I know that most people who do baby-led weaning are of a more "attachment" mindset but I was curious about other parents and their experiences with baby-led weaning. So, I hopped on to Chronicles of a Babywise Mom to see if she had posted anything about it. Sure enough, there were even some Babywise parents who had taken on baby-led weaning. That really excited me!
As I started reading some of the parents' experiences I was a little upset by one parent's comment,
"We chose to introduce meals slowly rather than straight into 3 meals a day, but we still had the meals structured into our routine and definitely still followed BW [babywise] expectations like no throwing food, smearing it around, lifting up the plate, etc."Maybe this is silly, but I was almost shocked at the thought of expecting my 6-month old baby to not throw food or smear it around. In fact, that's one of the key points to baby-led weaning--to let your baby explore food, learn about it, how it feels, how it moves, etc. This is how they learn about the world. A baby throwing food (or anything) isn't being defiant, that's just how they learn about gravity, distance, their own strength, etc. I haven't read Babywise II about introducing solid foods and table manners because, well, I kind of think it would just boil my blood and be a waste of my time, though I've been a bit curious.
Call me a pushover, a softie, or whatever you will but I believe strongly that we just need to let kids be kids. They will spend so much of their lives being adults, why turn them into one at such a tender age? I'm not suggesting that people just let their children run wild and that there be no family rules--quite the contrary. I just feel that expectations should be age-appropriate and more importantly, individual child-appropriate. To me, expecting a baby to sit quietly, strapped to a high chair, with their hands on the side of the tray waiting patiently for their food to be put into their mouth is just asinine. I'm pretty sure that parent feeding their child would not be terribly patient if the roles were reversed.
As far as teaching our children, I believe the best teaching is done by example, not by force. Well-behaved parents will likely produce well-behaved children because that is what they see. Loving, warm parents will likely produce loving, warm children. Parents who yell and spank will likely produce children who will also yell and spank.
In working to raise my children in a Christ-centered home I think of what kind of a parent my Heavenly Father is to me. I know everyone's understanding and relationship with God is different but the God I know is one of love and understanding. He does not leave me to suffer without comfort. He holds me accountable for what I know and for what I am capable of doing. He is loving, gentle, and kind. That is the kind of parent I want to be and the kind of expectations I want to have for my children.
I've gotten onto a soapbox here. Basically all I'm trying to say is for goodness sake, let's learn to let the little things go, let the kid be a kid, and who cares if they smear their food!