Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Hard Lesson

Snowflake is hitting the 7 month mark. This past month should be all about our weaning journey and yes, maybe it is, just that somehow, she's still as good as a milk baby. Short of force feeding her, she won't take solids. It's all a bit disconcerting because when I introduced solids last time, Cubling went to 3 meals a day in the space of a week, loved most foods and it was all good (which of course is overly simplified - she does not touch most fruit, and still demands being spoon fed on occasions).

This time, it appears that all attempts of introducing solids fail, in spite of being relaxed about it and having a wider variety of approaches available.
So I've tried baby rice and baby porridge. Only to be faced by a tightly shut mouth and desperate attempts by Snowflake to wrestle the spoon out of my hands. Oh, and the bowl. So she gets a spoon and I try again. She wants the spoon that I hold, sticks it far into her mouth until she gags. Gets the bowl (how does she do it, she gets it every single time!), pours contents over high chair, herself and everything in general.
It is impossible.

Thankfully I can just turn to baby led weaning and pretend I'm one of the cool gang. In theory, because if I'm perfectly honest, I hate the mess of baby led weaning with a passion. Some say it's the lazy way to weaning. Hm, I thought so initially, but then realised pureeing wins over washing the floor and high chair after every single meal. I'd rather do a neat spoon job.

What makes me inclined towards baby led weaning is that I can either force the food down my little girl, or let her have the say about food intake, especially as she seems to be keen to be in control herself. If respect is at the core of our interaction, forcing her to take the spoon is more than sending the wrong message. But then I see her gag rather a lot, and for the past few day, I have also seen her bring up all her solid food with the gagging, and I'm not so sure anymore.
Mention baby-led weaning in Germany and nobody has heard of it. So I can't get  much in the line of advice from my friends. It takes a lot of confidence in an approach to go with the flow to the extent that at 7 month hardly any solid food makes it into baby's system (which of course I can tell by what comes out the other end), ginger nut biscuits being the exception to this rule.

My mantra so far is that if a baby needs food, they will take it and that eventually we all end up eating solids. Maybe she acutally doesn't need it yet. There seems to be a physical lack of readiness - she's more than keen to pick up (she even has the pinching figured out) and put in her mouth, but she cannot sit up yet or chew the bits sufficiently for them not to cause gagging. I know that some babies refused solids up to 8 months, so we still have another while to go.

Once again, letting go of having control is what being a mum is teaching me. And it still is a hard lesson.


Laura McIntyre said...

It sounds like she is just not completly ready and loves her mummy milk :)
My son was like that, i admit at 7 months i would often forget to even give him food as he had no intrest in it (that sounds mean lol ..he was breastfeeding hourly). He took a long time to get into solids - about 18months before he really took anything and is still a picky eater.
My fave saying is "food is for fun till they turn one" and think just sitting back and letting them lead the way is the way forward.

Annicles said...

My third child was similar. Having had two gannets who were hoovering up everything going at this age, Livi decided that the right time to eat solids was at around 8 and 1/2 months and before that it was tight lips and total refusal. She never once allowed me to put a spoon into her mouth so she was essentaily a baby-led weaner. What she lived on for the first few months was toast, slices of cheese, pieces of broccoli and apple slices cooked in the microwave, because they keep their shape that way and don't go mushy.

She's six now and eats well but she has always been the fussiest and hardest to peruade to eat. I think sometimes she'd rather go hungry than eat something she doesn't really fancy at the moment.

It's all normal!!!

Muddling Along said...

The thing that greatly reassured me about baby led weaning was that they consider milk to still be the main nutrient until the baby decides to cut down - food is just fun until they're one

Have you discovered the baby led weaning forums? They're really helpful

We let ours do it at their own pace - I'm very nervous about sending out the wrong messages about food and so have let them play with it and take it forward as they wanted in their own time

Try and not worry - in a short time she'll be climbing up the table legs to steal grapes from the fruit bowl (or that might just be mine!)

Kelly said...

I had decided to try BLW but wanted to mix it up a little and use a sppon for the real messy stuff. Piran simply refused!

I don't think he ate anything from a spoon until after his first birthday. He certainly had a very small appetite for solid food and although he was formula fed still preferred milk right up until he reached the 11 month mark.

I didn't like the mess either so we stuck to finger foods and pasta - stuff that he could manage himself. We had quite a bit of gagging but he soon adapted to what he could or couldn't manage. The only choking incident we have had came when he was 18 months old and feeding himself cottage pie with a spoon.

Weaning was by far the hardest part of the first year with a baby for me, I hope you find the way that suits you both soon.

Jen said...

Funny, I have the opposite problem: baby is 8 months old and refusing milk! She'll just about manage a bottle for breakfast but only if the second half of it is mixed with weetabix; during the day she'll sometimes have a bottle but only if she's really hungry (so we sometimes sneakily give it to her before the solids), and even the bed-time bottle is a no-no. In the evening she'll only take the milk mixed to a nice mush with lots and lots of baby rice and fed to her on a spoon. Now this I think is wierd!

cartside said...

@Laura, I often "forget" too, because she hardly eats anyway I don't see the point. I always offer some of my food if suitable.
@Annicles, good to hear that it's normal! I keep trying a spoon every now and again but it's still a shut lip situation.
@muddling along mummy, I'm sure I sent out wrong messages with Cubling by sticking to some rules we had when I was a child and hope to do a better job this time, i.e. let her decide what and how much she wants. But admittedly I am nervous to hand over the control over food intake.
@Kelly, that was my plan too, mainly BLW this time with some spoon feeding for porridge and soup. By now I'm pretty resigned that the spoon won't feature any time soon
@Jen, my older daughter never took to milk from a cup or bottle so she was a bit like that. I breastfed until she was 2 but that was the only milk she was interested in, and even now she has very little milk. After I stopped breastfeeding her I was worried as she would hardly drink anything at all, but wolf down the food.

Niamh said...

I decided to read what you said about solids. We were told to try them once a day from the start of the fourth month and then twice a day from the start of the sixth month. Cereals and fruit (except for papaya) have gone down well, but Declan isn't too gone on vegetables. Ian is better that way. What they won't eat are potato and sweet potato! Declan puked up chayote once recently but I'll have to try that again as it was after a general vomiting spell. Now we'll have to try mixing vegetables with chicken (7 months). You mentioned iron in one of your posts. Our boys have been on iron and vitamin A, C and D supplements since their fourth month. Beef will come later, I think. No mention of baby-led weaning here either!



Blog Widget by LinkWithin