Lately, I have been reading so many blog posts and Facebook message boards about baby led weaning versus traditional weaning and the various opinions on the subject. For the record, both of our girls were traditionally weaned, and I refuse to take a stand one way or the other. As you can imagine Charlotte struggled with food from the very beginning and now I can look back and think maybe things would have been different if…but I can’t let myself dwell on that for too long. This is what I know: Charlotte was spoon fed purees which my wife lovingly prepared every day, hours spent over the steamer, food processor, and blender carefully selecting the proper foods for the best nutrition.
Once we transitioned to solid foods, everything became a struggle, which is why we eventually ended up in feeding therapy. Our second daughter, now 16 months, was weaned in the same manner but has taken to solid foods with gusto. She powers through meatloaf, breakfast sausages, sandwiches, chicken, and almost everything else we put in front of her. We continue to cut her food into smaller pieces, but somehow she learned how to bite off small pieces of larger offerings, stuffs her mouth, and manages to chew until she is able to swallow. These are skills we never saw with Charlotte, and she required help from professionals to learn these tasks. Often Charlotte eats the same amount as her sister, sometimes less, sometimes more, but it almost always takes her longer to finish her meal.
Two girls, weaned the same way, with two dramatically different outcomes. It is important for us all to choose the best path for our children based on the information we have. After we have made those decisions it is also important that we don’t beat ourselves up about those choices. Charlotte has always struggled at meal time; I believe this isn’t something we did, rather her unique biology.
For some families meal time is hard and for some, it couldn’t be easier. Be kind to each other, try not to judge, and give advice if requested, not commandments.
If you are struggling with mealtime more often than not, please reach out to a professional and request help. You can find feeding specialists in your area at www.feedingmatters.org or speak with a medical professional.