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Before Easton was even born, I came across information about baby led weaning and felt like it really fit into our vision of how we wanted to do things once she came along. If you haven’t heard of baby led weaning, it is method of transitioning your baby onto solid foods by allowing them to feed themselves. Instead of feeding them baby food, you give them various cooked or soft foods while letting them hold the food and put it in their own mouths. There is some good research around why this can be really beneficial to your baby and their relationship with food as they grow, which is the main reason we decided we wanted to try it. There’s a bit more to it, and if you’re inclined to learn more, here is a site with more info, or you can check out this book from Amazon all about it.
When Easton was about 6 1/2 months old, could sit up unassisted (a must if you are following baby led weaning) and was also showing some interest in our food, we decided it was time to start introducing her to solids. As first time parents, we were pretty nervous about her choking, even though under our close supervision, the chances of this happening are very unlikely because of babies’ strong gag reflexes. So, we cheated a little and used these mesh feeders to let her suck on some fruits. She seemed to really love it, so eventually we felt like she was ready to move on to things like boiled carrots and toast sticks, and try baby led weaning out for real. She seemed to like a tiny bite or taste of new things here and there, but most of the times it just ended on the floor, and subsequently in our dog’s stomach.
No matter what we tried she just wasn’t interested anymore! We even tried purees by letting her hold the pouch, but again, almost all would end up on the floor. The only thing that she would consistently seem to like was when we made popsicles out of the leftover purees that she wouldn’t eat, with these awesome little popsicle molds. Now I have to say, some people might have been freaking out. There were days when Easton wouldn’t eat any solid food. Was this ok?!
Thankfully, I know that “food before one is just for fun!” Meaning, as long as she was nursing as normal and gaining weight, which she was, she was getting all the nutrients she needed. Introducing babies to solids before age one is more about exposing them to food tastes and textures and teaching them how to actually eat. With that said, I still wanted her to start eating so she could get used to solid food before it became an important part of her nutrition. I knew she couldn’t go on eating popsicles for every meal for the rest of her life. So, when I came across Grabease utensils I was excited to see if they might finally be the tool to help Easton decide she was ready!
Grabease are built specifically for small hands that are learning to self feed. They have ergonomically designed handles for a natural vertical grasp and a choke protection barrier. They are recommended by occupational therapists and strengthen gentle motor skills. Not to mention, they are dishwasher safe, BPA free and comply with USA safety requirements. Before we even gave Easton food to eat with them, she was able to pick them up very easily and had no problem keeping them in her hands. As soon as we put food in front of her, it was like she knew what to do! Now, because she is still working on her coordination, we will often “pre-load” the fork or spoon utensil with food, then place it in front of her on the high chair so that she can then pick it up and eat. This seems to work well but I have a feeling that in no time she will be using them totally on her own!
Whether you are planning on trying baby led weaning, or not, there will come a time when your little one needs to learn to use utensils on their own and these are the perfect tool to do that. I only wish we had tried them sooner! They help us do our own modified version of baby led weaning that works for us and most importantly, works for Easton! She loves the independence of feeding herself and we feel safe with her doing it!