I was given an advanced copy of Born to Eat to read, but was not asked to write this review, was not compensated for my time and all opinions are my own. I just really love it THIS MUCH!
You guys know that I'm big on taking away the stress surrounding cooking and healthy eating, and instead making it more fun and enjoyable. So, naturally, I was really excited (slight understatement!) to start introducing solids with my daughter, who just turned six months old.
Now, despite being a dietitian and having specialized training in the realm of infant and child nutrition, we weren't given any training on baby-led weaning in my former workplace. The most I ever was "taught" in a professional capacity was a brief section in my lactation counselor training. So, the newly released book Born to Eat by fellow dietitian colleagues Leslie Schilling, MA, RDN and Wendy Jo Peterson, MS, RDN couldn't have come out at a more perfect time.
Born to Eat is a must-read for all parents everywhere. It's beautifully written, and the information is presented in a way that is just so easy to absorb and digest. Wendy Jo and Leslie make Born to Eat absent of judgement and an oasis from the mommy wars, where all parents can come, get some information, and obtain confidence in their infant feeding decisions. Even I - a dietitian who has worked with countless families on infant and child nutrition - felt empowered and more confident reading this book!
I loved this book so much, I already discussed and recommended it to my daughter's pediatrician. He, fortunately, is very positive about baby-led weaning and offering table foods as first foods. In our discussion he chatted about some of the same things discussed in Born to Eat: our country has a fixation on this idea of needing to feed infants pureed, specially designated "baby food", when that is not the case at all in other countries.
For me (also discussed in Born to Eat), it all goes back to the role of marketing. There are so many things in our country and culture that we take for the norm, because of the massive role marketing plays. I'm talking baby food, diet culture, food morality ("good" food vs. "bad" food), the thin ideal, etc. But when you strip away the marketing hype and actually take a look at evidence - what's really standing?
Now, purees can still have their place. Infant feeding is not black and white purees vs. baby-led weaning (this just goes back to good vs bad, which is just not beneficial thinking when it comes to such a gray area as food). That's why I know Leslie and Wendy Jo were very intentional in their language of supporting infant self-feeding in this book.
We've seen it first hand, ourselves! If I give my baby a piece of avocado for her to hold and gnaw on, she sometimes gets mad that it's slippery. If I slightly mash it and give her the spoon, she wants to hold the spoon and feed herself and couldn't be happier. There's nothing wrong with that!
There can be a lot of questions and concerns that come up with baby-led weaning, which is completely fine. Born to Eat does a marvelous job of looking at the top questions surrounding baby-led weaning and providing easy to understand, evidence-based answers from moms who've been there themselves. Concerned about choking? Wondering about the mess? What to do about food at daycare? All of these points (and so many more) are discussed.
I truly cannot recommend this book enough. If you're a parent or parent-to-be of a baby, a grandparent, a caretaker, or even just a friend curious about how your friend is feeding her baby, please check out Born to Eat. It gives easily-understood information about baby-led weaning and infant feeding practices. It discusses common concerns (the MESS!) and even shares sample ways you can have conversations with your child's other caretakers about the approach you're taking to feeding your family. I know if I have friends interested in baby-led weaning, this is going to be a great addition to a shower gift for them!