Thursday, February 25, 2010

For those who are interested, a long post about baby food

For some reason, I really thought that introducing my baby to real food would be an area of parenting that had hard and fast rules.  Wishful thinking, I guess, since EVERY other aspect of baby-raising is pretty subjective, and every expert, parent, and annoying (um... well-meaning?) stranger has a different opinion on how things should be done.  Unfortunately, the whole baby food deal is no different.  So I will preface the rest of this post by saying that this is just the way we did things, based on some reading, some advice from our pediatrician, and some trial and error -- and you can probably find a dozen other blogs out there that detail why what we did was wrong and will ruin our baby.  So it goes.  And with that out of the way, we continue.

When we took Ben for his four-month check-up (actually at four-and-a-half months), I asked our pediatrician about starting solids.  He said that he looks for three things to determine if a baby is ready:
1. He drools.
2. He puts his hands, toys, etc. in his mouth (showing an awareness of his mouth).
3. He has been sleeping through the night but starts waking up again.

Check, check, and GIANT CHECK for us not long after that appointment.  I arbitrarily decided that we would wait until five months to start solids anyway, but Daniel ended up with a night off from church stuff because of snow, so we took advantage of that extra time to give Ben cereal for the first time a few days before I planned.

Per the instructions on the box of rice cereal, I mixed up 1 Tbsp. of cereal with about one ounce of pumped milk.  I had already been putting Ben in his Bumbo chair for a few minutes every day to get him used to being in it, so I thought he would be fine to eat in that.  However, he usually played in the Bumbo on the floor of his room, and I (very stupidly) put him on the kitchen counter to feed him.  He was waaaaay distracted by this new setting.  So despite the fact that he seemed to like the cereal pretty well, he was kind of annoyed that we kept making him eat it.  And this is what he looked like about five minutes into the process:

The next night, we moved him to his bouncy seat on the living room floor.  Same 1 Tbsp. of cereal but with just 1/2 ounce of milk this time (this is the ratio I've stuck with).  Success! 

From there, we just increased the amount of cereal a little (maybe a Tbsp. at a time?) every day or so.  It took Ben a few tries to get the hang of having food arrive on a spoon, and there were some pretty humorous moments early on.  The first time, he would fake cough when the spoon was in his mouth.  Then for a few days he couldn't figure out to keep his mouth open until the food got there.  But he caught on, and now it's easy to see when he is enjoying eating and when he just wants to quit (he sticks his hand in his mouth and either fusses or turns his head away).

In the past few weeks, we've added carrots, squash, and green beans to the menu.  He LOVES all of these.  Our routine lately is to eat veggies at lunchtime and cereal at dinnertime.  He likes the veggies more than the rice cereal, so I usually mix a little veggie goodness into his cereal.

A few other feeding notes:
*The only consistent "rule" I've seen about feeding is to wait 3 days after you've introduced a new food.  Then if there's no reaction, you can add another new food.
*Our pediatrician told us to start with veggies first and then fruits (so the baby doesn't get hooked on sweet flavors and reject vegetables).
*I started out feeding Ben before I nursed him because of something I read in What to Expect the First Year.  That was fine at first, but then I was afraid Ben would fill up and not want to nurse (and most of his nutrition should be coming from milk at this point).  So I started nursing and then doing solids, and he still eats a good amount of "real food," but it's easier for both of us to know when to stop.
*I gave Ben oatmeal for a few days, but it didn't seem to agree with his little tummy.  That could be all in my head, but I decided to lay off the oatmeal for a little while anyway.  No rush at this point.
*Ben was back to sleeping through the night pretty immediately after we started giving him cereal (yayyayyay!).

That's all I can think of right now.  For the handful of you who are interested in all these details, feel free to ask about anything I've neglected.  For the rest of you, just comment on how cute the pictures are.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You just go ahead and try to resist him.

Happy Valentine's Day!  Sorry, ladies, but this cutie is already taken.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Yesterday I stole something from Target.  

I got out to my car, loaded Ben (who had just fallen asleep, it's important to note) and his carseat into the back, and noticed a file box at the bottom of my cart.  A file box that had been at the bottom of my cart for most of my shopping, including the part where I paid for everything else.  I knew immediately that I had technically stolen this file box, but I also knew that in my heart I hadn't really stolen it.  Therefore, I convinced myself that it was okay to leave (did I mention my kid had just fallen asleep in the carseat?) and pay for my stolen goods the next time I was going back into Target anyway.

My squeaky-clean husband disapproved of that plan.  When I told him the story, he insisted that I go back last night and make amends, which I did (after much grumbling).  All the way to Target, I mentally rehearsed the amusing way I would recount this story to the clerk (the manager?  the security guard?  I didn't know how this thing would go down).  So I was a little taken aback when I walked in with my shameful file box... and went right up to the check-out counter with it, just like everyone else was doing with their merchandise.  It was a total let-down.  I did tell the clerk my story, though, but he really didn't care.  Maybe next time I need to steal something bigger, just to make it worth my while.

Now it's your turn.  Anything you need to confess to the dozen or so people who read this blog?  (And everyone can participate now!  I changed my settings, so you don't have to have a Google account to comment.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sneaking up on half a year

 My precious offspring, the reason you come to this blog, turned five months old last Tuesday.  At least a dozen times a day, I am struck by how much he has changed in five months.  Yes, I know that is an obvious, cliche thing to say, but for reals!  There is nothing quite like watching your baby figure out new things from one day to the next -- or even better, thinking back on what he was like as a newborn blob of baby and comparing that to the present.  Babies are amazing.

While Ben still doesn't have any particularly impressive skills (he's not speaking in complete sentences or walking... or even rolling over at this point... and he can only tell you the value of pi to the first five decimal places), he seems to become more and more aware of the world around him all the time.  Sometimes this is really funny.  Like the day he realized that Justin the Cat exists.
He really thinks Justin is cool and will squeal and wave his arms around when he's nearby.  He also likes to "pet" Justin, an act Justin will only tolerate for a few seconds because Ben ends up with fists full of cat hair.

One major part of growing up is, of course, growing.  I noticed yesterday that my arms look stronger from carrying that kid around because that kid is much bigger and totally over his initial runthood.  And he can fit into some clothing we have been excited to put on him:

This whole process of growing up has also reinforced that I don't really know what I'm doing as a parent.  And when I finally figure something out, Ben changes and forces me to figure him out all over again.  I'm slowly getting better about being okay with my cluelessness, and I'm really trying to enjoy even the areas of motherhood that I find the most frustrating.  And if that doesn't work, I cheer myself up by taking silly pictures of my child.