Daniel and I took two 5-hour train journeys this week, to make a visit to relatives in Somerset. Although my tolerance for mess at home and in restaurants is pretty high now, I decided to keep things a bit more under control whilst on public transport, and so broke with some of the BLW principles and bought some pre-packaged fruit bars, mini rice cakes, packets of little ginger bread men and (shock horror) some of those pouches of pureed fruit :-0 !! The latter in particular felt like a real BLW cop-out but, as it turned out, I didn’t regret it for a minute once we got all the packages cracked open.
For one thing, it really did minimise the mess – nothing for him to shake around or fling (of which more in a moment…) And for another, Daniel really seemed to love all of it. He immediately got the hang of how to suck the pureed fruit from the pouch and although I had to manage the holding initially, so that he didn’t squeeze it too tight and splurge a load out when it was first opened, he was able to hold it himself and manage the flow really well once it was a bit less full. He also thoroughly enjoyed the fruit bars and the gingerbread men – one of those occasions where he demonstrated that he can quite perfectly make a piece of food disappear in its entirety when the flavour fits! And rather worryingly, there already seems to be a strong appeal of any foodstuff that comes presented in shiny, crinkly wrapping.
In sum, I have to give credit to these baby food companies – they have done their homework and they know what babies like. The things we took on the train with us were manageable for his little hands, appealed to his taste buds, didn’t contain the sugar and additives that ‘ordinary’ biscuits or snack bars would have done (had I stuck to BLW principles of using ‘normal’ foods) and made for minimal tidying up afterwards. Whisper it quietly, but I think I’d do the same again on a train journey and may even use a few fruit pouches when we’re just out and about in town – especially since D is still largely throwing rather than eating any pieces of non-mushed fruit and veg that we give him.
Ah yes, the throwing. Prior to our visit to the folks in Somerset, Daniel had been having a phase of very little eating and a lot of flinging. I was trying to stay calm about the lack of eating, but I must confess to getting a little annoyed that everything was systematically being dropped, flung or splattered off his tray onto the floor. In a way, it’s kind of entertaining to watch (he has a very amusing flick of the wrist when something is headed skywards over his shoulder), but I was starting to wonder why I was bothering sitting him up at the table three times a day with the only outcome being a big mess for me or Jon to tidy up again.
However, before I got around to blogging about this, things changed somewhat and as the days went on, the more striking thing has been the amount of variation in his appetite from day to day and in fact from meal to meal. So although there have been some complete non-starter meals, there have been others where he’s really concentrated and had a really good meal. Whereas I was initially planning to write something about a frustrating lack of interest/appetite, it’s really more the case that it’s very variable and hard to predict.
That said, I’ve now understood and had to accept that my baby is like virtually all others and will always be interested in a sugary treat. Probably the most annoying (yet cute) incident of the past week was where he systematically threw every last bit of his tuna pasta on the floor, but then munched through the whole of a Rice Krispie Square that I gave him for pudding. (You may well ask why I offered him this sugar-laden concoction at all. It had something to do with him being scared to tears by a woman in the Spar shortly before tea, and my demonstrating that I am also an ‘only human’ mum, instinctively finding myself buying him a shiny-packaged treat to cheer him up!)
So, yes, I’ve had a few lapses in my steadfast BLW approach in recent weeks. I’ve also decided to relax the boundaries a bit regarding making foods especially for Daniel. I still can hold my head up and say I’ve never spoon-fed him and I’ve never pureed anything for him by my own hand, but – especially since I’m veggie and he’s not – it just makes sense to have a few baby-friendly things prepared for him, such as little burgers, fishcakes, croquettes, etc. And on the subject of purees, it’s something that seems to go unsaid in BLW circles, but let’s be honest – although babies of 6+ months can manage finger foods, purees are still a hell of a lot easier for them. Daniel’s eaten more fruit in the last three days out of his squeezy pouches than he had done in the whole month preceding this.
Other news in brief…
The spoon control is getting better slowly but surely – two or three scoops of yoghurt are now seen through from conception to completion each time he’s given free rein with the whole bowl and he’s really keen to make attempts at stabbing with a fork. However, he’s increasingly interested in how things ‘work’ (i.e. how they come apart) so after a couple of mouthfuls, he usually gets diverted by his mission to remove the bowl or plate from the suction mat and I have to intervene to save the remaining food from meeting with the floor.
And it seems that, without any particular strategy from me, Daniel has night-weaned himself. He still has a pretty late bedtime (somewhere between 9pm and 11pm) but his last feed of the day will usually be before midnight and then he’ll go until at least 6.30am without milk – often until 8.00am or 9.00am.
Finally an update on water: although he’s still not very interested in drinking it in any quantity, he has learned to use a straw and suck from a ‘sports cap’ bottle, and the novelty value of these has seen him drinking a little more at mealtimes lately. He starts nursery in two months, so I’m hoping he’ll get a bit more adept with a beaker over the next few weeks too, as it would seem a bit of a backwards step for him to need to be bottle-fed when I’m back at work. Any thoughts or comments on this would be welcome, as I have no idea what the reality will be for us when this happens…