Progression to solids


I don’t know why Timmy’s non-formula food is called ‘solids’. When it’s splashing about the room, very little is solid about it.

A formal recognition that it was time to include solids into his diet didn’t actually happen. I wonder if it happens to any mum. It was just experimentation, really; the strategic curiosity of ‘let’s put this in his mouth and see what happens…’

I’d been inclined to try it because he seemed to be extra hungry all the time, having bigger milk feeds and yet still looking around with apparent expectation of dessert. (This monstrous appetite has reduced back to normal now, even if I don’t give him solids, so maybe it was just a phase.)

The gurus who theoretically know everything (although sometimes I wonder if they actually know anything), say babies won’t actually ‘dislike’ any particular flavour. If they seem to, it’s just that the flavour is new to them and they need time to accept it. I can believe this if Timmy screws his face up upon first taste of something new, but then by spoon number two or three he’s opening his mouth wide with enthusiastic gusto.

But I do believe (although I’m taking care not to assert this is fact applicable to every baby), that there are foods that bring genuine dislike. I’ll try them with Timmy again sometime, I’m sure, but I don’t tell myself, “His repeated expression of disgust, horrified betrayal, and gagging actually means he likes it but just needs time to get used to it.”

No. No it does not. It means, ‘Woman, if you put that stuff in my mouth again, I’m packing my nappy bag and leaving to find a new family.’

From what I’ve surmised so far, it’s the bland stuff that doesn’t get accepted. He could begin the feed with impatience, mouth open like a hungry baby bird, but if the food on the spoon is mashed potato or baby rice then after the first taste he’ll be much less inclined to open his mouth. Instead he’ll screw his face up and look like he’s about to burst into tears as his tongue tries to find any safe corner of his mouth where the foul stuff isn’t present. Then after he’s finally gag-swallowed I’ll get the Death Stare. It all makes me feel worse than the time I accidentally cut his little finger when trying to trim his nails.

Things with flavour have no such complications. So far he’s been happy to have the same thing we have, only his servings go through the food processor first to get that delightful babyfood texture of wallpaper paste. Curry pumpkin soup has been received enthusiastically (as pictured), and he’s even more delighted with lasagne. This works well for me, as I no longer have to worry about what to do with leftovers — I’ll just puree it for Timmy. (I noticed that last night my husband put the leftover apple crumble in a container and in the fridge himself. Perhaps to avoid losing it to the blades of the food processor? I didn’t tell him that I wouldn’t have done that anyway — too much sugar in apple crumble.)

The more frustrating part of moving on to solids was the need for a highchair. Space is a premium in our Lockwood-esque house, so the last thing I wanted was a good portion of the room taken up with a bulky apparatus that could almost feasibly have a satellite dish parked on top. All for the sake of Timmy having somewhere to sit! My hope is that he can sit where everybody else does: at the table. Rather than a bulky highchair, we bought a portable thing that clips securely around a regular chair (where it’s usually left, for convenience’ sake), and clips Timmy in. He’s a bit small for the seat’s tightest settings at the moment, but time will fix that.

I’ve made the setup fairly baby-resistant. Our table already had plastic sheeting over its tablecloth (I’m a fan of easy cleaning), and I’ve put a plastic mat under Timmy’s chair. So far, I congratulate myself on my success. A highchair would come with conveniences — easier to get a baby into it and has a portable tabletop— but the space it would require outweighs those benefits. And it’s nice to have Timmy at the table with us, at dinnertime.

Besides, I bet one of those convenient highchairs can’t fold up into a light carry bag the size of a lunchbox.


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