Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Starting solids

Ever since Sam emerged from the "newborn" phase, people have been asking me when we were going to start feeding him solid food. As with other questions, I turned to books.  Your Baby's First Year Week by Week by Glade B. Curtis, M.D. and Judith Schuler, M.S. suggests starting at 4-5 months, and says that by 6 1/2 months (his age now) babies can enjoy a variety of solid foods. Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter recommends basing starting solids on what your child can do (such as sitting up on his own).  Family members suggested starting even earlier by putting cereal in his bottle.

We started offering cereal by spoon at around 5 months. "Cereal" refers to a mashed, cooked, single grain, such as rice, blended with breast milk or formula. We tried making our own, but found boxed baby cereal preferable as it's quick and there's less waste. Some days he seemed to really enjoy it, opening wide for the spoon; others, he just played with the food, or the spoon, or the whole bowl; still others, he cried to get out of his high chair.  It wasn't going great, but we decided to let him go at his own pace.

Then, just last night, Sam's first tooth emerged, peeking out of his bottom gum. I had this thought: wouldn't it make sense that babies are biologically ready for food beyond milk when they grow teeth rather than by some arbitrary time line or unrelated skill development?  I haven't found any research on this so far, but my mommy intuition tells me he'll be more ready for solid food soon.


  1. yes! that's seemingly more the school of thought, especially with the 'child-led feeding' stuff. and with his teeth, if he's like karter, he'll just want to chomp stuff, not waste time on the mushy stuff. i'm lucky to get 4 spoonfuls of anything pureed in him. congrats on the first tooth! =)

  2. Yay! I'm glad to hear Sam has a tooth -- I hope the teething is going well and he's not feeling too cranky.

    My boys still eat like that -- some days they eat a lot, other days they barely pick at their food. I don't really blame babies for not being too keen on the rice cereal. It's so bland. Have you tried mixing in pureed fruits or veggies yet? That made our feeding sessions much more productive -- and made poop much more colorful!

  3. @Krysten: I'm new to the whole "child-led" thing but I think it's what I've been doing anyway! @Tabitha: yes, I remember watching KJD eat 4 bowls of salad with ranch dressing when he was about 3 years old, amazing!

    Sam is only slightly grumpier than usual with this tooth, for now.

  4. Interesting thought!! I like it! I am all about child lead as well. My first was not interested at all in food. So we didn't even really do baby food...just going straight to stuff our plates.

    but my daughter wanted our food at 4 months! so we gave her some cereal and she ate the whole bowl the first sitting.

    kids are so different! all these "rules" tend to forget that.