Monday, December 19, 2011

Food, Glorious Food.

When Julian was just about 6 months old, we introduced him to "solid food". We wanted to exclusively breastfeed him for 6 months as the AAP recommends and then start building his food repertoire. We first introduced him to an avocado. I mashed it up and mixed it with breastmilk until it was a puree consistency and fed it to him with a spoon. In this first experience, Julian had no idea what to do with the food in his mouth. His tongue immediately pushed it back out upon several of the offers and the other times the puree just kind of floated around in there before being drooled out. I decided he maybe wasn't totally ready for solids yet, but that we could keep trying a little each day just for fun and to give him the practice of moving food around in his mouth. Since then we've tried purees of the following: more avocado, peas, squash, carrots, and bananas. He has made some progress. He no longer demonstrates tongue thrust and he opens his mouth to receive the food more frequently. However, he just hasn't seemed too interested in spoon feeding and only eats a few offers before leaning back/closing lips/playing with whatever he can reach. Our best experience with purees was with the bananas (I'm guessing because they are sweeter). Another technique I used was giving him food that he could hold and manipulate on his own without me doing any of the work (other than supervising and guiding). I gave him large pieces of banana and avocado and also some mashed up banana and avocado to play with. The goal was to let him explore independently and let the feeding experience be more baby-led. It was fun although not much "eating" happened.  Today was our most successful experience so far. I cut up slices of apples and let him hold them and suck on them himself. He LOVED it and sucked on them for several minutes. Then to combine textures and tastes, I smeared avocado puree on the apples for him to lick and suck.  To my surprise, he liked it too. Then I was able to give him mashed up avocado bites on a spoon in between his apple sucks. Once again, he readily accepted. We are having so much fun playing with our food!!

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