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Solid Food - Soliciting Advice

Any mommas already try baby-led weaning? How did it go?

Baby L is already starting to show a very huge interest in food, even arcing her back in the least-comfy way possible just to stop and stare at Hubbs while he eats.  She's also teething and drooling slimy puddles down her shirt, and sometimes her mouth mimics a chewing sort of motion even though there's nothing in it.  She is beginning to use a pincer grab though she's nowhere near proficient, and she does definitely enjoy putting everything in her mouth.

I'm just waiting for 6 months to come, and then we'll be good to go to introduce food other than boob juice. 

However, the question du jour is: do I start with BLW at around 6 months, or do I start with Chinese rice porridge (congee) and other mushy foods before 6 months?  Her keen interest in food suggests she might be ready before 6 months (which seems really far away right now), but the crunchy little part of me likes the idea of boobing her as long as possible, and introducing solids only when she is really truly ready (e.g. not clocking over when she sits on her butt, and having enough posture to be able to sit up straight).  The fearful momma in me wants to give her mushy purees because it seems to be less dangerous (not scientifically proven, BTW) but the 21st century educator part of me really loves the idea of baby-directed learning, including learning to eat.

Would love to hear some anecdotes, even if your case studies are limited to your own kids.  I think this is one of those situations where there isn't really one "right" approach and there's also no judgment from either camp; everyone sort of does what is right for their kid(s).  Hence, I'm just looking to hear what you did to introduce solids for your babies.

Thanks for sharing! :)


Jel said…
Have no advice for you, but i'm also interested in any answers you get!
~Rain``` said…
There is a lot of advice out there as to what you should do. In the end, go with what you think is the best for baby L and what resonates with your beliefs and values.

As for me, my daughter was pretty "textbook", thus I started cereals and purees with her at 6 months. I was pretty "scientific" and waited the suggested 3-4 days before introducing the next new thing. She gradually moved to finger foods and yogurt/cheese at 9 months and "people food" around 11 - 12 months. Btw, Alisha was exclusively formula-fed from 6 weeks onwards.

My son was eager to start earlier and showed more interest in food than my daughter. Thus, he started the whole solid food journey at 5 months. My son was my breastfed baby, but at 5 months he also needed formula to supplement what he was getting from me. He self-weaned from BF'ing at 8.5 months and moved on to the bottle and formula. Anyway, with him, I introduced protein much earlier (6 - 7 months), as advised by the health nurse.

In both my children's case, I made their baby food, except for the fortified infant cereals, which I purchased. My kids preferred the homemade stuff over any jar of food.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
@Rain - are your kids picky eaters or do they eat everything? Thanks for the info though; I'm trying to figure out which method is the better fit for me. :)
tejanamama said…
I waited with both kids until around 6 months. Elena had no interest and Emilia was like you are describing. WANTING TO EAT. Elena hated solids for a long time, but was a formula baby mostly since I had to stop bf'ing early with her. She is a great eater now, although goes periods of not eating much in quantity, she will try most things and has a very expanded palate for her age (i'm told).
EMILIa however I did start a tad early, very close to 6 months, but gave in to her urges and tendencies to want food and seem to be ready for it. I ONLY started with the beginner foods as you are told/have read is the "right" way to go about it. She advanced through the stages much faster than her sister and is more of a quantity eater now and has a taste for crap. I have to say that what they eat now I COMPLETELY attribute to their in-womb diet and not how solids were introduced since THAT was where things were so different. Emilia was exposed to much more "bad" foods in utero and that is where she gravitates. She also is interested in food more overall.
I try to stick as closely to what you are supposed to do just because I obsess about food issues and don't want to have something to point to later and think "UGH I shouldn't have done this or that" etc. But the best thing to keep in mind is as you do introduce those foods, make them organic, and make them homemade as much as possible, introducing omega 3s and doing your best to keep reintroducing things even when rejected because they DO not always accept foods immediately. Even now the girls take several times before accepting things. Even when they dont, a few months later we reintroduce again and usually time two or three they start to change. They are very flexible and this is MORE true the younger they are. The longer we accept that this kid hates this or that, the less of a chance we will have to getting them to expand their palates and accept healthier alternatives.
GOOD LUCK mama!!!! How old is she now?
Irene H said…
With my first daughter I started her on rice cereal at 4.5 months. That was the first night she slept 4 hours straight, before that she would wake up every 2.5-3 hours to feed around the clock. I think she digested the milk too fast. She loved food, since I started early, I slowly added a different cereals ( oats, barley, mix) every 1-1.5 weeks until she tried all of them, then I tried carrots, peas...... And so on. I didnt give her plain rice congee because there isn't much nutrients in it. The baby cereals had added vitamins and iron. My second child ws totally different, she had no interest in food, she didn't start taking solids until after 6 months, so it is all baby specific.

I say let her try it, if she likes it give it to her and if she doesnt, then just wait a few weeks and try again.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
@Irene H - So true that feeding is so kid-specific. With #1, did you use store-bought cereals? How did you prepare the various grains? I was thinking of congee just as something for her to taste, but you're right that it doesn't have a lot of value (except carbs). I'm hoping to do homemade where possible.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
@tejanamama - Oooh..thanks for the advice (I can always count on you to dish it to me ;) ).

Baby L is 4.5 months and salivates every time we eat. She was drooling over our pizza yesterday, our sushi tonight, our breakfast muffins... and I even caved and let her lick at my mini-cucumber (but she didn't gnaw at it or anything). She shows up 10 days late and is now rushing to grow up - what gives?! ;)
Really do what feels right for you! That is the key in motherhood.

For me, I like to wait till my babies can sit up more on their own before I introduce other foods. The idea is that they have the proper muscle control to also be able to properly eat food and swallow.

I also like to think of introducing solids as if it is just a tasting session. For the first while, breast milk will still be my babies main source of nutrition. With just a bit of added tastes along the way. I like bananas as a first food!

Find your comfort zone and go with it! You are your own babies best expert!
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Thanks MamaITC! I've been mulling over the whole baby-led weaning method (which sounds like what you've described), because I really like the concept of it, but Baby L isn't quite able to sit up straight yet and she is already showing a tremendous interest in food. And since she is my first, I don't always have that gut-instinct/intuition and sometimes I second-guess myself ;)

Love your blog! Thanks for visiting my humble corner of the blogiverse!
Ms PR said…
Hmmm.. well, my kid is only 2 months older than yours but I can share with you my experience thus far. The pediatrician told us we could start solids when Joe Jr was 4 months old. He said she was ready and would want to eat. I was scared to interrupt our awesome routine and sleep schedule (10-12 hrs sleep thru the night) cuz I heard stories of gas or constipation pains that would wake them up at night so I waited a few more weeks until she was 4 months and 3 weeks.

She definitely showed interest in our food. I started with rice cereal (because it's iron fortified), then went with pureed carrots, peas, bananas, apples and so on (made my own - she loves the homemade stuff over the store bought stuff!). I'm still BFing (she doesn't like formula). Joe Jr loves to eat and she's been pooing very well too. Sleeps the same. I say give it a try with the rice cereal first, especially if it looks like she's interested, and then see how it goes.

PS. For us, the Heinz rice cereal has been good. It was recommended by many momma friends who said other brands caused gas or constipation. :)
I have not commented because you read the blog. ; ) but I have to say, I'm glad I trusted my instinct and started Oliver at 4 months.

He loves to eat his squash and carrots and I like the new form of bonding we get from this. He only eats solids once a day, and I will try to keep it like that until 6 mos.

Breast milk is his main source of nutrition. Squash is his treat in the day.

I knew in my heart he was ready. I'm really glad I acted on it.
~Rain``` said…
Sorry so late. Generally speaking, they are not picky eaters. Like most people, they have a handful of things they don't like to eat. But I've heard that sometimes it takes 10 to 15 times before an infant develops a liking for some food. Thus, I keep offering stuff even though it wasn't their favorite.
Miss Mac said…
I'm trying to figure this out too! We started rice cereal at 4 months (Earth's Best brand) and he loved it... but it didn't love him:[ Constipation issues so the pedi said to do oatmeal instead. We do oatmeal and then I have been doing a combination of baby foods and figuring out how to prepare fresh foods. The avocado is a great way to start on a fresh food for your little one... let it get good & squishy ripe, spoon out the inside and mash, mash, mash (I'm probably a little paranoid and over do it) you can add a little breastmilk to it too to get an easier texture when they are first starting. We started with a little cereal once a day at 4 months and it was a good move, still working on some digestion issues, but a much more content baby that loves to eat when we do. Good luck and please post some good ideas/recipes when you come across them!

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