This is the time when Ada begins trying food. She has shown the signs that she is ready: sitting up, grabbing everything and putting it in her mouth, gagging; these skills develop simultaneously in babies. Also, she just turned 6 months old, which is a common time for breastfed babies to start trying food.
This period is all about tasting. She eats very little. She plays with her food. This is baby-led weaning.
Ada has tried apples, grapefruit, lemon, carrot, squash, celery, tomato, and avocado. She is eager to taste anything. She puckered up when she tried lemon, but kept going back for more.
When appropriate, we give her whole chunks of food. Otherwise, as in the case of squash, we cook the food. We place the food in front of her and let her grab it and put it in her mouth. If she wants to grab the food but has trouble, we will either place it on a spoon and hand the spoon to her (when the food is mushy) or hold the food in front of her and let her guide our hands to her mouth (when the food is slippery or hard to handle).
Her two bottom teeth enable her to scrape off bits of the hard food (apples, celery, etc.). She works the food around in her mouth a bit, tasting it. Usually the food makes it way out her mouth again (that's a reflex that babies have). She swallows some food, somewhat by accident, and that passes through her without being digested.
The Wisdom of Maya Angelou
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