Bear loves food. He doesn't need it for nutrition, as he's still very breastfed (and will continue to get as much nutrition as he needs/wants from that source for at least another year). BUT, he has become obsessed with everything he sees me eat. Two months ago he started watching me eat, and a couple of weeks ago he started reaching for my food, knocking my plate around, and complaining mightily if I did not share. So, last week, I shared.
I was eating a nectarine, it was nice and juicy, so I let Bear suck on it for a moment. He was THRILLED. He grabbed my hand with both of his, held the nectarine to his face, latched on solidly, and sucked and sucked. He was not happy when I pulled it away so that I could have another bite.
The next day I was eating an apple, and shared with him in a similar fashion.
Almost a full week later, I got myself an apple and was about to bite in when S let out a horrible wail. He writhed and shrieked until I let him have a little suck...then he cooed in happiness...until I retrieved the apple for myself again, then the shrieking resumed until I gave back the apple. Have I created a monster?!
Being fully aware of his fascination with 'real' food, and since he is very nearly 6months old now, I decided to go ahead and try giving him a little rice cereal (made with fresh breastmilk). He spat it out and gave me a dirty look as if to say "what is this fake junk you're giving me?" He did enjoy chewing on the spoon though.
It has gotten me thinking: for millenia 'baby food' and 'baby cereal' was nonexistent. Who is to say that we need it now? We feel no need to wean the child by a certain date, so why not let food just be an experiment, an additional part of exploring his world? Of course I'll be conscientious of potential allergens (like peanuts, dairy, soy, and tomato), of botulism (honey), and choking hazards...but otherwise, why not let him eat what he wants to try?
This morning I mashed up a little banana with some breastmilk. He liked that much better than the rice cereal. He still liked the spoon best of all though. Go figure.