Welcome to the first post in my series on What To Feed Babies! We're starting off with a topic of much debate: At what age should babies start eating? On the one hand are doctors who recommend starting rice cereal at four months or earlier, and on the other hand you have people like this mom, who exclusively breastfed her daughter for almost two years, choosing to follow the baby's cues for being ready for solid food.
My Experience With Baby's Readiness
Having two very different children has given me an interesting perspective of a lot of baby-related things, including determining when a baby is ready for solid foods.
As a first time mom, I eagerly awaited the 6 month mark, thinking (even if I tried not to) that somehow my baby would magically be ready to eat foods when he hit that milestone age. Six months came and went, and so did seven, and eight, and nine...and this kid did not want to eat!
He would get angry when I tried to feed him my lovingly made vegetable purees with a spoon. And he would gag if I tried to give him soft, "gummable" chunks of food like banana or avocado to feed himself. I had read all about how egg yolk is a great first food for babies starting as soon as four months, but here was my eight month old refusing to even taste it!
As it turned out, Caedmon did not really start eating any significant quantity of food until past his first birthday. By that point, I was able to just give him table food, and bypass the puree stage completely. (Less work, woohoo!) Of course I worried needlessly over it, as many first time moms do when their child is not doing something by the time the average age rolls around (we're there now with potty training). But now I am quite confident of this: he just wasn't ready. He was a marathon nurser and apparently breast milk was enough to sustain him for that first year.
My daughter, of course, is a different story. We introduced solid foods not long after her six month birthday. Now, at almost nine months, she seems to already need three meals a day! She was not quite sitting unsupported (one of the solids readiness signs) when we started feeding her, but since all the other signs were there, I felt comfortable starting. This girl loves to eat!
So there you have it: two completely different scenarios of two completely different kids.
Solid Food Readiness Signs
If you search the internet you'll find all sorts of lists of "readiness signs" to tell you when babies are ready to start eating solid foods. Here are a few common ones:
- Loss of the tongue thrust reflex (baby doesn't push food out of his/her mouth automatically)
- Can sit unsupported
- Working on the pincer grasp to pick up small objects (thumb and forefinger)
- Interested in food when others are eating
Here is a great article detailing the readiness signs and myths regarding when to start solid foods, and here is some very well-researched information on why to delay solids until at least 6 months.
When did you start feeding your baby solid foods? Which signs gave you the go-ahead?This is part of Fat Tuesday, Traditional Tuesday
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