Why I Founded Solid Starts

3 year old boy at the table not eating his food

I want you to look closely at this picture. Really look.

A completely clean spoon. A peanut butter cracker with one bite taken. A small child who already has a fraught relationship with food.

There are only a handful of things worse than watching your child starve themselves.

Those of you who have been following for a while now know that this boy—this pain—is why I started Solid Starts. It’s why I wake up at 4:45am every day to write. And why I’m pouring my own money into building the most comprehensive resource in the world for introducing real food to babies.

Because I can’t handle the way our kids are growing up as eaters.  Picky eating is at an all time high, food allergies are higher than ever before, and we continue to be obsessed with thinness at very young ages.

And those of you who know me really well, know my story is slightly more complicated. As a former ballerina with one of the most prestigious companies in the world, I have struggled with body image and food all my life. The ONE thing I wanted for my son was to enjoy food. But something went wrong. 

Everyone I talk to about it tells me not to feel bad. That it’s not my fault. But the truth is that it is my fault. It was a fault of ignorance: I didn’t know what I was doing. I spoon-fed Charlie perfectly smooth (homemade, organic) purées until he was 15 months old—totally unaware of how and when to introduce “real” food. By the time we got around to real food, Charlie had already started refusing to eat entirely. 

When I talk to new moms, most of them are terrified about introducing real food to their baby. Not afraid. TERRIFIED.  Terrified of allergic reactions. Of choking. It is an experience that is dominated by fear here in the U.S., which explains why we are among the last to embrace self-feeding methods like baby-led weaning large scale.

So I want to leave you with this nugget: regardless of how you start your baby on solids, they should be self-feeding finger foods by 9 months old, according all of the reputable institutions (Mayo, AAP, etc.)  If your baby is older than 9 months, healthy and developing at the right pace, pick a date to break up with the jars and pouches. Pick it tonight. And if you need support, We’re here for you. —Jenny

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