Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bring up Baby--on Solid Food

It has officially arrived. The messy, sticky, and time consuming process of feeding the baby solid foods. I have always waited until my kids were six months old to start them on solids of any kind, and this time around I was tempted to wait longer. I just don't enjoy the initial process of spoon feeding a baby; they have no idea what to do, push half of the food out with their tongue and get the other half on their thumbs, fingers, and cheeks, toes, hair, eyelashes, --you get the picture. Perhaps your children are neater than mine (and I will admit that so far, Bronwen is not as messy as her brothers all were,) but it is still not pretty. And then there is the area under the high chair, littered with raisins, Cheerios, and green peas--I swear, they multiply down there because I only ever give her a couple of things to chase around her tray and she ends up with 1/2 cup of finger foods on the floor.
Anyhow, as I said, I was tempted to wait longer. I asked Jared how long I would have to wait until she went straight to eating quickly and neatly on her own--maybe I could just nurse her until then? Jared predicted that 21 was the magic age for that, which is a wee bit longer than I'm interested in having my child suckle. A friend of mine said that her fifth child went from breast to pizza, which was intriguing but probably hyperbole. I finally decided about a week before she hit six months that I'd wait until it was obvious that she needed solid foods and that breastmilk was no longer cutting it.
Well, we made it exactly one day after she turned six months before she started acting ravenous all the time. She also began watching us intently when we ate, sometimes yelling out as if to say, "Where's mine?" This was a couple of days before our Monterey Trip, so I decided to put it off a little longer--taking solid foods out with me and feeding them to our sweet little darling in public is even less appealing than making the mess at home.
We survived the trip to Monterey without the solid food, but I knew I couldn't put it off any longer. So, we got down to business. It turns out, this little girl takes to food pretty well. She knew exactly what to do the first time I mixed up some baby oatmeal and offered her some on a spoon. She gets visibly excited as soon as she can tell that I am preparing food for her and if you pause between bites or get up to do something else for a split second, she squawks as if to say, "Where do you think you are going? I'm eating here!" She can really pack away the oatmeal, sweet potatoes, squash, applesauce, pears, peaches, cheerios, raisins, and green peas. (I know that you're supposed to give lots of green veggies at first, but I can't handle the smell and would never feed my kids green veggies from a can anyway, so she just gets whole frozen green peas for now.) I think she takes after her mom, because anytime she's awake she seems to think that it would be a good time to eat. It's a passion with her! I feel a foodie coming on.
The fun thing about all this is to watch her little personality unfolding as she develops preferences and learns how to communicate them. At the moment, her biggest preference is to have food in her mouth! Of almost any kind. So she doesn't have a very sophisticated palette yet, I'll admit. But she'll get there one day. Maybe she'll even be able to eat without making a tremendous mess of herself one day, too. I hope it comes long before she's 21.


Rebecca said...

We've been doing the solids since about 5 1/2 months old. But, just rice cereal for the first 3-4 weeks. I haven't given Madelyn cheerios yet. We'll have to get going with those this week. What do you do with the frozen peas...just microwave them a bit to warm them up and then let her feed them to herself? Do you have more ideas of good finger foods to start with early on? We'll do cheerios and peas this week...thanks!

Michal said...

i just give her the peas still frozen. they feel good on her little gums and they don't get squished as easily. i also dice peeled peaches very small and let her pick them up, but since they are wet they are harder to pick up.