An Open Letter to the Inventor of the "Start Solids At 4 Months" Rule
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(Yes, I am addressing this to MEN. Not just any men, but men, in particular, who have never changed diapers. You will understand soon.)
You know boys, many people in the "crunchy" community (you know, baby wearing, home birthing, diva cup wearing, eating granola type gals) have this big issue with waiting to start solids until six months or until the baby seems interested in grown up food. This is also known as "baby led weaning."
Maybe you haven't heard of this crazy "baby led weaning" stuff, but it is when the baby starts eating solids when the baby is ready to eat solids. They start sitting up on their own, reaching for food, trying to put it in their mouths. You know that baby might be ready for solids when they master the "pincher" grasp and can delicately pick up a morsel from their tray and place it in their mouth. Basically they eat stuff besides milk when they can physically eat stuff besides milk.
I know, it all DEFIES LOGIC! (I am being sarcastic boys. Keep reading.)
Still I hear women being told to start some "rice cereal" (I won't even get into that, it is a WHOLE other post) when the baby is four months old.
I myself was told by my first child's pediatrician that I should be sure to start solids by four months or he may NEVER EAT SOLID FOOD.
Dun dun DUN!
(As an aside, even when I only had one kid that sounded kind of whack. I have yet to meet an adult who won't eat solid food.)
Who cares if the child can feed himself? Who cares if they can even sit unassisted? Nobody! Just prop them and start shoving spoonfuls of mushy, pureed dinners into their mouth. Most of it gets spit out because they are too young for food, but SOME will make it down their throat.
Here is the thing fellas, there are lots of reasons feeding a child who can't even sit or bring their hand to their face is silly, but the reason I know you invented this rule BEFORE you had children is this...
Yes, when you start feeding a baby something besides breast milk, the poop changes FOREVER. And not for the better. Without getting into too many details, poop changes from yellowish breastmilk poop to "smells like a gas station bathroom but sticks like none else," poop. If you are doing cloth diapers (which of course you are if you let your kid feed themselves at any which time) this is sticky, nasty, and very bad news.
With a few kids under my belt and a few thousand cloth diapers changed, I have learned my lesson boys. Sheesh, if I could hold off on solids indefinitely I would. (JUST KIDDING. I know they need food besides breast milk eventually.)
No, I don't make them stay on milk forever, but I sure as heck don't rush the solids anymore or continuously feed a baby mush just so they can spit it out and drip it on the high chair.
Now I wait until they are grabbing and sitting and being very obvious about how much they WANT big boy/girl food. It isn't because I am so crunchy or because I don't want to pay for jarred baby food. I wait to start solids now because I know about the solids poop.
So boys, next time you want to make a recommendation about feeding babies solids, go change a few toddler diapers.
I am pretty sure you will re-think your stance on things and encourage breast milk as long as possible, and solids when a baby WANTS them. Not before.
Baby-led weaning mothers of the world
My last one started solids at about eight months and is as happy and healthy as a clam. I am however, now changing big girl diapers. Yuck.