Lots of people ask me how they are supposed to eliminate grains from their kids’ diets. This is a hard topic to answer for me especially since I did not have any kids. It’s easy to give answers, but with no experience to back it up, it was hard to empathize. Now that my daughter is 6 months old and starting to eat solid food, I thought it might be helpful to write about her eating habits in an effort to give support to those moms out there trying to do their best nutritionally for their children, but unsure exactly where to turn. (Note: I am not an expert and you should talk with your child’s pediatrician about your choices.)
As my daughter began to approach the 6 month mark, I started thinking about feeding her solid foods. I was bound and determined to not give her anything but breast milk until the day she turned 6 months old, but her curiosity and impatience won out. Every bite of food I put in my mouth she was grabbing and trying to eat it and would stare at my food the way a begging dog does at your feet. So, a couple weeks after she turned 5 months I caved.
As I dove deeper in my research of baby’s first foods, almost everything I read suggested that I had to start with rice cereal. As you know by now, I like to question conventional wisdom and knew that this didn’t have to be the only way. The main reasoning I found for starting with rice cereal was that it is (theoretically) an easier transition for baby than real food (taste & consistency). However, if you wait until baby is closer to 6 months to start eating food, they have usually developed the skills to eat a more textured food. It isn’t even necessary to make separate baby food. There may be times when buying jars of baby food may be the most convenient, but when you think about the fact that a large part is water (to maintain consistency) it really may not be the most cost effective. I found that just picking a vegetable we were having for dinner and mashing it to a consistency she could handle was the easiest approach. It also keeps us accountable for what we eat. If we ate fries and a milkshake, we will obviously not have food to give her from our dinner.
Her first bite of real food was avocado. This is a great first food because it is high in fat, which baby needs, and nutritionally puts a whole bowl full of rice cereal to shame. The first few bites were definitely video worthy – hilarious. But, after a few bites she became curious and seemed to really enjoy it. I knew that it was best to wait a few days after introducing a new food to make sure she did not have any allergies, so I waited a few days then fed her more avocado and some carrots. This time, it was like she knew what was happening, she couldn’t wait to eat! She ate about 1/8 of an avocado and some steamed carrots I had mashed up with my fork, and loved it!
So by 6 months she has eaten avocado, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potato, cauliflower, spinach, banana, and sucked on a piece of apple that I was eating by grabbing it out of my hand! She just had her 6 month check up and she is growing right on track!
More updates to come as she grows…
What was your experience with feeding your little ones? What were some good first foods you tried or things you may have done differently?