Following C’s latest monthly check-up, the doctor told me to increase her food intake, and decrease her milk. I have to admit that although I started weaning C at four months, I always felt safer with milk. There is really no hassle or worrying with milk. You just prepare a bottle, give it a few shakes, put a bib on the baby, give her the bottle and just wipe her mouth when ready. But with food came a whole lot of questions. Up until six months I pureed everything for C. She immediately took a liking to everything I gave her, EXCEPT green things. I tried green beans and broccoli, I mixed them with butternut squash, sweet potatoes, but to no avail. She would spit out everything that contained a green vegetable. So I stuck safely to fruits, carrots, potatoes and courgettes. I only gave her a few spoonfuls a day, and she ate it wholeheartedly.
After six months, I tried introducing new things, amongst which were finger foods. I had read about giving babies of that age cooked vegetable sticks, fruit pieces, Plasmon sticks, rice crackers, organic puffs – anything that they can hold on to and eat on their own. So I got C her plates and cutlery set, and set out rather excitedly about starting finger foods. And that’s where the excitement stopped. Because as soon as she put in the finger food in her mouth, she’d start gagging. I panic, I panic a lot, and being alone and having C gag at everything that was not pureed, was the slight nudge I needed at stopping finger foods altogether and sticking to cooked purees. I had awful images of being on my own with her, and not getting to the hospital in time if something happened (although we live 10 minutes by foot away from our hospital).
So I went back to purees. And then we had her 8-month check-up and I politely got told off by the doctor that C wasn’t getting enough foods. She reassured me that gagging sounds did not mean C was choking. My mother happened to be here at the time and with her help I started increasing her intake. She loves her morning cereal, and today I am super-excited because she finally ate ALL of her 7+ months cereal, without spitting out the chunky bits! I last tried out this cereal about 3 weeks ago, but she refused to eat it and I went back to the creamier and smoother 4+ months cereal, which she had no trouble in eating. So for that I’m grateful!
I’ve also forced myself into buying her rice cakes and organic puffs, and she now manages to down them without one gag! When we have dinner, I set her on her high-chair, and fill her plate up with pieces of Plasmon biscuits, apples, bananas and organic puffs. She always ends up grabbing the plate, putting THAT into her mouth, throws it on the floor and then turns to the food. No surprise really – this is the baby that puts everything in her mouth – her toys, books, play-mat, socks, baby wipes, feet, hands, paper – everything. She makes a mess but she manages to eat pieces out of everything (except the plate!) I am still not cooking meat and giving her meats myself, so for that, I buy jars of organic food which are great because not only do they taste good (I like tasting everything before I give it to her), but there’s a great range available. You can find the desert and fruit section, mushroom risotto, chicken with pineapple, steak with vegetables, noodles with leeks and cream – the choice is really vast! And again, up till now I was sticking with the Stage One jars – which are meant for 4+ month babies. The Stage Two jars have chunks of vegetables and fruits in them, and C was spitting them out and refusing to eat the rest. But she’s now keeping the food in her mouth, rather than spitting it, so I’m thinking she’s finally liking the Stage Two food.
So yes, milk alone was safer. And cleaner (AFTER she stopped throwing up every bottle). The introduction of food into C’s diet brought about a whole lot of questions, doubts, uncertainty and fear. Is she having enough food? Should I introduce something or is it still early? How do I start feeding her when out in public? How do I remove the carrot stains she has on every bib and top? What if she starts gagging and throws up everything? Worst still, what is she chokes when I’m alone with her?
But it also brought about exciting times. Seeing Cesca try out new tastes and flavours is fun. Seeing her open her mouth for more is even better. And seeing her finish her food is the best!