Feeding Abby has been an adventure all on its own. I’m sure it is that way for most babies. But, as most things are with Abby, ours just seems to be slightly more amplified. As many of my avid readers know, we started to feed her “solids” (which just meant something other than formula – because there was nothing solid about that oatmeal…) at 6 months old. She was a corrected age of 3 months – really early by any other standard. But Dr. S and her therapist were insistent – if we want to avoid a texture aversion in her mouth, start feeding her NOW.
We did, and she really enjoyed it. We fed her home-made oatmeal for a little over 2 months and nothing else. The point wasn’t to make her full, so much as to help her figure out how to eat. When she turned 6 months corrected (so 8 or 9 months old – ish) a whole new world opened up to us. The world of pureed food. I made all of Abigail’s food from scratch. It was nowhere near as difficult as people had warned me it would be. But it was immensely time-consuming. I would therefore make several weeks worth of food for her at a time and freeze it so I wasn’t “slaving over a hot blender” all day every day.
Her favorites were easily Carrots and Sweet Potatoes. Soon after, we added Mangos and that quickly became the number one thing she wanted to eat. She has her mother’s aversion to eating anything that is green. Didn’t like avocado, spinach, peas, or brocoli. But she loves fruit. Pears, Apples, Bananas… But the Bananas stopped her up pretty bad, so we had to ban those for a while. I was pretty happy with her eating habits – she liked more foods than I do! I followed recipes from baby cook books by Annabel Karmel (click to go to her Amazon page). Top 100 Baby Purees and First Meals were my bibles for several months. Once she really started to get some teeth, we started to move into learning how to chew. For Abby, it only sort-of came naturally. Just like she had to learn how to suck-swallow-breathe, she now had to figure out how to chew… the mechanics were there, we just had to get them to work properly. We started out with Gerber products. Biter Biscuits and Puffs (things that dissolve with water) so she wouldn’t choke. These new textured foods went over pretty well but we encountered a whole lot of choking.
This all started only a few weeks before her birthday. I was so afraid she was going to choke on her birthday cake! But she didn’t. She loved it! And of course, she made a mess!
Fast forward to the present (only two months after this picture was taken) and she is an eating machine! Purees don’t really interest her anymore. She’ll eat them if she’s really hungry, but she’d rather eat what is on my plate that something mushy. I’m now packing a small cooler full of little containers of food to bring to my Mom’s house every day, and constantly thinking about what Anthony and I eat in terms of what she can have with us. Eating dinner now happens at the table. She sits and eats with us every night, and really enjoys herself, especially on nights she gets to try something new.
New textures usually mean that she’ll choke a few times before getting the hang of it, but she pushes through every time. It’s fascinating to watch her thinking through how she eats. She is starting (only barely) to understand that the plate (or bowl) I put in front of her is meant to stay there and shouldn’t end up on the floor. But, while we are learning, the dog is enjoying himself immensely because she drops more than his fair share of scraps. All of a sudden, he seems to like her a little more than he used to. Hmmm… curious. 😉
Here is the list of things (so far) that she loves to eat:
1) Bananas (they are back on the list in strict moderation)
2) Mozzarella Cheese! (she can eat that stuff by the fist full)
3) Rice Krispies (can’t eat the treats yet, tho – not quite there)
4) Pasta! (A girl after my own heart – she loves it with butter and a little bit of Parmesan! And she likes Mac and Cheese, too!)
5) Veggie sticks (the ones from Costco)
6) Cheese cake! (Yummy!)
7) Crackers with Cream Cheese (an idea our therapist gave us to ensure she gets protien)
8) Chicken! She actually likes chicken! In tiny little shreds, of course.
9) Yogurt. She’ll eat yogurt till the cows come home.
10) French Fries (we discovered this on vacation. She likes regular and the sweet potato variety equally)
11) Waffles! (The frozen kind, thawed, not cooked, cut into sticks)
12) Pretzel sticks, bread sticks, pretty much anything in stick form!
13) Rice. She seemed to like the Pilaf kind, and tonight she ate quite a lot of steamed white rice.
The list grows as the days go by. Every few days we find something new, and we find that when we retry a food she couldn’t eat a week ago, she can eat it now. We are so excited that she only has a few more months of formula left and then we can really open up the world of food to her. Exciting stuff!
What foods did your (almost) toddlers like to eat?