In parenting, sometimes it’s expertise vs. intuition

I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but I’ve had these disconcerting parenting moments where the experts (books, other parents, pediatricians) are saying one thing, but my intuition and my child are saying another. Oh sure, I’d like to say that I trust myself enough just to go with my gut, but that’s just not always the case. One early instance of this involved my baby and solid food.

As new parents, my husband and I were advised not to start the baby on solid food until she was at least 6 months old. So that was our plan. Well, one day we went out for Mexican food. The baby sat next to me in her carrier, and I started in on my enchiladas. Suddenly, she reached over, put her hand in my plate of beans and slammed a fist full of refries to her mouth. “Mmm…. mmm….. mmm,” she hummed contentedly. Then she proceeded to ravenously devour every last bite of those beans PLUS all of my rice! I guess she was hungry.

But she was only 4 months old. Sure, it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but my new mommy brain specialized in worrying. What if I was messing up her digestive system or creating some kind of bean allergy by allowing this feast to take place? Oh dear, oh dear.

Later that week, we were eating lentil soup and the baby craned her head toward the bowl. I gave her a tiny spoonful to try. Again she murmured as she chewed “Mmm…. mmm….. mmm.” She ate my whole bowl of lentil soup. And then she had a second bowl. It turned out that our baby was actually a lentil soup monster. At each meal where lentil soup was served she ate as much as my husband and I did … COMBINED! And the whole time she hummed her yummy song.

Later, I talked to our pediatrician about this. She assured us that it would be fine and pointed out that our daughter had already grown four teeth by this time, a sign that she might be ready for chomping a little earlier than most. Eventually, we learned to take the experts’ advice with a grain of salt.