Otto is three months into his weaning journey and it feels a lot of my time and energy is focused on food. Otto hasn't taken to using a weaning glass as easily as Otis did, and Otto throws more of his food. So weaning has been a little more frustrating this time around! I wanted to share some of my top weaning tips, it's a bit of a reminder for me but hopefully, you'll find them useful too.
〉Babies learn through observation so your baby needs to see you eat! Ensure that even if they are eating at their weaning table, they spend one meal or more a day eating with others, siblings or with parents at family's main table. They need to see how you use your hands, place them on the cup, your movements, your chewing, your tasting and your delight in your food!
〉Once they start throwing give them one more chance but then it's time over, all kids will want to throw their food, it's up to you if it's acceptable in your home. My kids aren't/weren't punished if they threw their food but if it continued I take it as a sign that they are finished with their meal.
〉If you are feeding them, ensure the baby has their own spoon or fork. There are lots of Montessori and baby friendly options. If you are feeding your baby with a spoon, ask them if they would like a spoon too. If you have given them a spoon from the start (at six months) they will end up automatically taking the spoon after a few months and will have a really good try at feeding themselves. At nine months Otto gets some food in his mouth when using a spoon but not a lot.
〉Always be patient. Feeding a baby can be so frustrating. The child will pick up on your feelings. It is always best to remain as calm and as relaxed as possible. Feeding the baby shouldn't be rushed, I know there are times when it's not possible to go at the child's pace but it's something we should aim for.
〉Have faith. With so much of the Montessori philosophy, we need to have faith that our hard work, attention to detail and patience will pay off. Weaning the Montessori way will take more time and will often be messier than other forms of weaning. It is worth it. When you have a toddler who will confidently get their bowl and snack and feed themselves or sit on a table with adults and use a spoon or fork with minimal assistance, it is worth it.
〉We use small foods to allow the child to practice the pincer grasp. This is such a good way to promote the young infant's fine motor skills. We have small snacks like this almost every day including the baby rice puffs, cheese and small pieces of fruit.
〉We almost always use clear glass or transparent weaning glass, bowls and pitcher. These make a difference. With a glass or transparent materials like pyrex, the child and the adult can clearly see what is in them. I recently tried to help Otto use a small cup that was not transparent and I found it almost impossible. When you can see how much water is in the glass, see the water move in the pitcher as you pour or clearly see the food the child is trying to scoop up, it makes it so much easier.
I know a lot of Montessori families use baby led weaning. After using baby led weaning with my first son, I now prefer the Montessori approach which I have used with my second and third children. The Montessori approach involves some purees and spoon feeding but it is child led and always includes culturally relevant finger foods. You can read more about our approach to weaning here.