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July 07, 2017

Montessori Baby - Introducing Family Meals

Introducing solid food to your baby can be such an exciting time! But, weaning -- as we call it in Montessori -- can also be nerve wracking and stressful too. For me, there's always been this sort of dread over whether or not we are making the right feeding choices, how we are going to make it work in reality, and how to create this positive relationship with food. Montessori weaning has provided a lot of answers, especially when it comes to family meals.

Family meals are important in a Montessori home. Placing a baby at the family table is the perfect compliment to using a weaning table.

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Include Your Baby in Family Meals 

It's weaning time -- that is time to introduce solid food, not stopping breastfeeding -- with Augustus! So, I wanted to share how we are approaching family meals. There can sometimes be this misconception about Montessori weaning that small children eat alone at weaning tables instead of with their family. This simply isn't true. Eating is a communal activity and babies and other young children should be involved in the process. 

With Nora, we all ate at the weaning table for months and months. When she was big enough to join us at the larger table then we moved back to eating our family meals there. With Gus, we knew that 5 of us eating at a weaning table was an unrealistic expectation, and began the search for a Montessori-friendly high chair. I was lucky enough to find a Svan High Chair at a consignment sale. This chair allows Gus to eat directly at the family table with all of us.  

By eating at the family table, babies get to see, smell, taste what you are doing. They get to be involved in the conversation, model how you are eating, and see grace and courtesy in action. Ideally, a place should be set for the baby to eat that includes the baby's weaning spoon, weaning cup, plate/bowl and place mat. This gives the baby a realistic experience and extends respect to the child. 

In reality, we set our table for Gus about 60 percent of the time. You know, life {and the hangries} get in the way and sometimes, food directly on the table does the trick! I'm just happy if he is with us, enjoying our meals, and soaking it all in. 

Family meals are important in a Montessori home. Placing a baby at the family table is the perfect compliment to using a weaning table.

Do you include your baby in family meals? 

This post was week 31 of my Montessori baby series featuring Augustus.

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The Lion
The Lion said…
We are entering the weaning period as well and recently read "Baby-Led Weaning", review here:

Summary: first babies play with their food, then they learn to eat it, and it's helpful if you respect that order as parents

Our little lion can't yet sit up on his own so we've attempted a few lap-based wean-feedings/playtime when we have the patience and willingness to clean up the inevitable mess, but we'll let him work at a weaning table when he is coordinated enough to balance himself on the chair.

It looks like Gus is doing well and having fun playing with his food!