Our sweet little Kalani is almost five months old already & it’s true when people say they grow up fast… He’s already starting to eat solid food! There’s much debate about when to start feeding babies and what they should eat, so how do you know when your baby is ready?
The thought was a little icky at first since I have exclusively breastfed since the beginning, not even one bottle. It was hard for me to accept that my little baby didn’t want only boobies anymore. It was obvious to us when the time came to start feeding solids because we allow Kalani to be fully present with us in everything we do. He sleeps with us in our bed at night, when I worked for a couple of months at the office I took him with me, he came along to plant trees with us at the farm yesterday, and he is always with us at every meal unless he’s sleeping. We don’t use special seats or baby tables, he sits right there with me on my lap at the table.
For the first four months or so, this was really easy to do because he didn’t show much interest in the food. I could just lay him down or set him up while I ate without a fuss. A couple of weeks ago he started showing an interest in what I was eating! He would grab my plate or put his hands into my food and then put his hands to his face. That was my cue.
We are starting really slow, introducing new and different foods gently. I began by just letting him lick little things off my finger. If he showed interest in my food, I let him try a lick. He’s tried yogurt, tomato sauce, smoothies, apple sauce, and the juice from other foods. Always just a little lick and I pay close attention to his expression to know what he thinks and I trust that he instinctively knows what is good for him.
The first food we gave him a full serving of was apple sauce that I made and canned myself from apples we harvested from a friend’s orchard last fall. This was the perfect food since I was part of the processing from start to finish and the apples were grown by a friend organically and with love. He thoroughly enjoyed it! The first time we fed him, we gave him 3 little spoonfuls and he took it down really well. The second time he got a little more. We have also given him a little homemade yogurt that I make from local raw organic cow’s milk, and some pre-chewed fruit (kiwi and pineapple).
To know what to feed him, I’m going by my intuition and knowledge of nutrition. Grains are difficult for babies to digest because they do not have a sufficient amount of amylase, the enzyme in our digestive system which assimilates grains. Whole foods like fruits, veggies, dairy, eggs, and meats can be a lot easier to digest and high in nutritional value when sourced locally and properly prepared.
So how do you know when your baby is ready? Just watch for the cues that your baby is interested in what you’re eating! Baby will let you know when they want to try solid foods if you pay attention. Start slow, make sure the foods are really mushy until baby has teeth, and feed baby foods that are easy to digest.