Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Adventures in Baby Feeding

Feeding a baby solid food is not always as easy as you might think.  I must admit that when I was pregnant, I didn't put much thought into it.  When she was ready, I would give Kira cereal.  I had vague plans to make her baby food.  Someday, somehow, she would eat table food.

While the making of baby food has turned out to be pretty easy, I find myself stumbling over when, what, and how much to feed her.  The doctor gave me a chart and said to feed her less milk when I started the food.  But how much less milk do you give for the tablespoon of vegetables recommended by the chart?  And how much solid food do you really give in the first place?  It takes a great deal of experimentation to figure out these things.  You can't always trust the advice "feed the baby until she looks away or loses interest" if you have a baby like mine, either.  She'll take a couple of spoonfuls and then--oh look, there's the cat!  Hey, what's that over there?  Assume she is done and wipe her face, and the Wrath of Baby descends upon your head.  Kicking, mouth smacking, and crying that can only be translated as "NOOOOO Mommy, I'm a starving baby!  Staaaarrrrving...." commence.  So you feed the baby another spoonful and then--is that the dog??  The dog is cool, Mommy.  Repeat face wiping and baby wrath.

Now that Kira is almost seven months and teething, it is time to start giving her a little bit of regular food.  I'm terrified to give her something that will make her choke or cause an allergic reaction.  Is there too much salt, sugar, or fat?  If I give her little (or larger) pieces of fruit to chew, will she choke?  What if a biscuit contains egg?  She's not supposed to have that yet because it's a possible allergen, right?  GAHHHHHH!!!      

I have come to the inevitable conclusion that I have no idea what to do next.  Pureed foods are pretty easy, once you figure out what age she can start what.  I am simply clueless about the transition between pureed and table food.  And those motherly instincts I should be listening to--well, they aren't saying a great deal on the issue.  You see, I'm terrified that I'm going to make a mistake.  Aside from choking and allergies, there's the ever present fear that if I feed her the wrong way, I'll contribute to her being overweight someday.  It is a great deal of responsibility.  I'm beginning to think that all I can do is muddle through the best I can.  


  1. One guideline that might help is to not give her anything that requires chewing until she actually has teeth on both top and bottom. Things pureed or that can be dissolved or softened by saliva are generally okay.

    As for the contents of the foods, I can't remember all the allergen rules, but her doc should be able to tell you. If I were raising a baby now I'd be trying my best to stick to natural whole foods prepared in a way she could eat (i.e. plain veggies, fruits, meats, etc. Little processed foods and very few sweets on special occasions).

  2. If everyone mother was totally honest, muddling through is the norm. One doctor or study tells you one thing and then you hear another that is totally opposite. Every mother makes mistakes. It is inevitable. As long as you are making the effort to be the best mother you can be, then you are doing great. I could give you my opinions on what I would do, but then so could your friends and other relatives. That leaves you with the choice of who to listen to, which is further confusion. As for solid food, I agree you should wait until she has sufficient teeth to chew with. Oh yes, and never cut hot dogs into little rounds when she gets old enough because that is a really big choking hazard. (I'll tell you now in case I forget down the line. lol) You are doing an exceptional job of being Kira's mother. She is a happy, healthy, well-adjusted baby who is delightful.

  3. My youngest is 5 months and I just started him on solids last month. The doctors don't really give you specific instructions on how often/how much, because I really think every baby is different. You would think I remember the whole solids routine since I have a 2 year old, but it's almost like I'm starting all over again with this one. It all blends together. I think it's natural for moms to be hard on themselves, because we want to be the best mommy possible and do everything we can for our babies. But it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job with your little girl. :)

  4. Thanks, guys! :) Sometimes I think I just stress too much about everything. Example: I bought a Gerber meal for her to try (I usually do this before I bother to make a batch) and was worried because it had tuna oil to add DHA. I was afraid to give it to her in case she was allergic. But on further research, I realized that the oatmeal with DHA I'd been giving her for almost 2 months had tuna oil in it. LOL @ me. All we can do is try our best, I guess.