As with any and every baby related journey, introducing solids can be stressful and overwhelming given the plethora of information on the topic. Everyone has an opinion and it’s hard to decide between when, where, how and what! Do you introduce at 4 months as per your doctor’s orders or do you listen to the baby led weaning route where your child might be 7 months before they show signs of picking up the food? Do you offer cereal or do you bring in the meat and veggies? Baby can’t sit up – is that okay? Oh the questions that parents ponder over! You would think that second time around I’d be all set and ready to start the foodie journey, but that clearly wasn’t the case.
Honestly I had forgotten most of our ‘firsts’ and luckily have things written down online so I was able to refer to my notes. Though our main challenge was that the kids are very different and my daughter was sitting up by 3 months whilst Baby Boy was nowhere near being able to sit up at the 4 month mark despite having great neck control. After mulling over the many questions I came to the conclusion that I should go with my gut (no pun intended!) so I waited until he was a week shy of 5 months before introducing some cereal. Boy was I shocked! The kid clearly had been starving! He gulped his way through an entire bowl (isn’t he just supposed to eat a tablespoon? UH-OH!) and wanted more. Which then had me wondering how much is too much?
The concerns may never end but there’s a couple basic questions that may help you determine when to introduce solids and what would be an ideal first food.
- Is your baby showing signs of being ready? Signs to look for : sitting up, strong neck control, able to swallow easily, drooling over your food, grabbing your spoon or food.
- What does your pediatrician recommend? Do they think your baby is ready?
- Are there any cultural or traditional foods that you might like to introduce first? Many South Asians make a rice porridge called congee as a first food. I have introduce lentil curry very early on as well.
- Are there any known allergies in the family? If so you may want to avoid those as first food options.
The foodie journey is one that you and your baby will embark on and the two of you will be the best judge on when the time is and what the best food choice should be. For us it has been between the 4 and 5 month mark and first foods have included rice cereal, avocados, sweet potatoes and bananas. Take it slow and enjoy exploring cuisines through a young palate.