She Requested Steak and Potatoes

Motherhood is funny. Just when you think you have a plan set, your child throws you for a loop and it all changes.

I was so paranoid about breastfeeding and pumping enough milk for my daughter while I’m away at work. My pediatrician said at four months old my daughter could start rice cereal, so my goal was to start letting her chow down on her four month birthday.

Then, I started reading some articles and recommendations (from organizations like AAP, and WHO) for babies to wait until they’re six months to start solids. My understanding of this is because your baby’s stomach is fully developed, less likely to develop allergies and ready for solids sometime between 4-6 months but to be safe (and since all babies develop differently), it’s better just to wait until 6 months.

Surprisingly I have been able to keep up with pumping, and my frozen stash hasn’t had to take too much of a hit. So at four months I made a goal to continue exclusively breastfeeding until six months. After all, this is recommended, and it was going so well, why change it up? This became my new BIG HUGE breastfeeding goal. I doubted I’d last three months, much less six. But even if I dried up I’d probably have enough frozen to get us through the last few weeks and by George, I was going to do it if it killed me!

Famous last words.

Around four and a half months my daughter started acting funny around food. Others may call it “showing interest.” I tried to ignore it.

I ignored her reaching for my bowl of oatmeal every morning, and the fact that she’d lean toward me and open her mouth when a spoon came her direction. But one afternoon, when I wasn’t quick enough she grabbed a tater tot off my plate, put it in her mouth and started chewing. In a panic I pulled it out of her mouth and sadly admitted two things. 1. I need to start eating better and 2. She’s probably ready for solids.

To be sure I read a few articles about the signs of being ready.
Older than four months- Check
Sitting up unsupported- A little wobbly but- Check
Able to let us know when she’s full by turning away from a bottle or unlatching- Check
Loss of tongue-thrust-reflex-based on how she momentarily chowed down on the tater tot I’d have to say- Check
Showing interest in food- Double Check

So I had come to the realization that my daughter probably wanted steak and potatoes and was ready for solids. But was I ready to give in to her readiness? I was planning to skip rice cereal all together, and had Christmas as her date set to have her first “meal”. Oh yes, with squash, pictures, music, it would be a big deal. Plus, breastfeeding was going so well, and I wasn’t ready to say she was no longer exclusively breastfed. This was my badge of pride. My “I DID IT” sign I could have in my back pocket the rest of my life, pulling it out on the rare occasion of the awkward question “how long did you breastfeed?” I played out the scenario in my mind. “A year” I’d tell them, and be sure to add in the unnecessary additive “six months exclusively.”

I read more in my baby food book about first foods for babies and decided an organic brown rice cereal would be a good choice if we were going to start early. I want to stay gluten-free with her for a year, and brown rice would be a healthy start. Plus I can mix in breast milk and she’d be familiar with the taste.

I found a brand I liked and was ok with trying, and prepared to loose my exclusive breastfeeding virginity.

I thought it would be a little sad but it wasn’t in the least. Just like I thought, she was ready. She leaned in and opened wide from the start and surprisingly, more of it made it in her mouth then on her bib. After her first few bites she was ready to chow down; so much so, when it was all over, she licked the bowl.

Of course I got it all on video.

Lil’ J loved her yummy rice and milk. The next night she didn’t miss one bite and was mad when it was all gone.

I can’t wait until Christmas when she can have some REAL food. I already have her bib picked out, but I’m not sure which food it will be. Maybe avocado, sweet potato or squash. I’m leaning towards a vegetable and sticking with different veggies a little while before introducing fruit (besides avocado). I’m still torn between baby-led weaning and pureeing, so I may make a soft finger-food version for her to pick up, and a puree version as well and just see which she prefers. I imagine we’ll do a mix of both until she moves all the way to feeding herself.

What was your baby’s first food?

Sandy says:

So cute! It’s funny how quickly they realize what food is all about. Sometimes I think I need to feed with two spoons because I’m not fast enough for Stella!

Samaria says:

I ended up doing baby led weaning, my son went straight for it. I wasn’t sure how it would affect our breastfeeding relationship, well he is nearly 17 months and still going.

this is great. I’m pretty sure you ued Happy Bellie organic brown rice cereal. My son loves it!

Claudia says:

haha! I love the “licking the bowl” picture!

Congratulations on going this long with the breastfeeding/pumping! (I’m on round 2 myself) It truly takes over your life, but it’s so rewarding to know the milk your baby is getting is pure, fresh and organic and won’t be tainted by bug parts! Don’t feel bad about introducing her to solids. It’s the natural order of things. She still needs your milk for at least another 7 months, so go as long as you can and be proud you’ve come as far as you have!

Chantel says:

I did baby led weaning as well. When my kids showed interest in my food, I went ahead and gave them a taste of some rice cereal or oatmeal. My youngest is 13 months and still breastfeeding, so it hasn’t hindered his nursing at all. I do notice my supply is a little less, but I’m not pumping a whole lot anymore either. If you keep up your same pumping schedule, your supply should stay in tact.

All of my kids had carrots first. It was sweet enough that they didn’t reject it but still a veggie. I held off on fruits as well. I didn’t want them to get used to all the sweet stuff first.

Mackey says:

With my first five kids, I started rice cereal as soon as they were 4 months old mainly b/c other Moms told me I should. With the next two I waited till the six month mark and never really did infant cereals much with those two, instead we went with softer finger food they could manage themselves. ( Banana and avocado) Each method worked well, did not affect my nursing and today I have veggie loving non-allergic children.:0) With this new baby coming, I’m planning to follow a more baby led pattern and see how it works. I’m sure with so many sibling helpers around the kid will be eating by 4 months,if not sooner if I don’t watch it. First foods are exciting!!!

Mrs. D says:

rice cereal a few days ago 🙂 what a great idea to try a “real” food at christmas… I think I will have to steal that one from you!

De in D.C. says:

We didn’t start solids until almost 9mos, and completely skipped the cereals. At 11mos now, I do a combo of BLW and purees because C still doesn’t have any teeth! (Believe me, I’m NOT complaining since I’m still BFing). I find he eats more if offered chunky purees on a spoon, so have our nanny do that in the afternoon when I need to supplement my pumped milk, then we’ll give him BLW-type solids with dinner for practice. You don’t have to commit to one method or the other – just what works well for Lil J.

Howdy! I stumbled across your blog and thought this post was absolutely adorable. You sound so much like me when my daughter was at that age, and yes I was in denial for a little bit. But the Happy Baby brown rice cereal with probiotics quickly became my best friend, and then their oatmeal was a hit with my daughter. Sometimes we new moms need to just go with the flow.

Lena Hope says:

Mr was 4.5mths when started rice cereal and milk. But very quickly progressed to finger foods….he hated chunky puree with a passion cause he couldn’t work the spoon himself and refused to let anyone else feed him. We didn’t offer banana as he was a reflux buba and that can (and did when offered) make it worse. Finger foods we used included soft steamed carrot sticks, pumpkin, spud, cheese, cooked peas, berries (fresh and later frozen), pear and cooked apple. He is now 4yrs and will eat vege and fruit over meat any day of the week.

YUMMama says:

Congrats to Lil J for having her first food!!! I can’t really be sure what Moo’s first food was because Grandma had been sneaking behind my back giving her table food. But I started her with sweet potatoes and green beans.

Sara says:

Just because she is interested in “real” food now doesn’t mean that she is ready to wean. Breastmilk is still her main staple food and will continue to be for a while.

You can still follow baby led weaning, which is more for ending breastfeeding. My own nurslings have stopped asking for breastmilk at around 2 1/2 yrs.

Becca says:

Way to go with the brown rice cereal! I’ve been reading a bunch about the White Out campaign to get rid of white rice cereal for babies.

For heavens sake! She is a lil angel. She is so very precious. LiL J been ready for that cereal.
Great choice Jenn. I started mine with cereal too. I come to your blog to see her precious face everyday. I fine myself smiling at her too.

Bobbi Janay says:

Ian had his super early. With cereal, he was ready. And he loved it.

Camjay says:

Love it!…..We started Ava on cereal @5mos…..she’s 7mos now…& she loves Sprout organic baby food from Tyler Florence…my 4 year old dd loves to eat it too!

Sunny says:

Those pictures are adorable, she looks like she’s having a great time! I do think that the more they enjoy the experience, the less fussy they wind up being. Glad its going well!

Rebecca M. says:

Don’t worry about not nursing exclusively for 6 months. It was a big deal for my son because he’s at such high risk for allergies and asthma, but if that’s not an issue in your family, I wouldn’t sweat it. I do strongly recommend you limit the amounts and always nurse before offering solids until she’s at least a year old. Offer solids once a day until she’s 7 months, then twice a day until 8 months, then add a third meal after 9 months, with only 1-2 ounces at each meal. And you don’t need to give her cereal, even brown rice. It’s constipating and you’re really better off with a more nutritious food like avocado or sweet potato. You can still get your cute pictures on Christmas, but I’d start giving her the healthier foods now and ditch the cereal. You can give her homemade oatmeal (organic steel cut oats are the most nutritious) or brown rice in a couple months.

OH MY WORD…. your daughter is so beautiful! Such precious photos! I’m glad that you are mixing in the breast milk with her rice — that way it won’t be too thick and like you said, she’ll recognize the taste. I waited until my son was a little under six months — I wanted to wait until six months too, but I caved under the pressure of other people telling me to give the kid solids. I also mixed in the milk and it was a huge success!

Congratulations! This is a fun milestone.

Geigerin says:

Sounds just like our girl. She’s almost 9 months now and loves food! We started with avocado, but it made her cry. She likes it now, but her first favorite food was butternut squash. We’re doing a mix of purees and baby-led foods. Now that she’s 9 months, I put a lot of food in the blender on ‘chop’ so that the chunks are small enough but she can feed herself. I still purée squash (made a batch of yellow squash last night). It’s an easy food for daddy to feed when I’m not home. 🙂

Love your blog! You are an awesome mom, informed and instinctual. 🙂

Josh’s first food was applesauce at 6mos. He also loved gnawing on cold apple slices when he was teething. I grew up on an apple orchard so his first food was from our trees 🙂

Darcy K says:

I wonder when my little guy will eat solids too now–as I have declared the same thing! Exclusive for six months! hahha, i guess plans are just that, plans.

After brown rice cereal we gave him green beans and he really liked that. I started off with homemade purees and made his food chunkier as time went on.

izzy says:

I glanced through your blog and can’t stop adoring your little angel. I love her fairy dress in your previous post. But this post, OMG. The third picture, that’s my favorite!!!! SUPER ADORABLE.

First of all, GREAT pictures!!! My little one stared eating baby food and rice at 5 months because his appetite was way out there. lol. hes too talland too skinny says the dr. lol.

Hey Jen, I don’t know if you got my Twitter reply, but I just blogged about baby led weaning, if you’re interested in seeing how we did it. 🙂

Rania says:

That is TRULY some GREATNESS! I loved the story and I loved the pictures! 🙂 Definitely when they grab for the food it’s time! 🙂 Thanks for sharing that and you should still be VERY proud of yourself for nursing so long still!

I did it (not exclusively-because I never produced tons of milk) for a year with my first. 6 months with my second and the third and 4th got it for 4 months and 6 weeks, respectively. So I know how hard it is (especially when you’re working). Kudos to you!

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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