Everything goes in his mouth
First of all I'd like to thank you all for the amazing response to my previous blog on post-natal depression. So many people said they either could identify with it, or were able to have more empathy for someone going through it. For that reason, I feel it's definitely worth while writing these blogs if it provides comfort or encouragement to others. Which brings me to my next blog.
Everything goes in his mouth.
A common occurrence was finding him in the corner next to the bookshelf, quite happily munching down on my old breastfeeding pamphlets and parenting magazines. Then there was also magnets from the fridge he’s dragged down, the domes on my jerseys, tags on my backpack, the dining room table, old bits of food you forgot to clean up, the most smallest pieces of fluff, dead bugs, and some things you only find at the other end in the nappy change. (This adds another type of poo discovered for the poo blog − the buried treasure.) I've even found him crouching down on hands and knees trying to lick electricity plugs and door stoppers.
And along with the challenge of trying to stop baby eating things you don't want them to eat, comes the potential struggle of encouraging them to eat/drink the things that you do. Here is a few things I've learned along the way.
Introducing solids when baby shows signs they are ready Even though a lot of theories say babies should start at six months, my son was showing all the signs of being ready at four. He was going through some mean growth spurts and I was struggling to keep up with feeding him with breast milk. Also being advised to stay away from formula because he was highly likely to have allergies, I thought I would start him on solids. I remember my son could not contain his excitement and he would grab the spoon forcefully and shove it in his mouth. However, it took him a while to master the art of swallowing as we spoon fed him, (and a lot of patience from us) as most of the food just automatically dribbled right out. But he did get there eventually.
Make food ingredients in batches to freeze
Freezing individual food items meant that preparation for my son's meals was fast and easy. I would put a little bit aside from the vegetables and meat I chopped when preparing our own dinner, do a straight boil and progressing from purees, to mashed, to chopped food as he grew. We then poured into ice cube trays to feed and defrost when needed. It means you can mix and match different ice cubes to change up his meals and it's really handy when you've been away on holiday. Kmart have some great trays with lids but otherwise cover with cling wrap.
Introduce food slowly in case of allergies
I use the three-day rule of one new ingredient for three days and then watch them like a hawk for any possible allergic reaction. High allergy foods are egg, dairy, wheat, nuts and shellfish. These foods will go through to your breast milk, so bear in mind if allergies/eczema develop, you may need to cut out of your own diet. Other foods to keep an eye on are bananas and acidic fruits if feeding directly to baby and watch out for reflux as well which can be linked to allergies!
Invest in a splat mat
At ten months my son started to have a thing with gravity. Everything seemed to get dropped over the edge, and then he would peer over his high chair immediately to see where it went. I’m sure we also had an athlete in the making, as food has been thrown, mushed and my spoons been blocked with his swift hands. As frustrating as it is, the sooner you embrace it, the faster baby will get through their learning and development. Get something that’s waterproof so you can wash it down in the shower or sponge down in the kitchen sink. Here’s a few options for you to consider:
Look on Trade Me (I got a massive heavy duty one which doubled as a play mat for cheap!)
Bumkins (Their splat mats are really light weight, machine washable and good for travel – see picture)
Buy at least a metre squared of table vinyl or waterproof material from Spotlight
Having trouble with baby drinking water?
My son sucked at drinking. Every time he would drink he would look like he'd gone for a swim. So we gave him a water bottle to play with in the bath. (Handy tip from Plunket.) It meant he could get familiar with the bottle and we didn't have to worry about the spillage.
So I stand corrected. Most things may go in his mouth, so my vacuum cleaner has become my best friend. We also have initiated project baby proof so I feel confident that we can keep most things out of Martin's curious grasp. One day, he was being particularly quiet, so I thought I’d check up on him. I found him flat on his tummy, tongue hanging out and scouring the floor like a beagle sniffing for clues. He then looked up at me and smiled his goofy smile.
I keep telling myself...
it's just a phase...
he'll grow out of it...