So my little boy is no longer vegetarian! Not that I was intending him to be once he hit six months, but I suppose it was still quite a significant moment when he had his first taste of meat (chicken, as you can see below).
As with pretty much everything he’s been offered so far, he approached it with interest and enthusiasm! 24 hours later, there have been no ill effects – but we haven’t had a poo yet either; my auntie warned me that it will start to really stink once he’s digesting meat!
Tonight was a semi-fail on the BLW front. We’re staying at my dad’s again, and again dad very kindly went out to buy the latest things he knows D is eating. But teatime ended up being a bit later than planned and Daniel had completely run out of steam by the time we put him in the highchair and after a very brief investigation of a sprout, descended into a grizzly heap until I took him out for a cuddle and a breastfeed, half way through which he fell sound asleep (so a one-handed meal for me tonight). I was particularly disappointed as dad had also made fried plantains – an African speciality – and I was looking forward to Daniel having his first taste of this family favourite!
He woke up just as we were finishing dessert, so I lingered at the table while he had a go at some melon, a yoghurt and some chocolate cupcake (which crumbled well before reaching his mouth, alleviating my worry that I shouldn’t have offered it to him at all!) He did have a good go at some fruit this morning, but really today has been mainly a breastmilk day. I’m not at all concerned about him having these kinds of days at the moment. But just as an observation, I suppose I have ‘noted’ that most of Daniel’s peers from our antenatal group (none of whom are doing BLW) are already on three regular meals a day. How much they’re actually eating is another matter, but they do seem to be more consistent with the offer of food than we are!
Last Sunday, I bought a sticky mat on the recommendation of a friend (Tommee Tippee, £2.99 in TK Maxx – you can stick any plate/bowl onto it) and Daniel is now having his food from a plastic bowl out of our picnic set. I did feel like using a bowl might be a bit premature, as in principle we’re still at the playing stage. However, it’s really worked out well. Much less is falling on the floor and he’s doing loads better at getting hold of things now they don’t disappear to the far corners of the highchair tray. He immediately seemed interested in this new arrival on his tray, and having his food concentrated in the one smaller area also seems to somehow keep him more focused on the task at hand. It might just be a coincidence of timing/development, but he has definitely been managing to pick up and eat more over the last few days (tonight notwithstanding!) So, we’re considering the progression to a bowl an all round success!
New things he’s tried over the last few days, apart from the chicken, include stir-fried vegetables (fried onion a big hit, and he was much better at picking it up than I expected!), green beans (not much consumed, but good to grip and no choking or gagging) and ice cream, which he appeared to LOVE!
I’m thinking I might have to be a bit more disciplined about not offering him so much sweet stuff (see also aforementioned cupcake) – it’s just so tempting to offer anything that’s around that I think he would enjoy! I have also realised that I need to do some reading up on balanced nutrition for babies and how to implement this in recipes. I do know quite a lot about adult nutrition, but I’m not very good at following the guidelines for myself and tend to live mainly off carbs (largely in the form of toast and scones) and fruit. This will not do for Daniel, so I need to start working in some more protein and iron to our family diet, which will mean expanding my meat and fish repertoire (I don’t mind cooking it, but as a veggie have not got very much experience) and will also need to get some good high-protein veggie recipes if Daniel and I are going to share the same things at lunchtimes.
One last thing for today – my sister is visiting this week and has been quizzing me on BLW. Not exactly challenging it, but very interested to know my rationale. This is interesting as she is the only one of my relatives (and friends, for that matter) to question it in the least – and yet she’s the one who has had babies most recently. She did traditional purees, with a few bits of finger food. What was really interesting was that she explained how she’d had an overwhelming urge to feed (i.e. spoonfeed) her two babies, like it was a real fundamental part of her feeling of mothering. I haven’t experienced this at all. On the contrary, I have no urge to do anything for Daniel that can manage for himself!