The method of offering solid food in pieces for baby to try when they are ready is named after the English researcher Gill Rapley.
This method of supplementary feeding is increasingly being used. There are also many parents who still opt for the traditional way of supplementary feeding, which is also a great way. You could even choose to combine the 'mashed' variant with offering pieces of solid food. It is not the case that food is only suitable for breastfed children, as is sometimes claimed. The main difference is that breastfed children have a stronger mouth and jaw development and are accustomed to taking food at their own request.
Babies of six months can chew. Not because they have learned this from their parents, but because their own development allows them to do so. However, a baby will only start chewing after he has learned to take things and bring them to his mouth. In principle, a too young baby does not run the 'risk' of eating through this method, because he will not bring food to his mouth independently.
There is one drawback: it can result in a lot of rubbish! The advantages are that a child can decide for himself what and how much it eats. A child can listen carefully to one's own body and follow their own needs. From birth it is already apparent at the breast: a child knows instinctively well to find the breast and indicates when he is hungry or has drunk enough. It is important that a child does not forget to listen to his own body, just as he did during breastfeeding. Hunger is hunger, enough is enough. Another advantage is that you can always dine together pleasantly; after all, you do not have to feed your child, but he will eat independently.
When refeeding with treated / mashed food, a parent is in charge: the child is generally fed with a spoon and gets, for example, the food the parent has made, or food from jars made by the manufacturer. Then parents decide what, how much, and when the child eats. If food is offered separately and independently then baby comes into contact with different scents, flavors, colors and textures. Your child can smell, feel, taste and learn about solid food in a playful way. As a result, a child often eats more variedly and they are less picky.
If all that is offered is pulped or pureed food, a child can often not choose what he wants to eat or not. When a child does not like something it can ruin the entire meal. Sometimes it is also difficult to find out what the child does not like exactly. At the same time, food itself proves to be good for the development of gross and fine motor skills. Think of, for example, carrots / banana (gross motor skills) and eating rice or peas (fine motor skills). He sees, smells, feels, grabs, tastes ... all learning moments for the child, with a positive effect on his well-being.
Watching your child remains essential. A child who can not sit up straight and can not keep his head straight can not eat well either. If you offer the child food and he does not put it in his mouth, it's not yet time for solid food. Your child will in due course indicate when it is ready for solid food, by putting it in his mouth and eating in a novel way.
The gag reflex is important in learning to eat. It is present in the mouth at birth and moves backwards over time. This happens around six months. If you give the child solid food and he continues to push it out with his tongue, it is a sign that the child is not ready for solid food yet. You often hear that people find it scary due to the danger of suffocation or malnutrition. But every way of feeding can be unsafe. It is always important that you keep an eye on the child while eating, in whatever way the child gets his food.
If your child is born prematurely, or there is another reason why your child can not safely process food, consultation with an expert is necessary before you can introduce this supplementary feeding method.