I've written a lot about weaning and introducing soilds especially when Otis was around 6-7 months old. Weaning (the introduction of solids) is such a special time for a child. I have been heavily influenced by the words of Dr Montanaro, whose words I would like to share with you here. As I know parents are using our weaning materials (in the shop here) I hope this is timely for you.
Food should be put on the table to allow the child a clear view of it. He needs to see where it comes from and should be fed with a child-proportioned spoon. The spoon should contain only a small amount of food and should be brought to the child's mouth. Only when the child opens his mouth should we put the food inside. The child must always feel that he is in control of this body-opening and that nothing can enter without his permission. It is easy to become violent with food because very often we are more interested in giving it in the shortest time possible. We forget about the deep meaning of the action.
Sitting at a table brings about a change in the child's ego and the start of a new human relationship that will recur throughout life. Our right position in the world must be in front of others which guarantees our dignity as human beings.
The weaning meal should be given calmly, sitting in front of the child. We should also remember that, no matter how different the food and feeding position may be, we are together with the child, sharing one of the most human and pleasurable acts of social life.
Now we have in front of us the most important guest we can have at our table, the human being we conceived and are helping to progress in human relationships and towards independence.
The way the new food is presented is very important. The soup should be put in a bowl, the spoon placed on the table along with a child-size glass and a little pitcher containing water. This should be poured slowly to give the child a chance to understand the new things we are doing for him and with him.
During the weaning we should always remember to offer a food that the child can take by himself, such as little pieces of bread, banana or vegetable. Of course, the child can also be given a fork and shown how to use it. Do not intervene if he uses his hands to help. The child watches carefully how we do things and, if we eat well, as soon as he is able to manage it, the child will be willing to copy us.
There is no need to force these things... The child must feel that he is in control of the situation and should never have the need to finish anything imposed on him; start with a small quantity in the dish and when the food has been finished, more can be given. The child should not be given the impression that he has an immense quantity of food to face.
Weaning can, and should be a very nice time and it is possible to achieve this easily and happily. If the child refuses some types of food, let a few days pass before presenting it again. And if something keeps being refused it should be accepted that, for some unknown but good reason, it simply may not be agreeable to the child even though it is to us. Never insist on particular foods, because we should never transform the pleasure of eating into an imposed act.
- Understanding the Human Being by Silvana Quattrocchi Montanaro.