Just when you thought you had it all figured out with your baby – after months of unpredictability, random awakenings and unplanned feedings –just when you felt that the baby rhythm had now entered into some kind of serene routine – bam. Everything changes, a new tooth grows in, another developmental milestone happens, and you are back to scratching your head about what to feed next and when to put baby down.
It is a mystery how it all happens, from feeding your baby with breast milk or bottle, the number of feedings, when to introduce solids, how much and how often, when you should wean and how quick it should be done.
Cy took his first bite late into his fifth month. He was starving. He was an incessant feeder, and I was breastfeeding exclusively. For his first meal, I made rice porridge soup, and there was no hesitation. He slurped it with enthusiasm right away. We were in a very happy place with the three meals a day with some feedings, trying out different fruits and vegetables.
Things changed well into the 8th month. It happened all of a sudden. One day I was feeding him mashed peas with mint and the next day he turned his face away from the spoon. He was suddenly adamant about not wanting to be fed. After a few moments, he took the spoon from my hand and promptly tried to feed himself. The peas and mint ended up on his cheek, forehead and all over the floor but no matter. He kept at it.
Today he is done with the spoon. He wants to grab his food. He needs to feel it with his fingers and he wants to eat by himself. He takes his time and eats, feeling the textures with his fingers, looking at the shapes and colors and tasting the flavors. This is a wonderful phase. I can see that he is learning from this important tactile experience that builds their motor skills, hand/eye coordination and also their independence. This is an important developmental process, one that needs to be integral to feeding babies and one which I believe should continue as they grow. Not that they should continue to always touch and throw their food around during mealtimes, but that they should see food and eating as a learning experience, one that opens up their minds, palates and sensitivities to flavors, textures and colors and in time, learning about their benefits and how it impacts the way they grow.
This little dish is perfect for babies learning how to eat. There is enough substance to take it between little fingers but soft enough for a quick chew. They can use their fingers or use small forks. The Graham crackers give it a crunch in the soft texture of pears and the creaminess of the yogurt.
Pear with Yogurt and Graham Cracker Crumble
1 ripe pear, peeled and cut into small bite-sized cubes
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon crushed Graham crackers
- Place pear in a steamer and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the pear is tender when pierced with a fork.
- Puree the pear when done, or serve the pear as is, with cottage cheese and sprinkled with the crushed crackers.