There is an 'and' in the title, not quite as gross as it could be.
So the Wildflower is 12.5 months old and she's barely eating solids.
A short history:
I started her on banana back at just over 6mths old. She was interested. Although I suspect a lot this 'interest' that parents talk about is simply a natural curiosity of anything and everything, not necessarily a readiness to want to eat. But anyway...
Let me mention what I feel is an important point. The Wildflower is not a mouth baby. I see babies as being mouth or non-mouth babies. Just a term I use. Mouth babies are the vast majority. They discover their world mostly through their mouths. We all know that babies shove everything in, much to parents' anxiety and dismay. Non-mouth babies are rare. Instead of using their mouths as instruments of discovery, they use their hands and eyes.
The Wildflower will slowly and carefully examine anything you give her with her fingers. She will turn things around and every which way with a look ranging from intense focus to playful curiosity. She has done this from the youngest age.
I think this was a major contributing factor in our breastfeeding problems. She just wouldn't open up for the nipple the way most babies do. She barely opened her tiny mouth at all.
So eating solids was never going to be as easy as it is for mouth babies. No matter how complicated this feeding thing can be, parents have on their side the fact that children will put almost anything in their mouths. That's half the challenge.
So after the initial tiny amounts of banana, which she seemed to enjoy as far as that went, she began to teethe. And she didn't really stop teething for any long stretch of time until last month, April. And teething puts her off anything going near her mouth.
But I didn't worry about it. I refuse to make food an issue. Babies/children won't starve, they'll eat - whether it's milk or solids, they'll eat. I've offered her different things every other day. It wasn't until 9.5mths that I believe she was truly interested in eating food. She started to willingly open her mouth to accept food. And it wasn't until last month that she would actually cross the room to have a nibble of rice cake.
So she's ready - developmentally, psychologically... ready.
concentrating on her 3-spoon juggle
Of course it starts slow and they will turn their noses up at lots of what we offer. She likes yoghurt (plain or with crushed strawberries), pear, rice cakes, minced beef(?!), courgette/zucchini, jar food apple & pear. It's such a strange mix. I can't convince her of any other vegetable yet.
But she doesn't eat more than a few baby spoonfuls or my finger-tip-fulls. I tried allowing her to feed herself and it resulted in a whole week of wasted food. I mean, she didn't put anything into her mouth. She simply examined it. A typical non-mouth baby. She prefers me using my fingers.
A few days back I noticed something new. She has started to ask for her milk (she signs for it) when she isn't really hungry. I feel it has become a way to exercise control. Moving out of babyhood straight into the early stages of toddlerhood, she can understand that there is so much she can't do, isn't allowed to do, and is challenging to do. All frustrating of course. Now she can ask for something specific and get it. To coincide with this, she seemed to be going backwards with solids. And her milk is no longer satisfying her anyway so that she spends much of the day irritable because she's hungry, but then only taking small amounts every 40 minutes, or having it when she isn't hungry. Not a happy situation for her.
So DIY Dad pushed for me to encourage her more. I'm very much about allowing a child to regulate their own sleep and eating. I feel this is so important. But because of this new development, I thought it beneficial to encourage more.
So yesterday that's what I did. When she asked for her milk I said, not now darling, let's have X if you're hungry. I don't expect her to understand but.... I also give her an extra cuddle. She cried at two requests and then went for yoghurt, and the rest of the day I kept offering her bits of meat. When we got home I offered her jar apple and pear and she gobbled it up. This was such a long time between milk! And she had appeared content.
She seemed unusually subdued later on and after a cough ended up throwing up. Not tons, just a bit of fruit and water. She asked for her milk and it was bedtime so I gave it to her and she gagged and threw up some more. Poor baby. I felt terrible.
She has been gifted with a healthy body and, other than one mild cold, has never been ill. She refused her milk and drifted off to sleep. Something she doesn't do at night like this. We have a routine. Of course, you can imagine how I began to worry. Had something she ate been off? During the day I could have monitored her, but she was tired and wanted to sleep. argh
So I breeeeeeathed. I asked my anxiety to step aside for a moment. I connected. And I felt that she was fine. That she wasn't ill. That she simply ate too much as she wasn't accustomed to it. I felt better.
What followed was a horrendous night though. She was hungry and asked for milk over 5 times.
She is perfectly fine today. I started her off with yoghurt and then jar fruit. She insisted on milk and I gave it to her. Now I will encourage solids for the next few hours before giving her milk. I don't believe that she understands solids can be satisfying - how can she when she nibbles on so little - and needs a chance to realise that.
I still refuse to push the issue and I'm not going to allow her to cry for her milk. That wasn't ok with me and I buckled under DIY Dad's concerns. I'm going to offer solids throughout the day and this will naturally fill her up.
And on a different note, if you don't normally visit my other blog, you might like to know that I completed the baby moccasins.