Here is our daughter, in all her post-pasta glory, hairband-turned-crown included. Happy as a clam and full as a piggie.
It wasn’t always this way, though. She wasn’t always a good eater, and she still definitely has her
stubborn! picky moments. Tonight for instance, it was “Chicken & Cheerios” – she was disgusted by the blend of foods I made for her (organic chicken, organic butternut squash, organic kale and ORGANIC apple. YUCK, Mom! GROSS!!), so I buckled and gave her shredded pieces of chicken off my plate followed by a small bowl of Cheerios mushed up with organic whole milk. Some nights you just do what you gotta do, am I right?!
Starting her on solids in the first place was…interesting. Actually, come to think of it, we started her on solids twice. The first time was a complete and utter FAILURE.
Everything we had read said to breastfeed your baby exclusively for the first 6 months, after which you could start them on “real” food: mushed up peas, squash, carrots – introducing something new every few days to allow time to notice any reaction that might occur. All parents know this, the annoying “wait and see”. I found them annoying, those “2 to 3 days”. I was always so eager to see what she would take to next! I guess I should mention that I am a bit of a foodie, and was impatient to turn my little tiny baby onto the joys of all types of food, glorious FOOOOOOD! So imagine my elation when at her 4-month checkup, our old-school, octogenarian, Austrian pediatrician told us that in Europe (ooh, la LA!!), parents often start their babies on solids at FOUR MONTHS OLD.
Guys. THIS was my daughter at 4 months old:
She could barely hold her giant head up in the Bumbo. That should have been a red flag…right? We should have looked at our teeny baby girl and said to each other, “hell, no. We can wait another 2 months.”
But NO. This, to me – a pushy, overly-excited food FREAK – was the green light I had been waiting for! I should have just taken a breath remembered everything I had read about when it is appropriate to give your baby that first bite…but did not.
Because there is too much information on the internet and too many damn books all contradicting each other so I just decided to trust our doctor and we were new parents so really what the hell did we know ANYWAY?!
We got home and I immediately went to work in the kitchen, carefully peeling then steaming up some organic sweet potato, blending it to a fine, butter-smooth purée. And then, we prepped the baby. We sat her in her Bumbo, put on one of her pretty, monogrammed bibs, got the cameras ready, and then fed her. Slowly, one tiny spoonful at a time, into her pursed, little mouth. My husband and I giggled with delight as her face changed all shades of confused, her eyes shining wildly, which, looking back, were probably saying, “what the F*** are you two crazies DOING TO ME??!”
Because…and I’m just going to say it and she can hate me years down the road for declaring this publicly…she did not poop afterwards. For 6 days. SIX. DAYS. Of SOLIDS. Inside a BABY. We thought she was liking the food, ignoring any signs that would suggest the opposite because our doctor said it was okay!! So the next day I fed her the leftovers, then the next day, mushed up organic peas. I think we stayed with the peas for the remainder of this adventure, because when we eventually had to give her the suppository (oh, GOD, she is going to kill me), we were….gifted? Green. Lots and lots and lots of it. Yeah. We were completely freaked out, swore off solids, went right back to the boob and decided to just WAIT IT OUT, for Christ’s sake.
Her 6-month birthday eventually came around, and it was time. Again. But this time we actually had to start the solids – she was showing all the classic signs that she was ready: heightened curiosity in our food, spending a significantly longer time nursing, and more frequently. Chewing on her hands and generally being fussy, which we attributed to her teething – but with no teeth in sight, her doctor suggested she was just HONGRAY!
And I have to say, that as lovely as this man is, he seemed pretty confused that we had stopped feeding her at 4 months, even after we recounted what has become known in our house as “the incident” (“Doc, there was GREEN! EVERYWHERE!! I think it’s still under my fingernails!!”).
I can report, however, that the second introduction was a bit more successful than the first. Her bowels, although a bit stunned at the beginning, quickly grew accustomed to her changing diet. Her palate, though. THAT took some work. At first, it was applesauce. Only applesauce (“Mom? Dad? Don’t even THINK of giving me anything else or I will lose it.”). Those “2 to 3 days” became like, 2 to 3 weeks. It was agonizing for me! I was ready to watch my daughter develop her taste for the exotic! I had been waiting for it since I first dreamt of having kids! To cook extravagant dishes for my baby, to be able to say to strangers, “my daughter will eat anything!” And when the moment was finally there…..I felt a huge letdown. I hate saying that, it makes me feel like a bad Mama – to place a disappointment on my baby when she didn’t do anything wrong. She was just…born that way. It was a horrible moment of realization, that I was projecting this expectation on her, a BABY! Someone who has only been on this earth for SIX MONTHS. Ugh, it was awful. I took some breaths and decided I had to CTFD, otherwise I’d run the risk of ruining the unfolding of this exciting new stage in our daughter’s life for us all.
After I C’edTFD and started taking it one day, and one meal, at a time, we slowly and patiently progressed to three meals a day, and are now working on weaning, which is a whole other post onto itself (*SOB*). Her palate has changed quite a lot in 5 months, and I’m happy to say that her current favourites include steel cut oats at breakfast, blueberries, kiwis, carrots, anything with a meat sauce on it, and Mexican. Well, cilantro. She seems to LOVE that. I usually blend up whatever I’ve made for me and my husband, or, if whatever we’re eating is mushy enough, will give her chunks off our plates. We do keep a bunch of those handy, dandy organic squeeze pouches around for nights when dinner just isn’t baby-friendly (ribs, burgers, anything done in a wine sauce…I don’t know, can you give a baby something cooked in wine?! I feel a “no” on that one…..), and they’re great for traveling with. Which reminds me, I have to stock up for our trip….
All-in-all, I’m very pleased with where we are in our baby feeding adventure. And I’m really looking forward to seeing what she’ll try in Scotland.