Hi! New to this particular forum. Baby numero dos is due any day now, so I figured I'd start branching out here on MDC
Anyway, I love the "starter soda" phrase. I'll have to remember that.
I started offering Talia solids at six months, but she showed no interest in them until about 11 months and I didn't push. Just offered again once or twice a week to see if she was interested yet. As of 11 months, she would take very little solids - I don't remember what exactly, but it was only like one or two things. She ramped up very slowly - at 18 months she was still primarily bf. But, now she eats *everything*. She *loves* Indian food, veggies, meats. She was really slow about getting into fruit, but she's starting to like it now (at 2y5m.)
As for juice, I didn't offer her any until fairly recently. (I don't remember when exactly, but I think it was somewhere around 2 years.) We offered her water whenever she needed more fluid than bm could provide. And now she drinks almost entirely water. She only occasionally asks for juice. A 32 ounce bottle of apricot nector lasts us for weeks. And, I only buy "nector" type juices that have a significant amount of puree in them and thus have some nutritional value, albeit not as much as actual fruit. So, it is possible to have a child drink juice and not abuse it! But, I agree that it's not something to introduce until your child has a good habit for drinking water.
I don't try to deny her anything we're eating - I'm an ice cream fiend, and it's highly illogical for me to try to eat it in front of her without her trying it; Same for my husband's chocolate addiction. But, we both generally eat very well (especially when she's around to see it!) and, while she *knows* what she likes in the junk food catagory, we don't keep it around the house to offer very readily. It's only really a problem when we're at a party or restaurant and she *knows* there's chips up there on the table, Mama, don't even TRY to fool me by giving me crudite... Unfortunately, that makes us look bad - a casual observer at a diner doesn't know that I ordered veggies ala carte for her instead of the junk food from the kid's menu; They just see her mooching french fries off of someone else's plate.