Sunday, April 10, 2022

Phoebe's first foods

It all started with a piece of celery. Phoebe was fussing and fussing at the dinner table, so we handed her a nice cool piece of celery and she chomped that thing to death, thinking celery juice was the best thing ever (Andrew has a picture of that). It was about then that we realized that Phoebe wasn't going to give us all the typical "cues" a baby might offer to let parents know they're ready for food. I mean, sure, Phoebe has excellent head control these days, but as far as anything else goes (reaching for food at the table, showing interest in food, watching excitedly as others eat, opening wide to mimic your bites as you eat, showing a reduction in tongue thrusting, etc.), Phoebe wasn't going to do any of that stuff. 

She was just going to scream about feeling left out.

I'm not sure why. We've been testing her food readiness since birth, just kind of as a joke—teasing her with a bite of whatever we happen to be eating. As late as last week we could hold food directly to her mouth and she would simply look at us like we were crazy. She'd make no move to bite it or grab it.

And then this week happened. 

Suddenly she's grabbing things—fistfuls of hair, a container of leftovers from the fridge, spoons full of food—and she is literally singing for her supper. 

No longer content to suck on raw vegetables (which she can't bite, chew, or swallow) and desperate to get her to stop screaming, we put her in her high chair the other night, and offered her some Cheerios.

That was the first time solid food hit her belly, and she was in baby heaven.

"We need to get some rice cereal," I mentioned, which is a far better first food. Not that I'm opposed to giving my child food straight from the table. I'm not. But...our dinner on Wednesday (the 6th) wasn't very baby friendly. Miriam had made bowtie pasta with tomatoes, and mozzarella all tossed in pesto, which seemed far too flabourful and acidic of an inauguration meal for a baby. So, Cheerios it was, followed up with a request for rice cereal, so we can do things a little more slowly and blandly.

Alexander has been trying to give Phoebe food ever since.

On Thursday morning he asked me if he could give her some Rice Krispies for breakfast.

"Oh, she's still happy having just milk in the mornings," I told him.

"But, Mom. Rice Krispies," he insisted. 

"Yeah, no thanks, buddy. She's happy with milk."

"But you said we need to get the baby Rice Krispies."

"I said we need to get the baby some rice cereal," I said.

On that note, Alexander swept his hand toward the boxes of cereal that were out for breakfast to indicate quod erat demonstrandum

On Friday he wanted to give her a pretzel, but I told him that since she had no teeth, pretzels would be difficult for her. Plus she wasn't too great at swallowing yet. We needed to train her how to swallow better before we could just hand her foods to chomp on (solid vegetables like celery aside since all she can do is suck on those things). 

"But Mom, we threw out that training little toilet, so training her is going to be hard!"

"You're right," I said. "I guess we'll just have to cross that bridge when we get there."

"What bridge?!" he wanted to know.

Why bring up potty training? I wanted to know (it was because I said "train," I know, but still...swallowing and pottying are two very different ends of the eating spectrum). 

During dinner on Friday, Phoebe got her first spoonful of our newly procured rice cereal. She was not disappointed.

I mean, I've been telling her for about five months now to "get another hobby." Besides nursing, I mean. She hasn't really taken to anything but this she feels could certainly be her new hobby. Eating is delightful! She wanted to drive that spoon and kept taking over the feeding process.

Though she was rather patient between bites on Friday, when Andrew was feeding her yesterday during dinner he couldn't get those bites in fast enough. She's still suckling at the spoon (we can see her tongue flicking in and out as if she's trying to latch on) and she seemed rather offended that the spoon had to be reloaded rather than being one continuous stream of rice cereal for her to swallow. She was squawking at Andrew to hurry up and get that spoon back into her mouth every time he took it away.

But here she is looking all serene and patient between bites on Friday:

And here she is after having wrestled the spoon away from my grip:

She's a cute thing, so here are several more pictures of her...

Feeding herself:

Being fed by me:

Wondering where "more" is:

Saying, "That's so yummy!" with a big smile:

Reaching for my hand so she can make me put the spoon into her mouth faster (this is one of her theories about life—that rather than reach for the object someone is holding, grabbing onto their hand is fine; she'll do this rather than grabbing toys, etc):

And here she is looking somewhat satisfied after her little meal:

She couldn't swallow another bite (but, of course, demanded milk soon after):

I can't believe she feels ready for this! I had no intention of feeding her solids until around 6 months, but she had other ideas and here we are giving her food before she's even reached 5 months (though it feels disingenuous to say 4 months since she's only days away from 5 months).

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