Hoorah! Today we gave Anya her first taste of real, solid foods (apart from paper, grass and carpet fluff, of course). It was so much fun.
Saturday we went out and bought a high chair. It is a trip-trap by Stokke, which we quite like so far (though there is a slight sense of design over function in some areas). That afternoon, while she was still in a good mood and before bed, we put her at the table with some toys. She had a good time banging things about like that. Sunday we planned to introduce foods… but she was cranky in the morning and fussy in the afternoon, so another day passed with only breast milk.
Today, at the end of the day, the stars aligned and we went for it. She had finished her nap, had been fed about three hours ago, so there should be a little room in her little tummy but she wasn’t due a feed for another hour or so and shouldn’t be gaggingly hungry, yet, either. Anya was in a good mood and seemingly quite calm. So, we dared.
Despite all the convincing arguments about ‘Baby-Led Weaning’, we were feeling to start her with rice cereal. It is easy to digest, easy to prepare and super safe. I am going with the overall feeling that all babies are going to learn to feed each other sooner or later, so whatever works for us, for now should be good. I am incorporating a couple of that philosophy’s ideas though: 1) we are making eating social and eating or at least sitting at the table with her while she eats and 2) I am serving foods singly, so she can recognise them by look before she decides how much to eat.
So, I mixed up the rice cereal (mostly with water really, as I don’t pump although I did manage to express a little with my hand pump which I added in for her). I served it up in her hello-kitty plate. K gave her a spoon to play with, to keep her amused, and she put that right in her mouth (with no food on it). Then she plunged her hand in the bowl of cereal. I expected her to eat that… she did not. I went to get another spoon, loaded it up with rice cereal this time and Anya, clever cookie that she is, held on to her spoon and turned to mine for a mouthful. And that is how it went, she would suck on her spoon for a minute, then, when she was ready, she turned and reached for a another serving of rice cereal. She loved it, clearly.
After a while she actually started grabbing the spoon and feeding herself, in a haphazard kind of a way. That just increased our confidence. She ate the whole portion (one tablespoon of rice cereal with four tablespoons of water) and then she was done – so the serving was just right for her.
She has been showing signs of being ready for solids for weeks now. She would watch us eat, following food from plate to mouth with both K and me. She is sitting on her own (ish… for a few seconds before she starts to lean forward). For the last week or so she has also been practicing chewing, between mouthfuls of breast milk and even sometimes when she saw one of us eating. Yep, she was ready.
And then, when it was time for bed, I breastfed her and was relieved to find she still loves it just as much. I don’t know what I expected, but I guess somewhere in the back of my mind was the feeling that she’d wean herself instantly and not ‘need’ me anymore in that way, as soon as we started solids. But she enjoyed it just as much – and so did I.
So we have entered a new phase. My little girl is growing up – still little, but growing.
As for feeding, now, perhaps it was beginner’s luck, but we had read that the first time you feed a child can take ages and be really hard work and yet, for us, so far so good. Wish us luck and may the good eating continue!