“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver
I’ve been poetry lover ever since I can remember. To this day, some of my fondest memories are the times I would sit, surrounded by close girlfriends, taking turns reading pages from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.
These days I have a very active one year-old to chase around, and alas, time to myself (especially time to read) is scarce. But, I still love poetry, and I’m an especially big fan of Mary Oliver’s work. In a world filled with esoteric poetry, her work is so real and vulnerable — and I love the wise yet unanswerable questions she poses. Her poem, “When Death Comes”, continues to inspire me: to do, to be, to reach into the deepest parts of myself, to truly live and chase my dreams, no matter how wild they may seem.
Since Charlie was born, I’ve felt the undeniable call to become a doula. My birth — wild, joyful, primal — is a sacred experience I hold so dear. I can’t write about it without being overwhelmed by tears, and to this day, I count myself the luckiest mama in the world to have been surrounded with supportive love and tenderness during such a transformative moment in my life. However, as many mamas know, adjusting to the postpartum period directly after birth can be difficult. As someone who had a flawless birth (my son was born after less than two hours of active labor), an easy recovery, and amazing partner support, navigating the fourth trimester was still completely overwhelming. And so, I’m planning on starting the DONA doula certification process this summer, once we’ve really settled into a day-to-day routine and Charlie is a bit more self sufficient. I’m so excited to serve expectant + postpartum mamas — to honor, support, and care for them. And I’m especially thrilled to see how these plans intersect with my photography and creative work. Good things are ahead, and I can’t wait.
Now, if you’re here for our experience with “baby led weaning” thus far, read on.
First, for those who might not know what “baby led weaning” is, it’s simply the practice of letting baby wean + start eating solid foods at their own pace. Purees and baby foods can be used, or not — families can choose what works for them — and baby eats whatever the parents eat or small, bite-sized chunks of soft finger foods. The term “weaning” is used in the European sense of introducing solids, not taking baby off of mamas milk. At almost 14 months, Charlie is still primarily breastfed, whenever and wherever he wants. We’ve been extremely lucky to have an easy breastfeeding relationship, and I credit that to the excellent support we received at the birth center where Charlie was born, lots of hard work, and endless encouragement + praise from my husband.
We didn’t set out to do things this way. In fact, I didn’t think we’d make it past a year of breastfeeding, but here we are, and I’m so grateful. We decided not to do “baby foods” and instead started introducing different tastes of foods from our plates at around 8-9 months (provided it wasn’t total garbage and he could safely chew it). He tried what we offered, but it wasn’t until around 11-12 months that he started grabbing at anything and everything on our plates.
And so, he’s still breastfed, but he eats so much more — organic whole fat dairy, grains, pastured meats, and an occasional Yumi treat. We don’t worry too much about the process and instead, choose to go with it and just let it ride. He’s happy, healthy, and our pediatrician says he’s right on track, so we’re all good.
So far his favorite foods are: grilled cheese (the quintessential American kiddo food, after all), salmon sashimi, Muenster cheese, and spicy Vietnamese Phở. We try to let him feed himself unless it’s a (decidedly) messy food, in which case, we (happily) spoon feed him. But otherwise, we just let him take in the textures, tastes, and smells of whatever he happens to be enjoying, no matter how messy.
Keep in mind: this is just our experience. There is no right or wrong way to feed your baby. Feeding your babe is an intuitive decision, and no matter what you decide, you’re doing the right thing, mama.
Stay tuned for another update post once we’ve traveled down this (baby-led weaning) road a bit further.