It’s been a while since my last post (relatively speaking!) We’ve been away for a week so D has had lots of dining experiences in lots of different places and with lots of different audiences (not that it’s a performance… okay, well I suppose it kind of is really!). We’ve been at relatives’ houses, cafes and pubs, and a couple of days in a youth hostel type place with extended family and some other people we don’t know well. On the whole, BLW has gone smoothly and largely unnoticed!
Alongside the toast, fruit and veg sticks and yoghurt that have become his staples, D has also now tried some proper ‘grown up’ meals. Lasagne was a major hit – mixing the mince with some of the cheese sauce made it perfect for sticking to loaded spoons and he kept shovelling it in until my mum and I decided we should probably stop him before he over-filled himself! (not very baby-led, I know). He picked up and gummed a bit of the pasta sheet, but I don’t think he swallowed any. He also seemed to really enjoy some lentil curry and rice – again, mixing the two together was just right for loaded spoons, and he sucked on a bit of meat from a lamb curry too. I think he would have gone for more of it, but it was too good to waste on baby explorations so once the first bit fell on the floor, we didn’t give him any more! After these two meals, we had two really good nights’ sleep (eight and then nine solid hours), and I started to believe the theory about babies waking due to hunger. But the following three nights were broken with teething and then a cough and cold (despite a hearty tea of leeks in cheese sauce), so I’m not so sure and it may have just been a fluke.
My second go at offering him porridge was much more successful than the first. This time, rather than making a very thick porridge with breastmilk, I just made a pan of normal porridge for all three of us, using whole milk, and he really went for this off loaded spoons. To my slight disappointment, he was much less interested in the ‘grandpa muesli’ I offered him this morning – an old family recipe which is essentially oats soaked in milk with grated apple added (and some ribena, seeds and sultanas if it’s for grownups). He pulled a face when the first spoonful went into his mouth – maybe because it was chilled or because it was his first real taste of cold cow’s milk? – and although he did try a few more spoonfuls, he wasn’t really that into it. I gave him toast fingers alongside, and as he played with these, they soaked up some of the milk and ended up with apple and oats stuck to them, so I think he did eat a bit of it one way or another.
He’s at a bit of a plateau with the skills – still doing well with sticks and wedges of stuff, managing a loaded spoon well when he’s not too tired and the consistency of the food is right, but still not taking much notice of anything that can’t easily be picked up in a fist. I was starting to think he was flummoxed by white/cream coloured foods, as he’d not been interested in macaroni cheese, pancakes, the oat-and-milk muesli or pasta bows. But then I remembered he is very into his parsnip wedges, potato wedges, chips and toast, so I guess it’s more about him still needing an obvious chunk of something to go for on his plate. Piles of mush don’t seem to appeal to his curiosity yet! An omelette held his interest for quite a long time at brunch on Saturday though, so I expect it’s also about catching him at the right time of day for his hunger and awakeness to be in the right balance!
I’ve had a few more questions and queries from friends and family that have given me a little pause for thought. My dad asked if he’d been weighed lately – probably a perfectly innocent question, but I did wonder if it was in relation to concerns that he’s not really looking as if he’s eating much at this stage of BLW. He is in fact getting weighed tomorrow, so we’ll see if there is any cause for intervention…
A good family friend who doesn’t yet have children asked me if I was not just dying to scrape the yoghurty mess from around his mouth with a spoon and pop it in for him. I have to say, this is not something I’m that inclined to do because what ends up around his mouth tends to be about 90% drool – not that appetising to have popped back into your mouth I imagine! I do tend to pick bits off his bib and put them back in front of him if they’re big enough to have another go at, but I’m still not experiencing an urge to spoonfeed him. If I’m honest, there are times I feel a bit frustrated that he’s not ‘doing better’ with the spoon himself – when the whole lot falls off en route or he ploughs it into the side of his face instead of his mouth. But I have to keep reminding myself that he’s still only six-and-a-half months old, so really only two weeks into the BLW ‘zone’, and he’s doing really well by that measure.
There have also been some positive comments. I was quietly chuffed when a few family members mentioned spontaneously over the past week that he really doesn’t make much mess at all, and another person noted how good it is that he eats all kinds of fruit and vegetables. We’ve still yet to find something that he seems to really dislike.
My only minor concern, as the moment, has been the need to start thinking harder about meal planning to make sure Daniel gets the right balance of nutrients. Starting BLW has made me realise anew how much I rely on carbs in my own diet with relatively little protein. I have never minded cooking meat for Jon, and often made two separate meals for us before Daniel was born, but now I’m firmly in the vegetarian minority in our household, I’m having to rethink how to make family cooking both economical and efficient. I know most of my family would say to me “just start eating meat!!!” but that’s not something I’m ready to do at the moment, so for now I’ll have to get my thinking cap on and work out some streamlined ways to prepare three slightly different meals at a time, and get enough protein and iron into the little boy when he’s going meat-free with me during the day. Any suggestions welcome!