Wednesday, August 3, 2011

'Everything's So Delicious,' Says the Insatiable Baby

Remember (and if you're newly pregnant for the first time, consider this a little bit of a warning) how when you were pregnant, you had a lengthy list of things you would or wouldn't do with this baby? This baby will never sleep with me, not even a little bit. I will never make a bottle with tap water. I will never bathe with this baby. This baby will not get solids until he's at least six months old, because breast milk is the perfect food.

And then the baby doesn't sleep but 3 hours all night and you're exhausted and he's exhausted and you wake up 4 hours later with a tiny infant human laying on top of you when you were certain you were just going to stretch out on the bed. You wake up in the middle of the night and the baby is starving and there is no way you can listen to that for the five minutes it takes to warm up a bottle, so hey, look warm water comes out of taps these days. And then there's the day the baby manages to spit up all over himself and in your hair, and your husband's at work so the only logical thing you can think of is to climb into the shower and hose both of you off at the same time.

And then there's your 4 month old, who suddenly cannot get full - ever - and seems to be starving all the time. He's having trouble sleeping through the night again. He's gnawing on your breakfast pastry while you answer the phone and trying to grab food out of your hands. And then you begin reading up and realize that a) your baby is meeting other developmental bench marks and b) may be ready to start out on some solids.

So then you talk to your pediatrician, who agrees with your assessment. If you've chosen wisely, you will have a pediatrician who will tell you that you're wrong when you are, which means that when he agrees, you know you're really right. And then you come home, and begin thinking of all the new foods you get to introduce your child to.

For us, we started with avocado. Yes, I know most start with cereal, and John does get a couple of tablespoons of brown rice cereal every evening. But avocado really is another great food to start out on. Full of perfect fats, easy to get to a smooth consistency, and still just bland enough to be a good starter food. John, so far, hasn't really found a food he hates, either. He's a big fan of the banana, but will also eat pears, apples, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, peaches and blueberries.  I find myself making most of his food, because it's so easy and inexpensive. The ones I have had trouble getting to a good consistency for new eaters I tend to buy, but others that puree easily I've done myself, freezing batches for later. I can't wait to start introducing him to more new fruits and vegetables as the seasons change. That acorn squash Daddy and I love roasted will also make great baby food, for instance.

I think the biggest thing I've learned from the past few weeks is not just that babies have a way of mocking your prenatal plans for them, but that sometimes, you have to take your cues from a person with no teeth that poops himself on a regular basis.

So what plans did you make before baby arrived that you've totally had to change? What was starting solids like for your family?

Bethany Erickson is the wife of Texas Health Resources web editor Tom Erickson and new Mom to a four-month-old baby boy.

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