We proceeded with the baby-led weaning approach, despite the doctor's objections. She does splendidly with feeding herself and I love the whole thing very intensely. Mr. Bunny seemed to have an epiphany when he was in charge of making dinner for once. He made a veggie burger for me, a hamburger for himself, and a tiny hamburger for Bun Bun. Gee, it's nice not having to make her something special, he said. NO FUCKING SHIT.
(I also had an epiphany watching her nom down on beef for the first time. It made me both delighted and extremely disgusted, and I realized this is how my husband feels about vegetables.)
I love it because it means we can eat dinner together instead of one of us gobbling down food and then holding her while the other gobbles down food. I love it because it passes a difficult evening hour when she needs extra entertaining. I love it because it involves sharing. I love it because she seems to love it. She ate the fuck out of a pile of lentil stew and cornbread tonight. My almost-seven-month-old can pick up a lentil. I love it because we got to attach her little chair to the table at Thanksgiving and put some food in front of her and then carry on with our dinner, together.
|Is it trashy to eat with my shirt off, Mama?|
Plus, my sister in law--a nutritional epidemiologist who studies childhood obesity--was most impressed with the whole thing at Thanksgiving. Of course, then her dog bit one of the children in attendance, so maybe I don't care what she thinks.
And although I hate the BLW book (the one entitled BLW, because of the absurdly sweeping claims about the benefits of this approach--drives me totally nuts, even though I know it's not meant to be evidence-based), I don't care if it IS a fad. Sensible things can start as fads. And it's normal in other places. And I love it. SO THERE.
I also love the fact that my baby once again requires nothing from me from 7pm until about 5 or 6 am. Operant conditioning is effective, and in our case, it was the silver bullet. She figured out what was happening quite quickly. Most nights are now 100% cry-free, and we are far less anxious about bedtime. And night in general. But I should confess that there have been two painful moments since the initial period. One night she cried at 3am for about twenty minutes on and off. I promise you that I thought all the horrible things about myself that anyone who believes this approach is unwise would want me to think, and I wept, and there was black despair. And on Thanksgiving night, when my sister-in-law was staying down the hall, Bun Bun felt the need to indulge in ten minutes of angry screaming before falling asleep.
Perhaps she feared the return of TURKEY.
I know this approach won't work with all babies, and I know that it may not work long-term with MY baby, but every night that it does work is a night that it fucking works. I get to savor holding her at bedtime instead of hoping and praying that when I put her down, she won't cry. I get to wallow in bed in the middle of the night instead of standing in her room wondering why she weighs a thousand pounds more than she does during the day, and why nothing I can do will make her go back to sleep. And I assure you, I am deeply, deeply grateful for this easy, cheerful, miraculous, lentil-grasping baby.