So she’s not six months… shoot me or something

This is the thing. Right around three months Bean started being interested in our food. I didn’t give her food though. I tried some distraction things at first. Like giving her a spoon to play with while we were eating.

When I asked about this on a message board that I occasionally look to for parenting advice I was first told that I should absolutely not even think about even giving her tastes until she was six months. I was also told I would know that she was ready for food when she sat up on her own, grabbed at our food, liked to watch us eat, when she started teething and when the tongue-thrust reflex went away.

Bean met all of these factors about two weeks ago. She isn’t six months old.

About this time I started giving her little tastes of my oatmeal which she loved. And then last week I delved head on into making my own rice cereal and giving her that. I just steamed some brown rice and blended it in my food processor with some breast milk. She was a little put off by the texture at first, so I didn’t push it on her. I would just try a spoonful here and there. By Friday she was eating about 2-3 tablespoonfuls.

She didn’t have any over the weekend because I didn’t feel like bringing the stuff with us to Ruth’s house. I was also still feeling really unsure about my decision. I had made a big batch of the cereal and frozen almost all of it. After this weekend I was just planning on leaving it in the freezer and then trying again in a few weeks when she hit the “proper” age.

Well then today I read the section on infant feeding and nutrition in The Baby Book from the Sears Parenting Library. Based on what I read I felt like I was doing the right thing last week in following Bean’s cues, rather than a timetable. Basically, EVERY baby is different and that is just the way it is.

By the way, I totally recommend this book to any new parents out there. It has so much useful information in it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wondered something and then been able to find out exactly what I was looking for in this book. They even have dosing charts by weight in the back for common over the counter medications.

In the section on introducing solids there is a chart of when you can introduce certain foods by month and so much other helpful advice.

Here are some of my favorite tidbits:

By her own experience, this wise mother discovered a basic principle of introducing solid foods — feed babies according to their own developmental skills rather than a preset calendar or clock. Babies’ appetites and feeding skills are as individual as their temperaments. Let’s feed them that way.

Consider solid food as an addition to, not a subsitute for, breast milk or formula.

Remember, your initial goal is to introduce baby to the new taste and touch of solids, not to stuff baby. Gradually vary the texture and amount to fit the eating skills and appetite of your baby. Some like solids of thinner consistency and want a larger amount; some do better with thicker solids and smaller amounts. Your baby may take a whole jar one day, but only a teaspoon the next.

Offer solids at the time of the day when your baby seems hungriest, bored, or when you both need a change of pace. Choose a time of the day that is most convenient for you, since a little mess is part of the feeding game.

Controlled studies have shown, however, that infants who are fed solids before bedtime do not sleep through the night any sooner than infants who do not get the before-bed stuffing.

I included that last quote in there because I have been told SO many times that if I either feed Bean rice cereal before bed or give her formula she will sleep through the night. Ha! So there it’s not true all you advice givers out there.

The book even encouraged letting your baby make a mess and explore the food with his/her hands. I just feel like I have such a better perspective on the solids thing after reading that section. I was reinspired to try again with Bean today and just let her have fun with it instead of worrying about her making a mess of her clothes or not eating a certain amount. When I took the “rules” off it was just so much more fun! I didn’t feel like I was forcing her to like it or anything.

I stripped her down to her diaper. Put a little of the rice cereal on the tray for her to play with. I even let her grab onto the spoon and food container while I was feeding her. She had a blast and actually seemed to enjoy the rice cereal more than ever.

Sure, it was a mess, but with my perspective change and the pressure off, it was a fun mess and not a hassle.

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7 Comments

Filed under Family, Homemade, Parenting

7 responses to “So she’s not six months… shoot me or something

  1. Swee’Pea started to get solids just a few days shy of turning 5 months old. I knew he needed it because he started night waking after not having done that since he was just three weeks old… and he always seemed hungry after nursing or a bottle. We used boxed organic rice cereal at first, and eventually when he was ready I made my own foods and then eventually cereals (my cereal was always so chunky and I couldn’t get it as funny as that boxed stuff… he actually preferred chunk though, once he learned how to swallow!). He kept at the same amount of nursings a day, but I know he seemed much happier once he started foods! πŸ™‚

  2. Ruth

    Looks like she enjoyed herself! =)

  3. crystal

    Once Ella can do those things I’m going to start giving her solids. I don’t care if she’s 5 months or 8 months. Once she shows me she’s ready we’ll go for it, just making sure to stick to foods that aren’t common allergens. I don’t care what the mothering forums and AAP say. I think way too much of baby raising is focused on time lines and dates and not baby behavior. That’s one reason I love the Sears’ books.

  4. My milk supply was never very much, and after much support from my pediatrician, I started feeding Henry solid foods at 4 months. I think the book is right, you as a mother have the best intuition as far as if your child is ready/needs something more substantial.

    She is so darn cute!!

  5. Watch out for GLUTEN. Many pediatricians are no longer recommending giving wheat to children until 2 or even 3 years old. Lots of people developing allergies to gluten which is a really difficult condition because Gluten is on everything. Avoid bread, Cheerios, barley and yes! oat meal. Also processed food containing Maltodextrin. Food coloring is pretty bad too!

    Besides that, your pediatrician probably already told you to avoid citric fruits, these are too acidic for baby and also can create food allergies.

    I wish my baby ate solids. I have tried really hard but he is just not wanting to. He is 10 months. Only like chunky stuff and only if he feeds himself. He hates puree foods! You are right, they are all different.

    I also love Dr. Sears’ book! thanks for reminding me I had it. I am going to dig it up and read on this section more…

  6. Sure looks like she’s enjoying herself! πŸ™‚

  7. OK, Lisa, I’ve got my gun ready. :-p

    You are so right, there is no magical age where babies are ready for solids. Some babies start earlier than 6 months and some later. You have to do what is right for you and Bean. That is really the only advice I have for new moms- follow your instincts!

    Bean is adorable with all that cereal on her face!

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