Sometimes called baby led weaning, or delayed solids. I wanted to post about this because most things I've read talk more about "mother-nature" and the idea that "baby knows best" I believe God is in control here and that He put me in authority over my kids for a reason. We can learn a lot from the bible. Gen 21:8 "And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned." Weaning babes in the bible was usually celebrated with a feast, historically this has been show to be between the age of 3-5 years of age!!! Somehow I doubt that people back then were starting the weaning process at only a few months of age. (introduction of solid foods is considered to commence the process of weaning)
We can also learn a lot by looking at things with common sense. Our babies come into this world with the ability to suck milk and no teeth. Research is indicating that their little tummies don't have the ability to digest anything other than mother's milk until at least 6 months. This is not minimum age to start solid by. Some babies might be ready by this age and others may thrive on mothers milk until well into their second year of life. I've read many accounts of children who 'ate' nothing but mother's milk for the first 13 - 18 months of life and were perfectly healthy, happy children. Once they started eating solids they were able to chew and swallow easily and dove into eating table foods with no special preparation.
We didn't always have processed baby cereals, pureed jarred foods or blenders. So what would a baby need to truly eat their food? Teeth!!! Logic tells me that a baby won't be able to eat what I'm eating until they can chew it up. So what can you feed them if they only have a couple teeth and you're worried about chocking? Soft cooked meats, lentils, beans or egg yolks are great because they are high in protein and iron. (Just like all the infant cereals are fortified with over-processed and artificial forms of) Steamed veggies and soft fruits can be cut up into small chunks. Raw fruits and veggies can be grated. If you're interested in offering dairy you can use yogurt, grated hard cheese or cubed softer cheeses. Bread, crackers, cooked pasta and rice for grains. The basic idea is to wait until your baby has a couple chompers and can handle palming or picking up food directly from their bowls/plates/high chair trays! Messy but this way they start eating exactly what they're supposed to and if you wait until they're older and start with the softest foods they learn to chew and swallow safely!
I'm really considering this more and more. With my oldest, I started with packaged infact cereals at 2 mos old, jarred veggies/fruits at 4 mos, moved onto the jarred casseroles around 6 mos and then started the chunkier jarred foods around 8 mos. From there she started eating mashed table foods. My second born I delayed solids till 6 mos but I did start with spoon feeding blended table foods, cereals and mashed fruits.
Wesley is currently 5 months old and show no signs of teeth erupting at this point and he is thriving on breastmilk alone! He has more than doubled his birth weight, is alert and happy, can roll from back to front (then gets furious until you flip him back!) and sleeps at least 8 hours consecutively each night. I think he would be able to sit up mostly on his own if he didn't constantly kick his feet and topple over. I have no plans to start offering solids at this point. I'll keep you posted and put up pictures when we offer him his first "meal".
Of course I plan to nurse him until he starts to wean naturally onto solid foods. I do not plan to 'wean' him onto an alternate milk whether it be cow's, goat's or formula (that is what I did with Jack) and I don't use bottles at all. Until he is at least 12 months old I will be offering my milk BEFORE his meals as it contains 100% of his daily nutrition!