|If dads were always in charge of feeding baby....muskox ribs?|
What I didn't realize is that there is no neat template to superimpose over your kid that will fit perfectly with their needs and developmental stages. So how do you know when your baby is ready for solid food? Fortunately for us, Sadie let us know. In December she cut her first two teeth and started grabbing fistfuls of food off our plates and attempting to shove said food in her mouth. You couldn't ask for a clearer sign that your little is ready to start solids.
|sharing mom's blueberry oatmeal|
We introduced solids gradually. Initially I started with purees of fruits, veggies and brown rice. I would either use whole fresh organic produce and blend it up in my vitamix or follow the same process with steamed veggies. Every time I made a batch I would just pour the extra into ice cube trays and freeze it, so at any given time I had a pretty good baby food stash going.
At first Sadie didn't eat much of this puree. Sometimes she would just eat a couple spoon-fulls a day, and that was fine. Some days we wouldn't do any solid foods at all, and that was fine too. Babies really do get most of their nutritional needs from breastmilk for almost the whole first year, so I never stressed if it seemed like she wasn't eating much. Another thing I noticed when feeding her these baby mashes at dinner was that she seemed much more interested in the food that was on our plates.
Right around 7 months Sadie's interest in solid food really increased. After doing a little research on line I came across the concept of "baby-led weaning" This is the idea that you give your baby little bits of what you are eating (obviously, age appropriate) and give them control of feeding themselves. I don't know why I didn't do this sooner. It is clearly what works best for Sadie, and it is wonderfully easy. Now when I cook dinner I just make sure to include a few things that are baby finger friendly and Sadie gets those. For example: Last night we had Thai shrimp with green curry and mangos. I gave Sadie a little bit of rice, and some of the mangoes and tomatoes from the Thai dish chopped up and put on top of the rice. She fed herself, and a lot of it ended up on the floor. But who cares. Thats why we have dogs, and a vacuum cleaner. You couldn't have asked for a happier baby. Its like she knows that she is included in the meal. And the flavors are probably much more interesting than the bland purees of olden days.
|rice is just the right size to fit up baby's nose|
When I make myself blueberry oatmeal or a green smoothie--I share with Sadie. When I eat an apple or pear I let her nibble on it. I know that some people give their babies whole slices of apple or banana to suck on. This doesn't work for us because Sadie has 5 very sharp little teeth, and she literally bites off more than she can chew. She is a chomper, not a nibbler, and I am a very choking-paranoid mom, so I dice stuff up into smaller chunks, or hold it in my own hands and let her nibble to avoid her trying to shove the whole thing in her mouth.
|blueberry-kale smoothie lipstick.|
At this juncture in time we are doing solids 2-3 times every day. I always try to give her some snacks that she can eat independently: avocado, steamed carrots or sweet potato diced up small, banana, frozen blueberries or cranberries(makes a HUGE mess, but she loves it). Her pincer reflex skill is getting really good, and you can see the pride she feels at being able to "do it herself."
Are there some things we aren't feeding her? Yes. Obviously, no refined sugars or processed foods. Dad has nut allergies, so we are holding off on those. I am also waiting to feed her wheat until closer to a year. We haven't really done much in the way of meat either (with the exception of the BBQ muskox ribs above) But she loves lentils, beans, and egg yolk, so the protein thing is probably covered for the next little bit. No milk or cheese yet, but she has tried yogurt.
Finally, Sadie still nurses like a champ, so I know she is growing healthy and strong. I think she still weighs around 22 lbs (about the same as at her 6 month check up) But our pediatrician assures us that it is totally normal to see a growth taper right around the time baby really gets into solids and starts to become mobile (Sadie is definitely mobile now! She is crawling everywhere and getting into everything. sigh.) Plus, she is really stretching out into a tall baby. I have to put her in the 18 month footy pajamas because she is too tall for the 12 month ones now!
So that is where we are at with solid foods. It seems like a good place to be for now, for us. I am sure all babies go about this process differently, and every mama has to figure out what works for their unique situation:)