By, Kat Michie.
When it started.
Around four months, my doctor suggested we could start experimenting with solids and that studies show starting a little before 6 months can prevent allergies (check with your own doctor on this). Honestly, though, I wasn’t ready. I felt like I had to get everything right. So we waited a bit and started around 5 months.
How it started.
At first, we just handed her a quartered avocado and let her play with it to see if she would try putting it in her mouth. I think she may have tried a few bites, but she mostly played with it until it fell off the highchair.
After that, I made some very thin purees and mixed them with a bit of breastmilk. Later, I tried mixing some purees with baby oatmeal. I remember one of the first times I fed her puree, my daughter tried to take the spoon herself-she already wanted to figure out how to feed herself!
I carefully introduced one ingredient at a time, and then eventually felt comfortable giving her all kinds of mixes. As her teeth came in, we gave her more tastes of things on our plates and continued with purees and steamed finger foods. I noticed fruit was easier to get her to eat, but I kept trying with peas and other veggies. She eventually grew into a toddler that loves “brocci” and snap peas, but most of all she loves yogurt. Sometimes we still make her things we think she won’t like, and she’ll surprise us by eating several helpings.
How I felt.
Excited and scared! The doctor warned me that she would gag at first, but that the first step is for her to learn to get the food to the back of her mouth. It would take time. I felt like she couldn’t even sit up on her own properly-how could she be ready to eat real food?
I was excited to give the highchair and bibs and spoons and things a whirl though, and thinking about being done with pumping and bottles and formula someday was a light at the end of the tunnel for me.
Watching her tastes change as she grows has been really rewarding. I remember she used to literally cry if she tasted peanut butter. Our doctor wanted us to put peanut butter or finely crushed peanuts in her food to prevent allergies, and I had to hide it at first! Now she loves peanut butter. I am strangely proud of her love of strong cheeses and olives and even seeing her eat raw onions off our salads.
Trying new things with your baby can be scary at first. With all milestones, you have to let them learn and explore on their own and learn self-confidence. Knowing before I started that gagging, spitting, making faces and even crying over eating food is NORMAL gave me confidence to keep going. Instead of giving up the first 10 times she spit out her peas, we kept trying and now she happily eats cooked and raw snap peas regularly.