We definitely rushed the process when we started J on rice cereal at 4 months, hoping to help his acid reflux. He ate it like a champ–and then farted all night long. And it absolutely did not help his acid reflux at all, since he spitup twice as much the next day as he usually does.
So we held off another couple of months and tried him on the rice cereal again at 6 months. Again, he ate it with no problem, and then farted for the rest of the day. He was in obvious discomfort.
The next day, I tossed the box of Beech-Nut rice baby cereal in the trash and made my own cereal using brown rice instead of white. He tolerated this much better and we had fewer problems with discomfort and gas. Now, I don’t know if that’s because we swapped to brown rice or because his little body was adjusting better to the solid food. Either way, I never went back to boxed cereal and I’m pretty sure that’s the moment I fell in love with making J’s food myself–I loved knowing exactly what was in it and it was much less expensive. Mostly, I just really enjoyed making it–and I still do.
Throughout this process, I learned a few things and will definitely do things differently with any future babies. This is my To Do/Reminder List for My Future Self.
1. Don’t rush it! Don’t start feeding solids until Baby is at least 6 months old unless he shows major readiness signs (such as showing interest in what’s on my own plate) before that. If he can’t hold his head and neck up well, he’s not ready.
2. Do not begin feeding solids at dinner time. In the beginning, always start with one meal a day and make it early. That way, if Baby has a hard time digesting, it at least won’t keep her (and you!) awake all night.
3. The first time you offer solids, do it some time between his typical meal times–that way he’s neither starving nor stuffed. After that, always offer to nurse (or bottle feed) before offering solids (until he reaches 1-year-old or begins to lose interest in nursing).
4. Skip the bland cereals and make Baby’s first food a yummy fruit or vegetable. Maybe an avocado?
5. Don’t worry so much about food allergies if you don’t have a family history of them. Yeah, skip the peanuts at first, but only until Baby’s 1st birthday.
6. The decision to skip juice was a good one–J loves water! Skip the juice.
7. Research and consider skipping the purees and going with baby-led weaning (i.e. harass Emily into telling me detail-by-detail how it goes with Baby E–hi Emily!). Any of you have experience with baby-led weaning? Please tell me about it in the comments!