Presenting our 100 First Foods Graduate… Atchison Jenkins! We accomplished our goal of introducing 100 foods by Atch’s 1st birthday through baby-led weaning. He ate his 100 by 10.5 months.
Here is the list of Atch’s 100 First Foods:
Baby-lead weaning is a method of feeding babies that teaches independence. Rather than spoon feeding purées, babies feed themselves modified versions of table food from the very beginning. It sounds crazy- impossible- scary… but it is incredible!
HUGE shout out to Katie Ferraro from the Baby Led Weaning Made Easy Podcast. This is where we learned about the 100 First Foods program. Learn more here.
Katie lays out an easy to follow method of introducing five new foods per week. A starch, a vegetable, a fruit, a protein and an allergen/challenge food. We introduced all of the big 8 allergens within the first two months and luckily had no reactions.
Atch tried his first bite of food on his six month birthday. We waited until he was fully 6 months and sitting up independently for safety reasons. Atch has never been spoon fed or given baby food. We LOVE that he can sit in his high chair and feed himself while the whole family enjoys a meal together.
It was amazing to watch his skills progress each week. In the beginning Atch would suck on every food but within a few weeks he was chewing (even without teeth!) It’s crucial to understand the difference between gagging and choking- this is what kept me calm through the scary parts of the process. It’s all worth it!
Atch LOVED all foods from the start. By his second week he was clearing his plate and eating as much as I would give him.
Around 7 months Atch started practicing with his open cup. Within a few weeks he could pick up his cup, drink from it and set it back down on his tray! Babies are intelligent, capable and incredible.
The 100 first foods process expanded our culinary horizons in the Jenkins house. Tyler has become obsessed with kiwi and a fan of couscous. I learned I love farro, black rice needs to be in our regular food rotation, and garlicky bok choy is divine.
As a cook I often felt like I was on the show Chopped. Always crafting something new from the containers of leftovers in the fridge. Quinoa waffles, butternut-cashew pasta sauce, bulgur-sweet potato muffins, almond banana baked oatmeal, and shrimp cakes were some of my favorite creations.
As far at Atch’s favorite food? It’s impossible to name. Usually his favorites were whatever he was being served that week. Some of his favorites in each category are:
Vegetables: Asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli
Fruit: Cantaloupe, banana, kiwi
Protein: pot roast, black beans, tempeh, salmon
Starch: muffins/waffles/pancakes made from whole foods, baked oatmeal and couscous
Other: Homemade white bean hummus, peanut butter, any type of bread, roasted garlic
If you’re contemplating how/when to start feeding your baby solids, I cannot recommend baby-led weaning enough! It was one of the BEST decisions we’ve made in parenthood. I will feed all my children this way!
It’s no secret that I’m an advocate for eating a nutrient dense diet and baby-led weaning has helped Atch fall in with love nourishing foods from the start! I’ve never seen someone eat asparagus so ferociously.
Research shows that early introduction of diet diversity helps prevent picky eating. Additionally, the greatest indicator of gut microbiome health is the diversity of PLANTS in your diet. By introducing Atchison to 100 foods as a baby and the majority of those being whole plant foods, I’m confident we are setting a foundation for a lifetime of good eating and health.
We are proud of our little man! Thank you baby-led weaning for this wonderful experience!