Eating solids, continued

Pediatricians and baby eating experts often say that regardless of when a baby starts eating solids, whether it’s at 4 months or 6 months, the majority of their diet should continue to be breast milk or formula up until the age of 1. Part of the reason for this is that the introduction of solids is simply that — an introduction. The baby will not be having a majority diet of solids for a long time after getting initially introduced. They have to get used to eating non-breast milk/formula. They are adapting to new tastes, textures, self-feeding, being feed from a spoon or from a plate and not through a bottle nipple or mom’s nipple. So in the beginning, the baby will likely play with and throw the food, taste and spit it out. Not much actual eating and swallowing will happen. That comes as a real shock to a lot of new parents who haven’t read much about introducing solids, and so they get really disappointed when the baby doesn’t actually eat and swallow (including Chris). But babies, like the rest of us, need time to get used to new foods. Just the exposure is a good thing in the beginning. Playing with the food, even if it’s just pushing it around the tray or throwing it, is still exposure. They are still interacting with the food, which is good. It’s considered a win or a “mini meal” if they have just the equivalent of one teaspoon of something, and then eventually, one tablespoon of something. So as you can imagine, introducing solids, whether it’s in whole food form or via pureed food, is going to take a crap ton of patience. The more I have thought about this, the more I have realized that introducing a large array of foods in different shapes, colors, and sizes, takes a LOT of time, energy, and patience; thus, it’s no wonder that kids end up becoming picky eaters. Their parents just didn’t have the time or energy to introduce them to eating the rainbow. In some cases, the parents are just being lazy (or imposing their own picky eating on their kids). In most cases as I’d assume, though, it’s because the parents were just too exhausted.

Babies have nothing to compare solids to in terms of taste, other than breast milk or formula. So they don’t have any pre judgments about whether mango should be tastier than broccoli or brussel sprouts. So far, we’ve introduced Kaia to avocado, Alphonso mango, broccoli (steamed, roasted, pureed), and asparagus (roasted, and lime (a wedge). She has no reason to prefer any of these things to the other, and my hope is that she will eventually embrace them all. But we just need to be patient and not impose our own judgments of these foods onto her.

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