Well Ben had his 'first food' yesterday. I could not deny him any longer as he sat on my lap at the dinner table and grabbed at the ginger cake I was dishing out. Most of it went on the floor but he certainly enjoyed the sensation of squeezing it through his fingers and sucking it.
So, thinks I, is this the beginning? Have I started him on solid food then?
Actually I had given him other foods - but to explore rather than eat. He is curious and reaching out for everthing - and everything goes in his mouth. So I wondered what he would make of cucumber put to his mouth. Brr, cold. He drew away. Another day and he was crying and probably teething. We were eating pizza. I gave him a pizza crust which he happily bit and gummed.
However, I am not quite ready to give him solid food. Partly because I know what that does to their poo and I want to put off changing those nappies! Mainly, though, because I have read the books, looked at the research, and know that my baby is fine just having breastmilk. I do not want to be swayed by the prevailing culture of consumerism in the form of high chairs, bibs, cutlery, blenders, steamers, etc. I know that waiting till he is six months helps protect his immune system and his chance of getting allergies. (more about the reasons for six months in another blog)
I am also aware of other cultures around the world, where there are no books or magazines telling them to keep up with the Jones'. Where feeding your baby is much more a slow natural process. Where feeding your baby is something you do alongside normal life. Ben will learn about food along side the family. Weaning will not be about getting him to be on three meals a day asap, or about him sleeping through the night; he will learn about food, about textures, tastes, satiation, and being part of a family.
Today I had pitta bread and humous for lunch. He wants to see it, to feel it, to have what I have. I break off some bread and give it to him. We 'eat' together. Only he doesn't actually eat - just sucks it, learning the flavour, the texture, as it slowly crumbles in his hand. When he has had enough of this play, I pick him up and breastfeed him - still my favourite way of giving him all the nutrition he needs.