Friday, March 28, 2014

Introducing Solid Food

We are one month in to solid foods and I finally feel like we're getting the hang of it. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was really nervous about starting solids. With the exception of the first few weeks and a few curveballs along the way, breastfeeding has been particularly easy for us so feeding Logan has been so low maintenance. Really, we are so fortunate. So I was kinda dreading complicating things by adding in solid food but alas, the day finally came. At first I thought it would be a good idea to do this new thing called "baby led weaning" where you skip pureed foods and give the baby big chunks of food they can gnaw on. It sounded great to me but I was just waayyy too nervous that he would choke. It gave me more anxiety than it was worth so we ditched that idea and went the traditional route. Plus a sweet friend gave us a Baby Bullet which makes making pureed food super easy.

When Logan was six months old, he had his first official food, pureed avocado. Within a few days of making baby food, I realized how much food is manipulated to look pretty in a baby food jar and have a decent shelf life. For example, bananas. They turn brown after a few hours out of their peel. Bananas that you buy in a baby food jar aren't brown. Hmmm... I'm glad we are making his food. I'm not going all organic, natural, hippy in any way, but I do kinda like that his brand new digestive system isn't dealing with extra add-ins right now.

At Logan's 6 month appointment his pediatrician said he can have anything except honey. Sweet! There are so many debates about when to introduce foods that have a high risk of being a food allergy. It sounds like the recent conclusion is that delaying introducing these foods (eggs, peanut butter, etc) can increase the risk. So far Logan has had avocado, peas, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, acorn squash, chicken, pears, apple, oatmeal cereal, brown rice cereal and whole milk yogurt in pureed form. He loves to gnaw on Baby Mum Mum crackers and apple slices. He's also gotten to have some of mommy's biscuit and ChickFilA french fries when he's gotten fussy during meal time. With every meal he gets a sippy cup with water or a 25% apple juice/75% water mixture. We really like the Avent sippy cup because it has a flexible spout, handles and a lid. I think it's a good transition to a sippy cup. Oh and one more thing about making baby food... I make it with water. Gasp! I know. I know. It's all the rage right now to make baby food with breastmilk but I don't really get it. First of all, I don't pump. Second, once you freeze milk, you aren't supposed to re-freeze it so any milk I do have would have to be consumed immediately and he's not eating enough solid food at one time to justify thawing a whole bag of milk. Third, he's still nursing five times a day so he's getting pleeeenty of milk. (Maybe I've had a little bit of guilt about this but I'm ready to just forget about it. It's not like our son is hurting for calories. :P)

When we first started, Logan would take a few "bites" and that was all he was interested in. I say "bites" because he didn't really understand opening his mouth for food and if he did, he just wanted to  bite the spoon which pushed most of the food off anyway. It was slow going at first and I was worried about it. But after about three weeks, a light bulb went off and he figured it out and now opens his mouth and eats most of what we serve him. Yay. Also, a babies' gag reflex is closer to the front of the mouth than it is on an adult so when Logan is chewing on something that is too big for his mouth or gets too far back, he gags it up and keeps on going unaffected. I never give him anything he could choke on but if he gets a too-big piece of soggy cracker in his mouth, he can totally get it out on his own. It's amazing to watch these built-in survival mechanisms.

Also, when we started food he went from pooping a couple times a day to not pooping for one. whole. week. I was nervous and about to call the doctor before things finally worked themselves out. I will never complain about changing a purely breastfeed poopy diaper ever again. Things change with real food, people. It's gross. And only going to get grosser.

I hope this is helpful to other moms out there. This was our experience and once I got used to this new normal, I have enjoyed feeding him solids. I look forward to the day when we have solids going well enough that we can cut out a milk feeding or two and relieve a little of that off myself. It's pretty amazing to watch your baby learn how to survive and thrive independent of you. They come out, clearly, so dependent on mom and dad that it's neat to watch them start to figure things out on their own.

Here are some resources that were handy to me:
My mom
My mom-friends that let me ask them a million questions
My pediatrician book: Dr. Barton Schmitt, Your Child's Health