Your Kale-Eating Baby Does Not Impress Me

What Women Really Think
Jan. 28 2014 12:34 PM

Your Kale-Eating Baby Does Not Impress Me


Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images for Girl Behind the Camera

Yesterday there was a New York Times Motherlode column about “baby led weaning.” For those not up on the latest fads among the under 2 set, baby led weaning is giving your kid finger foods as their first solids instead of purees. Apparently it’s huge in England. The author of the New York Times post presents BLW, as the insiders call it, as if it’s a new dish soap in a 1950s commercial. At first she was skeptical: Wouldn’t her young daughter choke on a chicken wing or something? But then she took a class about BLW and was won over. “No runny rice cereal, no applesauce, no airplane spoon games,” she boasts. And then the smug coup de grâce:

Recently, a friend from New York with adult children visited us in London, and she seemed surprised but impressed as Emma shoved fistfuls of steamed kale and roasted pumpkin into her mouth while we were out to lunch.

Fistfuls of kale, people. Kale! The top of the Pollan pyramid! For the record, we fed our kid purees from about 6-8 months, then we gave her finger foods once she had teeth. Now she feeds herself pretty well, but I just call it “feeding the baby” and I am not giving it a fancy new name, justifying it with new World Health Organization guidelines, or making any money off workshops pushing it onto other parents.


Look, I’m sure the lady who wrote the Motherlode post is perfectly nice and well-intentioned, but she’s just adding more fuel to the fire of what she refers to as “breast versus bottle 2.0.” How the food gets into your child’s stomach should not be something up for major discussion among strangers, unless you’re shoving cheerios up his nose.

In fact, I’d like to call a moratorium on all “new” baby-rearing techniques for the foreseeable future. Babies have been pretty much the same for a really long time. There are many, many different ways to raise them and nourish them, most of which will work out. At this point, all these new baby fads are good for is making moms feel inadequate—or superior, if they feel like they’re on the right side of the issue—and put issues up for “debate” that should not actually be divisive.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.