Posts Tagged ‘baby led weaning

I don’t feel strongly about “defining my parenting style.” (Natural parenting, gentle parenting, free-range parenting? What does that even mean?) However, I always chafe at being pigeonholed, and for some reason I’m especially resistant to the “attachment parent” label, even though – or maybe because? – I practice many of the things attachment parents advocate.

I had a natural homebirth. The “home” part was an accident, but it will forever make an awesome story. I was indeed crossing my fingers for a natural birth, but it was supposed to occur at the hospital. (I felt safer having my first at a hospital, you know, in case of complications. Plus the facilities at BC Women’s are wonderful.) But I held off too long and Ashelyn came too quickly. Strictly speaking, I had a freebirth, or unassisted birth.

I breastfeed. I’m fortunate and thankful to have encountered no hurdles here, so the boob it is. It’s convenient. It’s free. Ashelyn’s a fan. Actually she’s never tried formula; she’s never even used a bottle, because I’m crazy lazy. We’ll probably continue until Ashelyn wants to stop, unless she turns two and still doesn’t, in which case HELP. (I’m no elitist, though. If a mother who is perfectly capable of breastfeeding chooses to use formula just because, we can totally still be friends.)

We chose baby-led weaning. Because who wants to bother with separate food prep for munchkin? Certainly not I. We try to avoid processed foods and excess salt and sugar, although now that Ashelyn’s older I’m less likely to freak out if someone gives her a piece of croissant. I don’t care about buying organic or avoiding GMO; I’m not convinced the benefits justify the price.

I babywear more often than I use a stroller. We started with slings, but haven’t really looked back since acquiring an Ergo. It’s just that I’ve found a carrier to be more versatile, and more likely to result in peaceful cooperation. I’ve also done my fair share of toting Ashelyn around in my arms (and I’ve got the biceps to show for it).

We co-sleep. A while ago we sidecar-ed the crib, but Ashelyn doesn’t spend a ton of time sleeping in her space, preferring instead to cuddle with me. Which is sweet and all, but bedsharing is the one thing I’m not proud to admit, because ideologically I believe in the marital bed, not the family bed. Unfortunately Ashelyn was a sleepfighter from day one, and this is where the path of least resistance has led us. I still haven’t committed to any form of sleep training, not because I’m opposed to CIO, but because I doubt it’ll work on my girl without crossing a threshold of unpleasantness to which I am opposed.

We do EC and cloth diaper and use disposables. Ashelyn has pooped in the potty since she was five months old, because she is awesome. So is poop-free cloth diapering! Still, there’s no denying the convenience and absorption power of disposables; we use them, sparingly, for (longer) outings and overnight.

We vaccinate. On schedule. In all other matters I stand behind the decisions of well-meaning parents, even controversial ones like spanking or crying it out. But unless your child is immuno-compromised, if you don’t vaccinate, I say you’re doing it wrong, and I shake my fist at you for weakening herd immunity.

I’m a proud product of the public education system, and biased in its favour. Although there’s plenty of time for shifts of opinion on this front, presently I’m not very interested in private institutions, and I don’t intend to homeschool.


I’m no expert on babies. I am, however, an expert on one baby. And that’s all the authority I need.

So, four days after your first birthday, you finally decided to take your first independent steps. Six of them, if I counted correctly. So you walk now, when you want to, but more often than not you still don’t want to! Unless it’s to cross short distances. You’re very fond of walking on your knees, however. People always comment on your knee-shuffle.


I’m drowning in a sea of white fuzz.

Your dance moves have really diversified. Sometimes you bounce, sometimes you sway, sometimes you bop your head, sometimes you raise your arms. Or any combination of those. You’re more likely to sway to slow songs and bop to upbeat ones. And you dance when I sing … aww!

Early this month you figured out how to unlock the iPod touch. Push button, slide touchscreen bar. How ..?! You always flip the device upside-down so the home button is on top.

A better photo pending, hopefully.

A better photo pending, hopefully.

You purse your lips in a piglet-face pout. The trigger word for that is face. As in, “Show grandma your funny FACE,” or, “Blue steel FACE!”

When we ask, “Where’s your nose?” you can point to it. But you also erroneously point to other parts of your face about 20% of the time.

At the beginning of the month you started saying, “Aww yeah!” but it’s since evolved into the Chinese exclamation, “Aiyah!” Or, more often, “Ai-YAAA!” You like to yell this as a greeting to strangers.

Your new complaint syllable is “miu miu miu.” There’s also “byao byao byao,” which happens to sound like the Mandarin for do not want.

Sadly, you no longer eat everything. Meals were so easy when you did! I can’t be sure now if you’ll refuse something. Like leafy greens; you seem to not like those anymore. You make the most hilarious disgusted faces – complete with shudder! – and you’ve started daintily dropping undesired food off your highchair. Sigh. You like meats and grains, usually. The newest hit has been starfruit.

It’s easy to tell when you’re done eating, because you start playing with your food, smushing it into the highchair tray with your finger.

Lately you’ve been wanting to nurse more than ever. You insist on nursing to sleep again, after a period of not needing to. And at night, when you wake up, you ask for it! “Hi.” Whimper. “Neh neh?” It’s SO CUTE ARGH I CAN’T SAY NO.

More theatrics: This is your “Why?”


And this is your “Oh no!”


You’re a charmer, supremely happy all the time. Always a smile for everybody. They call you 开心果 (pistachio, literally “happy fruit”) and 喜乐天使 (literally “angel of joy”). Both sound cuter and less lame in Chinese, I promise.

You are a tease. You’ll reach for someone … then, when they come to hold you, all flattered and pleased that you’ve singled them out for attention … you’ll quickly withdraw your arms and turn away, like, JUST KIDDING! Smirk smirk.

Look what I can do.

Look what I can do.

You tilt your head to the side, all cute and coy. Where did you learn how to do this? I did not teach it to you.

You know how to give a high-five.

This is new: at times you protest vehemently when we take something away from you, or deny you something that you want. You’ll tense up, wave your fists, and yell at us. Uh oh. You have a WILL! Is this the end of the easy parenting days?

Your feet have outgrown your adorable puppy shoes. Nooo.

We’re getting the best fit from 12-18 month sized clothing.

Come to mama!

What’s with you and sneaking bites of paper? How many times this month have I had to fish pulpy wads out of your mouth?

For some reason you’re wild about drinking from a cup, and will demand that we share our water with you.

A few days before Christmas, daddy noticed that something in your mouth was clinking against the cup from which you were drinking. Teeth, at last! Yet I mourn the loss of your gummy smile. At present you have two nubbins on the bottom; the second broke through sometime around New Year’s. How lucky are we that teething bothered you not at all?


Very, very lucky.

New foods this month include chicken, peas, hummus, lamb, cheese, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, turkey. Grandma keeps trying to feed you junk. But you really wanted the cookie! she says. Duh. You want to eat everything. See above re: paper. Now can we stick to things with nutritional value?

You think it’s hilarious to snatch the nursing pads out of my bra.

On New Year’s Eve, you levelled up into a bigger carseat. You were hating the infant one, with its too-tight straps and your feet protruding past the edge. Now you can see the road, and you couldn’t be happier!

Nestlé, Enfamil, and Similac have sent us what feels like four households’ worth of formula samples and coupons. But why bother with formula when breastfeeding is free? In a similar vein, why buy “stage one” baby cereal and prepare purées when I can just give Ashelyn morsels of what I’m eating?

Luckily, she seems to agree. In the past month and a half she’s tried:

  • avocado
  • broccoli
  • banana
  • egg yolk
  • pomelo
  • papaya
  • cantaloupe and honeydew
  • tofu
  • shiitake mushroom
  • zucchini
  • bits of rice, noodle, Cobs bread
  • steamed carrot
  • mandarin orange
  • dumpling and bun innards
  • fish
  • tomato
  • grape bites
  • dried persimmon
  • sweet potato

And our tooth count is still at zero! Ashelyn’s a good sport and has yet to refuse anything we offer. (I thought pomelo and egg yolk were misses, but she seemed to like yolk when it showed up again on the menu. As for pomelo, we haven’t gotten our hands on another one since the initial try.) The sour gollum face has mostly been replaced by the frantic MMH! MMMHH! that means food not coming fast enough.


How genius is a bib with sleeves?

I think we hit the jackpot with this girl – she doesn’t even make much of a mess when she eats! In fact, she gets kind of weirded out by squishy foods sticking to her hands. I know baby-led weaning is supposed to be baby self-feeding, but Ashelyn doesn’t mind if we pop a bite directly into her mouth, either.

Early this month, at a friend’s house, daddy was making you chase our old iPod Touch to and fro across the carpet. This was great entertainment for everyone, and soon you were surrounded by a ring of iPhones. After a moment of WHOA! MOTHERLODE! you went for the one with the camouflage patterned case. (To be clear, all the others were black.)

Bright, shiny objects catch your attention – jewellery, cell phone screens, faucets, the metal legs of the loveseat at grandma’s place.

You hate it when I sit in front of the computer. I’m thus in a perpetual state of being behind on my correspondence.

The sounds you make are freaking hilarious. There’s the scream, and the squeal, and the squeak. There’s the simba growl. There’s the mocking babble, just like the teen tuning out the nagging mother: Blah blah blah, whatever. (I promise not to be a nagging mother …)

I’ve noticed that you go, “Uuhn uuhn uuhn!” when you want to be picked up. You also started doing the outstretched arms thing this month.

You’ve got a nasty, all-fingers-at-once pinch. And a nasty habit of pinching the boob that feeds you.

You’re trying to stand on your own. Or you forget that you can’t quite do that yet, and you’ll let go of whatever you’re holding onto for support. Then you fall on your butt, and the shocked expression on your face is priceless.

On the solid foods front: tofu, papaya, and cantaloupe have been the biggest hits. You’ve also had avocado, broccoli, banana, zucchini, shiitake mushroom, bits of rice and noodle. You weren’t a huge fan of egg yolk or pomelo. Whenever we introduce a new food you make this sour gollum face, like, “What the heck is this?” but usually you’ll eat it anyway.

This month also marked your second cold. Most likely you caught it from daddy. It wasn’t really his fault, because even though he tried to be super careful, I wasn’t. I need an extra set of hands and eyes sometimes, alright? So I can do normal human things, you know, like shower. Also, antibodies. I have high hopes that you inherited the impenetrable Zhou immune system; you were only snotty for a couple days and well again within the week.

You like to mess with daddy by kissing mama but refusing to kiss him, eh heh heh. Instead, you’ll give him the hand. And smirk.