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Do You Follow the Baby Food Rules?

There are all kinds of rules for introducing solids to babies. You're supposed to do it in a certain order. Some things should not be introduced before a certain age. Your baby should show certain signs of readiness before you hand her a sirloin steak. You should always cut the blue wire, never the red.




I wrote a while back about how I'd totally forgotten how to start solids between kid 2 and kid 3. I'm picking it back up, mostly by being very, very lazy and buying premade food that costs way too much and probably does not contain peak nutrition. But it's easy and we're moving along nicely. The little chubster weighs well over 20 lbs at age 8 months and shows no signs of developing wrists or a neck any time soon.

We're getting into the grey area now where I know there are still vague rules, still foods I'm supposed to avoid or hold off on but I'm not sure what they are and I'm not sure if they completely matter. While my doctor might say one thing, books say another, my friends say something else and even the internet cannot come to a consensus. Basically, I just want Wanda to eat whatever I'm eating, only mushier.

My mom tells me that I would not eat "baby food" but went straight for whatever the family was eating. She fed me what I wanted and I have no food allergies or major health issues and will eat almost anything. (Maybe this is not a good thing since someone congratulated me on my pregnancy at a party this weekend and I couldn't be further from pregnant.) Anyway. I ate chicken curry as an infant and here I am alive and blogging.

One of my girl friends laughed at me when I told her I waited until 6 months to start rice cereal. She said, "I give my kids rice cereal at 4 months. By 6 months, I hand them a corn dog." I laughed. She said, "I'm not kidding."

However, the two times I've tried to go hardcore and give Wanda the food she seems to be craving, it has backfired miserably. Once I gave her some of the Indian food we were eating, ground up with water and rice. She cried for several hours. Then tonight we went out for Mexican and along with her smooshed squash, I gave her a few spoons of my very bland refried beans. Tonight she was not a happy camper, squeaking and squawking with what seemed suspiciously like gas pains. And I guess if beans give me gas, they would be hard for little babies to digest as well.

I'm just sort of in limbo. She can easily go through $5 of premade baby food per day, which amounts to a modest car payment each month. But she's starting to seem old enough to branch into human foods. But then again, every once in a while she gets sick. So I don't KNOW.

I'm keeping her away from nuts, eggs and dairy for now but other than that I think I'll just stick to trial and error. Is there something I'm missing? How do you decide which foods to introduce to your baby and when to introduce them?