I hadn’t really thought about baby led weaning (blw) as something where all senses are used. I knew it was an extremely sensory experience but I had never really taken into consideration how all the senses may be used during one simple act of feeding – until this morning.
I began to think about it and started to jot down my thoughts as I was feeding her, cleaning the kitchen, patting the dog, putting the washing on and all the other millions of things us Mums (and Dads!) do first thing in the morning!
I began to see how our five senses of Sight, Touch, Smell, Taste and Hearing are all used brilliantly when blw.
I love this use of her eyes. I love to watch her (ooh – see what I did there!?) as she looks at the offerings on her tray. I love it that she takes a minute to peruse the foods and then makes a selection – it is a concentrated act which takes time and decision making and one which shouldn’t be taken lightly – this selection process is going to impact on a few more of these amazing senses.
This is the sense which we would attribute to blw more than we would when discussing the traditional feeding route of purees. It is the sense which means that my little lady now handles everything on her tray at mealtimes. I love to watch how she squelches foods between her fingers, how she smears it all over her face and how she finds such wonder at holding a piece of food and just likes to feel the texture, turning it over and over in her cute little hand until it is ready to brought up to her mouth and savoured.
This is the obvious one and when discussing mealtimes, potentially the best?! Francesca has already decided that putting watermelon into her mouth does not result in a taste she likes. As her podgy hands grip the slippery melon and then into her mouth it goes, her whole face screws up in disgust, out it is spat and onto the floor it is flung! Avocado however is a love affair with her taste buds! As soon as she spies some avocado, both hands go for it, both made into fists to secure it and both are brought up to her mouth and in it goes – and in it stays! Wide eyed and satisfied she then searches for more.
Again, when discussing food, a sense of smell is something we may immediately think of. You can’t beat the smell of freshly baking bread or in my case; I love the smell of really “smelly” cheese! But for Francesca and all our little Happy Tum babies, their sense of smell is used to decide if they like a certain food. Their sense of smell is so important and has been developing since they were in the womb and is used to encourage them to feed milk from their mummy as soon as they enter the world. This doesn’t change much if you are breastfeeding - I swear my little lady can smell breastmilk as soon as I enter the house!
Funnily enough, it was this sense which I was thinking about this morning as the idea of writing about using all five senses popped into my head. Which is strange, as it is sense which you may not really link to food and weaning.
I saw Francesca use this sense with great drama as she had come to the end of her breakfast and heard the rustle of the packet of wipes I had picked up! Her head shot up and then as I moved towards her, removing a wipe from that noisy packet, her head went down and her chin hit her chest in determination. Her hands clenched into sticky fists and she sat like that waiting. I lifted her head to wipe her face and then the commotion began! Her whole body twisted in anger, her head turning from side to side as I struggled to wipe her mouth, her hands clenched in battle as it took all my effort to prise them open to clean them. Francesca has been named by one of my best friends as a “fiery jalapeno” which is a term I love! It is describes my beauty to a tee and no more appropriate than at “clean down” time after eating!
All our knowledge begins with the senses and I can’t wait to see how these senses mature as Francesca and all our Happy Tum babies grow and develop. I for one are loving our own weaning journey which is made all the more special by being able to share it with you.