Daily Archives: March 30, 2011

She Says… Food, Glorious Food

Eating has always been one of Owen’s favorite pasttimes. Yes, we had issues with nursing and breastfeeding, but eating food has always been a highlight of his day. Gee, I have NO idea where he gets that from.

I recently had a reader (Hi, Megan!) ask me to post about Owen’s eating and how it has progressed since we started solids. Happy to oblige.

We started “solids” super early with Owen. 4 months and 5 days, if my blog is correct. His first food was avocado mixed with breastmilk, and he gobbled it right up. At that point we did food midday, between bottles, whenever it was convenient. I think I started by doing it every other day, and then slowly got into the routine of doing it once every day. For the first few weeks he ate only avocado, peas, butternut squash and brown rice cereal. At almost 5 months I figured out I had excess lipase in my breastmilk, and breastmilk was still giving Owen reflux issues, and I was about to go back to work, so I made the decision to switch him to formula full-time. I wanted to make sure that the switch to formula wasn’t eliminating subtle flavors that Owen enjoyed, so I took his solid food to the next step.

At 5 months he was eating 2 solid meals a day, in addition to 4 bottles, and his repertoire had expanded to include oats, carrots, apples, prunes, bananas, green beans and sweet potatoes. Each meal was 2-3 food “cubes” (frozen ice cube tray sized cubes of pureed food, I think about an ounce each) with some oats or rice to thicken it into a paste. Instead of keeping foods separate, I started to mix and match. Even weird combinations. Anything to change the flavor slightly to give his taste buds something new. Apples and green beans? Sure. Sweet potatoes and avocado? Yum. Peas and oats? Delish.

By 6 months Owen had graduated to 3 meals a day, and honestly sometimes he would not even give me an “all done” sign like turning his head or pursing his lips. This kid could eat, eat, eat all day long. I imagine that if we’d actually kept feeding him we would eventually find the bottom of his little stomach, but I would usually cut him off after a bowl (or two) of food. I started making all kinds of foods to mix with the ones he’d already eaten. Spinach, white beans, lentils, yogurt, chicken, pears, blueberries, peaches, corn. He gobbled every single new thing I made him. There isn’t a single food he has refused (YET!). The mixtures got more and more fun as he consistently ate 3 food cubes at each meal. I could make little “complete meals” like chicken and sweet potatoes and green beans. Lentils and butternut squash and peas. I started adding spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and garlic. They were like little science experiments, mixing and matching and adding a dash of this and a pinch of that.

Now, at 8 months, a new development. I’ve been giving him chunkier purees for the last 2 months to try to encourage him to “chew” (aka gum, since he doesn’t have teeth yet) and to tolerate thicker textures. For awhile he would NOT tolerate chunks, and would do this very dramatic heaving/gagging when a single pea or blob of chicken escaped the food processor blade and made its way into his mouth. Finally something clicked, and he figured out how to moosh solid food between his gums. So now, in addition to three bowls of 3 food cubes a day, he’s also putting back a handful of puffs or bites of bread. Oh, and 28+ ounces of formula. Despite how much food he eats, he never really cut back on his formula ounces (he was drinking 30+ ounces of formula at 6 months!).

I know “they” say that babies under 1 only need formula or breastmilk to meet their nutritional needs. But I gotta tell you, I’m pretty certain Owen would be starving without his 3 meals a day. He is a HUNGRY kid. Lord help me when he gets to be a teenager.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve noticed that his cheeks turn bright red and get hot after he eats bread, so I’m presuming that he has a sensitivity to wheat. Neither Benjamin nor I have any food allergies, so I followed the AAP recommendations to introduce wheat at 8 months (ok for non-allergenic babies). I’m pretty sure it’s a reaction to the wheat since it happened about 30 minutes after he ate, and lasted only for a few hours. But we’ve only tried twice and I am not 100% certain that’s the issue. Has anyone else had this happen or dealt with similar food sensitivities? Did they turn into lifelong allergies, or were they just a baby thing?

Any ideas for other finger foods I can introduce that don’t contain wheat (just to be careful for now, until I ask the doctor about the possibility of a sensitivity/allergy)? Last night I made some mixed veggies and offered him individual peas and pieces of carrots. He did NOT like the way that they didn’t mush up in his mouth like the puffs and bites of soft bread, so I’m thinking he’s not quite ready for veggies. What else can I give him? The kid loves to eat :)