pick up peel-less especially with tiny, drool-covered hands. Banana with peel is easy to pick up but not very filling if only the peel gets nibbled. We both learned a lot those first few days and now banana is served with its nature-given handle and enough peel removed so that it looks like an ice cream cone. Perfect! (For now...)

Why is Chicken pigging out?

I figure I'd better answer the important questions first. So, now you know who Chicken is, but why is she pigging out? Well, we (mostly me with support from Chicken's dad) have decided to skip traditional baby food AKA purees and introduce Chicken to food through a philosophy called Baby Led Weaning. Basically, while still getting all necessary nourishment from breast milk, Chicken is learning about food by eating it. She's not being fed spoonfuls of purees, but is eating "real" food on her own. She's making a mess, learning a lot, and certainly keeping us entertained.
I'm not really sure where I first heard about Baby Led Weaning (BLW), but the idea struck me as one that made a lot of sense and I've been reading up on it ever since. (Gill Rapley is considered an expert on BLW and I use her book as a guide.)We sort of fell into the actual eating part by accident when Chicken decided that she must try my watermelon and banana a couple of weeks shy of her 6 month "birthday". Since then she's tried a myriad of foods. Some she likes. Some she doesn't. Some she swallows. Some she doesn't. The dogs are certainly enjoying the process and although it triggers my anxious nature more than I think traditional baby feeding would, I really like it too.
This blog is intended to chronicle Chicken's exploration of food. I'm starting a little late, as I tend to do, but hopefully I'll find enough quiet moments to keep it relatively current. I'd love to hear feedback and questions!
P.S. No, I'm not giving my infant a fork and knife. The silverware in the background of this blog is kind of ironic I guess (or maybe not ironic because I always use that word wrong, but whatever). Chicken gets down and dirty with her hands.

Who is Chicken?

This is Chicken at 6 months old (just a couple of weeks ago). Her daddy doesn't call her Chicken, but I do and I'm the one writing the blog. I don't really know where the nickname came from, but it fits for now.
Chicken is our first child, not counting our stinky, but lovable dogs. She lights up our life immeasurably.