How do you know when your child is ready to eat? It’s a question that many of us ask ourselves… and its answer is quite subjective. “You’ll know” is what my doctor told me. What does that even mean?! She also told me that when it came to integrating food, I needed to trust my instinct, that by four months, it was okay (and even better) to start encouraging my daughter to eat, if she felt like it.
In fact, my doctor stated that new research showed that integrating foods between 4 and 6 months was better for children – it seems it would be easier for them to accept new textures and would decrease allergies. Although the health guide published by our provincial government encourages mothers to wait until 6 months to feed their infants she told me the recommendations would change in the next edition.
When I mentioned this on a mommy forum, I immediately got blasted by another mom. She claimed that my doctor was telling me nonsense and that I absolutely had to wait, that it was bad for my baby to integrate solids too early. But despite this, I decided to trust my gut, as well as my doctor.
In fact, I actually decided to integrate solids a week before my daughter turned 4 months old. I did this because at night, she would gulp down 5 ounce bottles of breast milk every hour from 8 until 11, and was having a hard time sleeping at night (where usually she sleeps like a rock from 10pm until 8 am). Following my doctor’s recommendation, I gave her a teaspoon of rice cereal. And she asked for more. I gave her a tablespoon and that hit the spot. 2 days later, I switched to oat cereal (not her favourite to be honest…). And by the time I had integrated wheat cereal 4 days later, she was eating two tablespoons! And she needed a bit less breast milk before going to bed. Hallelujah!!
This week, I decided to start her on veggies. Zucchini and carrots so far have been a huge success :). It’s absolutely adorable to see her gobbling down her food with enthusiasm!
Have I mentioned that the Baby Bullet is an absolutely awesome investment? Not only does it make yummy (according to my daughter) purees, but it also is incredibly easy to use, and comes with very convenient little jars and trays to refrigerate and freeze baby’s food. If you’re thinking of getting one, I highly encourage you to go for it!! If you’re afraid that making your own purees will be complicated, don’t worry. All you need to do is steam your veggies, and pop them into a food processor with a bit of water or milk (formula or breast milk), and it’s done! It’s best to make a week’s food at a time so that you don’t have to bother with it every day.
If you’re wondering about the new recommendations on food integration, here is a good website that explains how to know if your child is ready for food, and a good way to integrate the food.
In the end, I’m happy that I listened to my instinct. There are no black and white rules to raising your children. Some people will tell you one thing, and other people will tell you another. The challenge of being a parent is to find your own way within the jumble of information out there. At the end of the day, don’t worry too much about what other people think, and go for what works for you and your child!