This past Tuesday we started feeding Kathleen rice cereal. A very diluted rice cereal. She's just over 5 months and they say it is common to start solids between 4-6 months with rice cereal being the "best" first food. Kathleen was showing "signs" of being ready for spoon feeding such as reaching for our food with great interest, getting toys to her mouth easily, and waking up a few times a week in the middle of the night hungry. So I made the trip to Babies R Us for weaning spoons, small food pots, and rice cereal to get us started. Brand loyal as I am, we went with the Explora brand of supplies made by Tommee Tippee. I do love the way they design products.
In the mean time I also checked out 4 books from the Durham County Library about starting solids and was in the process of reading as fast as I could to learn about how this whole process works. I would say that this is the first time every book said something different. I managed to pick up books from one end of the spectrum to the other on their beliefs of when to start, what to start with and how to progress from a full milk only diet to depending only on solid foods for nutrition. I described it to Calvin as looking at 3 different recipes for a similar meal then looking in your pantry to see what you've got and combining them all to hopefully end up with something delicious.
So even though we started rice cereal this past week we are now holding off again to take more of a "Baby Led Weaning" approach. In November, when Kathleen is officially 6 months old, I assume we'll do a combination of mostly baby led weaning with one serving of rice cereal by spoon every day or two. I'll let her feed herself with the spoon as much as possible so that she can learn how it's done. (Unlike one book that suggested teaching your baby to put their hands on the side of the highchair tray while feeding them as to not make a mess.) She'll also enjoy finger foods including all types of veggies, fruit, local meat, and bread. For the most part we are not planning to deal with purees. We'll just have to make sure we are eating healthy basic foods so that Kathleen can enjoy and taste right along with us! It sounds much more fun to me to do it this way.
A question weighing on me that I will save for the doctor on November 11th will be whether or not we need to withhold gluten given my father's celiac disease. Apparently there is research on both sides arguing that introducing gluten early vs. withholding it until after the first year helps prevent the disease in those that are genetically predisposed to it.
Nevertheless, Kathleen was incredibly cute and happy with her first feeding.