Any of you who have already spent time reading some of my other posts know that while I have tons of opinions about everything, I do not believe in religious parenting. What I mean is, I don’t believe in parenting that tries to teach you a hyper-strict way of doing everything “just right” so you can feel like a better parent. Usually when someone is striving for the “just right” thing, it means they have a weak conscience. If the conscience is fixed, the problem usually goes away on its own, or with minimal instruction.
That said, this post is about not turning your baby’s eating into a religion. I particularly am referring to the tight schedules of solid foods that some baby experts love to publish. It looks so neat on paper: smart little boxes with time tables and all arranged by color and food group. In reality, it is totally unnecessary. Unless you have a very unique health situation with your baby (and your pediatrician would let you know), there is no reason to follow solid food charts like liturgy. There is some wisdom with starting with yellow foods, but don’t stress if it is pears over squash. And if for some reason you start with orange, don’t beat yourself up. You can always do a yellow one next. If your baby never gets to green (ugh), don’t worry that they won’t eat their broccoli when they grow up. And if your baby, for some unknown reason, wants a piece of your steak or accidentally snarfs some cornbread, don’t panic! It’s food. And it will go through them the same way as everything else.
:-) I say this tongue in cheek because I have met so many people, especially expecting first-time moms, who really get into these charts. Usually they are food nuts themselves. And I like food nuts! Some of my best friends are food nuts, and they have convinced me that approximately half their propaganda is probably true.
But you’re never going to get me to hang up one of those charts.
And my fourth baby skipped baby food all together. She went straight for the real thing. And guess what? She’s very healthy. My third baby skipped baby food almost–he liked most of the fruits. But only the first one ever ate rice cereal. Or got jarred vegetables. He actually graduated to “stage 3” from Gerber! The others were doomed to failure. Again, I am not advocating reactionary baby-feeding where you just hand them your Italian sandwich. But realize that babies are little people, and they may want food. Real food. And they will learn what’s good by what others like, what tastes sweet, and what smells nice. Most baby food in a box or jar does not fit any of those criteria.
So please don’t make your baby’s solid food a religion. There are so many more important things in life. Like toilet training =)