Prior to the Great Not-So-Solid Food Introduction, I read through three different books on baby feeding. The first was the popular Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracy Murkett. This was the book that had the most influence on me, because much of what the authors say made a lot of sense. I found it very freeing to think that I didn't have to feed Milo watery baby cereal as his first food, but rather I could introduce him to the foods that we were eating. I didn't find their theory that you can just give your six month old chunks of food to be very fitting for us, though, since Milo immediately spat out anything that wasn't pureed. Win some, lose some.
The other books I read were Rose Elliot's Mother, Baby, and Toddler Book (a vegetarian resource for pregnant women and parents of young children) and Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair. I didn't get all the way through either one, but I found them both useful and encouraging. I knew how I wanted to feed feed Milo. I wanted to feed him a whole food, plant based diet, which is how we east anyway. I just needed some guidelines and a bit of cheerleading.
To be honest, it didn't occur to me that he would have to LEARN to eat. I had this idea that I'd just start offering him food and he'd just start eating it and that would be that. When I read about the slow introduction of foods as practice for real eating, it made sense. It also made me more relaxed about starting slightly earlier than six months, since all he was going to do was practice for the first little while anyway.
So, like everything else, we learned as we went. I amassed a small collection of baby-friendly feeding tools: small spoons (a gift from my mom- made from plants, not plastic!) small unbreakable bamboo bowls (also a gift from my mom), lots of bibs, and lots of burp clothes for wiping up the (shockingly gigantic) messes left after Milo eats.
I started by feeding him something pureed once a day. He liked savory food more than sweet right away, which was not what I was expecting, but certainly not a problem. It's so easy to use my Vitamix blender (the world's best baby shower gift) to blend up any of the soups or bean dishes we happen to be eating. He'll eat any soup I give him.
We usually start the day by sharing a breakfast smoothie. His recent enthusiasm for a green smoothie at a restaurant has made me give up my not-as-healthy chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie habit in favour of homemade green smoothies. For those I blend raw kale and spinach with frozen bananas, coconut milk, blueberries, pear, and chia seeds. He loves it. And wears it well.
I often get asked if Milo will be vegan. He won't be strictly vegan, no, but he'll eat mostly vegan food because that's how we eat in our house. David eats eggs and cheese and I'm not adverse to Milo having some of that now and again. He also gets small amounts of baby formula which is made from organic cow milk. And once he's old enough to know that meat is dead animals he can try it if he likes when he's out of the house. For now he's pretty happy with lentils and spinach and whatever other vegan food I allow him to smear on his face.