A dear friend of mine loaned me her copy of Babywise, Book Two: Parenting Your Pretoddler Five to Fifteen Months, which I found to be very helpful. It has a great approach to raising children and guiding them from the start so as to avoid "retraining" them later. I definitely recommend picking up a copy; I especially liked the section on Moral Foundations. Here is a great quote from the book:
"At birth, a child has no functioning conscience. By that we mean the child possesses no awareness of standards of right and wrong. From the start, parents should strive to raise a child who regulates his own behavior from within, in accordance with the rules of common ethics. Until the child internalizes healthy moral principles, parents are obligated to make value judgements and moral decisions on behalf of the child."*
These moral foundations can be applied to every aspect of a child's upbringing, including food and eating, like teaching them not to put their fingers in their mouth while they eat or learning to sit with the family and have a meal together. They also had a straight-forward approach to starting solids, and since Quincy seemed to back-track on solids, I thought it couldn't hurt to try.
They suggest starting with one meal a day where you give them rice cereal, and always follow the cereal with either nursing or a bottle (much like you would accompany a meal with something to drink). Since Quincy had taken to solids before, I pretty much started doing three meals a day instead of building back up, though in the beginning he didn't each much compared to a week into having cereal.
|Earth's Best Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal|
In order to make the rice cereal, you need to add water, breast milk, or formula. We used the above whole grain rice cereal, and, hoping that the taste of breast milk would encourage Quincy to eat well, I opted to pump. You can read my previous post about pumping, the other side of nursing, as this did (and still does) pose some challenges for me. The instructions for rice cereal said to add 1 Tablespoon of cereal with 3-4 Tablespoons of milk or water, but this made it super runny and wouldn't stay on the spoon. Instead, I found that a 1:2 ratio was much better (1 Tbsp cereal : 2 Tbsp Milk).
After about a week of cereal, I switched to adding in servings of butternut squash, though at a more gradual pace than the cereal. (The book recommends waiting two weeks of having all meals with cereal, but again I started sooner since Quincy had already done some solid foods before). I tried it at lunch before giving him cereal, and then later added it to his evening meal. Eventually, the cereal servings for lunch and dinner were replaced with vegetables, and the schedule below is what we now generally follow:
The above word generally is used very loosely. As some of you parents out there have come to find out, babies (and children) can get into a routine and then change dramatically the following day, hour, minute... Basically, they all come with built-in asterisks with a whole lot of fine print. Factors like sleep, outside activities, visitors, car trips, teething, and every other component that affects your child's mood can change how well (or poorly) they eat. But generally speaking, the above schedule has been good to follow for us.
You may notice that I nurse him when he first wakes up, and then he has breakfast, which is followed with another nursing session. The Babywise II book recommends just giving them breakfast first, but Quincy would get too upset if I tried to do this. Like scream-crying upset. I think he struggled to make the connection that rice cereal was something that would fill his belly. The book did address this issue and said to try nursing some and then giving them cereal, but again, this didn't go over well. Instead, I found that if he nursed first, we hung out for a while and then had breakfast later, he did much better eating the cereal and some tears were spared.
|Happily Eating Cereal|
Now at two and a half weeks into this Do-Over, Quincy has gotten used to rice cereal and butternut squash. I attempted carrots a few times, and must admit this is just one vegetable that might not be one we'll try a lot (Quincy hated them and would refuse to eat anything else at that meal once carrots were tried). In my homemade baby food stash I also have peas, and am hoping to make some more purees of sweet potatoes, acorn squash, green beans, and lentils. I think I'll also give baby oatmeal a try, too!
In related news, the Teething Monster seems to sneak up on the H-G Household, so we've discovered some tricks to combat sore gums during mealtime...
|It's hard to see in this slightly blurred photo, but Quincy has two teeth|
(finally) coming in on the bottom; the left one has already cut through!
SOME OBSERVATIONS FOR TEETHING BABIES EATING SOLIDS
1. Keep the Food Cold. Whether it's baby cereal and milk or a pureed food, don't bother warming it before baby eats it. In fact, I once had some rather icy squash that had mostly thawed from the freezer that Quincy loved to gulp down when his gums were sore. One note on the cereal and milk: breast milk should not be microwaved as it can deplete it of important nutrients. For the vegetables, I've popped them in the microwave for 5 or 6 seconds just to take the chill off, but no need when Quincy has had sore gums!
|He's actually excited in this photo, if you can believe it.|
2. Be Patient. When Quincy was especially fussy from his incoming teeth, the last thing he wanted was to have a spoon shoved into his mouth. Unfortunately, he also wasn't too happy of a camper when he was hungry. I found that at the beginning of a feeding session he was wary to eat, so I just took my time and gave him small spoonfuls, and then didn't push too hard once he had had enough.
|Saving some for later.|
3. Keep it Positive. The last thing a fussy, teething baby wants is an upsetting meal. Keep it light and happy, and try to get them to eat, but don't be too forceful when they've had enough.
|¡Abre la boca!|
4. Rotate Between Acetaminophen & Ibuprofen. I've mentioned this before, but there is a time and place for medication. We aren't big on drugging children or anything, but by following the recommended dosing for these pain relievers, it can help a great deal to comfort sensitive gums and/or teeth. Having a pain reliever in their system before they need to eat has worked best for us. By rotating between acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and ibuprofen (Motrin®), you don't run the risk of over-dosing on either of the medications with the doses being close together. As always, check with your pediatrician before administering any kind of medication to your child.
|Excuse me? Next bite, please.|
5. Have a Cold Teether or Icy Washcloth On Hand. When I couldn't get Quincy to calm down and take a spoonful of food, I would give him a cold teething ring to chew on in order to help chill down his sore gums, and then try to give him food. Surprisingly, it worked! Just be sure not to yank the teether from their mouth, which could cause further tenderness. Gently remove the teether and replace it with a spoonful of food.
|OOOH, SO GOOOOOD. |
(use a Cookie Monster Voice for full effect)
Some questions for the readers out there:
1. If you make (or have made) your own baby food, what kind of vegetables did you prepare?
2. When did you introduce fruits?
3. What was your baby's favorite kind of food?
4. Any good tips you've come across for teething babies while they eat?
This Do-Over seems to be going pretty well - I mean, c'mon, look at that sweet, adorable face!
Ever had to call a Do-Over? Share below!
*Ezzo, Gary and Robert Bucknam, MD. (1995). Baby Wise II: Parenting Your Pretoddler, Five to Fifteen Months. Multnomah Books.