So, it turns out that my gourmet baby, Claire Berlin, prefers to dine on paper over any food I’ve given her yet. She seems to have a preference for my Bon Appetit magazines, so at least I know we’re headed in the right direction.
It’s been about about a month since we started her on “solids”. The egg yolk was our most successful attempt at getting her to eat food. After that we moved on to sweet potato (not her favorite), banana (so-so), carrots (nope), a bite of avocado from my plate (she actually gagged), a chicken bone (she loved). There is an explanation for this seemingly disorganized approach. I haven’t read any parenting books on “how to” start foods. I actually try to stay away from parenting books in general because the way my brain works, the “shoulds” would be stuck in there and I may second guess everything we’re doing. So far things are good and questions and chats with other moms are working brilliantly. But, the real explanation is that eating isn’t a science, it is more of an art. And, there is much more involved in the “how” than in the “what”.
Claire Berlin has showed us an incredible interest in eating what we are eating. She has no interest in the orange veg I put in front of her, unless we’re eating the same thing, usually. I have presented her with mash versions of the veg + finger portions that she can pick up, play with, whatever. As soon as she gets her hands on the mushy stuff though she looks at me with a quizzical expression, unsure of what to do and not at all pleased with this new feeling in her hands. She also has no interest in being fed, either with a spoon or with my finger, so that stopped pretty quickly.
Since Claire is interested in everything I am doing or touching or drinking (she really loves drinking water or chamomile tea out of our glasses), I have let her explore with whatever I am engaged in. Our most recent experiment was coconut milk. She seemed to like it as she kept putting my finger in her mouth looking for more. It occurred to me that maybe she’s not into bland vegetables. After all, we don’t eat steamed veggies void of all other flavor. Plus, the chicken bone experiment went pretty well and that particular chicken was seasoned and roasted for us adults.
With all of this information, we moved onto the next experiment. Back to sweet potato. This time I cut it into rods, large dice, and planks. It got steamed and then it got a drizzle of coconut milk and a pinch of salt. We all sat down to lunch. She touched it, looked at us for some kind of expression and then got back to her food. She mashed some of it, tossed some off the table, but then she got a hold of a rod and it went straight into her mouth. She sucked it at first (coconut milk and salt!) and then bit down using her two brand new tiny teeth. The taste is still new and she’s still working that out, but she went back for more. This time she went for the plank. It broke in 2 so she grabbed one piece and little by little she ate it.
It’s been fascinating introducing food to our baby. It has forced me to think of food in an entirely new way. Small things such as the cut or the tiniest addition of fat or salt can mean a world of difference for a baby. We’ve been taking it slowly. I don’t want her overwhelmed and I would like for her relationship to food to just unfold as naturally as possible. No pressure. No charts. No comparisons.
She just turned 7 months so we’ve done a lot and we’ve come a long way already. I think we’ll keep revisiting some of these foods and throw in some other veggies as they turn up. It’s a great season for fresh and diverse produce! I have to say though that I am kind of looking forward to letting her gnaw on a little lamb chop. I wonder how that will go down?
I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, please share your experiences with your little ones and food. I’d love to hear about your journeys.
P.S. Between writing and posting, I performed a Clara Davis experiment of my own. I gave Claire some avocado to which she gave me an expression of an emphatic NO. So, I put some banana next to it (both cut into rods) and after some hesitation, she went to town on it! She even took some from my finger again! There is no linear progression! Just experimentation, play and discoveries! Enjoy:)