Little Mr. Independent

2 Apr

I previously posted about trying to work with Liam on developing table manners.  I’m not doing such a great job…

Messy Eater

Right around Liam’s ten month birthday, I began having a really hard time getting him to eat.  I have a freezer full of homemade baby purees and after a few bites he would shake his head and put his hands across his face as if to say “No more!”  I first thought it was because his taste buds were evolving and he thought my purees were bland.  I began experimenting with spices and combinations to try to make his food taste better.  I cooked, pureed, and spent a fortune at the grocery store buying all kinds of baby food friendly ingredients but he still refused to eat.  I also began to wonder if Matt was just being polite all of these years about my cooking and that maybe I really didn’t know what I was doing in the kitchen?  At times Liam would make faces like I was spoon feeding him sour milk and rancid meat.  Could it be that it was finally taking a baby to clue me in?

After fighting with Liam for a few weeks at mealtime, and in a moment of desperation, I finally just put a big dollop of pureed food right on his high chair tray.  He looked at me, smiled, and immediately picked it up and put it in his mouth.  Duh!  The problem wasn’t the type of food I was feeding him it was HOW I was feeding him.  My little independent guy was just ready to feed himself!

A lot has changed at mealtime since this discovery.   In addition to mom’s rules for meals, we now have a whole new set of rules that Liam has imposed on me.  “Liam’s Mealtime Rules” have definitely made mealtimes a lot messier; however, I will admit that they have also made them a lot more fun.  We can now easily share meals as a family as he eats many of the same things we do and feeds himself.  I still offer a puree or two at each meal and have found that he is a lot more receptive to it if I let him be involved in things throughout the meal.

“Liam’s Mealtime Rules”

1.  I want my own spoon.  You can have a spoon to feed me your purees but I want a spoon too.  Otherwise, we are going to argue over who gets control.  I don’t know how to share yet!

2.  I will eat your fancy baby food purees AFTER I get to finger paint on the highchair tray with my food.

3.  I like my food mixed together.  Don’t try to keep it in nice neat small piles, just lump it all on my tray and let me go to town.

4.  I want to eat what you are eating.  If you have something that I can easily gum then mash it up and let me try some already.

5.  After eating, I want to wash my hands in the sink and play in the water.  I may splash you and make a mess….consider this a warning.

Meals are super messy right now and table manners are pretty much out the window.  I still work with him on not banging on the tray or putting his hands in his hair, but otherwise I pretty much let him have at it even if it means feeding the dog half of his meal.   I think Liam is definitely in a period of self discovery of not only his abilities but also his surroundings.  I don’t want to harp too much now and make mealtime a negative experience for him.  If he enjoys touching and spreading his food, so be it, and we’ll just call it sensory exploration.  I’m not abandoning my mission but I also don’t want to rain on his parade.  He is so proud of himself when he feeds himself, we’ll let him have it for a few months.  I am excited to embark on a new path of discovery and cooking for my little foodie!

Liam is now eating a lot of new foods and his diet is starting to sound much more like one of a child rather than a baby.  I either mash the food up really fine or tear it into small pieces about the size of my pinky nail.  He has had no problems and seems to love it.   I try to offer Liam a dairy product, a protein serving, two to three servings of grains/wheat, and five servings of fruit & vegetables each day.  Below are examples of what he eats each day:

Breakfast:

  • Soft fruit (cooked apples/pears, mashed bananas, mango, or melon) diced into small pieces
  • Oatmeal or Brown Rice Cereal with Pureed Fruit (Blueberries, raspberries, apples, bananas, or pears)
  • Whole Wheat Pancakes with Maple Syrup
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Whole Wheat Toast (no crust) with All Fruit Natural Spread or Cream Cheese Spread.
  • Fruit Smoothies (homemade with yogurt & whole milk)

Lunch:

  • Soft fruit diced into small pieces
  • Soft cooked veggies diced into small pieces or veggie puree from freezer (green beans, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, zucchini, squash, broccoli, peas, and any other vegetable we happen to have on hand)
  • Whole Milk Yogurt with Fruit Puree
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich (no crust and torn into tiny pieces)

Snacks:

  • Liam loves Puffs!  It’s basically the only processed food I let him have.  He hears the canister and starts shaking because he gets so excited!
  • Avocados
  • Mashed Banana

Dinner:

  • Soft fruit diced into small pieces
  • Soft cooked veggies mashed or diced into small pieces
  • Shredded chicken, turkey, fish, or beef
  • Basically small servings of whatever we are eating for dinner

Liam also still drinks 6 -7 oz of formula four times a day.  He is doing great with the Nuk Starter Sippy cup so I only offer him the bottle first thing in the morning and right before bedtime.  The remainder of his formula is given to him in his sippy cup along with juice and water at meals and in between.

In family news, we celebrated Liam’s first Easter this past weekend with my family.  Liam even enjoyed his first Cracker Barrel experience on the drive up and dined on biscuits, green beans, and applesauce.  He loved being out to eat and seeing all of the people.  He also loved making a mess of biscuit crumbs for the poor waitress!  Papa cooked pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast and he enjoyed snacking on Nene’s homemade macaroni & cheese for Easter Lunch.  It is so much easier now that I can offer him food we are enjoying without worrying about a whole separate meal plan for him.  Liam had a wonderful Easter and even was able to get out and “egg hunt” that afternoon.  I told you he wanted to feed himself…

Easter Pic

 

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