Before introducing solids to my baby, I imagined it would be exciting to watch her try new foods and enjoy the flavors. Don’t get me wrong, I knew there would be some foods that she didn’t like and a mess would certainly be made. But, I assumed this would be an easier task than some of the feeding issues we had overcome when she was a newborn.
At the same time, the guidelines for introducing solids have changed and the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends starting solids between 4-6 months. Also, recent research shows that babies can be started on a number of different foods, including pureed meats, vegetables, and fruit. Iron-fortified single cereals or pureed meats are good choices to try since they are high in iron. It is also important to wait 3 to 5 days before offering a new food to watch for signs of allergies.
With this news, I decided to try spoon-feeding my daughter, Daphne, with iron-fortified baby cereal (oatmeal), as her first food. Even though she was showing signs of readiness such as an interest in what we were eating and smacking her lips, it didn’t go as well as planned because she just wasn’t ready at 4 months of age. So, I waited patiently and tried again several weeks later. It wasn’t until she was 5 ½ months that she knew what to do with the food! After a few days, we tried pureed peas. I thought it might be a good idea to try a vegetable so she would become familiar to foods that aren’t as sweet as fruits. She did not like the peas in the beginning—the expression on her face was priceless! I quickly learned that meal time was going to take time, practice and more patience than I had expected.
I often wondered – was it the taste or texture of the peas that Daphne did not enjoy at first? I may never know the answer to this question, but with this experience I discovered that I need to offer a food many times before she gets used to it. After all, new tastes and textures take time for anyone to get used to, right? Nowadays, peas are one of her favorite vegetables!
The new guidelines give parents a window of time to begin offering solid foods and the freedom to choose what food is best to offer. To me, this makes sense since not all babies are ready for solids at the same exact age. Every baby is different and so are families.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far as a parent is that there is no room for judgment of others’ choices – every baby and family is so different. I love hearing what other families choose, even when it differs from what works for us. What worked for you and your baby? Any priceless expressions on YOUR baby’s face?
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