Ten things I wish I had known

aka “Words of wisdom for weaning”

1. Take a deep breath. Relax. Nothing you do out of love regarding food/feeding at this point is going to scar your baby for life. It’s okay!

2. If you decide to make your own baby food, do so with the knowledge that much if not most of it is going to be thrown away rather than consumed, and with the attitude that that’s okay. If you can’t take that attitude, you may want to rethink making the food.

3. If you “cave” and buy baby food, even the non-organic Gerber food, that’s okay, too. It’s actually rather liberating. There are good options for pre-made baby food out there, and you can still teach your child to like good wholesome food. It’s also very convenient, and you need a little convenience once in a while.

4. Save some effort and use a food mill to puree some of what the family is eating. Why spend extra time making something for baby if you don’t have to?

5. If baby refuses a food, try again later. Later could mean tomorrow, in a few days or even a few weeks.  If you forget to introduce the food again for a few months, that’s okay too. It may even work better than giving it again right away.

6. Don’t feed your baby rice cereal unless it is very thin. And if you’re waiting until your baby is 6 months before trying it, she probably doesn’t need it to be very thin, so you may want to just use a different cereal. Believe me, you do not want a painfully constipated baby.

7. Work on introducing a cup or bottle. This is especially for breast-fed babies. I don’t think it matters much whether you pick a bottle, sippy or open cup, but your child will need extra fluid as she nurses less. Make acceptance of your chosen vessel a priority to avoid a dehydrated, constipated child.

8. Children acquire new skills at different rates. Just because your friend’s son can hold and appropriately use a spoon at one year doesn’t mean yours will. It’s okay.

9. Plan on sleeves and shirts getting dirty. If you don’t think you can mentally handle this, strip the kid down before meal times, and hose her off after she eats. Or just think of messy meals as an opportunity to change your kiddo into a different, but equally cute outfit.

10. As American women, we tend to over-analyze everything. Just remember that women have been having babies with no idea how exactly to do any of this stuff for thousands of years, and yet the human race has managed to survive and thrive. Also, your child will have no recollection of any of this anyway. I think God knew we were going to make some stupid mistakes, and this way our kids won’t be able to bring them up ad nauseam for the rest of our lives. Relax and enjoy this phase. It’s going to be okay!

What about you other moms? What do you wish you had known when you were starting your child on his or her food journey?

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Cups, cups, cups

I discovered at a recent barbecue picnic that Sweet Potato is enamoured of drinking from a cup. I’m not sure if she’s more interested in the cup or what’s in the cup.  Probably the former given that she often spits out what I let her try.  She really liked the Spelenda-sweetened tea they were serving, but that’s hardly surprising. It was quite sweet, and the tea wasn’t particularly strong.

That got me thinking: what did parents do before sippy cups? The sippy cups we have today are “spill proof,” but even in past iterations, the cups had spouts to make drinking easier. I know, because my mother in law still has several of those Tupperware cups- and they work well for a baby who hasn’t figured out how to use the modern kind that only operates with significant suction.  Or were they really invented to keep things cleaner? I think that’s the more likely scenario.  I doubt that moms let their toddlers run around the house with glasses full of apple juice before these handy cups were invented, but there were surly a number of accidents while children were learning to drink.

Did moms have to be more aware of their children’s thirst and make a point to offer water on a regular basis? I’m sure that if there had been car seats, there would be no integrated cup holders. At what age would a child be proficient at using a regular adult glass? Because I’m sure this was in the era before plastic was ubiquitous.  And would it be so bad to go back to this era?  Are sippy cups an invention of modern times in the same vein as the “kids meals” that I find so exasperating? Are sippy cups training our children to be gluttonous slobs who think they can eat and drink anything, anywhere at any time?

Okay, maybe they’re not that bad. But I think that this summer, Sweet Potato will get plenty of chances to drink water out of a solo cup. Outside.