With each child a parent grows and changes in their parenting styles. Oftentimes you look back and wish you could have a second chance armed this time with experience and knowledge. As one friend put it, you do your best until you know better, then you do better.
Even though I've done this whole baby thing four times before and have changed drastically over the years, I still find myself plagued with insecurity at times especially since there are so many variations in the ways my friends and family parent. It's hard not to look around and compare myself or my babies to others.
So I mentioned in the twins' 5 month update that we were planning on doing baby led weaning. I truly believe in the benefits of breastfeeding and that babies do not need any other food than their mothers' milk for a long time. Culturally we are led to believe that babies who don't sleep though the night or who nurse frequently must not be getting enough milk but this is hardly ever the case. A baby's body was designed to need frequent (sometimes multiple times per hour) feedings around the clock for many months if not years. This I believe in my mind though I do allow my heart to be swayed from time to time.
Brooklyn and Braelyn have been VERY excited at the dinner table for quite a while now. Their eyes grow big and their arms and legs flail. They are both beginning to reach for my plate and cup and anything else within reach! To many people it certainly looks like they want food.
In previous generations doctors even recommended people feed babies very early. I drank juice and ate cereal and baby food well before the now-accepted 6 month mark. It's difficult for grandparents to accept any other way of thinking. I think my mom has chuckled at many of my kind of crunchy, new fangled ideas! She and my dad both suggested I start the babies on solids, and seeing how the babies were acting at the table, I decided to give it a shot. After all, no mother wants her babies to be hungry!
I bought a banana and an avocado, and then I picked up some rice cereal which was also something I wasn't too keen on since it is essentially junk food (it has little nutritional value hence it's need to be "fortified"). But I knew since I could mix it with breast milk, the babies might enjoy its taste more than the more foreign taste of true solids.
Over the weekend I mixed up a little soupy bowl and offered the girls some on a spoon. While they didn't make a face or clamp their mouths shut (as Piper did as a baby!), they also clearly had not lost that reflex that causes a baby to push food out of their mouths with their tongue instead of chew and swallow. Now the first time I offered Ryland cereal (when he was 5 months old), he did not lose a single drop of it! However just as many babies do, Brooklyn and Braelyn had more running down their chin than went down their throat!
Seeing their unsuccessful attempts at eating assured me that they indeed were not ready for solids. I will now feel more confident waiting until they are able to feed themselves which will give their digestive tracts more time to mature. As for their excitability at the dinner table, I know that it is just because of their curious nature. After all, they grab at books when we sit together for school but are certainly not ready for math or reading yet!
In the meantime, however, I would not deny you guys the viewing pleasure of seeing sweet baby faces smeared with food, which I feel confident is the best reason to feed babies puréed food!