It also seems to be a very contentious issue. The parenting forum that I am a member of had long debates and discussions about when to wean, what to feed, how hot or cold or lumpy it should be. There were posts seeking ideas for what to make them. Others debating whether or not it was ok to give them sweets, or tomato ketchup or.... Now our babies are toddlers with their own minds, the debates have moved on to how to get the child to eat who is refusing everything. Should they be offered something else? Is it ok to just give them what you know they will eat? Why do they keep batting the spoon away? There are guilt trippers out there who want "to give their children the healthiest start" so will no way ever be giving their child chocolate, or McDonalds, or anything from the potato smiles/fishfingers/chicken nuggets/waffles selection.
Here's my take on feeding a baby and toddler:
- Start the weaning process as late as possible, and as much as possible allow them to feed themselves. I read the Baby Led Weaning book by Gill Rapley and I liked a lot of what was written, it does make a lot of sense. Practically though, while I felt that the "Food is for fun, until they are one" mantra, along with allowing them to explore food and play with it, and not worry whether they ate anything at all for a few months seemed like great advice, it sat much more easily with mothers who planned to respond at any time during the night to their child and to breast-feed until the baby wanted to stop. I got to a point after he was about 8 months old where I was being woken for a feed every hour and a half in the night, and decided that we needed to do some sleep training. As a result I wanted to make sure that he ate well during the day (both breast feeding which we did until his first birthday, and food) so that I would be reassured that he wasn't waking hungry. I've never pureed anything for him though, and have never bought anything from the baby food aisle in the supermarket. He has always eaten the same food as us right from the start. It just meant that I would ensure there was at least something in the meal which either he could eat easily, or we could spoon in to help him.