When Should Babies Start Eating Solids? They’ll Tell You!

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baby led weaning

One of the biggest questions parents have about their baby is how to know when they are ready to start eating solids. It seems for every expert’s opinion, there is another expert with a contradicting view. And of course, the unsolicited advice from other parents is always super helpful, too.

With my second and third babies, I’ve thrown all caution to the wind and followed a style of feeding called baby-led weaning. Basically it stems from the idea that — gasp — our babies will tell us when they are ready for solid foods, and that — double-gasp — they can actually feed themselves with their own two hands!

Now wait just a minute… What?! No spoons?! No purees?! Won’t your baby choke?! They can’t possibly feed themselves! The horror! The MESS!

Well, there is one thing you are right about. The MESS!!

Believe it or not, if given the space and opportunity, our babies can tell us when they’re ready to start eating food with the family. Both our second and third babies made it extremely clear when they wanted some of what was going on with the rest of the family at mealtime.

When our third baby was seven months old, we began putting her in her high chair so she could sit with the entire family at the dinner table. The first few weeks she was content to just watch what we were doing. She would sometimes reach out and make smacking noises with her mouth, but her pacifier or toys were usually sufficient to keep her happy and entertained.

Then came the night when she finally decided she wanted to actually try some of this stuff that the rest of us were eating. She started reaching and yelling at us. I mean yelling, screeching at the top of her lungs so loud that there was absolutely no way that we could ignore her. We couldn’t even hear each other talking above her yelling.

“I think she wants food!” I saw my husband mouth to me as the screaming went on behind him. We couldn’t move fast enough to cut up some pieces of our dinner, meat and vegetables, and put them on her high chair tray.

And then, just as suddenly as it began, it was quiet again.

We watched as she concentrated so hard on picking up those pieces of food and bringing them up to her mouth. The first few times she dropped them before actually getting the food into her mouth, but she was determined. And quiet. And that’s all that mattered to us at that point.

She was happy and content to figure out this whole eating thing for herself. And she’s been an eating champ ever since. In fact, she often eats more than her 5-year-old, pickiest-eater-on-the-planet sister. You know, our first baby who we spent so much time making homemade baby food for and spooning it into her mouth. Figures!

Now it’s your turn! Tell us your own funny feeding tale with “Stories from the Bright Side” on Happy Family’s Facebook page by sharing a video or written story and image about your kiddos and food. Submissions will be judged by a panel from Happy Family for a chance to win $20,000 to go towards college for your child!

Emily writes about green and natural living at Live Renewed.
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