About two weeks ago, we took Lillian to the pediatrician’s office for her four-month well baby checkup, where we learned that she’d grown to 16 lbs 11.5 oz and 26.25 inches in height. (According to this calculator, that puts her above the 97th percentile for weight and height!) In addition to getting a clean bill of health, and getting up to date on all of her vaccinations, Lillian got the go-ahead from the pediatrician to start trying out some solid foods.
So what kind of solid foods are the best to introduce first? The pediatrician gave us the freedom to experiment with pretty much any kind we wanted, with two exceptions:
- No choking hazards. This one is pretty obvious — Since babies Lily’s age aren’t exactly good at chewing things, any solid foods should be pureed or mashed to a fine non-lumpy consistency.
- No honey. I hadn’t heard this before, but apparently eating honey before age one is a big risk factor for infant botulism, which can cause paralysis and possibly death. More info on that can be found here, or in the Wikipedia article.
The doctor did recommend starting with a whole grain baby food instead of rice cereal, though, which seems to be an increasing trend amond pediatricians. There’s an article here about one doctor claiming that rice cereal causes childhood obesity, and while that may be a premature conclusion to draw without more studies, it’s probably safe to assume that the whole grain foods have more nutrients and such.
Anyway, based on that recommendation, we ended up picking up a box of Earth’s Best orgainic whole grain oatmeal cereal from Babies R Us the same day as the doctor’s visit.
When we got home, I prepared the oatmeal according to the instructions on the box, which read as follows:
For Baby’s First Feeding
Mix 1 tablespoon of dry cereal with 3-4 tablespoons of breast milk or formula. Increase liquid to reach desired consistency. Gradually increase serving amount over feedings.
But the first feeding didn’t go so well. Following these instructions produced a really watery, runny mixture, and only a small amount would fit on the baby spoon at a time, and half of that would dribble out of Lillian’s mouth before she could swallow it. By about the third (attempted) bite, she was crying out of frustration, and I ended up giving up on the feeding attempt and just giving her a bottle.
Was she not ready for solids yet, or was the mixture just too runny? The next day I tried again, but this time mixed up a thicker batch. (Since this would turn it into neither honey nor a choking hazard, I figured it would be okay even though it ignored the instructions on the box.) It took a little experimenting, but I found that a ratio of two parts oatmeal to three parts formula produced a result that looked like this:
This thicker formulation gave her something more substantial to sink her
teeth gums into, and she gobbled it up like it was made of candy, polishing off the entire bowl. She learned right away to open her mouth when she sees the spoon, and sometimes she even tries to help by lunging forward at it — although she’s still pretty clumsy at this, and more often than not it ends with oatmeal smeared all over her cheeks.
As for the mechanics of feeding, we have one of those high chairs that fits onto a regular chair, though we haven’t really used it yet — so far, I’ve found it easiest to put her in her Bumbo seat and sit next to her on the living room floor, which works really well since the Bumbo has a tray sort of like a high chair.
Currently we’re doing only one (or sometimes two) oatmeal feedings per day, and the rest bottles, with plans to gradually increase the solid feedings over time. And so far it’s just been the oatmeal, although pretty soon we’ll probably start introducing some new food varieties like pureed fruits and vegetables — which should be fun, since I hear babies make great dramatic faces when trying new foods for the first time and trying to decide whether they like them or not.
Speaking of dramatic reactions to new foods, I can’t help being reminded of this amusing animated clip I found while surfing Reddit a while ago:
Have you seen any hilarious baby-related videos lately? Or if you’ve had experience feeding babies, have you had any dramatic reactions to a new food? Did it take some experimentation to find the right things to introduce in the first place? Feel free to share any links or stories in the comments!