Saturday, April 21, 2007

Notes from a highchair

I know Claire is feeling better today, because she ate nearly a whole jar of pears. I was thinking about this, and I realized I haven't bored you all to tears yet with discussions of my children's eating habits, so here goes.

We started both girls on solids just after their six-month checkup, mainly because the pediatrician was concerned about Claire's low weight. This isn't necessarily the best reason to start solids, the concern being that infants will eat solids instead of the more calorie-dense breastmilk and take in fewer overall calories. In our case, though, I was very careful to use them as a supplement and maintain our previous frequency of nursing, and I did a few other tricks to boost the calorie content, such as mixing cereal with the cream skimmed off pumped milk.

Initially, the girls thought eating rice cereal was a good game, if a messy one -- for whatever reason, Katherine felt the need to stick her thumb in her mouth between every bite, and I'll leave you to imagine what she looked like after feedings. Claire was interested in feeding herself, too, which made just about as big a mess. By the time they'd been on solids a week, I'd worked out my plan: strip down to a diaper and bib, feed them solids right after their next-to-last nursing at 6ish, transfer from highchair to bath, and then conclude the bath with nursing and bed. As a bonus, this was a better evening routine than we'd managed to achieve thus far, so I got to stop feeling guilty about how I wasn't providing enough structure in their lives.

Rice cereal was followed by bananas, and then by pears and sweet potatoes. We had a few failures along the way -- peas were violently rejected, and carrots were accepted but later puked up in the middle of the night (not to mention that they stain like anything). They also were not overly keen on applesauce at the initial feeding, although they subsequently mellowed some. Lemon icebox pie at Easter was a big hit, and bites of Mama's pudding or yogurt are always happily accepted.

When Katherine got sick, though, things started going off track for her. She suddenly refused to eat more than a bite or two of any type of fruit, cereal, or vegetable, including the ones she'd previously loved. (She still ate the lemon icebox pie, mind you.) Claire continued to eat for a while, but then she too stopped eating when the bronchiolitis struck. Today was the first day in roughly two weeks that I've gotten her to eat a measurable amount of food, which was bad considering that I'm trying to put weight on her.

Katherine is still refusing to eat anything at all; while she'll open for the first bite, she makes a terrible face, gags and spits it out, sticks her thumb in her mouth, and pushes the spoon away. She couldn't say "DO NOT WANT" any more clearly if she took out a billboard. We've tried everything she's ever eaten enthusiastically, and a few things she hasn't, and it all gets rejected. I'm not overly worried about her not eating, because she is quite a chunkin compared to her sister, but I do wonder when she's going to pick it up again. I give her a couple spoonfuls every time I feed Claire, and one day I'm sure she'll eat again.

I'm currently wrestling with the idea of adding a second solid feed into our day. On the one hand, feeding them solids stopped being fun pretty quickly, and I'm not looking forward to repeating the mess and the cleanup, or figuring out how best to fit it into our day. On the other hand, if I really do plan to wean them by a year, I need to keep moving them toward eating several meals a day. Also, as they get more active, they are really eating me alive some days; this is nice from a weight-loss perspective, but it's exhausting on several different levels. Claire is very near to crawling (belly-scooting and rocking on hands and knees), and between that and her illness recovery, she has been nursing like a tiny newborn.

I never thought I'd see the day when breastfeeding would be the quick, easy, no-fuss feeding method!

1 comment:

Eva said...

I like your last line about breastfeeding -- it's so true, after all we went through to b/f twins, and now it's the easiest way to go.

Do you know anything about baby led weaning (BLW?). We haven't tried it but it really appeals to me. This blog describes good first hand experience:
and has a lot of good links. I like the concept of letting the kids take control, though now my fear of food allergies in J. makes me wary. I also like the idea of the mesh feeders (
It all seems really messy, but fun for babies.. and we find that S only likes to eat by taking the spoon anyway (tonight, peas on back of neck, in hair, on toes...

I hope you get them back on track for food...