I’m sure you’ve heard tons of horror stories about what happens when babies start eating “real” food. Everything from, “And you thought you knew what stinky diapers were like!” to “You’re going to love cleaning up food spatter from your ceiling.”, to “My kid refused everything but applesauce for the first two years!” It’s enough to make you want to hire someone just to feed the kid!
Little did I know that those things were mostly true… but mostly fun. (Go ahead and Google “messy baby”.) You learn to laugh at the nasty diapers, carrot-stained walls, and crazy faces you never knew your little angel could make.
Thankfully, my kiddo had no trouble accepting solids. I’ve heard stories of children who refused to eat food at first, but A was reaching for my food by the time he could get his fingers to clamp on command.
I didn’t start offering him baby food until he was six months old. There are some people who are against the whole solids thing until about a year. But I felt he needed a little something extra than milk (he’s a big boy!), and our pediatrician encouraged it so we dove right in!
I won’t go into details about what little ones can and cannot eat, since I really don’t know a lot about it. What I can tell you is that there are a lot of websites out there that do have lists available that suggest age-appropriate purees and what to avoid (like nuts). Here is just one example. I did my research, and made sure I wasn’t doing anything ill-advised, but I didn’t get all paranoid about it either. I let him sample some of my tilapia when he was about 7 months old and he loved it! (Now, before you get all upset – I made triple-sure there were no bones and watched to make sure he didn’t have a negative reaction to it!)
This was my take on it:
In general (meaning there are a very few exceptions), fruits and veggies are fine as long as they are prepared in a way that your baby can eat them without choking. Our pediatrician told us to stay away from honey and nuts until one year, and after that, everything was fair game. If you ever have any concerns or questions, just give your pedriatician a call and ask! Sadly, no two pediatricians will have the exact same opinion on everything, so keep that in mind!
Start out slow, and introduce one thing at a time. Three days between each new food is the rule of thumb, and that is because if your baby happens to have a reaction to something, its much easier to pinpoint the culprit if you know he/she just tried a new food that day. This also gives your kiddo a chance to get used to the taste. Remember, your little tyke has never had anything but milk or formula so far, so this food business is pretty strange stuff!
Oh, and even though your baby can down a 6-oz (or larger) bottle of milk, that doesn’t mean they will eat 6oz of food! Not at all! Try for two or three tiny spoonfulls at first. Chances are, they will push most of it back out with their tongue for the first couple of weeks! But don’t worry, that is compeltely natural. God gave babies that natural reflex as a defense against choking – its a good thing!
You may think you’ve seen your baby make funny faces, but it’s likely that you will witness a whole slew of brand-new facial exrpessions when you start offering different foods. I remember when I first gave A peaches – Oh. My. Goodness. It was the funniest show ever! I’ve never seen him shudder or get his face so squished up since then! (I may or may not have continued to feed him just for the laughs. Go ahead and say it – I’m a horrible human being!) The thing is, just because they’re making faces doesn’t really mean they don’t like it. Turns out, A loves peaches, but it just took him a couple of tries for him to get used to the flavor.
Most importantly, you have to learn to roll with it! Go with the flow! Have fun and laugh! If your lovlingly prepared baby food ends up smeared all over your kiddo’s face, dribbled on bibs, and puddled on the floor, or if your docile little angel suddenly scowls at you and shivvers when the spoon touches his/her tongue… welcome to the land of spoon-feeding! And congratulations, because you and your delightful bundle of wiggles are completely and totally NORMAL!