As promised here are the videos of Ben’s first solid food adventure. I took the videos, and I am not that great of a cinematographer, but I don’t think they are too bad. Enjoy!
As promised here are the videos of Ben’s first solid food adventure. I took the videos, and I am not that great of a cinematographer, but I don’t think they are too bad. Enjoy!
Pat and I had decided to go ahead and start Ben at dinner time. He just turned 6 months old. We had waited for two days after his most recent vaccines so we could be confident that any potential reaction was due to the food and not the shots. Starting on a Saturday gave me more time to get home and prepare the food. (It’s tax season, Ben and I were at work for part of the day. Such is the life of a baby accountant.) And dinner is the one meal of the day we can usually be sure all three of us can eat together. We felt we wouldn’t be rushed and could enjoy giving Ben the chance to try solids. So while making dinner I roasted some carrots in the oven, and then I steamed a few as well. I wasn’t sure which method would be most palatable to Ben. Both produced carrots that maintained their shape, which is good. The steamed ones were a little mushier, but fell apart more. The roasted ones kept their integrity a bit more, but had a sort of crust to them as roasting can do. But they were two versions of carrots made with love for my boy. We had a plan, and we were following through with it!
Well, this was all a good theory. Sadly, Ben decided to fall asleep a little before dinner. This can be a good thing, as he is young enough to still need a third evening nap. However, it meant we had to wake him up for dinner. Sometimes he is totally fine with this. This time he had a harder time with it. We put him into his high chair and he was not having it. Huge tears. It was very sad. We tried putting some of the carrots onto his tray, thinking if he saw something new to play with he would calm down. He did for a little bit. He grabbed a carrot briefly, and in fact did bring it to his mouth. But he quickly dropped it again.
We took him out of the high chair pretty quickly. The point of BLW is to let Ben decide if he wants to eat or not. He was giving us a pretty clear no signal. However, he is also very new at this. He might not have realized what an amazing opportunity we were providing him. Pat tried holding him while he had a carrot. We had a little success there. Then I sat with him on my lap for a bit while Pat and I ate our dinner. I mean, there was no need for us to go hungry just because Ben didn’t want to eat. I had some carrots placed so Ben could reach them. He did grab one, but didn’t hold onto it very long.
Around this point I started doing things BLW states not to do. I picked up a carrot and put it into Ben’s hand. He looked at it a bit, but dropped it pretty quickly. I tried this a few times, and we were losing carrots to the floor. I tried placing a carrot on his lips. Perhaps if he realized there was a new taste he would get into it. And really, the kid loves putting things in his mouth. It’s one of his favorite things to do! He nibbled a bit at one, but overall was not interested.
Since he wasn’t interested in the carrots, I offered him a sippy cup with a few ounces of nursery water. Once babies start solids you can start offering some water as well. Cool, maybe he would like that. Nope. Ben just kept shoving the cup away from me.
At this point, we decided to call it done. I got a some video footage, which is at the end of this post. I tried to get some pictures when he actually picked up a carrot and nibbled a bit, but I use my phone and it was full, of course. (I really need to get an actual camera!) Pat and I finished up our dinner and cleaned up. We called Meo (my mom, Ben’s maternal grandma) and Gramma (Pat’s mom, Ben’s paternal grandma) to tell them about our little adventure.
After dinner we put Ben into his jumper to relax and play a bit. I put a carrot into one of his mesh feeders to see how he liked that. I was determined that he really give carrots a go! I know, there is no rush and it is not a big deal, but, well, I wanted to give him as many chances to try the food as he wanted. He enjoyed the mesh feeder. But we have given him the mesh feeders to play with without anything in them as well. So he may not have gotten a different experience despite it having a carrot in it. I also gave him another carrot just to see what he would do.
He ended up trying it again! He bit off a chunk, but I don’t think he swallowed any. At least most of the chunk came back out. But he did try it! He lost interest pretty quickly again, but we got some pictures of him trying it again. I don’t plan on letting him have food in his jumper very often. Besides the fact that it could be unsafe, jumping and trying to eat, I don’t want to spread the mess around that much. Exceptions can be made occasionally.
Overall I am considering this first food attempt a success. We started off a bit rocky, what with waking him up from a nap to eat. He is still getting used to his high chair. Even without food he has days where he is not interested in sitting in the high chair. He did pick up a couple of carrots on his own and he did get the taste of them at least. I was reminded that the point of BLW is to let the baby dictate the pace. We offered up a first opportunity to try them, and that was the only point of tonight. Ben still took a full feeding for his final nursing of the day. Nursing is supposed to still be his main source of nutrition. The food is just to experience and have fun with. And overall I think he did enjoy trying something new.
Where do we go from here? Well, we just keep offering up food choices to Ben. We will stick with carrots for another day or so. I don’t foresee there being any problems. I always prefer safe to sorry though. We’ll give him a chance to eat at lunch and dinner. If at future meals he doesn’t want to eat we will probably do pretty much what we did this time. Try letting him sit on my lap while we eat. If he doesn’t want to play with the food he doesn’t have to. I don’t think we’ll be giving him food in his jumper anymore. But it made for a cute picture. 🙂
Here are some pictures from Ben’s first food adventure. I’ll add the videos in another post.
|What is this thing?|
|I don’t know what to make of this.|
|Hmmm… not too bad|
Today is the big day! Okay, today is one of the big days that Ben will have. He has already had some big days in his short life, and I hope he has many many more big days to come. But today is a favorite big day of mine. It is the day he first tried solid foods.
This is a first I knew I would really enjoy. The biggest reason for that is it is one of the few firsts that we as parents could kind of control. Most of the milestones that babies achieve are reached on their schedules. I can’t make Ben roll over, or walk, or talk. I can’t make him sleep through the night. (If I could figure out how to make babies sleep through the night I would be rich!!) I can decide when he has the chance to first try a new food. At least the first few foods anyway. This is a first that Pat and I can share with Ben on our timetable This is especially great for Pat. I am with Ben pretty much all the time. He comes to work with me every day and since he nurses it is just easier to keep him nearby. It follows that I am around for a lot of his firsts. I have seen the first time he was able to grasp an object, as well as roll over. So I was super excited that Pat was going to get to participate in this particular first.
I also love food. Pat loves food. Let’s be real here, food is a big deal in any society. The act of having a meal with a person has a lot of significance. Up until now all of Ben’s meals have been pretty one sided. He sits on someone’s lap (usually mine) and eats. Despite another person being physically present, it is a pretty solitary activity for him. Now he will be able to sit up at a table and look at other people while he eats. He will be able to play a part in the family dynamic of discussion and sustenance sharing. And he gets to eat tasty food!!
After a lot of thought, research, and discussion, we decided to use carrots as a first food. There were a few main reasons. They are a vegetable that is easy to cut into an appropriate size and shape. They are easy to roast or steam to get to a nice consistency. They are a little sweet, which has pros and cons. Some schools of thought think we shouldn’t introduce anything sweet so babies don’t develop a preference for this. Others say start with the sweeter vegetables because breastmilk and formulas tend to be sweeter, making the first food more familiar to baby. I can understand not wanting Ben to develop a taste for too many sweets too young. But at the end of the day as parents we control what he can eat, so just because he may enjoy sweet flavors doesn’t mean we have to give him sugary, unhealthy food all the time. I love sweets but I still eat vegetables, and so can Ben.
Always an important factor, costs came into play. Carrots are relatively cheap to buy in a decent quantity. And finally, I am confident I can prepare the carrots in a way that would be decent for a baby just starting off with solid foods. So carrots it is. Sweet potatoes came in a close second, and will probably be introduced next.
Pat and I have done our research. We have had endless discussions. We have thought long and hard about this. So now the plan is in place. Tonight. Dinner time. Ben. Carrots. Let’s do this.
This weekend we are starting Ben on solids. This is a big step for any baby. For the first time he will be eating something that didn’t come from me, his mother. He will have to figure out how to bring food to his mouth, chew, and swallow. Those all sound like such simple things, but when you are only 6 months old they aren’t. Ben and I have been blessed to have a good nursing relationship. He is a champion eater that way. But those skills are totally different from eating ‘real food.’
Yes, I put real food in quotations. The reason for that is two fold. One, saying real food implies that breastmilk or formula are not real foods. They are. These foods have the nutrition babies need and they eat it. They are practically perfect foods in that they provide everything a baby needs in one neat little package. But they is different than the normal food most people eat every day. I also put it in quotations because the current traditional step away from some form of milk is to move into baby food. This baby food is usually purees, either commercially purchased or made at home. I would argue this food does not fit in with what we traditionally think of as the food a majority of people eat every day.
With baby led weaning, we dive right into the real food that you and I eat on a regular basis. It is prepared in a way that a baby can eat- it is softer and cut into shapes and sizes a baby can easily grasp. But it isn’t necessarily pureed, and it definitely isn’t spooned into the baby’s mouth. Right from the start the baby is responsible for feeding himself. The goal of this is for the baby to learn how to manipulate food on his own. It is supposed to aid in making new eaters less picky. It is also supposed to cut down on mealtime battles, since the child is choosing how much to eat.
If you would like more information, I suggest googling it. A ton of information will pop up. Specifically, this site has some good information. (A couple affiliate links here. They don’t cost you any more, but purchasing using them helps me keep this blog going.) We have this book, and I copied some recipes from this cookbook to use as a guide.
Why start now? The research shows that babies really do best if they hold off on starting solids until they are six months old. I understand that this is not always possible. Some babies need supplementing sooner. Some babies express a strong interest in eating sooner. Sometimes it works best for the family to start baby a little earlier. And sometimes, usually when there are more than one child in the home, it just kind of happens because baby gets a hold of some food earlier than planned. But studies currently show holding out until six months is best. By six months of age, babies can grasp items and bring them to their mouths. They can sit up on their own (with support around them of course). The tongue thrust reflex is further back on the tongue. And around that age, milk stops being enough to fill them up all the time. Babies start moving more, and frankly can need more to eat. Six months is also a good time because babies are open to trying a lot of new things. We all know young children who are very very picky eaters. This is normal. But it is something that develops as children age. So starting at a time when kids are more open to new foods is a good idea.
1) Ben could do it. I did a lot of research on how to start introducing solids. We are fortunate that Ben has been doing great on nursing and could wait until 6 months to start solids. He is showing all the signs of being ready to start now, he can sit unsupported, he can grasp toys and bring them to his mouth, and he is starting to really watch people when they eat. Well, he really watches Pat. Ben doesn’t seem super interested in what I am eating yet. All that being said, he is doing really well with a just nursing diet. He is a good sized baby, so we aren’t worried about getting extra calories into him. His current diet isn’t lacking, so milk can remain the major source of his nutrition a little longer. Fortunately, I am able to produce what he needs to eat and be satisfied. BLW does not result in a lot of food actually being eaten right away. It is really played with and explored, with the occasional bit making its to baby’s stomach. We can take the time to let Ben learn how to feed himself without having to worry if he is eating enough. So one big reason we are doing this is that we can.
2) It removes parental pressure. Another reason to use this approach is to try to eliminate some worries. I know, with me and with pretty much every mother in the world, this is impossible. How can I not worry about whether my child is eating right or not? I can’t. But so far I have had to trust that he will eat the amount he needs to. His body will tell him when he is hungry and how much he wants to eat. Why mess with this now? Why should I suddenly decide he needs to finish a set quantity of food? Sometimes I am really hungry and eat a lot. Sometimes I am not. Why should Ben be any different? Allowing him to feed himself and decide when he is done allows me to try to not worry so much. As long as I am providing healthy options for him, he should be fine. I really do think babies know how much they need and want to eat better than we do. All this being said I will still worry. A lot.
3) Cost. It’s cheaper. At least in theory, I think. We won’t have to buy special baby foods. Honestly, those little jars and pouches are expensive! While saving money might not always be the best reason to do something, let’s be honest. It matters. With BLW we can feed Ben in a healthy manner without spending a ton of money? Awesome.
4) Convenience. I already love that I don’t have to pack up food for Ben when we go out. I mean, I am the food. So being able to feed him whatever Pat and I are eating really cuts back on what I have to carry around. I already pack lunches for myself every day, so it will be easy to throw in a little extra for Ben to eat. If we are out at a restaurant? No problem, just order something Ben can enjoy as well. Yes, there will be plenty of times that I have to bring special foods for Ben. But knowing he isn’t limited to just traditional baby food opens up a lot more options for us.
5) Healthy Family. It can help the whole family eat healthier. I don’t want to have to prepare another meal in addition to what Pat and I eat. True, at first what Ben eats will dictate what I make. And I am sure that Ben will be eating different foods from us from time to time. But on the whole, once we really get going I am going to make foods that Ben can eat. Who doesn’t want to serve their child the healthiest foods they can? As a result, Pat and I will be eating healthier. Yes, this is just a theory. But let’s go with it.
6) Easy to discipline. Pat and I feel this method will go along nicely with our plan for love and logic discipline. We can save the details of love and logic for another time. But in a nutshell, it uses natural consequences as a deterrent for negative behavior as opposed to punishment. I think an example will explain what I mean best. Say Ben throws his dinner. Yes, it is a matter of when this happens, not if. (And yes, for this example, you have to keep assume that he is at a point where he knows this is not allowed.) Well, this is not behavior we can let continue. So what happens if Ben throws his food? Dinner is over. He is removed from the situation. That is the consequence. If we are worrying about how much Ben is eating, we might not be able to do this. We could be stuck fighting him on eating his dinner versus throwing it. Since most of his calories are still coming from milk feedings, and since he can choose how much he eats, we can assume he is done with his dinner. Basically, dinner table behavior we don’t like means losing the privilege of being at the dinner table. This, along with everything else, will have to grow and change as Ben does. But we feel it is a good start.
7) Encourages family time. In general, meal times are a social, family time. If Pat or I am focused on just feeding Ben, we aren’t enjoying our time together to the same degree as we would be as three people handling our own food. The goal is to teach Ben how to behave at mealtimes and how these sorts of social situations work. The best way to do that is by modeling the behavior we want to see and letting Ben practice it. The most natural way we can think of to do this is by following BLW. And I think it will be a lot of fun!!
8) It works for us. The biggest reason we are doing BLW is that we think it is the best choice for our family. I haven’t been a parent very long. But I have learned that for any situation there are many possible courses of action. The best way to do something is the way that works best for your family. Not what worked best for the neighbors. Not what worked best for some expert. What works best for you and your family. Pat and I think this will work best for Team Cartwright. So we are going to give it a go.
While the BLW weaning books I read said we could just dive in and give Ben anything, we will still be following a bit more traditional path in introducing food. We do plan to follow most AAP guidelines on ages to start foods. We will also be waiting a few days in between new foods to be sure Ben doesn’t have any bad reactions. Neither Pat nor I have a history of food allergies, and as a result we are not anticipating problems. But why not be safe? We have a timeline of how we are going to start introducing foods, but really once we get started Ben is in the driver’s seat. Pat and I will follow the pace he sets.
Now, all this being said this could be a colossal failure. I mean, a really big failure. That will be fine. Pat and my mother keep reminding me that this decision isn’t set in stone. We can change our minds at any time. We can and will adapt our approach as needed. And I know we will.
One final note on BLW. It will be messy. That is the biggest drawback according to most of the books I’ve read. We have no problems with that and are ready to embrace the mess. Be ready for some truly great messy baby pictures.
|I’m ready. Let’s do this solids thing.|
Every blog has to start with an introductory post, so here we go!
To begin with, I am writing this blog as a way to share photos and updates mainly on how Ben is doing. We have so many wonderful friends and family members that we don’t get to see very much, but still want to know what Ben is up to. It is also a great chance for me to record our Team Cartwright adventures. Someday Ben might like to look back at this and see what his childhood was like. It is also a great way for me to remember all those little parts of raising a child that get forgotten over time. Ben is only 6 months old and I already feel like time is flying. I don’t want to forget a moment of our lives together.
So let’s meet Team Cartwright!!
First up- Kim!
I am the mom/wife of the group. So yes, I am the leader. At least everyone else lets me think so. I graduated from Albion College with a degree in chemistry, and I am currently working as an accountant. I know, life takes us on strange paths sometimes. I tried out the grad school thing and wasn’t very into it. I worked at a pharmaceutical company for a time. Now I find myself happily working for Omi & Associates. It is a wonderful group headed up by my favorite CPA, my dad. (Omi is what Ben calls him.) Now, this is not exactly the line of work I saw myself in. But the job comes with a lot of perks. The biggest and best of these perks is that Ben works there too! As my dad says, what is a family business if you can’t bring the family? I am so blessed to get to work to provide for my family and raise my son. It brings some unique challenges, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I love to read, exercise, and spend time with my family. One of my all time favorite places is the library. I enjoy way more young adult fiction than an adult woman probably should, but I also really enjoy reading pretty much anything. I enjoy cooking and baking. I love my family more than anything and feel so blessed to have them.
Next up- Pat!
Pat is the dad/husband. He might argue he is the leader of the family. Sometimes I even let him think so. Just kidding, we are a team. Hence Team Cartwright, right? Pat graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in English. A few years ago he went back to school and got his master’s degree in education. He is currently a busy substitute teacher and tutor. We are still looking for his own permanent classroom, but in the meantime he is getting the chance to try out every grade and do something different every day.
I am writing Pat’s interests for him, but I know what he likes. Sports. Specifically football and hockey. But to be honest almost any sport will do. He is from the Pittsburgh area. Therefore he adores the Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates. He is also a huge Buckeye fan. I would say his favorite time of year is the fall, as it is football season. Since marrying me he has also come to realize he is a fan of the Bears too. He knows a ton about sports. He knows a ton about a lot of stuff. Always try to be on his team if you are playing Trivial Pursuit. Beyond sports, he also enjoys cooking (although I tend to keep the kitchen as my domain), reading, and the outdoors in general. He’s always up to try new things, which I love. He’s a really good writer too!
Our third member- Dagger!
I know, I bet you thought I was going to say Ben. But Dagger is the older sister here. If I was doing this based on who entered my life first, she would actually be listed before Pat. Dagger is the sweetest, most wonderful kitty in the world. I got her after I graduated college. So she and I have been together for a long time. She is a beautiful all black little girl. And she is little, only about 9 pounds. She has been a ray of light in my life.
Dagger has a few fun interests. The biggest is sleep. Man, can that girl sleep. I know, all cats do that. But she really works hard at being a good sleeper and lounger in general. She enjoys eating, although she has some strange tastes. She doesn’t really like seafood. Yes, she is a cat that doesn’t like seafood. I don’t understand it either. She does, however, enjoy chips. She has been known to eat bbq chips. She likes salty snacks and cheese. Dagger is not afraid to beg for her food either. Don’t let her tiny size fool you, the girl is well fed! We try to stick to only kitty treats, but she usually can con a taste out of either Pat or I. She enjoys playing with her stick toys. Her best friend is currently her lizard. Being her best friend can get you in trouble though. Someday I’ll share the story of her duck and frog. Pat got her the best toy ever though- shoelace. She loves that shoelace so much. Overall Dagger is a cuddly little girl who loves to purr.
Finally, the newest member of Team Cartwright- Benjamin!
Benjamin is our sweet little 6 month old son. He is truly a delight and we are so blessed to be his parents. He was born August 25th. He has been a working baby since he was two weeks old. Yes, if you come to visit us at the office Ben will be there to greet you. He is a smiley, good natured baby. He loves to play in his jumper, hang out with Mommy and Daddy, and give 4 am concerts. Pat and I are super lucky, as he is generally sleeping through the night. He loves his pacifiers and watching Dagger walk around. He is getting better at sitting up, and is super happy when he gets to spend time watching sports with Daddy.
|The wonderful Benjamin|
I plan to write mainly about Ben and his many adventures. I also plan to post a bunch of pictures. This is a place for me to document all the happenings in our lives.
These are the main four of Team Cartwright. We have a ton of friends and family that play a huge roll in our lives as well. Thank you all for visiting this blog and I am so excited to share Team Cartwright’s adventures with you!!!
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