The Good, The Bad and The Messy – Part 1 (The Bad)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this whole experience of giving Eliana solid foods. It is humbling because it is such a huge responsibility. Not that the pregnancy or earlier Mommy-hood was easy or care-free, but teaching her to eat well and to like healthier foods can overwhelm me sometimes. I totally buy into the idea that the foods I ate while pregnant will be foods that she will like and want to eat. So, great! She will like a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and tofu. (As well as some pizza, peanut M&Ms and organic strawberry milk–strictly Organic Valley brand.) But, now Eliana has to do this eating healthier thing on her own. In utero, she was my captive.

 

7 months pregnant in our old apartment.

 

At our new apartment days before Eliana was born.

 

 

Since she was stuck in there, she had no choice but to “eat” what I did. I guess she still does to a certain degree through nursing. But now, she can actually refuse food!  This leads me to The Bad about feeding Eliana solid foods. (I like to end on a good note, so let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first!)

 

The Bad

So, obviously if she doesn’t want to eat healthier foods, I’m not going to be happy about it. I want her to like healthier foods and then seek them out when she isn’t with me or my husband there to offer them to her. Sure, there will be a time and place for the unhealthy stuff, but I envision that those times and places will be limited. I’ve already decided that when she is a bit older and officially eating dinner with us, I will do my best to make only one meal for our entire family and she will eat it or nothing at all. (Yikes!) I think the idea of a kid’s menu is kind of insulting to kids and sets parents up for battles at home. But, that is in the future. You can read about that drama as she gets older! The Bad (for now) has been: figuring out the timing in our day to give her solids, making something she likes, stressing about whether or not she has eaten enough and not beating myself up when the above does not go well.

 

Our pediatrician warned me at our 6-month visit that feeding her solids would take over our day for a while. That was mid-December. I would say I didn’t really start all of this full-force until the first days of January. So, we’ve been at it for around two months. I have to find times when she isn’t starving because then she might not want anything “new”—at those times she will prefer a bottle or nursing vs. solids. But, she shouldn’t be full because she won’t want more food. And then there is the nap issue. She usually takes 3 of them a day and since we don’t have an official “schedule”, I watch her like a hawk for tell-tale signs of sleepiness (e.g., glazed eyes or yawning). As you know from reading Fungus Among Us- Part 1 it takes forever to change her diaper and/or clothes since she won’t stay still- so that sucks up a good part of our day too. It may not sound like it, but that is a whole ton of stuff to try to pack into a 12-hour day. Much less go outside, see our friends or make it to a Mommy-Baby class at the YMCA. I literally feel like I am either feeding her or trying to do something nap-related at any given moment. There is only so much I can fit into a day! I’m not Super Mommy!! (But don’t tell Matt that. I like to keep him in the dark about that one.) So, timing has been hard and there are days when she eats two “meals”, one “meal” or even no “meals.” I feel super guilty about the “no meals” days.

 

As you know, I like to cook. You’ve probably figured out, I also like to eat! (My first word as a baby was “more” as in more food!)  I think it’s fun to take recipes and play around with them to make them a little healthier and/or vegetarian. I spend time thinking about how to do these things and then put a lot of effort and love into it. Of course, I’ve done this for Eliana as well. As you’ve seen in my recipes, I add a bit of seasoning and/or spices and some onion to her vegetables or ginger to her pear purees. When I’m not sure about how to make something or if it is totally wacky to consider giving it to her, I will reference Cooking for Baby by Lisa Barnes and then I take the suggestions and make the recipe my own by changing it up. And you’ve seen that Eliana has also eaten the more typical baby foods of applesauce and sweet pea puree but then I go out on a limb and make yam soup, pan-fried trout with mustard, or give her potatoes and kale. I have fun making it all… And then, get totally bummed out, and maybe a little insulted, when she doesn’t like it. Hello! I made it just for her! (Did I really just say that I get insulted by the behavior of an almost-9-month-old? Oh, boy! I’m sure I’ll address these issues with a shrink one day.)

 

But, back to her eating…

 

Yuck!  I STILL don’t like red pepper puree!

 

Thankfully, she has only rejected solids a handful of times. And I can’t always blame her. I don’t particularly like bell peppers, but they are an essential ingredient of vegetarian chili. I had extras lying around after I made chili for the grown-ups, so I figured I’d make some peppers for Eliana. Unfortunately, she didn’t like them very much. (I re-confirmed this today when I tried giving red pepper puree to her again.)  And she is on the fence about sweet pea puree. She liked it one night but then not the next day. What made her reject these foods? The taste? The time of day? Her level of hunger? Aargh!  But, at least the list of rejected solids is short.

 

On top of all that, I need to make sure she eats enough quantity. I think I’m “safe” in that most of her nutrients and calories are still supposed to come from breast milk and formula. But, we Mommies talk and I know that some of my friends’ babies are eating ounces of solids at a time! I’m psyched when I get a few spoonfuls of food in her mouth or even an actual tablespoon during one sitting. Of course, each time I actually measure out her food, she won’t finish it. When I don’t measure it out, she eats it all and even wants more. Obviously, right? Since she doesn’t eat a ton, combined with the fact that her food is only good for up to 3 days, and that I have to put at least a cup of food in the machine so it will actually blend and puree, I end up freezing a lot of it, too.

 

 

 I LOVE these OXO brand brand 2oz containers! I label them with the contents and the “use by” date to stay organized.

 

 

Alright, enough whining! This hasn’t been an all-bad experience. It’s actually been really fun when I’m not stressing about how much she eats, when she eats, and if the food is ruining her clothes. (The potential stains on her clothes was an obvious “Bad.” You didn’t really need me to mention it, did you?)

 

That’s it for now, but check back soon for The Good and The Messy.

 

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