Yesterday, my baby had his first ‘solid’ food. I bought Gerber’s Organic Brown Rice Cereal after doing a little bit of research. I was concerned about the levels of arsenic in brown rice in general and in baby food in particular but upon reading further and making sure that we only feed him one serving of the rice cereal a day, I have accepted this as a good nutrition option for Baby J.
Some Indian co-cultures have special ceremonies that celebrate their baby’s first feeding of solid food. In my particular Indian community, we don’t really have a commemorative celebration. So, after I prepared the meal (1 tbsp of the rice cereal with 5 tbsps of breastmilk), I placed the little food bowl before the Gods’ statues, prayed along with my mother that my baby always get plentiful to eat and meet his nourishment and nutrition goals, and sat down to feed J.
He spit out his first spoonful (I used a little spoon used for mixing expresso in a little cup). Understandably, this was a very new experience for him. What an adventure! The last time I fed him with a spoon was on his 3rd or 4th day since birth. I used a Baskin and Robbins pink plastic spoon to feed him colostrum. This was a nice shiny steel spoon He accepted his second spoonful of cereal and we all clapped. Videotaped by ajja and pictured by daddy with encouragement from mamama and feeding by mommy, baby J had his first full spoonful of ‘solid’ food. I was so excited for our little family. What a big step for my baby darling!
A note about rice cereal: Not what I had in mind at all! When I first started researching solid food for babies, I was surprised at the name ‘rice cereal’. I think the word ‘cereal’ was what threw me off. How is my baby going to eat cereal, I wondered? What might this solid food look like? Surely, it isn’t like adult breakfast cereal? and it isn’t… Rice cereal is basically powdered rice. There are recipes online on how to make your own cereal but I preferred to buy it the first time around (before I saw what it looked like). In any case, I think I got a good deal on Amazon.com – 6 8oz packs for $13 something (the price has since risen to $17 something) and it should last baby J a while especially with only 1 serving a day.
So all you new moms who don’t know, rice cereal does not look like breakfast cereal, it is crushed rice and the texture is very fine once you mix it with breastmilk or formula (I used breastmilk). I have ‘solid’ in single quotes because the mixed product is not solid per se, it is just a little thicker than straight formula. I have read that some people thicken this for their babies but I am not going to do that just yet. As months go by, I might switch to Indian baby food made of dalia, nachni, and so on.
I have been freezing breastmilk since I first started pumping but really started more seriously since May after we more actively started feeding J formula for more nutrition and supplementation. I plan on using this milk for J’s solids. However, I learned that you should throw away prepared cereal if baby refuses to eat all of it (for reasons having to do with bacterial growth) so this morning, I had to throw away about 1 oz of prepared cereal (from yesterday) and it just breaks my heart to throw away breastmilk especially since it takes me so long to pump enough (story for another day). So today, I used formula instead to mix with the cereal and it worked just fine.
Today was the second day of feeding J solid food. I ordered a bunch of Earth’s Best Organic baby food from Target (baby sale) and fed my baby a spoonful of carrots. Aaron held three jars, one each of peas, carrots, and sweet potatoes before J and he picked the one with carrots and so carrots it was! I wondered how he would react to this kind of colored baby food (rice cereal was just plain ol’ white). J’s first reaction was one of surprise and a little nose twitch as if wondering..what in the world is this!! Then, as I brought forth more of the carrots, he not only smacked his lips with the taste of this newness, but eagerly opened his mouth for all future feedings as soon as he saw the spoon approaching. It was such a priceless moment. I LOVED LOVED LOVED it!! I gave him 4-5 small spoonfuls of the carrots and he devoured each one totally nonchalantly like he had been eating it all his little life. What an amazing experience for all of us. Aaron videotaped the moment.
I look forward to many more food adventures with baby J. Not all of them will be exciting and I know some of them will drive me crazy (just trying to feed him rice cereal this afternoon was exhausting with me having to do a little dance for each spoonful and when that didn’t work, I had to feed the cereal to him through his dropper that was previously used to give him gripe water) but my baby is on his way toward eating food with texture. He is growing up. He is almost 4.5 months now and time is just flying by.
Update: Today I fed him mashed peas from the baby food jar. It was very clear that Baby J was not a fan of the peas Will try again tomorrow.