The art of using utensils

It’s time for W to start cleaning up his act at meal time.  Literally.  The mess is killing me!  Clearly W loves it, but me on the other hand…am left scraping avocado out of his ears all day.

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Let’s hash out what we’ve accomplished thus far with the baby lead solids approach, though, because I couldn’t be happier.  W does a great job feeding himself.  He chews incredibly well and rarely gags or bites off more than he can handle.  My favorite?  He’s so adventurous when it comes to trying new foods!  Win. Win.  And win.  We ate out a ton while we were on vacation in Disney (post to come soon!) and it could not have been easier (note I didn’t say cleaner…) thanks to his stellar attitude towards food.  With our amazing rubber bib, disposable placemats, a handful of Cheerios and the LED ice-cube (below), we were golden.  So no complaints on that end.

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But, as with all things, an evolution of process and procedure is in order.  It’s time for a spoon, folks!  The avocado face-and-hair masks are getting too much to clean up three times a day and, frankly, make me dread meal time.  W is nursing less and less (we are at about 6 times a day), so it’s pretty important that I not be dreading feeding the growing little dude.

So, I decided that introducing a spoon was a good idea…when black bean soup was on the menu for lunch, no less.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.  I must not have had my third cup of coffee yet…

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This first attempt was probably messier than it would have been had I just let him scoop the soup out of the bowl with his hands (which he did half the time).  He quickly discovered that his spoon was a great way to catapult food to the dog instead of his usual delivery method.  Our dog, Rex, is a food-motivated Frenchie who is always underfoot come meal time.  They’ve got quite the symbiotic relationship – W provides the food and Rex provides the entertainment.  It’s a habit we are SERIOUSLY trying to break.  But, W thinks that our head-shaking is part of the game.  So, he holds his food over the edge, drops it, looks at us with a scowl on his face and shakes his head, “No.”  Unfortunately it’s funnier than it is problematic.  At least for right now…

But, back to the spoon.

He does a great job grabbing the spoon with his right hand and usually gets a good grip on the handle – not to high, not too low.  He understands the motion he’s supposed to make and that he scoops the spoon in the bowl and then it goes into his mouth.  He’ll sometimes use the other hand to guide the spoon there with a bit more precision, which is so sweet to watch.  His fine-motor skills are improving so quickly, and it melts my heart to watch his tiny hands make such slow, deliberate and gentle movements.  And the prideful grin?  Agh.

So, I don’t have a calculated plan moving forward.  No benchmarks for the little guy to meet.  But, I think we’ll keep giving him a spoon at meal time and encourage him as he goes!  He has been picking things up so quickly, that I’m hoping he’ll be on his way to a cleaner eating routine in no time…

I know this is wishful thinking, but if you don’t have hope, what do you have?

Spoonfully yours,

MomME

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Chew on that, mom

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Lots of things are complicated when it comes to a new baby, but I didn’t think feeding W was one of them.  Until, like most things lately, I did a little research.

When the topic of starting solid food came up I didn’t think twice – we would spoon feed W yummy purees.  Being on the healthy side, I’d actually MAKE the purees here at home.  Take that, store-bought-purees, I thought.  I’m going to feed my baby the best.

Sigh.  Yet again, my new-mom-naivete slapped me in face. There is new research.  There are new schools of thought.  More decisions.  More explaining those decisions.  And that’s when I learned about BLW (another annoying mommy-blog-o-nym short for baby lead weaning…or baby lead solids).

The concept makes sense, I’ll admit that.  Baby learns to eat just like we eat.  Give them normal food in a sort of soft stage and let them feed themselves.  It puts the wheel (or the carrot stick) right in baby’s hand.  They decide if they’re hungry.  They decide if they’re not.  Research shows that babies who eat in this way are less picky because they’re introduced to more foods and textures.  Research shows that babies who eat this way have less allergies because they’re introduced to more foods.  Research shows that babies who eat this way choke less because they learn how much they can or can’t put in their mouths…and they actually learn to chew before they learn to swallow (with purees, they learn to swallow first…so when they begin to need to chew they’re tempted to swallow first).

Choking.  That’s where I’m stuck, folks.  I can NOT get passed the fact that gagging is a normal part of this learning phase with BLW!  I have an active imagination as it is.  I go into worst-case-scenario-mode in a matter of seconds.  To make things worse, this isn’t something totally imagined (like when I’m driving over a bridge and I start to think how I’d get W and the dog out of a sinking car if the bridge collapsed…).  This is actually happening, and the line between gagging (there is noise associated with this) and choking (silent) is so very fine.  I.Can’t.Deal.

Bottom line, I have to wait for the hubby to get home because I can’t do the BLW by myself.  If anything ever went wrong I couldn’t live with myself.  As I’m typing this, I’m thinking, Wow, this sounds so serious…like you’re talking about letting your kid play with knives while you’re home alone.  Nope, just talking about eating some avocado.

When did eating go from my FAVORITE pastime to something that now scares the living daylights out of me?  Where’s the fun in that?  I certainly don’t want my anxiety to scare W into thinking that eating is scary.

We’re going to keep trying.  Little by little.  Wedge of food after wedge of food.  Some nights I might have to call it quits after a serious gag/choke.  Some nights I might survive a few.  But, if it means he’s less likely to choke when he’s older…I guess I’ll *try* to stick with it.

Updates to follow.

Anxiously yours,

MomMe