Weaning the Montessori way
When it comes to weaning you will receive a lot of information and advice from the internet, friends and family. Montessori or not, ultimately it's up to you. Now weather you choose baby led weaning or traditional weaning, you can do it in a Montessori way!
The thing to remember with Montessori is we want to prepare the environment, provide freedom and independence, and follow the childs lead. These are core principles you will hear me talk about time and time again and with weaning it's no different.
So how do we implement these principles for weaning? We can provide a weaning table and or seat around the family table that is safe. Very often in a Montessori environment you will not see a high chair because it goes against the principles of freedom of movement and independence. What you will find is a small table and chair at the right height for the child.
We have this table that could be a highchair with a tray, without a tray at the table or just a table and chair so it really did everything we needed it to and is still used at nearly 3 years old.
When it comes to providing independence with weaning it will depend on whether you choose to do traditional weaning or baby led weaning.
Baby led weaning
In itself is a very independent way to wean. It involves giving the child whole foods for them to bring to their mouth and explore the eating process. They are usually cut in finger lengths and the child will often gag to start with and gradually learn how to chew and swallow correctly.
It is a very common and safe way to wean but absolutely do your research. I am not informed enough on the safe practices and baby led weaning and I do not claim to be so if you do choose this method do your research, but be rest assured it is definitely Montessori aligned!
Traditional weaning is spoon fed weaning, where you load up a spoon and feed them. Usually starting with very soft foods like yogurt, porridge etc. This is how I chose to wean and it absolutely can be done in a Montessori way!
In order to provide more independence is rather than simply putting the spoon in their mouth is to just load up the spoon and give it them and show them how to bring it to their mouths. Once they can do that then you just have to load up the spoon for them.
Then you can progress to them "scooping" the food themselves. Which is often very very messy, make peace with that fact! but where i started was putting the spoon into a bowl of porridge so all Jax had to do was pick up the spoon and bring it to his mouth and then I would place it back and repeat.
Just gradually hand more of the process over to them as you progress on the weaning journey.
Drinking from a cup
When you start the weaning process, in Montessori this is often when we introduce an open cup at meal times. Which if you've seen the average toddler still on a sippy cup you're probably thinking "what?!" but they are more than capable of STARTING the learning process and being successful
The thing to remember is that it's a process. It will be messy for a while there will be lot's of spills, and this is more for practice, they will still use whatever bottle/cup you use for milk and water otherwise for a little while.
What you will want to do is find a small (preferably glass) cup the right size for your childs hand that isn't too heavy, I recommend this cup. This is how we enable them to be successful by scaling down the materials used to their size.
Then you can show them how to use it and then just let them figure it out. Start with a small amount of water to avoid the big shock of a full cup of water in the face, because I promise that will happen!
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I believe Montessori is for everybody, I want to help everyone bring a little more Montessori into their homes and lives.
Montessoraus mama. x