Miss Independence

For the past several days, Husband and I have found it nearly impossible to get Little Miss to eat solids.  She takes the bottle just fine, and nurses without a problem, but when we got the spoon near her mouth, it was two bites and she was done.  Well, perhaps that’s not exactly right; she was just done with us holding the spoon.  She’d grab for it herself, and when I wouldn’t let her have it, she’d flail around like a drowning cat until food was splattered across anything within ten feet of us.  And as much as I appreciate art, orange really isn’t my colour, even if it does smell like basil.

We’ve been wracking our brains, trying to figure out what the deal is.  It’s not that she doesn’t like the food; she loves bananas and squash, but still won’t eat more than four bites at a time of either one.  And it’s not that she’s not hungry; I’ve tried feeding her after she’s gone 3 or more hours without sustenance.  She’s not sick, either; her behaviour is completely normal for her, and she’s sleeping, pooping and taking liquids as usual.  It can’t be teething; she doesn’t mind sucking on a plastic or fleshy nipple at all.

So what is it?

While discussing my predicament with a nurse this morning (after weighing Little Miss and discovering she’s gained only one ounce in the last five weeks), it suddenly came to me: She wants to feed herself.  While nursing, she keeps her hands on my breast, and feeds at her own pace.  When given a bottle, she holds it on her own, and again, goes at her own speed.  But when it comes to solids, it’s Mommy or Daddy shoving a spoon in her mouth every few seconds, and refusing to let her do anything by herself.  This frustrates her endlessly.  Hence the reason solids are the only real problem.

In light of this revelation, we tried something new tonight.  I mixed an egg yolk (egg whites contain common allergens and aren’t recommended for babies until after their first birthday) with pureed carrots and basil, and fried them like pancakes in olive oil.  While they didn’t solidify as much as I expected or wanted them to, it was my first attempt and I hope to perfect this process soon.

Since she couldn’t easily eat the “pancakes” on her own, I toasted a slice of French bread and cut it into baby-bite-sized squares and spread the cooked carrot mix on top like a paté.  She happily snatched up the squares and stuffed them into her eager little mouth.

Yes, she made a mess (she created a beautiful piece of fingerpaint artwork on the highchair tray when she was done), and yes, it took quite a bit longer than usual for her to finish her dinner, but the delighted squeals replacing the irritated yells from the table were more than worth it.

Maybe our next pancake experiment will be a little more successful.  Terragon Pea Pancakes, anyone?

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