Zara started on solids last week, at 4 months and 1 week old.
I wasn't prepared for it actually because I had planned to wait until she was closer to 6 months old, based on the studies I had been reading.*
It happened quite by accident, while we were staying at my in-laws for the weekend.
Zara's 6 month old cousin Mika was having baby cereal for breakfast and Zara was sitting on my lap watching him eat. Quite suddenly, she began to get very excited and started reaching out towards him, opening her mouth wide, as if she had suddenly woken from a deep slumber and realised she hadnt eaten in a week.
Out of curiosity, I dipped my finger in some of Mika's food and offered it to her. To my surprise, she grabbed my hand, stuffed my finger into her mouth and gobbled it up immediately. Shocked, I repeated it, just to see if it was some fluke, but nope, gobble gobble gobble... until she'd had about five or six fingers of poor Mika's cereal.
My sister in law Nora then suggested giving Zara a bowl of her own food. I thought, why not give it a shot? So I crumbled one Farley's Rusk into a bowl, dissolved it in water, mashed it up and offered some of it to Zara on a spoon. Get this... The bowl was clean in under 10 minutes!
Zara enjoying her first ever bowl of cereal!
Encouraged, I went to the supermarket the same day and bought some organic rice cereal suitable for babies over 4 months old.
That evening, at 6pm, I gave her a bowl of the new stuff, and she liked that even more!
Of course, when I told Dr Adrian about this, he recommended that I stop and wait until she was older. I mulled over it, read up about it and spoke to my mum for advice, and decided eventually that if Zara felt she was ready for solids, then she would probably know best.
I continued to offer her cereal until she began to get bored of it, so I started adding a few spoonfuls of apple puree to her rice, which she absolutely loved.
Since then, Zara has tried pears and bananas too, and loves it all. She's had no adverse reactions to anything so far, Alhamdulillah, and is now happier, sleeping better, and smiling more.
* Apparently some babies don't react well to proteins that can be found in solids, leading to allergic reactions and sometimes even eczema).