When I set out to build Solid Starts a few months ago, I just wanted to make it easier for other parents to introduce real food to babies. To explore an alternative to spoon-feeding and pouches of runny vegetables. And to test whether if babies trusted to feed themselves would be more likely to grow into happy eaters.
I wasn’t this mom four years ago. Far from it. Four years ago I was puréeing my heart out and delicately spoon-feeding my first-born Charlie. It saddens me to say that I spoon-fed Charlie well past his first birthday. By which point he had stopped eating entirely. He never smashed his birthday cake. Never really had a favorite food. He just stopped eating.
There’s a lot of control in motherhood. And as humans go, I can be one of the most controling. It’s not a tendency I’m proud of, but it’s there. Sometimes it’s well intentioned and stems from fear, but often it’s merely an impulse to restore order to what feels like chaos.
We advocate here for an approach to starting solids that I named #FingerFoodFirst. Based on a method called “baby-led weaning,” #FingerFoodFirst involves letting go. Letting go of the impulse to control every spoonful. Of the fear of choking and allergic reactions. And of mess.
The Solid Starts team now consists of expert feeding therapists, pediatric doctors, a crackerjack nutritionist, and soon, a revered allergist. Professionals who have discovered through experience and research the extraordinary benefits of offering real food to babies early on—and who have come to believe that #FingerFoodFirst is the single best way to raise a happy, healthy eater later on.
Babies are born knowing how to eat. They want to put things in their mouth and to touch, taste, and explore. Let’s let them.
–Jenny Best, founder, Solid Starts