Many breastfeeding women get overwhelmed at the thought of introducing their baby to solid foods. To seasoned mothers, starting solids is really no big deal. They worry about allergies, sure, but they don’t seem to get too caught up in how much, what type, or how frequently.
Perhaps this is because they have done this before or perhaps it is because their toddler already introduced the baby to cake icing when he shoved it in the three-month-old’s mouth when mom’s back was turned. Thanks for sharing, buddy.
There seem to be three big reasons why first time mom struggle with introducing solids:
- First and foremost, they want to do it right.
- They are worried about allergies.
- They are sad that the “exclusive milk phase” is coming to an end.
All of these are valid concerns and, luckily, easily surmountable with a little education and guidance. We cover all of this and more in our Breastfeeding and Solids coursework in person or online.
Not to contribute any more pressure, but I’d like to add one more item to that list:
Can your baby eat off your plate? Or, another way to ask is this: is your diet so crappy that you wouldn’t feed it to your kid?
The reason why I bring this up is because we spend months and years focusing on our child’s nutrition without giving a thought to our own. Now, I am a full supporter of prioritizing calories for yourself in the first six months of your baby’s life. Eat when you are hungry, whatever you can get in your mouth with one hand.
But, around six months, or when baby is to start eating solid foods to complement her milk feedings, I propose that you take this time to take a look at what you are eating. Ask yourself: Can I feed my baby off my plate?
Perhaps we should start with this: Is there food on your plate? When is the last time you ate a meal from a plate?
Then, are there whole foods on your plate or processed foods with added salt and preservatives?
Are there any fruits or veggies on your plate? Whole grains? If you want your baby to eat organically, are you eating organically?
Starting solids means beginning to involve baby in family meals.
Now, take a deep breath here. If you are a first time parent, it is highly likely that you are not eating a family dinner at the table. That’s okay. Luckily, you have years before this really matters. But if family dinners is something you want for your family, now is a good time to start incorporating it into your lifestyle once or twice a week. If baby goes to bed earlier than you, and you and your partner tend to eat dinner later, have a “snack” at the table with your baby when she is having dinner. Modeling eating habits, ideally healthy eating, is an element of parenting whether we like it or not.
Try making a few little changes to your plate with the guiding question in your head, “Would I be comfortable sharing this with my kid?” As a bonus, reap the rewards of feeding yourself a little better.