“Mum, Jack wants some of my noodles” said Jai at lunch.
“Jack is trying to grab my kiwifruit Mum! He wants food.” said Josh as we ate afternoon tea.
What ensued was an interesting conversation about child development as my clever kids observed a behavior common for Jack’s age bracket that us as adults also commonly notice. I talked to my elder two about how observant they are and how it is a common assumption made by lots of people with babes this age that they want food.
What is actually happening is he is trying to mimic you. He has had a developmental leap and understands relationships. He’s on his way to grasping sequences and that one thing follows another. He now gets that you put something up to you mouth and it doesn’t come out, he wants to mimic you… he does the same when I drink a glass of water and he opens his mouth. He does the same when you guys are reading books and he tries to flip the pages of the board books he’s chewing on. He does the same when you brush your teeth and even has his own tooth brush but still doesn’t mean he has teeth.
Signs of food readiness include being able to sit independently, starting signs of developing a pincer grip and having lost the tongue-thrust reflex. Of which, Jack has not yet reached. The others include an interest to participate at meal times and ability to chew.
He is munching on everything because he is teething and he is interested in mimicking but he is only part the way there.
We started Josh early on solids, and it messed with his guts and therefore every other aspect of our lives as a result. We persevered because we knew no better and that was the advice given to us. It just led to a cascade of issues. Jai started solids much later and one of his first foods was a bone from a lamb rack that he happily munched on like a wee cave baby. Great for the iron stores everyone worries are dropping as we introduce other foods.
There is no hurry to start solids here for us. Food before one is just for fun. It is partly a sensory experience for them, this is the way we first engage with the world, through mouthing everything!
Right now a spoon is enough to satisfy his need to be involved. A spoon means he feels part of the action and satisfies his need to mimic behavior but leaves his guts to mature just that bit more before we introduce other stuff to the equation.
He was my most windy and tummy issues prone baby after all, we are in no hurry.