It's been fascinating to compare Henry and Tate's developmental trajectories. Henry was four months -old when we took a trip to New Mexico and Colorado. Matt and I distinctly remember eating at a restaurant when Henry started reaching for our water glasses. He wanted to bring everything to his mouth.
Tate has entered that same phase (exact same behavior with water glasses!), which is why we want to get him started on solid food. The Montessori approach to food introduction actually begins even earlier, but I'm too nervous to start any earlier than four months.
I think we'll start with rice cereal, sweet potato, banana, avocado, and apple. We never waited several days between foods with Henry, so I don't think we'll do it with Tate either. We will also introduce a small water glass from the very beginning. It worked so well with Henry. He's only broken glasses or dishes a handful of times in the past three years, and I think he has learned to be more careful because of it. He never throws things off the table, etc.
So far, Henry is a fantastic eater. We never have to worry about whether he's eating enough, and he has a varied palate. He eats edamame, sushi, Thai food, broccoli, quinoa, roasted vegetables, chickpeas, etc. Here are the things we implemented with him that we will likely replicate with Tate:
- Introduce foods as soon as he shows an interest of bringing things to his mouth (~4 months)
- Introduce a variety of foods quickly--all sorts of fruits and vegetables
- Make interesting foods as soon as possible, such as green beans with mint
- Make baby food from scratch because it tends to be chunkier and better preparation for eating
- Avoid relying on convenience baby foods, like pouches
- Accelerate to foods with more texture earlier than the average American book recommends
- Graduate to real foods as quickly as possible
- Never make a separate "kids meal"
- Share our food at restaurants rather than ordering off the kids' menu
- Never force him to eat anything and be okay if he chooses not to eat (and don't offer him something else beyond what's on the table)
- Introduce sugary food around the year mark but use it to teach moderation
- Serve his food on ceramic plates with real forks and spoons from the very beginning
- Limit snacks to mid-morning and mid-afternoon--try to avoid snacks while driving, walking in the stroller, etc.
- Push the high-chair right up to the table during family meals
- Serve snacks at a child-sized weaning table
I'm not expecting Tate to be the same phenomenal eater that Henry is, but we'll see how these strategies go!