Bit of a poor report for young Daniel on the eating front over the past week. He’s had two new teeth and a really bad cold (earache, chesty cough, and a constant stream of thick yellow snot) and in the context of all this discomfort, his appetite seems to have dramatically reduced. He’s barely touched his breakfast all week, has played around with lunch, and by tonight, I didn’t even bother with tea. He’s still nibbling a bit at mealtimes, but is not munching with gusto as he usually does. He also seems to be having a phase of ‘exploring gravity’, and is spending more time deliberately dangling food over the edge of his highchair and then letting go than he is spending putting food anywhere near his mouth. The only things he’s still committed to eating are ricecakes, oatcakes and chips (and, of course, anything sweet, but I’m doing a bit better at not offering sugary stuff now, having read in the NHS ‘starting solids’ booklet that the idea is not to encourage your baby develop a taste for sweet things over anything else – at last I have my rationale!) Fruit and veg seem to have taken a distinct back seat, which is a shame.
In the past fortnight, he’s also started properly crawling, closely followed by mastering the ability to pull himself up to standing on whatever piece of furniture presents itself, so I wonder whether this might also be affecting the amount of developmental energy he has left for self-feeding?
I’ve tried to stay patient, but must confess to a feeling a bit frustrated and to slight niggles of “he’s not eating enough” – but I just keep reminding myself, in line with the BLW philosophy, that it still doesn’t really matter at this stage (he turned 9 months this week), and I should trust him to know his own appetite and needs and just keep up the breastfeeding if this is all he seems to want while he’s out of sorts. Although his weight has plateaued over the past month, he’s still on the 98th centile curve at a stocky 24lbs, so I don’t think there’s anything to worry about.
He’s not really increased his daytime feeds during this off-colour period, but when his teeth were coming through, he did want to feed more frequently at night, I think mainly for comfort.
We were at my dad’s this weekend, and I experienced a rare moment of feeling our BLW approach was being called into question somewhat. Daniel had woken from a long nap, and I’d given him a breastfeed immediately on waking. About half an hour later, I made him some lunch (scrambled eggs, cheese and some asparagus that I’d accidentally steamed to within an inch of its life and I wouldn’t have touched either), and having watched for several minutes as Daniel ignored his plate and repeatedly flailed his loaded forks around until all the egg had fallen off, my dad asked “Do you ever think of [spoon] feeding him when he’s hungry but not eating?” The answer is no. (And, I believe, Daniel wasn’t hungry – hence the faffing about). But I was aware of how slow and drawn out and, okay, rather pointless the whole mealtime must have seemed when viewed by an onlooker. I think the fact that neither me nor my dad were eating at the time (having grabbed a quiet bite during the long nap) also made the meal more of a stark spectacle of non-consumption. Dad wasn’t being judgemental at all, just interested and curious, I think. But I guess it was just one of those times when I realised that what we’re doing is still seen as a bit ‘different’ by most people.
Despite his lack of interest in actual eating over the past week or so, Daniel is still exploring the use of his cutlery, and often seems to want to hold his fork (or anyone’s fork that’s within reach!) and swipe it around his plate. Still no actual scooping or stabbing though.
And on the water front, it’s still largely a fruitless exercise. Every now and again, he’ll take some proper sips (often if he’s just had a mouthful of something dry or stodgy, suggesting that he doesn’t really feel a need for it at other times), but mainly he’ll push the cup away or spit out the mouthful of water if he has taken a sip, and then just wants to shake his beaker or waggle his fingers in the water if it’s an open cup. Looking on the positive side, I suppose the latter is quite a good way of cleaning himself up at the end of the meal…