Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Baby's First Meal!

 We had been planning baby's first meal for a long time. Initially we thought it might come later, around Christmas or her 1st birthday, when all we knew about was the 'traditional' way of introducing solids.

Once we learned about Baby Led Weaning, we knew right away what the first family meal we would share would be. The first meal hubby ever cooked for me was a roast chicken dinner, and that would be the first dish he would cook for our girl.

After all the build up, I had to keep reminding him that it was possible she wouldn't eat anything. Some babies don't really self-feed much until 8 or even 10 months according to what we had read. He was fine with that, you only get one first meal, so we wanted to make it special either way.

The next step was a matter of when. There are certain markers for readiness when it comes to starting solids, not just with BLW. Baby had been sitting up independently since 5 months, so we had that covered. She had lost her tongue thrust reflex. All we were really waiting for was to reach the 6 month mark.

The meal was a huge success. She was right into it! They say that one of the signs of readiness is interest in food. She had been watching us intently during meal time for the past few weeks, she put all that observation to great use! She not only picked up the food and brought it to her mouth, she actually ate some of it! We also learned some useful info on how to prepare food for her in the future (finding the balance between soft to eat, but not too soft to squish as she picks it up).

We were apprehensive about baby's 6 month appointment, wondering what they would have to say about the fact that we had only started solids the day before not two months earlier, and that we were doing BLW. When asked about solids, I said that no, we hadn't started cereal, we were going stright to 'table food' - the MCHN suggested we look into BLW! I told her that's what we were doing, I was just used to people not understanding. We showed her some photos from the night before and she was thrilled. Just popped in the reminder of no honey under 1 and to make sure that everything else was prepared appropriately. She also reminded up to offer lots of iron rich foods, and to breastfeed before meals.

We could not have asked for a more positive experience for baby's first meal!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Starting Solids

I absolutely love to cook. Being married to a fussy eater, being able to cook for baby was something I was really looking forward to. Then just before her 4 month appointment, someone mentioned that I would soon be able to feed her rice cereal.

I didn't really know much about that, but could vaguely remember mum mixing up bowls of mush for my two younger sisters. Googling "baby rice cereal" sent me down the rabbit hole that is starting solids and the conflicting advice parents are given from every source.

Some things I learned on my first day of research:
- the majority of baby's nutrition before 12 months should come from breastmilk or formula
- baby should have nothing but BM or formula before 6 months
- there is almost zero nutritional value to rice cereal (arguably the added iron)
- there are signs of readiness such as being able to sit unassisted and loss of the tongue thrust reflex that should be met before baby starts solids
- there are no 'first foods' and baby can eat anything that is prepared appropriately, with the exception of honey
- there is no need to introduce foods in a certain order, or one at a time
- foods known to cause allergies should be introduced as close to 6 months as possible, and under medical guidance if there is a family history of allergies
- baby doesn't need to eat purees if she waits until 6 months to begin solids.

The last point was interesting to me and led me into the world of Baby Led Weaning. I was pleased to see that sources including the NHS and the Australian Breastfeeding Association recommend beginning baby with finger foods. I was also disheartened to learn that although the WHO recommendation clearly states no food before 6 months, many guidelines still mention starting puree at 4 months. And I suppose that makes sense, if you introduce baby to solid food before they have lost their tongue thrust reflex, and before they can sit unsupported, the only way you can possibly feed them is to mush everything up.

Following all my research, I was disappointed to turn up to our 4 month appointment and be told to start baby on rice cereal. When I said that we weren't doing that, and that we would be waiting until the recommended 6 months to start solids, I was given a sheet of which foods I should start first, in which order, and how long to wait between new foods. So much outdated information!

 I then had to endure two months of being asked by family why I was making baby 'miss out' on solids, as my cousin's little boy who is three weeks older started at 4 months. I just repeated the same line over and over, "We are waiting until the recommended 6 months so baby can share family food right away." I then had to deal with my mum defensively telling me that she just did what she thought was best when we were little, and we turned out ok. All I could say was, yes, you did your best at the time, now I am doing my best with the information I have available.

With all that in mind, I grabbed the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook and got planning!


Monday, 10 July 2017

6 Month update

Our little girl is six months old. I can't believe it. I think back to the anxiety I was suffering this time last year and I just can't believe how much our lives have changed. The time has gone so quickly, but it truly feels like she has always been a part of our lives.

She loves sitting up and playing with her toys, tummy time is still a hassle. She just rolls over immediately any time I try to put her down on her tummy! She rolls side to side on her back, she actually sleeps on her side, but she has yet to roll all the way over.

We've been out and about so much. Story time at the local library is a huge hit, and it's probably nice for her to hear someone else reading besides us. We've been out walking a lot, although that is hard as it gets colder. We ventured out on a train trip to a local shopping centre with a mum and bub from our Playgroup. Playgroup has been hit and miss as it is such a small group there often ends up being only 2 or 3 of us.

One not-so-great milestone I guess we had to hit eventually was that she picked up her first virus. We had visited Nan Nan and my cousin was there with her bub who is 3 weeks older. They shared toys and drool. He fell ill the following day and our little one followed soon after. The first day that she was full coughs and snotty nose she just looked at me and I felt so helpless. I didn't know how to make her feel any better and it really shook me up. I got over it soon enough, but it was a terrible feeling to be so helpless to give her any kind of relief. I did the next best thing and gave her the comfort she needed.

Unfortunately, this virus threw her new found sleep routine out of whack. She had JUST started two day naps of about 2 hrs each, and only waking once each night to feed. Bliss! Then she fell ill and was waking every hour, sometimes hysterical at being unable to breathe through her nose.

So she's turned 6 months, had her check up and has more than doubled her birth weight. So proud of her (and have to say, myself!) for getting past the initial setbacks when she was born and fighting on with breastfeeding. We have just started solids (for a post another day) and I can't wait to see what she shows me next!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

DIY Sensory Board

Since learning to sit independently, Miss 5 months was having a hard time with Tummy Time, I decided to expand the list of activities. We had done books, mirrors, water play (love this one!) but I hoped that something new would interest her for a few sessions at least!

In my travels through the world of Pinterest I had seen a lot of sensory boards for babies, basically a variety of textures for them to explore. I had a quick scout around the craft stash while baby slept and came up with a pile of goodies.

Paper muffin cases, seeded paper, ribbon, straws, a small plastic tub, bubble wrap, string, masking tape sticky side out and some bright material cut in strips.

 I arranged everything, glued (used PVA but should have waited to find my glue gun in the shed - the straws didn't stay stuck for long!)

It was a hit! The only downside was when she started getting frustrated that things were stuck in place, rather than being able to grab them to try and stuff in her mouth. She loved feeling the muffin cases (crushed them pretty quickly!) and was fascinated by the flappy material.

Feeling pretty good about my first baby DIY effort!