Judging from how many mamas talk about it, feeding babies "real food" for the first time can be daunting, confusing, and downright scary! When to start solids, how to avoid choking, and bad reactions to foods are the three big concerns I hear. Most pediatricians recommend starting an infant on rice cereal at four months old! This raises a couple concerns for me - the age and the cereal. Four months old, based on my research and most every other country, is entirely too young and can damage their gut. Grains are not tolerated well until at least two years (if ever), raising another problem with the gut (not to mention the "grains" are overly processed and added with synthetics, I don't consider infant cereal food). The choking issue is easily solved by turning whole foods to mush by pureeing them and spoon feeding, making parents' jobs more difficult and then having the issue of when to switch to finger foods. Reactions to foods is very much a validated concern, as it seems every kid these days has intolerances or allergies (hmmm, could it be because we're feeding then the wrong things, too young?!?).
So my answer to the questions of so many mamas is, like with everything else, to do it the most natural way I know and it's been easy, fearless, and I feel more confident about it than my first time around.
|7 months old, his first hamburger|
Ever stared really trying to grab for food around 5 months or so. Knowing that breast milk is the best, most nourishing food for at least the first year (though we'll continue nursing much longer than that) and he doesn't need anything else, I waited until six months to even let him explore it. We started with a barely cooked egg yolk from our chickens and I simply dipped a spoon into it and let him suck on it. He absolutely loved it! I've since given him whole yolks (cooked more) to hold, play, explore, and taste. I think more ends up on the floor! Next I gave him a small hamburger, made with local, grass fed beef. That was fun, he really likes the textures, exploring it with his mouth, swallowing a bit, spitting out more. He also enjoyed a frozen piece of liver I gave him, yum! He's also had apple slices, but those are more for sucking on and teething, as well as carrots (great for teething, but none goes into his belly!). I won't be feeding him any grains, we barely eat any so it makes it easier. He also gets herbal tea sometimes, chamomile and lemon balm mostly (for sleeping and teething).
I don't get worried about him choking, I think everyone needs to realize that our bodies are made to eat without choking (swallowing or spitting is a natural reaction to something being in the mouth)...a baby shouldn't have anymore problems with choking than adults unless something is wrong, we have them laying down, or they're not ready for solids. Of course, I'm not going to give him raisins and walk away, but feeding a child normal food for their age and teeth should not be a concern. Or, like many peoples in the world, mamas can chew some of the food for them before molars come in and are able to do it. There's simply no need for the special blenders, freezing trays, baby food jars, etc. when you are an aware, informed, and natural family!
Good sources to check out are babyledweaning.com and http://westonaprice.org/childrens-health/feeding-babies (I love WAPF, but really wish they would stress the prolonged breastfeeding and disagree to start babes as young as 4 months on yolks).