I started letting B and M experience solid food when they turned 4 months old. My mom told me that babies go through a sensitive period for eating between 4 and 5 months. For many babies, it coincides with a period of time when their appetite for milk decreases, so it’s the perfect time to offer them solids. Babies love to eat at this age and will eat practically anything you offer them. If they are given the chance to experience eating real food during this sensitive period, they will generally be very good eaters down the line, whereas babies who start eating later (9 months or later) will be much more finicky about their food (and particularly dislike textured food).
The first week, we started by eating a little bit of banana. When I say a little, I mean 2-3 tiny half-spoonfuls. I remember putting the spoon to Brooke’s mouth. NOTE: never shove the food in the baby’s mouth. Let them open their mouth to the food. Brooke tasted the banana and then furrowed her eyebrows, looking quite displeased with this strange thing that I was putting in her mouth. Now looking back, my babies do that every time I put a new food in their mouth. My mother warned me to not interpret that as them not liking the food. It’s just that they have no other way to express themselves. It IS strange, it IS new, but it doesn’t mean they don’t like it. Give it to them a couple more times, and they’ll like it.
The first 3 weeks, I fed them when I remembered to, which wasn’t everyday. I did apply the 4-day wait rule. Books will tell you it’s to make sure they don’t have allergies, my mom says it’s so that they have the chance to develop the enzyme for that particular food. Eventually I started feeding them once a day and since they turned 5.5 months old, I started feeding them twice a day.
My Chinese nanny, in her five years as a nanny, has never seen a mother make her own baby food. Every family she’s ever worked for fed their babies exclusively jarred baby food. “It doesn’t have preservatives!” she exclaimed. I told her any food that has an expiration date 2-3 YEARS from now is completely dead food, preservatives or no preservatives. It has no live enzymes, unlike fresh fruits and vegetables. I said, “Can you imagine eating out of a jar or can every single day, 3 meals a day for 6 months?”
Here are some basics of food-making I’ve been adhering to.
- Only buy certified organic produce
- Never feed them anything that has been in the refrigerator for more than 2 days
- Feed them food you would want to eat – fresh, tasty, healthy fruits, vege and grains
My babies are now 5 ½ month old. So far I’ve fed them the following foods, all steamed or baked then pureed (except banana and avocado that doesn’t require cooking). I introduced the food in this order:
Mashed Potato with cow’s milk
The book Super Baby Food has been a great resource for what to feed your baby, as well as how to prepare and store baby food.