Friday, April 15, 2011

Sweet potato boogers and establishing good eating habits (solid food!!)

My little bean has sweet potatoes up her nose. I can't get it all out so I guess it'll be there until bathtime. She's already so good at eating, and usually pretty neat about it... well as much as you could hope to expect. But today she was so enthusiastic while eating her potatoes that she blew a giant raspberry and sent some of the orange mush straight up her nose!
Aurora is four and a half months old today. The new trend (yes, trends... whether they are based on research or not they are constantly changing and evolving) in solid food feeding is to wait until babe is 4-6 months but to aim for the later end of that spectrum. I can understand the reasoning and I agree that breastmilk is the the best nutrition and should be relied on for as long as possible. However, we are not breastfeeding (again, not by choice). I felt like the sooner I got something that actually tastes good into her mouth the better off she'd be. Formula is gross. It tastes like metallic powdered milk. If there were any alternative I'd jump on it. Unfortunately, short of buying strange lady milk off of Craigslist (Ew.) it seems we will have to stick with our Good Start Gentle. It's formulated to be as close to breastmilk as possible... but science can't make all those nutrients taste as good as nature can. Anyway... I digress.
I decided to start solids on the earlier side. I don't feel like I forced the issue for many reasons. One, Aurora STARED at anyone around her who was eating... impolite gape-mouthed staring. Sometimes she would even look like she was pretending to chew along with us. Two, she was just 10oz shy of doubling her birthweight and seemed like she was always hungry but would stop mid-feeding to chew on the nipple of her bottle (but cry if you stopped the feeding). Three, she could sit. Not by herself obviously but if you sat her down she needed very little support, just for balance.
She lost the reflex that makes babies push food out really quickly (Side story: I knew the exact day that she lost it. One morning she woke up and was opening and closing her mouth over and over. It was completely different then she used to move it, almost like she was practicing... sounds like exaggeration or wishful thinking I know, but I was right. So take what you will from that.) I started VERY slowly. At first I gave her just enough rice cereal to coat her tongue. Three days of that mush (to make sure there was no reaction) and then we moved on to fresh baked and pureed apples because the rice cereal is barely a step up from formula. Still just a teeny bit for three days.
Then we had our first 'jarred food' experience.

I wanted to expose her to carrots but all the baby cookbooks (I plan to make as much of her food as possible) say to avoid giving fresh carrots until 8 months because there's a danger of nitrates, so jarred it was. I got organic pureed carrots. Ingredients: carrots, water. They were pretty gross. After the heating process to put them in a jar they taste almost nothing like carrots. She had a spoonful for three days but will not be eating them again unless they are mixed with fresh food.
Things went great so I decided to make her some peas!

I worried a little more about this one after all the sweet and bland foods but she accepted them really well. I'd like to think that it's because I had a few 'tricks' up my sleeve but it could just be that she takes after mom and loves food and wants to experience it all. Who knows. The 'tricks' in question are:
1. She always eats at the same time (between her second and third feeding of the day)
2. There is a fun build up. We pick out a bib together and I take her into the pantry with me when I put her food into a glass... a shot glass actually. Laugh if you want, but they are the perfect size, easy to clean, and let's face it not getting much use these days.
3. We use the same spoon every day. A bright red one. She loves red and is drawn to it like most babies (and at least one mom) so I figured this would get her excited to eat. I'm not sure that it does but I'll tell you one thing... she sees that spoon coming from a mile away and her mouth is wide open and waiting for it every time!
So far all of these things seem to have added up to one little girl who is psyched to eat and has never turned her head away or spit anything out. Two more days of sweet potatoes and then Aurora is on to Edamame!!
Now to clean up the aftermath:

...and douche those potatoes out of her nose.

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