Mushed up food turns me to mush

January 16, 2011

I think I’m too emotional for this whole motherhood thing.

Today is our last day before our son turns six months old.

I know I know, big deal, right?

Except, to me, it IS a big deal. Where did those first six months go? And how do I slow down the next six months?


(Wasn’t this yesterday?)

Last night, as I was getting my son to sleep (finally), I lost it. I started crying (okay, SOBBING) because… it’s all going too fast. We’re starting our son on solids this week. He has been showing me more and more signs that he’s ready, but this weekend sealed the deal. He showed me that he’s ready, even if I am not. But I will do it, because it’s not about me. I (selfishly) want to keep him little and pause these moments in time, but that’s not my job as his mother. It’s my job to help him grow big and strong. To help him grow up.

I’m sure you’re reading this thinking, “Wow, what a wacko.” I know many mothers would look at me and think, “Six months and he still hasn’t started solids?” Or even, “Jeez, lady, he’s still just a little baby at only six months old.” Like I said, I think I’m too emotional for this role.

Something that surprised me last night, as G held my finger and babbled himself to sleep (and while I tried to keep my tears from soaking him), was that solids represent something I never thought about before: an end to breastfeeding.

I know that sounds silly, really I do. I don’t plan to stop nursing for quite awhile. Even though we’ll be starting solids, the bulk of his diet will still be breastmilk and it (hopefully) won’t even affect our nursing for quite awhile. But it’s the first step towards that. The first step toward not needing me.

I’ve been his whole world for these six months. And now we’re taking a step away from that. And damn it, it hurts.

I’m so proud of my little boy and am so so so excited to watch him grow. It’s bittersweet, but beautiful. I can’t wait to see what kind of person he’ll become and I love to watch him learn and try new things. I want him to be a bright, independent person. I am excited to start solids and to watch him play with mashed up bananas and bits of avocado, see what he likes and what he doesn’t, and watch his face contort in pleasure or disgust. But yes, part of me will still be sad.

Motherhood really is the toughest job there is, huh? I don’t know how I’ll survive his first birthday or first day of school.

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8 Responses to “Mushed up food turns me to mush”

  1. aww ((((((((()))))))) Yay for both of you. 😉 What goodies is he going to be sampling this week?

  2. mamalooma said

    Aw, I know what you mean! Moving into solids was really hard for me with Finn. With Greta I’m having other “too fast” moments. She will be 1 in just a few weeks!
    The time really does fly, and it is hard to let those teensy baby/small infant days go
    Hang in there!

    • Aww, thank you for understanding!

      I can’t believe Greta is almost one already!

      Got any tips on solids?

      We’ve been having G sit with us at the table in his high chair, letting him play with his spoons and watch us eat. My plan right now is just to mash up some of the starter foods (introducing one at a time) on his high chair and see if he plays with it, grasps at it, puts any in his mouth, etc. Of course, the camera will be present. 🙂

      • mamalooma said

        Your plan sounds perfect, actually! Playing with food is half of it, especially the first couple months. It’s important to see this as something he’s learning about, rather than you teaching him really intensely.

        Since you asked for tips, get ready for novel!

        Try your best not to over-think it. A month or so does wonders. Just because you introduce a bit of cereal, sweet potato or avocado doesn’t mean he needs a solid bit every single day without fail. I liked doing a “baby-led weaning” type approach, modified of course since both my kids were ready at 5 months ( I hardly got Finnian to 5 months! and I was totally a “6 months minimum” person! I remember prying fistfuls of my food out of his hands he was trying to force in his mouth — it was serious!).

        I don’t now if you are planning on making your own food, but I found some of that to be more trouble than it was worth. You can’t get the slippery texture of commercial baby food at home, even if the gag reflex is gone/greatly diminished, it still helps to not push it. By the time he can handle slight variations in texture, he’ll be able to eat “real food.” For the first (or more) month/s, go commercial, and then ease off into “regular food” (aka smooshed up people food.)

        Quite honestly, I hate the whole “puree” stage. I was hoping Greta would be more amenable to waiting until she could eat table foods – 7-months-ish. She was interested at 5 months. I gave her a bit of avocado just to gauge interest (Finn had had rice cereal first and loved it). Then I took my time. I would spoon her a bit of Earths’ Best Stage 1 baby food mixed with rice cereal to bulk it up to get food in, but more times than not I’d just put a little of that mush on her tray. It makes a total mess, but it teaches them to eat. I feel it is important to give them the power to make their own decisions about food intake. It’s like nursing “on demand” but with solids.

        From there I would give her stuff we were eating (an egg noodle, smooshed up beans, a really ripe pear cut in fine dice), and if she got it in, great. A lot can be accomplished with that palmer grasp!

        I always felt like “what do I do?!!?!”, especially past the puree stage. But this is really it :
        a) let them trash their face/clothes/tray trying to palm it into their mouths
        b) don’t micromanage their eating as far as cleanliness or amount
        c) give them stuff you’re not sure they can eat or handle chewing, because it is likely they will surprise you (still working on this one — Dan is way better at this)

        Good first foods other than purees — the “next step”
        – rotisserie chicken from a deli – it smells amazing and dissolves easily. This is a HUGE first-ish food in our house.
        – buttered toast
        – shredded cheese
        – thawed frozen petite green peas
        – if you have a Trader Joe’s near you they sell an “organic foursome” frozen veg pack that both kids love, and it is like less than $2 a bag

        Ooh, and be really careful with bananas! Especially at the start. they can get constipated so quickly with them! Finn no, Greta yes.

        Both my kids are voracious eaters. i think a large part of this is their personalities, so I don’t take full credit. I think a good thing to remember, especially as your son gets closer to 1 and toddler age is to HAND OVER THE POWER. Just let him do it. Think about how you would feel if someone was randomly spoon-feeding you in the evening. If he shows interest in grabbing at his baby/toddler food, just give up control and let him make a giant, yucky mess. It really is worth it. I promise you that it will pay off!

        Also, let him drink out of an open-top, non-sippy cup. He’ll make a mess but he will learn. It’s important, and he can handle it.

      • Why doesn’t WordPress let you comment to more comments? It stops the thread after just a couple. Grrr…

        Anyhow, THANK YOU so much for this! It is really helpful. I’m going to do my best to just a) follow my instincts about what’s best for him, and b) let him lead the way.

        I had originally planned on doing lots of purees, but I think I’ll just do whatever feels right as we go. I think we’re going to start tomorrow with some avocado. That’s good to know about the banana… I had actually just read something yesterday about that, but it’s always nice to hear “real life” experience. G still poops a lot (god, I swore I’d never be one of those mothers who talked about her child’s bowel movements) so hopefully a small amount of banana won’t be an issue. But now I know not to give him lots.

        Anyhow, I’m just going to take it a day at a time. If he loves purees? I’ll feed them. Maybe he’ll hate it all right now? That’s fine, we’ll wait a little longer.

        Also, thanks for the advice on letting him be messy and not doing too much to “help.” 🙂 It’s hard to hand over your control! haha

        One question for you… when did you start giving them cups, and when did you start giving them water? I don’t pump right now and he’s never taken a bottle before. I wonder if I should start pumping a little in the next month or two so he can practice drinking from a cup? And did you/do you ever use a sippy cup (like if you’re on the go)? My sister’s kids learned to use a regular cup from a young age and I really liked that, but I also think I might like to be able to bring him a drink when we go somewhere and not worry about it ending up all over him or a friend’s couch, haha.

  3. mamalooma said

    Glad to be of help!

    We started a cup of water around 5 months. by 7 months both kids were mostly able to drink alone. Start with a teensy amount in a small cup (Ikea ones are a great size and very light, but any will do). It has to be enough that he can see it and won’t have to thrust the cup super far back, but not so much that it becomes awkward and immediately spills as he tries to bring it to his mouth. Then just let him go for it.

    We’ve only really done water until cow milk begins. I do give Greta a bit of (non-vanilla) rice milk to mix it up. I used to give Finn breastmilk but then felt like “Garr! What a waste!” when it inevitably got spilled.

    One thing I do watch for is when they are done with the drink and start to a) put fingers/hands in it or b) about to dump the contents out, I calmly and cheerfully take it away and set it nearby. Using the ASL sign for water is good too. Even if he can’t do it back, he will start to recognize it.

    With the sippy, I would just unscrew the top for Finn most of the time. He did eventually get the concept, but he was probably closer to 1. If G hasn’t had bottles, he might not catch on to the hard-suck concept (they make so many sippys to not leak at all unless the kid sucks really hard and for many BF babies that’s like “You want me to do what?” until they get a bit older). I find sippys/lidded cups more useful when the move into toddler age and just do stuff like dump everything really on purpose. Even then, good for the car and other houses, on a walk or whatever. You can always just unscrew the top.

    You can also get sippys that are “beginner” and release fluid with any pressure (the nipple-ish part is usually really pliable, so that is more a controlled spill and defeats the “easy on the floor” purpose when we lean on the sippy crutch. : ) Greta hasn’t had a sippy yet. She does ok with an open cup and I figure we’ll use a sippy more this summer. I do like to limit the sippy usage overall. Finn still uses one (with a coffee-cup-ish slotted lid) on occasion in the morning, when I’m bleary-eyed and we’re watching PBS, like right now. Our TV is upstairs and I don’t want an open glass of milk up here, especially only one cup of coffee in to the day! : )

    • You are awesome. Thanks so much for taking the time to type out a “Young Adult paperback” for me. 😉 It really helps to hear your own experiences with all of this… it’s so new to me. I’m good at reading him and listening to my instincts, but I still like to confer with others and hear what has worked for them (and what hasn’t).

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