On feeding an infant.

This sweet girl has been eye-ing table food and grabbing plates and slobbering everywhere for months, poor thing, and finally she is able to reap some rewards!

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Since she has turned 4 or 5 months, I have been dying with anticipation to start giving dis gal some real food. I researched the heck out of the process: read all sorts of articles, talked to her pediatrician, asked opinions of lots of folk, and stalked several mommy blogs. After all of this, I came to the conclusion that a process called “Baby-Led Weaning” was the way to go. Weaning is used here to mean “introducing new foods” not taking away da boob. The idea is that babies should learn to chew from the start, not simply get used to swallowing purees and then learn a skill that they maybe should have developed already. So you give them chunks of food, including pieces of whatever you may be eating (as long as it’s healthy and clean) and BAM these little creatures know what to do.

BUT NO NOT SO IT IS A LIE.

I mean sure, this obviously works for some people because of all the personal experiences I’ve read. And yes, Summer has given every indication that she is a perfect candidate for this type of eating: extreme interest in food (especially while I am eating), wonderful hand-eye coordination (she did not learn that from me), and an excellent grasp (both intellectually and physically, that is). BUT NO. It’s like she hates the taste of everything but breast milk! I gave her a banana, and she made a face that would have told any audience that indeed this item looked like a banana, but it was just a cleverly disguised mound of dirt. Although in all honesty, she did try to chomp around on it after a few minutes, but just didn’t really seem to care. Later that night, I tried a piece of steamed chicken. Again, some gnawing but nothing to indicate that she wanted this foreign piece of blah inside of her mouth, making its way down to her tum tum. I forfeited for the evening.

Several days later, I steamed up some sweet potato and carrot, hoping that this would do the trick. I gave it to her and she IMMEDIATELY knew that I was traitorously attempting to give her something that indeed was NOT from mommy’s body AGAIN. She made a grimace that would make even the Joker cry and pushed it right out of her mouth. No no no, she says.

Thus, I quit. I am so confused! This girl has been salivating at the sight of table food for weeks and weeks and weeks. What a little bluffer!

So yesterday, here we all are, sitting at our favorite Indian restaurant in all the world, as I attempt one last time at food-chunk-approach and not puree-approach. No. THREE STRIKES YOU’RE OUT, MAMA. Well I marched myself into Target, waving my white flag sky high. After much, much scouring for something that seemed acceptable for the perfect creature in my care, I landed upon an amazing cereal made by Ella’s Kitchen. (Aside from the comic sans font all over the website, I am a new fan.)

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And you know what? HUGE success. For all of the reasons I thought it wasn’t necessary, she obviously just needs her first foods to be soaked in breast milk. And that is so fine. She will learn to chew just like many babies have for centuries. I also picked up two little pouches of pureed bananas and carrots to try before I run off giving all my produce to this lil gal who ain’t having it. After a few weeks, once her palate has begun adjusting, I am really hoping to go back to having her feed herself chunks of fresh or steamed produce. This is all such an adventure. Wish us luck!

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