One of the trickiest things about writing about parenting is that as soon as I write something, it will change. Back in May, I told you how we had just gotten started with solid food. Cullen kept choking on bigger pieces, and so I was giving him some store-bought organic jarred food as a simple way to dip my toe in the rough waters of first foods.
And as soon as I wrote that, it was over. Purees? Don’t even think about it. The spoon? I’ll take that, thank you.
After just 2-3 weeks of trying a mixture of purees and soft solids, Cullen completely rejected the purees and insisted on doing everything himself. Despite his early hesitation to eat the solids, I kept offering them and continued to encourage him to try more textured food.
Eventually he took interest in making a mess and attempting to navigate the pieces into his mouth. He quickly learned how to chew and swallow, and the rest was history.
I’m totally amazed at how much his eating has changed in just a few short months. He eats large pieces of fruit and veggies like they are nothing, and his appetite is insatiable. Like…literally. I have to cut him off or I think he’d sit and eat all day!
When he first got started, he had trouble figuring out how to get food from his grasp into his mouth. Everything was jammed into that tight little fist, and he’d get frustrated with how little he was actually eating (although he also didn’t want any help!). Frustration turned into determination, and bit by bit his pincer grasp developed. Now he can pick up things as small as lentils!
Breakfast and dinner are often some of the highlights of our day.
Cullen and I have a breakfast date each morning. He plays while I prep both our meals – cereal, fruit, and coffee for mom, diced fruit for baby. Everything he eats is finger foods, since he insists on only feeding himself. It has actually been a little challenging to figure out what to feed him since I can’t do anything mixed or pureed. It has also been a learning experience to figure out how MUCH to feed him. This kid can really eat! The dogs are thrilled with this new development, and they fight for the coveted spot under the high chair at every meal.
Breakfast is usually an assortment of diced fruits. It has been really convenient to be exploring his first foods during the summer when so much is in peak season (and it’s one of the reasons I love having a fall baby!). So far he loves cantaloupe, watermelon, cherries, peaches, plus, blueberries, kiwi, banana, and figs. I have yet to find a fruit he doesn’t like!
Dinner is usually a combination of veggies and a few proteins. Current favorites include sweet potatoes, carrots, avocado, peas, and black beans. Greens have taken a bit more convincing. Broccoli was not a hit.
Months ago Cullen had a bad reaction to oatmeal cereal, so I’ve avoided most grain and gluten products up until this point. We’re going to talk about when to reintroduce those at his nine month appointment. He also hasn’t had any dairy yet, as we’re still deciding exactly how we want to approach that going forward. I’m looking forward to bombarding his pediatrician with questions next week!
One of the biggest recent changes is Cullen’s unwillingness to watch US eat if he’s not participating. Meals out now require a separate packed snack for him. He gobbles down Happy Baby Puffs by the fist-full, so I can only give him a few at a time. They have been our saving grace at restaurants!
And when he needs something more substantial than a few handfuls of cereal, I carry around a few organic baby food pouches of pureed fruits and veggies. Mr. Independent likes to hold them himself, and he can eat one in an alarmingly short amount of time.
Right now we’re just doing breakfast and dinner for meals (with an occasional afternoon snack, but I think we’ll be adding lunch in very soon. He’s also still breastfeeding 5 times a day, which remains his primary source of nutrition.
I started solids feeling nervous and confused – deciding what and how to feed your child feels like a huge responsibility. These days I feel relaxed and excited about it. I love seeing him react to new foods, and I have fun finding and offering new combos and ways to eat things. Tonight we’re trying spinach…
Wish us luck!
Read more from Emily on her personal blog Daily Garnish, where she creates healthy vegetarian recipes, recaps her latest running adventures, and chronicles life as a new mom to her son and two crazy dogs. You can follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest too!