BLW: 2 Months In

So if you've been following my blog (all., what, 9 of you... lol)... you know that we have decided to use the Baby Led Weaning method of introducing solid foods to Kennedy.  After some research (one of my favorite websites for BLW... The Mush Stops Here), we decided that this was best for her and for us so at about 5 months we offered Kennedy a Mum Mum cracker here and there to gauge her interest in food and her ability to chew/swallow.  Then at about 5 1/2 months, we just went for it.  At 2 months in... I would call it a huge success!!
Hummus and Crackers
 We started with naturally soft foods like avacado and banana, but quickly progressed to different textures.  Now, at 7 1/2 months, Kennedy eats whatever we eat with a few exceptions (extra salty or spicy food, unhealthy processed or junk food, soups).

This is a quick recap on lessons I learned along the way and my thoughts/feelings on BLW.  As I'm sure you know already, I'm a big fan.
 Lesson #1-  Spears are your friend.  At first, I was nervous about Kennedy chewing/eating large pieces of food, so I cut her avacado into small chunks.  Terrible idea.  Within minutes she had mashed it to a pulp and there was no hope of her picking it up herself.  I then scooped some of the mush onto a spoon for her.  She was able to more or less feed herself with the spoon, but it defeated the purpose of BLW since I had to load it for her.  I also think that she was actually more interested in chewing on the spoon and the avacado just so happened to be in the way.  Either way, she at least got to taste some of it.  I learned quickly that I needed to cut everything into large spears or french fry shapes that were easier for her to hold.  Once I did this, she was able to pick up her own food and bite of small pieces.  As her grasp gets better, I can cut the pieces smaller.
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
 Lesson #2-   BLW should be called BLFW (Baby Led Family Weaning)I have always considered myself a healthy eater and generally prefer fresh, healthy foods.  Enter cute little perfect baby who eats my food... now nothing I eat is good enough (in my mind) for her.  Then I got to thinking... if it isn't good enough for her... why is it good enough for me??  Now I find myself striving even harder to make better food choices, shop healthier, cook healthier, eat healthier, live healthier.  I want to be around for her forever, you know?
A few examples... 
  • I enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, always have... but Kevin does not.  For a while I didn't buy many (especially during the winter when they are super expensive) because I could only eat them so fast and I hated throwing food away.  Now I buy lots of fresh fruits and veggies both for myself and for Kennedy.  What I don't plan to eat in a day or two, I wash, slice and freeze on a cookie tray.  There are always fresh or frozen fruits and veggies available for us to snack on now.  And I am encouraging Kevin to pick up this habit.  Slowly but sure;y, it seems to be working.
  • I find myself reading labels, researching and asking questions about my food more than ever.  When I shop, I prefer the farmer's market.  This time of year, my choices at the market are limited so I try to choose wisely at the grocery store.  We are just not able to afford 100% organic, so I focus on the "dirty dozen" when I choose what to buy organic and what to buy regularLearn more about the dirty dozen here 
  • I have always tried to bake or grill my meats, but on occasion (usually when I am running short on time) I will toss it in a sautee pan for a quickie meal.  Now I take the time to bake it because I know it is much better for all of us.  
  • I have traded in the margarine or fake butter for coconut oil or real butter.  I cook everything in coconut oil and use real butter only when needed for flavor.  No more fake stuff.  Ever.  When I actually stopped to think about how I had slacked off in this department and fallen victim to convenience and price, I was pretty annoyed at myself.  We have a great farmer's market that sells real butter... why was I buying that other junk anyway?
  • I find myself experimenting more with spices and seasonings and cutting back on the salt.  Salt is not necessary in her diet and it really isn't necessary in ours either.
  • Kevin and I are admittedly cheese-aholics.  Rarely do we have a meal without cheese.  Unless I wanted to turn my super pooper into a once a month pooper (NOT a good thing), then I knew we needed to cut back on our beloved cheese.  We could never cut it out completely and it is good for baby girl to have some... but we are making a conscious effort to keep our cheese addiction in check. 
Biscuits with Blackberry Jam
 Some of the benefits I have found...
  • No baby food.  That stuff is nasty anyway.  Did you know that one 8oz jar of bananas contains more sugar than a Mountain Dew?  Yuck.  And mushy ham, peas and potatoes?  Seriously?  Blech.
  • Family dinners can be enjoyed by the whole family.  At the same time.  Mommy feeds mommy.  Daddy feeds daddy.  Baby feeds baby (and sometimes baby feeds the dog, but that's ok).  It's a beautiful thing.
  • Dining out is easier.  No need to lug around baby food, then figure out how to warm it up (because IF you are going to feed your baby mushed up ham, peas and potatoes, at least make it hot).  Then when your meal comes you can actually eat, rather than feed the baby while your meal gets cold.  You just order and give your baby some of your food.  Once they are eating enough, order them a child's plate.  Done.
  • Less mess... well... sort of.  The kitchen may be messier, the baby may be messier, but at least you're not trying to shove spoonful after spoonful of mushy mess into their mouth only to have it (so kindly) returned back to you.
  • Watching them figure out this whole eating thing is just so very cool.  Really.  It's amazing how smart they are and how much they know about themselves and their bodies already.  They eat what they want, they stop when they are full, they learn how to chew and swallow very quickly.  We truly don't give them enough credit.  :)