When your baby hits 6 months, your pedi will start pushing lists of what to feed your baby when. Many of them just go by these lists that say to start at 6 months and don’t even bother with the signs of readiness (e.g. a baby is not ready for solids if when you push food in it comes right back out… that’s called the tongue thrust reflex and it is for baby’s protection).
They’ll then say, start with manufactured rice cereal. Then move to another cereal, then another. Then you get to try banana and on and on. One food at a time, every three days you get to try a new food off some list. The AP books have a different list suggesting starting with avocado, banana, or I think mango (or was it sweet potato) as a first food.
The baby manufacturers push expensive tiny jars of puree on you. The maternal guilt producing industry says you must make your own lovingly hand pureed organic baby food from local fruits and veggies using recipes from Super Baby Food.
It turns out there is ZERO SCIENCE on what foods to feed babies when. In fact, as made a big splash when my little one was tiny, different cultures have different first foods… some of them even eat meat first and chicken has many signs of being a great first baby food.
Part of the reason for the slow introduction is because of concerns about allergies. If your baby has an allergic reaction, they want to be able to isolate exactly which food caused it. Of course, they still don’t know whether early introduction causes allergies or prevents them in the case of common allergens such as peanuts. That science goes back and forth. (Disclaimer: You should still wait to introduce things that have a low probability of causing problems but would cause dire problems … like honey (botulism), raw milk (all sorts of nasties) etc. etc.)
As we found out when our own wee one started grabbing every food in sight, you do not need to buy Super Baby Food and lovingly create your own individualized homemade organic food. You also don’t need to buy the little jars. The baby can eat what you eat, period. And if your baby is a late eater like ours was (around 8.5 months), you don’t even need to run what you’re eating through a food mill. You can just cut it small and make sure it isn’t a choking hazard.
That’s right. We skipped baby food entirely. The only mushy foods ze ate were things that come mushy naturally. Banana. Oatmeal. Avocado. When the pincer grasp kicked in ze demanded to eat only things ze could pick up anyway.
Baby food is such a time sink. It was so freeing to find out that this whole baby food puree thing that so many parents get worked up over is just one big scam. Unnecessary. Maybe if you’ve got a baby ready for solids right at 6 months, but even then, just get a food mill and run whatever you’re having for dinner through it while you eat. Much simpler. Apparently there’s also a mesh bag you can buy to put whole fruit in for the 6 month set to suck on without choking.
I believe you can find out more about this hippie movement through the google search phrase “child led weaning.” Lazy parenting rocks!
#2 adds: don’t get rid of that baby food mill, either. You will need it when you have oral surgery and are tired of jello.