Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Baby Led Weaning vs. Pureed First Foods

By happenstance, we approached introducing solid foods differently with Jack and Cora.  Jack was fed with our own mortar and pestle purees (joking a little) and Cora was handed ears of corn and mango pits (not joking).  This gives us a fascinating study on what leads to a better eater!

A little background.  Jack was our first baby.  We felt like we were being very avant-garde by making our own baby food.  I fondly remember our little ice cube trays full of homemade apple sauce, oatmeal (no salt - the way he takes it to this day), and lima beans.  Puree, freeze in trays, pop out into Ziplock bags for easy future meal assembly.  "How does pear, barley, and avocado sound tonight, hon?"

Little did we know there was a whole other movement.  Enter Baby Led Weaning.  This child-led approach to eating seemed like the natural progression for a breastfed baby.  (Breastfed babies self-regulate their intake; baby led weaning brings this same approach to solid foods.)  It also seemed easier (no puree-making) and with two children, easier seemed better.  So Cora was our guinea pig.  Here's her having fun.  What a little chunk!


I often watch Jack and Cora's eating habits and wonder if it was their first foray into solids that led them to these idiosyncrasies OR whether it's just that Jack is Jack and Cora is Cora.  I imagine it's a bit of both, but do note the control factors we did happen to have in place.
  • Both were exclusively breastfed up to the point they began solids
  • Both started solids right at six months
  • Both had the same first solid food: sweet potatoes - Jack's was pureed and Cora's was roasted in the Baby Led Weaning-suggested stick form
  • Both experienced much of their early eating in the same Craiglist-acquired wooden high chair :)

The Results

Jack is a wonderful eater.  He covets fruit.  (There's no better way to say that.)  Any fruit.  He overindulges on them.  He prefers them to desserts. 

He likes to begin his day with a big bowl of "yum-yum."  I still make our family bowl of old fashioned oats with no salt.  Jack's bowl has no salt (we add sea salt to ours) nor sugar (we add brown sugar to ours.)  He often likes to remind me that he "doesn't like salt or sugar, so don't put any in mine."  His oatmeal also has a scoop of plain, organic, low fat yogurt, cut up fruit, and walnuts.

He adores cheese.  Cheese and fruit are all he'd ever ask for.  He's suspicious of new dishes.  He can spot an onion from a distance.  He will not eat them.  He consistently passes on tomatoes, cauliflower, and cabbage.  (That is top of mind as we had coleslaw tonight.  He sat on the porch and cried because we insisted he give it another try.)  He can be picky about dinner foods.  He doesn't like our homemade cornmeal pizza dough; he doesn't like our veggie burgers (they have onions and green peppers - which he will meticulously weed out); he usually gives us trouble on things like tamales and burritos.  Vegetables are a mixed bag.  He seeks out raw carrots, doesn't mind broccoli, enjoys magic beans (edamame), but there are plenty he complains about.

He is four after all.  He definitely has strong dislikes, but the fact that we can send a salad in his lunch to school?  And some days an apple and an orange?  And he asks for "nuts and raisins" as a snack?  And that he once told us he wasn't going to have birthday cake at a party "because cake hurts my tummy"?  He makes a strong case for starting with purees.

Cora is a wonderful eater too...sometimes. 

She is most different from Jack when it comes to fruits.  She likes apples, pears, melon, grapes, and bananas but will not eat citrus, picks strawberries out of her oatmeal daily (I ascribe to the "you have to try something repeatedly before you can establish a dislike" philosophy), and will not try anything with "berry" on the end of its name. 

Cora also begins her day with a big bowl of "yum-yum," served just like her brother's - no salt, no sugar, plain yogurt, nuts, and fruit.

Cora also adores cheese.  RAISINS and cheese are all Cora could ask for.  Cora tends to be our more adventurous eater at dinnertime.  She has been known to chow down on things like red beans and rice and gumbo, affirming for us that she is our Cajun child.  (She also insists on having some of "dat" whenever her Daddy has a bottle of hot sauce out.)  She loves herself a tamale or a burrito.  And she LOVES meat.  But then again, so does Jack.  She's more adventurous with vegetables, once shoveling a whole bowl of brussel sprouts in her mouth for lunch.  She loves roasted broccoli and cauliflower.  Today she was eating olives.

Edamame and black beans for snack
I can't call this contest now because Miss Cora is QUICKLY approaching two and is a very opinionated child.  I have found that if I'm persistent, she'll come around.  She gave up eating apples a month ago, but I got her back to them after a week.  Cora is too young for me to have many quotes, but she lightens up meals with her favorite game: "Where wa-wa?" as she hides her cup under her napkin and then laughs and laughs and with her silly face games.  We often look over to find her eyes squinted and closed as she eats :)

If we end up with a third baby Landry, we'll have to reevaluate this contest to see which approach should be used next time!

We love the free and healthy Whole Foods kid treats.  Here: matching apples for the ride home.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I love this comparison! We did homemade purees for both of ours, and their likes/dislikes are fairly similar to each other. Colin is not as opinionated yet, but Cara definitely likes to voice her opinions about food (and everything else). Her school makes the kids take a "no thank you" bite, and she is usually willing to do that at home too. This post will be a great one to revisit when Cora is four to see if her tastes have evolved in a similar way to her brother's.