My Baby Eats Everything (Except Food)

Popeye Tries to Eat Everything But Food
Popeye Prefers His Hand to Food

The act of having a baby is, quite possibly, the most scrutinized thing most people will ever do. Every decision you make, and I mean EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. has a well-documented list of pros and cons. There are people who will literally stop being friends with someone if they happen to disagree with something as arbitrary sounding as the method you use to get your baby to sleep.

While there are some topics that are really controversial, like circumcision (we didn’t) and vaccination (we did), there are others that have just as many opinions. They just come with less decisiveness and anger attached.

One of these is the method (everything is a method nowadays) you choose for introducing your baby to real food. Thanks to mama and her milk factory, Popeye has had nothing but breast milk for his first six months. As I’ve documented here, there have been many ups and downs, but we both agree that it was the best choice for us and for him.

Now that he’s ready to begin the long process of being weaned off of breast milk and introduced to solid food, it’s time to make another decision. We’ve taken the natural approach when it’s made sense to us in the past, for instance, we used a midwife, had a natural birth and use cloth diapers. So it made perfect sense to me when mama said that we should try baby-led weaning.

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is when you introduce solid foods to your bundle of joy and let them figure out how to eat it over time. The goal is to promote age appropriate motor skills while making eating a positive experience. Babies aren’t the quickest learners, obviously, so you continue to breastfeed them while they deal with this new bomb that you thoughtlessly, and literally, dropped into their wee little laps.

It’s a test in patience, stamina and the ability to clean things that you did not know could get dirty.

I expected a pretty smooth transition because Popeye’s normal reaction when you hand him something, is to try to stick it into his mouth. We’re talking toys, wooden spoons and elbows – the boy is not discerning. Anything within a few inches of his mouth will be getting wet. Don’t take my word for it though, let’s take a quick tour:

Baby Chews on a Spiky Ball

To be fair, it does slightly resemble a nipple

Baby Eats Stuffed Animal

At first you’re like, “Awww, how cute, he’s kissing his stuffed animal.” Then you realize that he’s really trying to eat it’s face off

Baby Eats Keys

Mmmm, traveling is tasty. Now, where’s my passport?

Imagine my surprise when we sat him down for his first meal, sans-boob, and instead of trying to put some avocado into his mouth, he instead decided to smear it all over himself and the high chair. It basically went everywhere except his mouth. We had to bathe him, clean both sides of the food tray, soak his clothes, wash the cushion, steam clean the carpet and check our insurance policy to verify some coverage. I never knew that an ounce of avocado could do so much damage.

Baby's First Solid Food

“No thanks mom, my fingers are quite filling.” (Seen here, pre-smearing)

Since then we’ve tried steamed carrots and cauliflower, cucumber slices, and various other things with varying levels success. To date, the cucumber has come the closest to his mouth. Most things end up off the tray and in his lap. Basically, the baby eats everything except for food.

While I am confident that he will eventually figure it out, I can only imagine the collateral damage we will incur along the way. The one thing that I know for sure? It will be an adventure.

6 Comments

  • Gerhard says:

    We also did BLW (suggested by our midwife here in the UK.) It worked well, but it did start out quite messy. It kind of looked like several fruits and vegetable exploded all over baby! We persevered and now, a coup[le of months later he eats well, and tends to eat most things. As you and others said, clearly something does go in, as it comes out the other end, but it can be messy. the only issues we found later on (20 months old) was that although our boy will eat almost anything, he now wants us to put the bits of food in his mouth. We’ve had to add some descriptive praise to encourage him to keep eating himself. But overall the BLW experiment worked out well for us 🙂

    Gerhard (Familiality)
    http://www.familiality.abft.co.uk

  • rcrown2 says:

    Oh yes, BLW is a blast, huh? We started our daughter on BLW about 3 months ago and it felt like it’d never take. Carrots, broccoli, and cucumber seems to be her favorite, but now we’ve given her peas, corn, avocado, cauliflower, winter squash, and a few others. We now have a specified avocado shirt since those stains are never coming out, but most of the time it’s best just to strip them down to only a diaper.

    Sounds and looks like things are starting right. Our daughter definitely eats some of what we put on the tray (confirmed by the poop), but I play cleanup crew every day as well! Good luck man!

  • angie says:

    Haha. We started this way too & then decided to just try purées (from a jar on the grocery shelf – gasp!) and he likes them! Just doesn’t dig the texture of pieces of food yet. He’s just a week shy of 6 months & we’ve been doing this for just a few days. I had dreams of blw or making my own food … But he said no thank you to both! So from a jar it is – at least I can select the ones with no additives right?

    • Dan Poore says:

      While we hope that we can continue with BLW, we realize that it’s not our decision to make. As we’ve found with everything else, ultimately it’s up to what the baby wants.

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