People keep asking me what I’m going to give Birdie for her first foods. This seems like a loaded question to me- I get the feeling people want me to answer either “rice cereal” or “apple sauce” or maybe even “avocado.” I just keep thinking, “I have no idea what I’ll be having for lunch or dinner the day that Birdie chooses to reach out and grab some foods off the table” and “I don’t really know which of those first foods I give her that she’ll actually swallow.”
I’m a big believer in the phrase “food is for fun until age one” and utilizing the oral motor skills that are inherent to a 6 months old (tongue thrust, phasic bite, tongue lateralization) to taste and explore solid foods without actually swallowing them. When you give purees, the goal is generally to get them swallowed, vs just letting your baby taste and explore, then spit out. That can be very difficult on babies at first (though of course some do phenomenally with this from the get go!) But since time allows the gut to keep maturing and also allows practice to build well coordinated oral motor skills, I like the idea of letting her mouth foods before asking her to swallow them in any quantity.
So I will most likely stick with foods that are easily held and easily mouthed: long "sticks" of food or big pieces of mashable foods. She can taste, suck, and gnaw on them until she eventually drops them, pushes them back out or even gag them out of her mouth. I will definitely edit what I let her put in her mouth- avoiding things that are true choking hazards (small, hard, round food items) as well as things that are heavily salted or sugary, but I don’t plan on choosing a specific food right now. I think I will just pull whatever is most appropriate from my plate and give her the chance to pick it up and feed herself if she can. At the suggestion of a nutritionist I met, I might try to steer her towards green and yellow veggies, the seasonal ones I get in my CSA delivery and am preparing anyways for my husband and I, because green and yellow veggies do not spike your blood sugar and are low on the glycemic index. Maybe green beans or roasted squash? But possibly not- maybe lentils or humus? Maybe scrambled eggs? Possibly a carrot stick or zucchini slice that she can mouth? (I don’t have any history of allergies, nor does my husband and since Birdie will be 6 months, I am not terribly worried about allergic reactions.) We’ll see if my mind changes over the next few weeks.
What were your baby’s “first foods?” Any thoughts on purees vs “table foods” as your baby’s firsts? This is my nephew enjoying some of his firsts: spinach and crackers. This boy can eat!