We waited til 6 months for a variety of reasons (like this article, this article , this article and this article explain better than I ever would be able to). As I've said and won't babble too long about again, I think every family has to do what's best for them and this was what was best for us. We also wanted to do Baby-Led Weaning (read more about it here). According to that site:
- Baby Led Weaning, quite simply, means letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.
- The distinct advantage of weaning at around six months is that by then, our children are developmentally capable of feeding themselves proper food, in other words – no more mush!
- You just hand them the food in a suitably-sized piece and if they like it they eat it and if they don’t they won’t.
- That’s the essence of Baby Led Weaning. No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos… just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family.
So, I read lots of websites, books, and watched several YouTube videos and felt pretty good. The Hubs and I brushed up on our baby CPR, just in case, and we were ready to go!
I knew we weren't going to go 100% with BLW, but wanted to go mainly with its philosophy of real foods and Bailey feeding herself. I'd say we're about 60% BLW so far. We do almost all real foods, but also do baby cereal and I definitely wouldn't say Bailey has the whole feeding herself thing down. She's working on it though. She'll get there.
Anyway--- we wanted to try solids for the first time in the morning, just in case she had some sort of reaction. Of course, the Hubs also wanted to be there for B's first food, so we waited til the Saturday morning after her 6-month check up. We gave her slices of avocado, some with the skin still on to her help grip it and some with no skin. Girl wanted nothing to do with it. Everything, and I mean everything, else you put in front of her, she picks up and puts straight in her mouth. This-- she wouldn't even touch. Weirdo girl.
I didn't worry much. I'm trying to embrace the "food before one is just for fun!" mentality. I decided we'd try again Sunday and if she still didn't like it, we'd wait a few days and then try again. I didn't want to try a different food, as I wanted to try the no-new-food-every-3-day rule.
Sunday morning came and we did the same thing. This time she'd kinda pick it up, but didn't put it to her mouth. I tried to put some in her mouth and she just did not like it. Meanwhile, the Hubs is eating a frozen waffle next to her and he said she kept eyeing his waffle. So, I said - welp, let's give her some of that! So, I made a new non-syruped waffle and cut off a finger sized strip and gave it to her (clearly sending that whole no no-new-food-every-3-day rule to the wind). Girl LOVED it. Devoured it. Apparently waffles trump avocado and just like that her first food was officially WAFFLE. Am I thrilled about that being her first food? Meh. What can ya do! She loved it!
The next day we tried baby cereal and another solid (softened apple, I think?). Clearly, we're not doing exclusively BLW, as we're doing baby cereal. I also picked up a few jars of baby food to try out too. I want to be flexible and go with the flow about this whole food thing. I know... ME. Who would've thought.
Since the avocado/waffle incident, we've tried the following foods, generally sticking to the same food for 2 days-ish before trying a new one:
-Baby Cereal (mixed with pumped breastmilk)
-Baby Jar Puree: Prunes, Mixed Veggie, Squash
-Baby Puffs and Mums
So far, she's a decent eater. She LOVES sweet potatoes and banana and goes to town when those are in front of her. She just sorta sucked the juice from the apple, peach, and cantaloupe and only when I would hold the chunk in her mouth. She HATED the babyfood squash, was just sorta OK with the mixed veggie and prunes. She definitely seems to prefer actual food over the jarred purees.
And, just like that- Bailey's eating real food! We started with 1 "meal" a day and after about 2 1/2 weeks, adding a second. We also do solids right after nursing so she isn't frustrated or grumpy from being hungry. Like I said early, food before one is just for fun. She still gets 99% of her nutrition from nursing. We're still nursing the same amount of times as before. Now, we just eat solids after the 6:30am and 12:30pm nursing sessions. In another few weeks we'll add a 3rd solids session between the 3:30pm and 6:30pm nursing sessions so we can have dinner as a family!
I'm really looking forward to Bailey continuing to try new foods. It's so fun seeing her expression as she picks up and puts the food in her mouth ("Is this for me??? I'm ALLOWED to put this in my mouth?? WAIT! This isn't a toy! This tastes funny!!"). I think we're going to slowly wen out the jarred food and cereal and go solely BLW. She seems to prefer it and, honestly, it's much easier and it's barely any bigger of a mess than jarred food (yet).
So, that's that! In the blink of an eye Bailey has gone from a teeny, tiny little premature baby to practically a toddler eating a banana. While I miss her little baby stage, each and every day is so much fun and I love each new stage more and more. Bring on the food!