Dashiell is four and a half months old now and the introduction of solid foods, the start of weaning, is on our horizon. We plan to start solid foods around the time he is six months old, as recommended by the American Acadmey of Pediatrics. We will also follow Dashiell's lead and look for signs that he is ready such as showing interest in our food by reaching for it and being able to sit up without assistance.
Cooking and eating is something so important to Chris and me so I'm really excited to start sharing this with Dashiell. One of the things I'm most looking forward to is Dash helping me in the kitchen once he's old enough. I'm already planning on getting something like this once he can stand so he can help with tasks like washing produce, stiring, and transfering food from one bowl to another, or just watching me. But I'm getting ahead of myself!
We already try to involve Dash in our cooking and eating by setting him in his Baby Bjorn seat on our kitchen island while we cook or eat a snack. We narrate what we're doing such as, "I'm getting out the cutting board so I can chop this cucumber. See this cucumber, it is green and has bumpy skin." Now that Dashiell can hold things and is exploring with his mouth I sometimes give him a piece of food to hold and gum, like a small, washed, bell pepper. If I'm eating a snack I face Dashiell and emphasize taking a bite and chewing so he can see what I'm doing.
We've noticed Dash taking some interest in our food, like the other day when he reached out for a cupcake Chris was eating! He's gaining some stability sitting on his own but it will definitely be a while before he is sitting unassisted. I'm in no rush though; I have so much to learn still!
Right now I'm educating myself on the different approaches to solid foods. I'm interested in the Montessori approach and baby led weaning and Kylie put together a great comparison. My preference would be skipping rice cereal but Chris has expressed concern about Dash needing an iron supplement starting at six months (since my breast milk will not supply all that he needs) and rice cereals are typically iron-fortified. So we need to research that a bit more but I expect our approach will be a blend of Montessori and baby led weaning...with some rice cereal for good measure.
Materials we have/need to gather include:
- Keekaroo high chair with infant insert (we already own these)
- Child-sized utensils set
- Child size bowl and plate
- Child sized glass
And I'll probably come up with a few more things once I start reading more. I'd love to hear any resource recommendations that you have!