By Andrea Nison
Many new parents and parents-to-be often feel overwhelmed and pressured at the beginning of their parenting journey to make sure that they are prepared and have everything they need to provide for this new child coming into this world. There are so many decisions to make regarding furniture, strollers, clothes and the latest trendy gadgets that you can spend so much time researching and reviewing items that you purchase only to realize that you didn’t actually need or even use these “must haves” at all.
Once I had my first daughter, who is now 9 years old, I realized that you really don’t need all of these items to provide for them and make sure their needs are met. My daughter was happy and content just being held, nursed, changed and loved, and it wasn’t that difficult! I soon understood that keeping things simple for us was really the best way, and that mentality also held true once we started introducing solid foods into her diet.
I remember hearing Brian Clement suggest to a new mother that her baby didn’t need to start eating solid foods until close to her second birthday, once all of her teeth had emerged. He told her that as long as she was breastfeeding, then her breastmilk provides the baby with all of the nutrients she needed for those first two years of life. I always kept that in mind with my children, and tried not to be influenced by well-meaning people that my baby needed to start eating solid foods so early in their lives.
I exclusively breastfed both of my daughters their first year, and then slowly introduced fruits into their diet after their first birthday. Starting with soft fruits like avocados, berries and bananas, I cut them into small pieces at meal times and let her sit with me at the table. Sometimes she was more interested in imitating me than actually eating, but it was fun. When introducing new foods to young children, it’s important to introduce each new food separately and then make sure that there is not a negative reaction like a rash or allergy to the food. If there is a reaction, then continue breastfeeding and wait until it passes to try a new food again.
I have found that there really is no need for “baby food” as long as you have a knife and cutting board, you can cut fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables for your children. Children love to experience the new textures and colors of these foods in their raw and fresh state, not overly cooked and pureed into a mush that has no taste or even any nutritional value. Allow them to experiment with new foods in their original state, and give them time for their teeth to come through before feeding them solid foods. Just remember to keep it simple!