During a visit to one of Naima’s former pediatricians, I was able to get an “Infant Feeding Plan” produced by our Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Guide.
When starting solids, it is important to remember that despite all the literature telling you to start solids by the 6th month, it is actually your baby who will give you the signal that s/he is ready, whether it be in his/her 6th, 7th or even 10th month. There are signals to watch out to determine readiness. Each baby is unique – so it definitely won’t help if you compare how easily other babies started solids, as compared to your own baby.
It should also be noted that contrary to popular notion, starting solids does not mean that breast milk (or even formula milk) intake should lessen. Solids are only meant to COMPLEMENT the milk feeding and not replace it (*note how the guide above is called “Complementary Feeding Guide”). Kellymom has an excellent explanation on complementary feeding and also recommends that babies be given solids an hour after nursing.
Naima’s first food was avocado, mixed with breastmilk. I chose to start with avocado and not am or lugaw (rice porridge) because my readings showed that avocado had more nutrients than rice. I followed the 3-day rule (feed baby same food for 3 days to check allergies). Happily, Naima did not seem to be allergic to any food.
Naima has never tasted Cerelac and I don’t plan on giving her any. She also hasn’t tried Gerber but has eaten about 3-4 bottles of Earth’s Best, given to her when we were traveling and had no access to cooking or a kitchen. Before Naima was one, I did not want to give her any restaurant food and we usually packed her meals to take along during our meals out.
Starting solids is an exciting milestone which must not be rushed. It is now a little over a year since Naima started solids. Now, she pretty much eats anything EXCEPT shellfish. As she grows older, her menu choices expands but so does her palate/taste preferences. There are days when she eats A LOT and days when she just nurses and nurses. We are now facing the challenges of feeding a finicky toddler.