One would think that feeding a child food would be easy, or at least not confusing.
As Jackie hit 6 months, and when we seriously starting thinking about starting solids, I found it amazing to see, yet again, the differences in kids and what they are doing at this age. From size, sleep and eating, it’s all over the map!
I’m in a new mom’s group for babies from 5-7 months of age. Jackie is still one of the smallest, but now, the talk in class moves somewhat from “sleep” to “solids.” What does that actually mean?
We started Jackie on rice cereal at almost 6 months. It seems we started a bit later than most, but I didn’t care. Part of me wasn’t ready for her to stop “being a baby” and she also had just doubled her birth weight (which is one of the main factors of starting solids). She’s also been a bit behind on sitting up, as she’s still sitting up with a bit of support, but I bit the bullet and bought some rice cereal around the holidays. (For the record, my husband was ready to start before Christmas.) Although I had some emotion behind it, I still think my intuition was right as it took her a bit to get used to the spoon and cereal. For several days she was spitting out the cereal, not being sure what to do about it. A few days later we gave her carrots and she was even more confused. See below?
We continued with the rice cereal for about 3 weeks, which ended up great. She gained some confidence in eating and I was able to get used to her wanting something else other than breastmilk or formula. One of my friends suggested to complete the entire box, but that was taking a bit of time. We were only giving her about 2 ounces of cereal each time and the box was a normal size cereal box. After three weeks, we decided to move on.
But I digress.
With all that being said, here we are at almost 7 months. I’m around a number of moms with kids a bit older and a bit younger than Jackie, and they are eating WAY more than her. I once again go to making myself wrong, thinking that I started her too late, questioning if I was doing something wrong (even though I knew I was following her pediatrician’s advice), etc.
I found myself in an awkward situation yesterday when I met a couple moms from my current group for lunch and a walk. We decided to grab lunch after we met up. We ordered, found a table and got our food. The other two moms immediately got a highchair for their babies. It didn’t even cross my mind to get one for Jax as I have never fed her real food at a restaurant. If I ever need to feed her a bottle, the lap is just fine. I was asked by one of the moms if I needed one, and I initially said no, but then changed my mind. Was it peer pressure?
It would have ended up that Jackie was the only one sitting in her stroller OR I’d have to hold her. I decided to get her a highchair, but seeing that she’s not even eating finger foods yet, she was without any food to eat or play with. I had toys, but it seemed she didn’t want anything of it. I had bread, but should I give her something to gnaw on? What if she choked? I was feeling inadequate, confused and annoyed –all at myself. I was mad at her last pediatrician, as they had a strict policy of breastfeeding or formula for the first 6 months. In fact, when I went in for her 4 month appointment, I had to bring up “solids” and my questions were almost dismissed. Again, I didn’t feel behind the 8 ball as I was aligned with her pediatrician at the time, but I wonder if it was brought to my attention at the 4 month appointment, would we be in the same place today?
As I tried to keep Jax happy with two toys, I also tried to eat my lunch. It was one of the first times I really wasn’t able to enjoy it, as I was chasing after toys and pacifiers falling on the ground.. and realizing over and over that I didn’t have any food for her to eat.
Even though I had a great time with the moms, I started thinking about that afternoon and also last Saturday when I had some of the same awkwardness and confusion. Another mom friend of mine is giving her daughter yogurt already and she’s only a few days younger than Jackie. Her ped said it was just fine; Jackie’s ped said we had to wait until month 9.
I find it amazing that all of us (parents, adults) came out OK. We eat just fine, not many of the people I know have food allergies, and even if they do it was found in a somewhat of a haphazard way. If you talk to my parents or my husband’s parents, they had us eating fruit first (which is a huge no-no now), and my husband was eating meat at 4 months–MEAT! Does all of this really mean anything? Should we really listen to doctors or do we “follow the baby” as I had said at month 1? I think it’s a little bit of both.
The bottom line is that you have to be happy with what you’re doing. In the scenario that I mention quite often: “If I were not in a big city, not around other new moms and didn’t have access to a ton of information at my fingertips, how would I say Jackie is doing?” I would say just fine. She’s having her opinions on the foods we’ve given her so far, she’s still little so milk is her number one supply of calories, and she seems to be having fun with something new.
That’s what I need to focus on. In the end, no one is doing the “wrong” thing, they are just doing what’s right for their baby and their family. It’s amazing what schools of thought are out there for raising kids, sleep, eating, etc. I’m sure I will find out more as she gets older, but wow, this was definitely unexpected.
I think I need to go back and read my “Comparisons” post to get myself grounded. I have to have confidence in myself, even if I don’t have all the answers. As Jackie’s mom, I know what’s right for her and at what pace is best for whatever she takes on.
Joe and I are great parents, and whether Jackie is only trying out foods now and another is eating 3 squares a day, it doesn’t matter. It’s time for me to chill out once again, have fun and enjoy my little girl. That’s really all it’s about, right?