Weaning: Introducing Solids.
In most aspects of parenting, I have a pretty chill baby on my hands; Liana has slept through the night (at least six hours) since she was six weeks old, she hasn't suffered from colic or any allergies or illnesses, she isn't a nightmare while teething (that journey has been pretty speedy and a few teeth even snuck up on us undetected!), she loves meeting new people, and car rides put her to sleep every time.
So Liana obviously took to the spoon easily on our first try, right? Ha, wrong! I've read about starting out with 1/4 of a teaspoon for a feeding, and about the importance of persistence and patience, and to try a food ten (yes, TEN!) times before it is written off that she doesn't like it. But to be honest, that all just went in one ear and out the other. Liana has never done anything by the books--she even decided to come out of my belly before my water broke. She hates pacifiers and teething toys, and she hated bananas the first four times she tried them (despite people saying it is the perfect first food). I figured we would breeze right through weaning, I'd start her on a sippy cup to wash the food down, and then she'd start crawling later that day. [I'm kidding, of course.]
But after two weeks I had only worked her up to 6-7 good spoonfuls a day--and only for me. She was still giving Ashton a hard time and would not even take one spoonful from her teachers at day care. In the meantime we had been giving her Mum Mums (which she loves) and cereal from a bottle. Really thinking about it now, we probably just got the timing all wrong. Liana was actually teething horribly for most of this past month when we've been trying to get her to take the spoon. She probably wanted nothing to do with the spoon because it wasn't comforting like her bottle. Now, at nearly seven months old, she will take about 2 oz of puree in one sitting. Liana is really working hard and I'm so glad!
I am in between offering purees and small bits of soft whole foods. When Liana wasn't taking to the spoon incredibly well, or when I am eating something she can have too, I will give her little bits of food. As mushy has they are, I am still afraid of her choking. I realize that a gag response is normal, but choking is not. She has choked a little on her Mum Mums, but I still give them to her (under EXTRAORDINARILY supervised conditions) so she can practice biting and swallowing solid food herself. When I did start getting her to take the spoon, she would grab onto it to put in her mouth, so I think she really prefers to feed herself. Baby led weaning would be fine with me, but we get so many free jars of baby food each month, I'd hate to see them go to waste. Right now we are feeding her whatever she'll take, but I am really hoping she'll take to the purees more, so we can start cutting down her bottles in a month or so.
We used to get free formula each month, but now we get only about a quarter of that amount and it is replaced with cereal and jarred purees. It is really inconvenient, because we didn't start introducing solids until a week before Liana turned six months old, and they literally cut us off from our regular amount of formula at six months. It's like they expect the baby to immediately start eating a jar of pureed food and 2-3 servings of cereal per day so that the amount of formula is cut down to the amount they provide. It's crazy! I know I shouldn't be complaining because other people don't get ANY free food or free formula, but it's what we're used to and $17.99 per can (which she goes through in only a few days) isn't necessarily in our small family budget!
All ranting aside, I have to say I was such a proud mum the one day Liana decided she didn't mind being spoon fed. As I said earlier, I had previously managed to get in 6-7 tiny spoonfuls, but on this one special day, she sat there and let me spoon feed her half of a jar of bananas. Oh yes, you read that correctly, BANANAS. The one food that she had previously made putrid faces at, spat out, flailed her arms about, and screamed at me for feeding her.
Revisiting a topic I started mentioning earlier, Liana has sprouted [almost] five tiny teeth! If I remember correctly (I've gathered that becoming a mom means you start losing your memory quicker), Liana started teething just before five months and within two weeks her bottom two teeth came in and teething was over for that round. Teething round two occurred while visiting family for Halloween, just after she turned six months, and the day after we came home a third bottom tooth sprung up. By the end of that same week, round three began, this time with her top two teeth. One of them broke through within a day, but the other one is still taking it's time. As her Mum, peeking at her gums pains me when I see they are swollen or very while and she is drooly and grumpy. He little mouth must be in so much pain, how can I expect her to want to give up the comfort of her bottle for a hard(er) rubber spoon? I've been very patient with her through the teething process and feel incredibly sad for her when I know she is feeling poorly because of her teeth. She is such a little trooper though and it's like she is trying to remain in the best mood possible, but sometimes the pain is too much. She's only been super fussy a few times, but I'm never mad, she is such a sweetie 98% of the time (I'm probably supposed to say she's ALWAYS my little sweetie, but let's be real, even my bouncing bubbly little bunny has her diva moments!).
So for now our weaning journey is still unfolding. I'm hoping as teething slows down, Liana will be more willing to pick up the spoon and also get the hang of eating the Mum Mums without choking. I'll keep you all posted on our progress!!