At TIH we are committed to following the child's authentic self, and offering opportunities whenever possible to give the child the ability to experience our world in the most natural way possible. When we do this, we support our trust in the child's competence to do for themselves and build a respectful and loving relationship between child and caregiver.
I think about this concept constantly, and when I was faced with feeding my new group of infants I got really excited with offering foods in the most natural state possible, yet still creating ways that the children could feel successful. After talking to a few parents and doing some research online I discovered the idea of Baby Led Weaning. The central concept is that children as young as 6 months are able to bring things to their mouth then they can eat non-pureed foods. This can look different for different caregivers. Some people feel comfortable giving a child a quarter of an apple to gnaw on, and others might feel more comfortable with steaming them first. The part of feeding infants this way that speaks to me the most is that it allows the child to choose what they want to put into their mouth, when they're ready and even eat as much as they like.
Here are my favorite resources:
Wholesome Baby Food - Has some great ideas for foods to start with and ways to prepare, as well as a basic overview of what Baby Led Weaning is
Baby Led Weaning Blog - Here's a great resource for seeing the reality of feeding your child whole foods from Mamas who are trying it with their children and documenting it for our enjoyment. This is especially great for photos of messy, eating babies!
Baby Led Weaning.com - From Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, the creators of the book Baby-Led Weaning:Helping Your Baby to Love Good Food
BLW Recipes - Really any recipe for food works, but it's always fun to see what people come up with with babies in mind. Any Google search for finger foods is also a great place to start.