It seems that the decisions in parenting are never ending. From the day they are born (long before actually) we are deciding cloth or disposable, breast or bottle, and a whole other slue of decisions. I haven't had to go past making decisions that effect a 4 year old but I can see that this is a cycle that continues for quite some time. Our latest decision was regarding feeding our 4 and 1/2 month old. When to start and what to start with have been going around in my head for sometime. With the last two I started right at 4 months with store bought rice cereal as the pediatrician recommended. Since having our middle son I have come to learn that there are other ways of doing it. I have known for some time that I was planning to make my own baby food this time around. I didn't with the last two but as they got older I played around with pureeing vegetables to add to different recipes for extra nutrition and discovered how easy and cost effective it was. In the hunt for more information I stumbled upon this highly recommended site on making your own baby food. I then realized that I could even make my own baby cereals. Extremely easy and way cheaper then the box stuff. Plus no need for additives that allow it to sit on the shelf for ages.
Now I still struggled with the question of whether or not to bother with rice/oatmeal/barley cereal. It is something practiced in America for ages but not really necessary. It is also now more common to wait 6 months to introduce anything other than breast milk even though most pediatricians are still giving the go at 4 months. Knowing this I was leaning toward waiting. Having been through this parenting thing before I ultimately decided to let baby dictate when we started. I let go of any set time frame in my mind and watched him. What would you know, but in the last week or two he started really taking an interest in our food while we were eating. He is always at the table with us and he would stare at the food and smack his lips. I decided to give it a shot and prepared my own rice cereal yesterday. It was so simple and it retained the rice flavor, unlike the box version sold in the baby aisle. (Yes I tried it, if I am going to make him eat it I want to make sure it is good!)
You can read more on the site but I will tell you my experience. I bought a short-grain brown rice. Short-grain cooks up faster and brown is healthier. I then put 1/4 cup into my coffee grinder (you can use a food processor or blender), until is was a powder. I then brought 2 cups of water to a boil. The recipe calls for 1 cup but for beginning eaters 2 cups makes that perfect watery consistency. Once it was boiling I added in the rice and whisked continuously. Turn the heat down to simmer and stir continuously for 10 minutes. This produced a large amount of cereal so I put a little on a plate and the rest in some Tupperware to refrigerate. I will keep that for up to 3 days in the fridge and heat up small servings as needed. This thickens the rice cereal so you will probably need to water it down with breast milk or formula to make it the right consistency again. I would honestly recommend starting out with 1 Tablespoon of rice powder to 1/2 cup of water. At least at this point. Anyway, he did so good for his first time! He took about 10 bites, very little coming back out (good thing because I totally forgot about a bib!), and was even trying to hold the spoon himself. I think that we will be trying avocado next and then I can mix it with the rice. We are sticking with the 4 days between new foods rule to make sure there are no reactions. He is growing so fast!