We tried rice cereal next which I think he liked at first because of the novelty. We tried a little every couple days, adding a little something to it until he finally convinced me he just didn't like any kind of cereal. Moving on - yellow veggies?...no, bananas. I'm a rule breaker I guess. Eli loved bananas. By the way he eyes them in the kitchen, I think he could more easily recognize a banana than me in a crowd.
Eli has steadily become a 'social eater' wanting just a little while in his highchair at the dinner table to be part of the activity. At first, he didn't eat everyday consistently or the same number of meals everyday. It still varies. I was never too concerned with that because nursing still meets all of his nutritional needs. Now, however, it's much more likely that he cries when he doesn't also get a little bite of food when he sees someone else munching.
(Eli helping picking out food at the grocery-sitting in the grocery cart is Eli's favorite thing. It's a great way to pass the time on a fussy day!)
We noticed from the get go that he loved picking up food and getting it to his mouth. Puffs, rice, banana bits, peaches, avocados are great for this. And anything that was on a spoon, he grabbed the handle and directed it to his mouth. So, we ditched the pureed foods and whatever he can get in his mouth he eats (basically). This has made life uber simple (except for the bigger mess to clean up - Eli and highchair and floor. I love for him to eat what we're eating and we'll take out an Eli helping before the family's food is seasoned. To supplement that, I've got carrots and peas and applesauce on hand. I didn't follow the recommended start with yellow, then this, then that. I read that if you've waited to 6 months and breastfed, it's really unlikely that your baby will react poorly to modified family table foods. That made sense to me and so if it's not on the "Do Not Feed to Baby Allergen List" (i.e. milk, peanuts, citrus), heavily seasoned, or take-out. I'll rip or mush a little bit of our food up for him.After doing some reading, I discovered that this approach is called Baby-led Weaning and people say it helps infants control how much they eat and encourages exploration of foods. I also think it's just simpler.
I got a ton of ideas of easy and nutritious baby friendly foods and how to prepare them from the website below. It also has pdf versions of what your baby may be ready to eat at different ages AND fruit, veggie, and other finger foods for the babyled weaning approach. The website also has a list of spices and menu ideas that are really baby friendly and 'spice' up bland food and recipes to make you own food items like teething biscuits and baby pancakes. It has been a great resource. Eli and I have enjoyed it immensely.
Menu Ideas for Babyled Weaning
Age appropriate food chart - (sample 6-8 months)
Eli ADORES chicken, although he still has a bit of a hard time gumming shreds of it up enough (I've heard babies love to chew on chicken leg bones with morsels of chicken still on the bone- haven't tried this yet).
I decided to try to make my own chicken baby food since Eli loves it and at the grocery it costs about 95 cents a jar. I bought an all natural whole small chicken about 4.5 lbs for around 3 bucks. I cooked it in the crockpot along with a couple carrots and 1 onion for some light seasoning. While I waited for the broth to cool and separate, I pulled the meat from the bone. I filled muffin tins with part meat, part chicken broth (removing the fat that had risen to the top of the chicken broth) and froze them for about 2 hours. Once the were well frozen, I popped them out and into a big ziploc baggie. Voila. I got about 18 muffin cups from one chicken. And each muffin cup (once defrosted at meal time and pureed with my little hand-cranked baby food maker - And now that Eli's older, sometimes I just rip the chicken chunks up for him to grab) makes about a half jar of grocery store chicken.
Grand total - A little over 30 cents per jar! ca-ching, money in the bank.