Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Adventures in Eating

Eva’s big 7 month birthday is just around the corner (eek), so the past month has been very tied up in introducing solid foods and starting to incorporate eating food into our daily routine.

About a month and a half ago, I spent a few hours making some baby food. Not too much. Just some butternut squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, and pears. Just enough to get started. I had planned on writing a series of blog posts about making baby food. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Why? Well, because my stubborn little child wants absolutely nothing to do with baby food of any sort.

When I first started cereal around 5 months, I just figured that she wasn’t quite ready. So I cooled it for awhile. Then I tried again. Still nothing. So I decided to give banana and avocado a try, rather than the traditional cereal. I mashed it up, mixed it with breast milk and offered it to her on a spoon. Nothing.

She looked excited when she saw food. She was constantly grabbing for our food. She didn’t shudder at the taste when I did manage to get some into her mouth. But? She was not getting any better at accepting the spoon.

Eventually, we started to realize that she just wasn’t interested in being spoon fed. So I gave her the mesh feeder. And oh glory day! She went nuts. She loved (loves) chewing on that thing.

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Next, I picked up a package of Mum Mums and offered her one. Five minutes? Gobbled that thing up. After seeing her interest in eating something she could hold herself, I decided to trick her. I spread mushed avocado all over a Mum Mum and gave it to her. Success! She devoured it.

Since then, she has made so much progress eating solid foods. Since I have a few bags of frozen food cubes that I don’t want to waste, I either give them to her frozen in the mesh feeder or we feed them to her using a Mum Mum as a spoon. And it works. Wonderfully. She obviously loves the taste of everything we’ve given her so far. There are no shudders or sour faces. She smiles and hollers when I ask her if she wants something to eat. She responds to the sign for “eat”. She’s so interested in food. She is just so not interested in me feeding her food.

For a long time, she wouldn’t even accept something that I held in my fingers and tried to put in her mouth (like a small piece of banana for example). She would however, eat food from Evan’s hands and even sometimes off a spoon from him. It seems Little Miss thinks Mommy is good for milk and nothing else. Now that she’s a little more accustomed to eating, she will sometimes take food from my hands, but still refuses a spoon from me. Thankfully, Daddy is home most nights for dinner to help but that still leaves me figuring out creative ways to help her eat breakfast and lunch. I just try to maximize our efforts on days when other people are around during meal time because she loves to show off how well she eats for anyone other than me.

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Little Miss Independent loves to eat anything she can hold herself. Steamed sweet potato sticks, steamed apple slices, pieces of banana, avocado and, if she’s really lucky, a delicious Mum Mum. Mostly I just set these things on her tray, let her pick them up and gum at them. She gums off small pieces and works away at them until she can swallow them. Of course, I help her out along the way. And the things that she can’t eat pick up and eat on her own quite yet, like green beans and peas, she either eats frozen in the mesh feeder or on a Mum Mum “spoon”.

We have also learned that it’s important for us to make a better effort to sit together at the table instead of eating dinner at the breakfast nook because she seems to know the difference. She likes family dinner and is way more interested in sitting up to the table with us.

She loves drinking water from her cup, as well. We tried a few different cups but the Playtex learner with a straw is definitely the favourite. She figured it out within 30 seconds of me giving it to her for the first time. With the other cups, she knew to hold the handles and put the spout in her mouth, but she couldn’t figure out that she had to tip her head back to get the water to come out. With the straw, she doesn’t have to move her head and uses the same motion that she uses to nurse to drink the water. She gets excited when she sees her cup and is starting to respond to the word and sign “drink”. Doesn’t she look so stinking grown up drinking from her big girl cup?

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Introducing solids has certainly been an adventure. I keep having to remind myself that for now, food is just for fun, and that her main nutrition still comes from breast milk. Keeping this in mind helps me to take a more relaxed approach – letting her take the lead.

I’m sure within the next month or so, girlfriend will be gobbling up everything she can get her hands on. And now that she has two chompers, table food will become easier and easier for her to eat.

What can I say? My Little Miss is a stubborn, independent little booger. She wants to be a big girl. She even wants to order from the adult menu when she goes out for lunch with her Nana.

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14 comments:

Katie @ Loves of Life said...

Emeline was identical to her. Didn't want to be spoon fed. Ever. So, to table foods we went, and we've never looked back!

Gaby said...

she looks so big drinking from her cup! Yeah andrew loves his table food, baby food never worked for us. Also he will always eat from my husband but not from me. ha. Oh and your mom is so cute and trendy with her hair cut! love it

Lindsey said...

We have recently started letting Connor feed himself, now that it actually makes it into his mouth. It was nice sitting down to dinner, him feeding himself and us focusing on our food!

Brittany Ann said...

I got some of those mesh feeders at my shower this weekend! Good to know they are super useful.

Liz said...

Babies are so funny. Sam and Becca were the same way as far as sippy cups go. I always just say they are lazy, refusing to tilt their heads back. Instead opting for spill proof/straw combos.

But with baby food? Totally different from Eva. Sam had baby food until almost 13 or 14 months because she just wouldn't eat "real" good. And so far Becca is the same way. No matter how I try to introduce a variety of things to her, she just wants a spoon full of mush. Pfft. Whatever.

I can't believe how big Eva is already, she looks *so* old! Is her hair coming in thicker or have I just not noticed?

Laura said...

I'm going to have to try some of your trick. Ethan and I have been struggling with solids. I should mention this has been our first week of them, but still...not going well.

Nicole said...

I love that first pic of her with the menu. She looks like she is trying to listen to specials from the waiter.

Sunshine and Lavender said...

You are so lucky that she is so into food. My 16 month old is so picky... Like soooooooo picky! Her brown eyes are gorgeous!

Kyle said...

Totally do some posts about making baby food! I know there are so many websites and books out there about it, but I would love to know how you do it!

Perfectly Imperfect said...

so cute!! E didn't eat must baby food either. She would take a spoon no problem, but she was way more into feeding herself so she got on table food early and we've been doing that ever since. She still prefers to feed herself with her hands. Now I dread trying to teach her to use the spoon!

Jacqueline and Andy said...

We did baby led weaning with Roscoe and he was one happy camper. Sounds like you're headed in that direction? I love photos of happy babies eating nutritious food. She is too cute!

This Texas Momma said...

Its so funny how babies are all so different, and their little personalities shine through! Sounds like you've got an independent little smartie pants on your hands who knows what she wants! My guy still let's me spoon feed him sometimes- but I promise I only do when he's eating rice it something little like that and it keeps falling off before making it to his mouth. Or he's to distracted and needs to get back on track. There will always be an adventure when it comes to meal time!

Gina said...

I have to try the steamed sweet potato sticks and apple slices. I think Mr. Independent would get a kick out of those.

Erica said...

We never tried a mesh feeder...may have to with this baby.