This is the question of the century. Everyone has an opinion about when it is best to feed babies food. Here is a little background about me. I love to research things. I want the best for my family. I work in early intervention as well. Our department provides services for children from birth to three that need speech, physical, and/or occupational therapy. We also provide developmental therapy as well as inclusion teachers for classrooms.
Our speech and occupational therapists work with a lot of kids that have feeding issues. It could be from a number of things from being premature to a diagnosis that causes the aversion to foods. They all recommend that babies start solids when they can hold their head up, sit supported, make chewing motions, has doubled their birth weight, shows interest in food, to name a few (around 4-6 months). I agree with all of this because new research shows that baby's digestive tract is still developing and can't handle food. If you feed babies food too early, there is a greater chance of obesity, food allergies (especially if there is a family history), diabetes, etc.
What about rice cereal? There is a study (not sure if it is evidenced based and I can't find the article!) that says it is the American culture to feed baby rice 1st. And the reason why rice is recommended is because it is bland and it less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Well, since I waited to feed Jonah until 6 months, his digestive tract was better developed and the allergic reaction is not as big of a factor. So I skipped rice all together!
Rice cereal again....I've always heard that feeding baby rice will help them sleep through the night. But there has been no research that shows this to be true. Luckily, my Jonah slept 8.75 hours at 8 weeks old! But then went back to 4-5 hours a night. By 12 weeks, he was sleeping 6-7 hours 4 days a week. By 16 weeks he was sleeping 8-10 hours 4-5 days a week. At 7 months he is sleeping around 9-10 hours each night. Personally I think the sleep all depends on the baby. Jonah was exclusively breast fed until 6 months old and slept great for the most part. Babies are all different. They will cry. They are taking a lot in!
My mom fed me rice cereal before the recommended time and I turned out fine. I don't think she was a bad mother for doing that. There just wasn't as much research out about it back when I was born. She was a GREAT mom! Luckily, we have the Internet to educate us these days (well, it can be a double-edged sword!) I have no clue how parents raised kids before google. So props for my mom!
I decided to make my food for Jonah. We baked a sweet potato, mashed it up, and added some breast milk.
He loved it!
Then we tried avocados. Loved that too!
Then bananas! His favorite!
Like I said before, I like to research things before I do them to see what I feel is best. Waiting to feed Jonah solids was what I thought was best. I think as moms, we second guess ourselves all the time. Especially me being a new mom. I look to my mom and mother-in-law for advice and help all the time! They have been so great with helping out with my new little family. Plus I educate them all the time on my new findings =) Could not make it without them!