solid mechanics.

This post has been a long time coming, and it's all about babe, just fyi.

When I was learning the solids ropes with Mari a couple of years ago, I thought about sharing the process for how she got fed; in other words, not so much on the making of the food, or the tools and equipment used, but how it layered into our day with an ever-changing newborn schedule.
The hardest thing for me, with both kids, was figuring out what rhythm [read: schedule] worked for them, and letting that be the guide. As with most things baby, kids have a way of letting us know when they are ready for a change, and with Jenna, I've let her take her time and show me the way. I guess that's what happens with the second kid, when I'm not so hung up on expectations - of my baby or myself.

Do I feed Jenna solids before milk? After? Do I space out her feedings throughout the day? Did I start with rice cereal like everyone says you must? And how many times a day?

Before I dive in, I'll say that as with all things new in newborn, I relied heavily on my best gal pals who had navigated solids before me. Their words and advice is what helped me most. It's my hope that I can pass on some learned tips to those who may be going through solids for the first time.

All that said, here's a rough schedule and guide that I've rediscovered over the last few months as we experience solids, all over again. For your reference, Jenna is now 7 months old.

Four to Five Months: rice cereal
- rice cereal, once per day, starting out with 1 Tablespoon, and increasing it up to 2.5 Tablespoons
- time of day: after her "dinner" breastmilk feeding, which is around 6:30 p.m. 

Five-to-Six Months: oatmeal plus vegetable or fruit
- replaced rice cereal with oatmeal, same time of day and same quantity
- introduced vegetables, once per day, starting out with 1 Tablespoon, and increasing it up to 2.5 Tablespoons
- after a few weeks of vegetables, introduced apple, pear and banana (individually), at same cadence
- time of day: after her "lunch" breastmilk feeding, around 1 p.m.

Seven Months (now!): oatmeal plus vegetable and/or fruit; breakfast, lunch and dinner (roughly)
- breakfast: after breastmilk, 2.5 Tablespoons of oatmeal
- lunch: after breastfmilk, 2 Tablespoons or so of a fruit
- dinner: 2 Tablespoons of vegetable and/or fruit (or mixed!), followed by 2 Tablespoons of oatmeal and then breastmilk
- snacks: a dozen or so puffs after her afternoon feeding (4 p.m.), which happens to be at the same time Mari has her afternoon snack. Happy dance!

I will say that this is a lot of food for a 7 month old. She's not totally finishing everything, all the time. And that's okay. We just roll with it, day-by-day. Also this month, we'll probably introduce proteins and gently increase food quantities when Jenna's belly is ready. We've let her guide us, and as soon as I get anxious to change things up, I have to remind myself and trust that she knows best. She really does.

Lastly, a few beginner tips:
- Before Jenna could sit on her own in a highchair, we fed her in a rocker chair (on the ground) and then eventually, a Bumbo-style chair with a tray (my preference), which we sat on our counter or the floor, depending on convenience. Sometimes she just sat on my lap, which got messy. But, sweet.
- For the babes, it's as much about the mechanics of putting food into their moths as it is about the taste. Give them (and yourself) patience. It takes a few weeks before everyone is in a groove with the hand/mouth/feed coordination.
- If you aren't successful with a particular food, forget about it and then try it again in a month or so.
- We just transitioned Jenna into her highchair in the last few weeks, and if you are in the market, I can't speak highly enough of the Stokke Tripp Trapp. From day one, it's a seat at our table that will grow with Jenna as she grows. She's now a part of the dinner chaos without being stuck on highchair island. No one puts baby in the corner. Also, it's made of wood, and it's pretty and is one less piece of bulky plastic in our home.
- If you are making your own food, I still stand by every single product I wrote about a couple of years ago; among them, my favorites are the OXO Food Mill and the best baby food cookbook, ever.

Lastly lastly, if you are a new or expecting parent, and wondering about scheduling and most importantly, sleeping - two things I won't be blogging about - I'm happy to talk more over e-mail. Please feel free to drop me a line!

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