Solids will be fun, they said. Your baby will love them, they said.
Well, at least for my five-month-old. Some friends told me to start solids at four months, while the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends six months. Five months seemed like a happy medium.
However, my son took one taste of sweet potato puree and made a face. Ensuing solid sessions went downhill quickly, ending with him clamping his mouth shut and daring me to offer a spoon.
My little boy simply wasn’t ready. When he reached six months, though, a switch flipped. We couldn’t give him a spoonful of anything fast enough, and he discovered a love of thick mango slices.
Simply put, he needed time for all aspects of “readiness” to appear. He needed to grow up a little more.
Isn’t that true of us moms? We also run the risk of regressing to “milk” if we don’t address two areas that threaten our spiritual maturity, sometimes on a daily basis.
The Solids of Contentment
First, we moms need to practice chewing on contentment. The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church: “And I, brothers and sisters, could not speak to you as spiritual people, but only as fleshly, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to consume it. But even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like ordinary people?” (I Corinthians 3:1-3 NASB).
Jealousy among moms? What? Never.
Let’s pause before we deny it. Which of us has compared our baby to someone else’s—or compared ourselves to another mom? Do any of these thoughts sound familiar?
- Why does her baby sleep through the night, and mine still wakes up multiple times?
- Why does her baby travel so well, and mine seems to hate the car seat?
- Her baby is two months younger than mine and crawling, but mine shows no interest in trying.
- She’s below her pre-pregnancy weight, and any time I look at a cookie, I gain five pounds.– She gets to be a stay-at-home mom, and I must juggle mom life and a full-time job.
Uh-huh. So, we’re all guilty together?
Scripture has much to say about contentment. First Timothy 6:6 says that we experience “great gain” when we exercise contentment, along with godly living (NKJV). Hebrews 13:5 tells us to guard against covetousness and “be content with such things as you have” (NKJV).
As with any skill or strength, we must exercise or practice. When we’re tempted toward comparison, let’s turn our thoughts to Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (NKJV).
There’s no room in that list for comparison.
The Solids of Discernment
We find that the author of Hebrews uses the same analogy about solids that we saw in Corinthians. Hebrews 5:12-14 says, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (NKJV).
These verses reveal a second “solid” skill we moms need to practice: discernment.
I’ve read books, talked to more experienced moms, and charted my baby’s wake windows and sleep times religiously, and I still cannot perfectly predict when my son will go down easily for his nap and when he’s going to fight me. I crave discernment to read his cues.
But I often look to the wrong place, namely, Google instead of God, for help.
Granted, we can learn something from Google, but we can also be led astray or wonder how we managed to waste an entire hour (or more) of our life on the internet—with nothing to show.
I can promise you this: spending time with God is never a waste. We may not receive an audible answer or turn to a page in the Bible that says, “Give him five more minutes of wake time,” but we can experience the Holy Spirit’s peace in our hearts that will help us navigate nap frustrations (or whatever struggles you’re facing) with more grace than Google can provide. And the truth is, in a few years, these early struggles will seem like a cakewalk compared to helping our children choose godly friends and walk with integrity.
James 1:5 promises, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (NASB).
Sure, books and parenting resources have their place, but they can never replace time talking with Jesus and sitting at His feet, seeking discernment.
Practicing solids together
My little boy is now over seven months old, and solids are much easier for him. In fact, I can barely enjoy my breakfast oatmeal without him wanting a bite of it.
With practice, he’s improving his gumming and swallowing ability. So too, we moms should make practicing contentment and seeking discernment as natural as chewing our food: a daily habit instead of a daily struggle.
Will we mess up—spit up? Sure. But just as we wipe off our baby’s chin and grab a new bib, we can move past our failings and focus on the next course.
Kristen Hogrefe Parnell
Kristen Hogrefe Parnell writes suspenseful fiction from a faith perspective for women and young adults. Her own suspense story involved waiting on God into her thirties to meet her husband, and she desires to keep embracing God’s plan for her life when it’s not what she expects. Kristen’s books have won the Selah Award and the Grace Award, among others. An educator at heart, she also teaches English online and enjoys being a podcast guest. Kristen lives in the Tampa, Florida area with her husband and baby boy. Connect with her at KristenHogrefeParnell.com.