Feeding

First days of weaning the baby (we are 6 months old)

The first week of weaning: what we ate and why. Baby-Brain.co.uk. Pschology, babies, motherhood

The first week of weaning: what we ate and why

So, we are 6 months old!

I tried to go away for the weekend. The baby did not like it. He wanted to be fed and wanted me there. I had to come back slightly early. Then I realised (slight second baby syndrome related delay about this) that hey he’s 6 months now and so I should think about weaning (also known as “complementary feeding”, CF).

 

When is baby ready for solids?

The NHS writes that:

Every baby is an individual, but there are three clear signs that, together, show your baby is ready for solid foods… It’s very rare for these signs to appear together before your baby is six months old.

1. They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady.

2. They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves.

3. They can swallow food. Babies who are not ready will push their food back out with their tongue, so they get more round their face than they do in their mouths.

(http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/solid-foods-weaning.aspx)

 

The first week of weaning: what we ate and why. Baby-Brain.co.uk. Pschology, babies, motherhood

What you feedin’ me?

Where to start?

Question: How do you get your child to eat vegetables?

Answer: …feed them vegetables!

Some research suggests introducing vegetables in the first few weeks of weaning. Infants may be more willing to try and like new vegetables if vegetables are offered in the first few weeks of weaning – a variety of vegetables, both bitter and sweet, and trying each one a few times because baby may initially dislike or refuse to taste it (as discussed in this article here by Nicola Slawson, 2015). One study (3) reported that

Early exposure to a rotation of vegetable flavours first added to milk then to cereal increased intake and liking of these vegetables during CF [complementary feeding]

Why start with vegetables? – The first few years of life are important in terms of developing healthy eating habits (1) and new foods are more readily accepted in those early years (2). Once a food habit is established they tend to be quite stable (3). So introducing vegetables at the start of weaning/CF might make it more likely for the child to like and accept vegetables as they grow older

Several studies have now shown that CF with vegetables facilitates liking and intake of vegetables compared to CF with fruit (a, b, cited in Hetherington et al. 2015)

What helps a kid to like vegetables? Hetherington and colleages (3) report on different methods such as “stealth” to disguise vegetables in food, or adding other flavours that the child already likes. However, the most successful strategy in promoting vegetable eating is

Mere or repeated exposure…

 

…Early and repeated experience with vegetables serves to increase acceptance

So basically, giving them the vegetables, again and again, to promote “familiarity” (4) and “learned safety” (5). Vegetable presentation needs to be rotated with daily variety, in addition to the exposure (6). Hetherington et al (3) also report that adding vegetables to familiar and liked foods such as milk and cereal facilitated intake and liking of the vegetable. Adding milk to the vegetable can reduce any bitter or sour tastes due to the sweetness in the milk (both breast and formula milk) and dilution effect of adding it (3).

 

Our first foods

The first week of weaning: what we ate and why. Baby-Brain.co.uk. Pschology, babies, motherhood

Banana in a mesh self feeder

We started with baby rice mixed with his usual milk. In the first week we then moved on to a few spoonfuls of:

  • Cauliflower purée (mixed with his usual milk)

  • Avocado (in a mesh self feeder, see picture)

  • Banana (yeah I know this isn’t a vegetable but it was easy to put in the mesh self feeder)

  • Parsnip purée

 

Future planned foods for week 2:

  • Broccoli

  • Carrots

  • Potato

  • Butternut squash

Cauliflower Puree. The first week of weaning: what we ate and why. Baby-Brain.co.uk. Pschology, babies, motherhood

Cauliflower Purée

 

The weaning plan (read more on this useful sheet here):
  • Offer one vegetable at a time
  • Offer a variety of vegetables (because of issues as discussed above)
  • Repeated exposure, to vegetables! Keep trying and offer the food a good few times even if baby doesn’t seem to like it at first (increases chance that baby will eventually accept the food (7) )

 

 

 

 

References:

References 1-6 cited in Hetherington et al., 2015:

  1. Cashdan, E. (1994). 1994. A sensitive period for learning about food. Human Nature, 5 (3), pp. 279–291
  2. Lange, M. Visalli, S. Jacob, C. Chabanet, P. Schlich, S. Nicklaus. (2013). Maternal feeding practices during the first year and their impact on infants’ acceptance of complementary food. Food Quality and Preference, 29 (2), pp. 89–98.
  3. Hetherington, M. M., Schwartz, C., Madrelle, J., Croden, F., Nekitsing, C., Vereijken, C.M.J.L. & Weenen, H. (2015). A step-by-step introduction to vegetables at the beginning of complementary feeding: The effects of early and repeated exposureAppetite, 84, pp. 280–290
  4. Zajonc, R.B. (1968). Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Monograph Supplement 9 (2 Pt. 2), pp. 1–27.
  5. Kalat,J. W. & Rozin, P. (1973). Learned safety” as a mechanism in long-delay taste-aversion learning in rats. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 83 (2) (1973), pp. 198–207.
  6. Nicklaus, S. (2011). Children’s acceptance of new foods at weaning. Role of practices of weaning and of food sensory properties. Appetite, 57 (3), pp. 812–815
  7. Maier, A. et al. (2007). Effects of Repeated Exposure on Acceptance of Initially Disliked Vegetables in 7-month Old Infants. Food Quality and Preference 18(8): 1023-1032.

a) Barends, J. de Vries, J. Mojet, C. de Graaf. (2013). Effects of repeated exposure to either vegetables or fruits on infant’s vegetable and fruit acceptance at the beginning of weaning. Food Quality and Preference, 29 (2), pp. 157–165

b) Remy, S. Issanchou, C. Chabanet, S. Nicklaus. (2013.) Repeated exposure of infants at complementary feeding to a vegetable puree increases acceptance as effectively as flavor-flavor learning and more effectively than flavor-nutrient learning. The Journal of Nutrition, pp. 1194–1200

My toddler won’t eat vegetables…

My toddler won't eat his vegetables so I sneak them into food - here's one recipe! And he eats it!

Mmm, tasty vegetables

My toddler doesn’t like to eat vegetables (no surprise there really). But, he used to like them! He used to eat mushed up fruits and vegetables all the time when he was younger! But not now. So I’m sneaky and hide them in his food! Aren’t I mean. He’s also gone fussy over a few other foods he used to like so I sneak those in too.

 

My toddler won't eat his vegetables so I sneak them into food - here's one recipe! And he eats it!
“green pasta” for dinner
Just made him one of his favourites, “green pasta” for dinner. It’s green because it’s broccoli (sometimes spinach instead), peas and today I added a bit of carrot, mixed with cream cheese and tuna. Blend/liquidise until it makes a smoothish sauce with no lumps of vegetables apparent. The cream cheese hides the vegetables well. I then mixed this sauce with the pasta.
He would never eat those vegetables alone. I’m probably doing a terrible thing and should really keep offering vegetables to normalize and desenstitise him to them, but when i’ve presented them it results in food refusal, not wanting to touch the whole dinner (waste of money, time, food), and a tantrum. So i’ll have to keep on being sneaky.

 

Here he is enjoying his tasty dinner, complete with vegetables (22 months old).
My toddler won't eat his vegetables so I sneak them into food - here's one recipe! And he eats it!
Yum, tasty dinner for toddler

Practising that pincer grasp and fine motor skill development – with raisins!

developing pincer grasp and fine motor skills by grasping raisins, for baby.

Fine motor skill and pincer grasp practice for baby – with raisins

So we were eating snacks today, and LL (aged just over 10 months) always wants to eat what you’re eating if you eat in front of him. I was eating jaffa cakes and so decided he probably shouldn’t have these because they are covered in chocolate and quite sugary.

I gave him some nice organic raisins instead (still have sugar in them, I suppose, but natural sugars?). I put them in a plastic tub for him to fish out and practice his fine motor skills. This was probably a good activity to help him practice his “pincer grasp” as well. Here’s some pictures. He seemed to like the raisins

 

developing pincer grasp and fine motor skills by grasping raisins, for baby.

Baby enjoying his raisins, pincer grasp and fine motor skill development

 

 

 

 

food glorious food

baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource, perspective, blog on babies and motherhood. weaning tales, baby food, highchair

Baby at the table

So the Little Lovely (LL) has been trying out solids for about 2.5 months now. He is regularly eating a meal or two a day, more like two meals actually. I was unsure of how much milk to give him on top of this and whether to drop a milk feed and replace it fully with a solid meal. He seems to have a very good appetite and, other than making some faces at the first few bites of new food, he seems to eat anything he is offered.

 

The weaning literature seems to say stuff like “don’t worry about portion sizes at the moment – your baby will tell you when they have had enough” – and other things like the start of weaning being more about baby trying out and tasting different foods rather than about giving solid food for nutritional purposes. That’s all well and good, but LL will eat A LOT of anything he is offered and usually stops only once the food has run out. So, for example, if I offer him a 120g pouch of food he will eat it all, and eat any additional food that I offer afterwards. I can’t find anywhere how much in one meal an 8.5 month old is supposed to have, because it usually says the usual about “your baby will tell you when he’s full….etc”. Well, ok so am I supposed to stuff him with food until he’s sick? because that’s what it feels like will happen if I keep feeding him.

baby-brain.co.uk weaning tales psychology perspective & blog on motherhood, babies

More Food Please

 

Anyway, I called up the NCT breastfeeding helpline to speak to someone about whether I should drop a milk feed and just have LL on one morning and one evening feed a day (2 feeds/day total). They were very helpful. They told me that he should have 4 feeds a day and will need approx 600ml of milk (formula or breastmilk), and even when he is one year old will still need a pint of milk a day, although at that point he could have cow’s milk. She said about weaning not being meal replacement but about being complementary to the milk, and over time the percentage of food to milk will change, with him having more food and less milk, but for now he gets his main nutrition from milk. She was speaking from a generic perspective, however, and said things that I don’t really think apply to LL such as about baby not eating that much at the moment etc, and that he needs calcium and the like. I told her that he ate a 90g pot of yoghurt today, so would that give him enough calcium? I asked. She thought it would.

He has also increased in weight from the 50% percentile at birth and the first 2 months or so, up to I think above the 90th centile, although I haven’t had him weighed for a few weeks. So, I’m still not sure about portion sizes and want to ensure he isn’t eating too much seeing as he needs 4 milk feeds on top of it!

Anyway, for dinner today he had butternut squash and pear. He seemed to like it. lots left over for the freezer.

baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource & perspective on motherhood and babies, and blog. weaning tales. baby food

Butternut squash and pear home-made baby food

What’s for dinner, baby?

Weaning Tales, Food Ideas. baby-brain.co.uk: Psychology resource and perspective on babies and motherhood

what’s for dinner, baby? Toasty dinner

yum yum – organic brown toast with organic butter cut into baby clutch size pieces, and leftovers from an organic baby food pouch of peaches, pear and baby rice that we had earlier today for lunch! I’m still in the “i’m only getting organic and good stuff” phase. But I don’t think it will last long – in a similar vein I planned to eat mainly organic and healthy fruit and vegetables during pregnancy, but that didn’t last long either! I was soon on the chips. I cut out diet fizzy drinks though. I think I read a paper about large consumptions of diet drinks and an association with early labour. I will have to find the study and I think it was associated with quite a large quantity of drink though.

I’ve also finally ordered a high chair, so the Little Lovely can eat his food and we can continue weaning without having to use his bouncy chair. I do like the look of Montessori weaning tables, however, but i’m not sure where to buy one and I don’t know if LL can/would be willing to sit in one yet. More on the Montessori method and weaning here (How we Montessori), including pictures of weaning tables (apparently people make their own, if they can’t find one commercially), and here (At Home with Montessori). Here’s a nice little video of a baby sitting at a weaning table eating and some of the Montessori related thinking and process relating to eating and weaning, from the Full Montessori (good name!). Ceramic or glass bowls/kitchenware is also used in the Montessori method because if it falls and breaks, then baby witnesses and learns the consequence. A trip to the charity shop is in order maybe for some cheap and cheerful bowls that you don’t mind breaking then?!

Maybe I shouldn’t have ordered that highchair…..

What’s for dinner, baby?

Yum yum, tonight I have made red lentil and sweet potato mush for the Little Lovely. Boiled up the lentils, steamed the sweet potato over the lentils, blended, added a bit of the lentil water because the consistency was too thick. Then popped into pots and put a couple in the fridge for the next few days and the rest in the freezer. Hope he likes it. Trying to offer non fruit or overly sweet options to him. Although, the potato is sweet, but not too much. We’ll see how it goes down. He always makes a terrible face the first time he tries something new but then doesn’t mind it after a few more bites.

Let’s go shopping

So the last few days we have been shopping for a sofa and other furniture. There are far too many sofa choices and it’s difficult with a nearly 7 month old. I also didn’t plan/time things well (as I usually find) when out and ended up having to feed him on a sofa in one of the furniture shops. At least it meant I got a good feel for the sofa though. Fortunately, the place was empty apart from me (not many sofa-shoppers around on a Friday afternoon, suppose they must all be at work and come out at the weekends, which is why I wanted to get to the shops before the hoards descended on the weekend).

Back to feeding for a moment though, this is a problem i’ve found with feeding “on demand”; it makes it difficult to plan and have a consistent schedule because you don’t know exactly when you will be required. That said, from monitoring the Little Lovely (LL) there are some patterns to his eating and sleeping so it is possible to predict his hunger and tiredness somewhat. I’m also trying to get more consistent “breakfast”, “lunch” and “dinner” time feeds in because we have started to introduce solids. I’m not replacing any milk feeds with a solid feed yet but I am trying to introduce a more solid lunch meal by giving LL some food after his lunch time milk feed. So far he has tried various fruits and vegetables including banana, carrot, pear, apple (puréed and mushed up) and baby rice (it’s a bit like instant porridge). He also quite likes rice cakes, however, these are meant for 7 month and older babies (he is almost 7 months and has 6 teeth) (please consult your health care professional and make up your own mind about whether your baby is ready for a particular solid food)

  • note to self – write about our weaning experiences – “weaning tales”
baby-brain.co.uk sofa shopping with baby in tow

How to occupy a baby while sofa shopping?

Anyway, back to sofa shopping. It wasn’t that easy with a small child in tow. Fortunately, there were lots of faux living room “set ups” in the shop with sofas and a nice rug so I put him down on the rug with some toys (making sure there was no coffee table for him to bang his head on) whilst I tried out the seating options. It worked somewhat; he was safe on the rug and meant that I didn’t have to keep picking him up and flopping down on a sofa with him.

We were able to go shopping because one of our regular baby classes has finished. A lot of classes seem to stop for summer and run during school term dates. I’m not sure how relevant this is to babies as they do not have “summer term” because they are not at school. I also have no other children, so I don’t have any children at home on summer break that I need to stay home to look after so I don’t really understand why so many classes stop for the summer. It’s very annoying and disappointing because LL and I still need activities and events to entertain ourselves with. I keep meaning to write something on the psychological aspects and maybe benefits of these classes. This would include benefits for the parent as well because it gives you something to do, get out the house, is social, active, gives you ideas and tips for baby related activities, and many other things that I’m sure are connected to good mental health of mothers (and fathers too).

  • note to self – write about the benefits, or relevant psychological aspects of attending baby/toddler classes.

Anyway, after all his patience and visiting a department store to look at yet more furniture, I treated LL to a stroll into the toy department where he enjoyed some puppets and soft toys.

baby-brain.co.uk psychology resource and perspective on motherhood - entertain baby after shopping trip with toys & puppets

Reward – toy & puppet fun

Tooth for the price of one – again! (teething, biting & breastfeeding)

Biting, teething and breastfeeding

Is there just one upper central incisor coming in here?

So I thought I could see a new tooth coming in on the top, an “upper central incisor”. This would be the next tooth to come in after his lower front teeth according to tooth order information. However, yesterday it looked like, again, he decided to be efficient and grow two at the same time. And yes, indeed there is another upper central incisor coming in. So now we will have a scary mouth of upper and lower front teeth. Scary for me as I am the one feeding him. He has bitten me twice; I had already thought in advance what I was going to do if he bit me. I decided to yell and express that it hurt as soon as he bit me, to take him off, look at him and say “biting hurts mummy” – see this post on behavioural psychology and explanation of reinforcement and punishers for why – in a nutshell, I wanted to give immediate feedback and a consequence to the biting, and to show that it had an impact. He cried and I cuddled him.

Here’s a brief recap on punishment and reinforcement: 

  • Punishment” doesn’t necessarily mean there is a harmful or dangerous consequence, it’s a process where a consequence immediately follows a behaviour which decreases the future likelihood of that behaviour occurringPositive punishment is where a negative consequence is put in place after the behaviour, like sending child to “time out” or telling them off, and negative punishment where a good thing or desired outcome is removed after the behaviour occurs, such as removing cake/sweets. 
  • Reinforcement is where behaviour increases. Positive reinforcement is where a behaviour increases because  it’s followed by a positive/motivating consequence. Negative reinforcement is where behaviour increases because a negative consequence is removed, such as a kid does his chores (behaviour) to avoid being nagged to do it (negative).

So I suppose expressing my discomfort would be a positive punisher? I don’t know if it was the “right” thing to do but I don’t want to be bitten and in fear at every feed. It seemed to work and there was no biting again for a few weeks, then he bit slightly a few days ago, so I did the same thing. I don’t know if that was because he had a new tooth coming in and he was experimenting, or what.

nope, I decided to give you BOTH upper central incisors at the same time

nope, I decided to give you BOTH upper central incisors at the same time

Also, the Little Lovely (LL) appears to be teething a bit earlier than average; first teeth might not come in until between 5 and 7 months, according to this page on teething from the NHS, and upper central incisors at 6 to 8 months. LL was about 4.5 months when his first teeth came in so maybe his younger age impacts on biting and feeding issues? I don’t really know, I’m just thinking out loud.

What I noticed each time, however, is that he was not really eating and had probably finished. It feels like sometimes, toward the end of the feed he is just “mucking around” a bit.  I can tell this by playing with his hand or kissing on his arm. If he has finished eating then he will giggle a bit and smile – if he is proper eating and seriously concentrating on that, he does not react to this playing so I leave him to get on with eating. So, maybe he was just experimenting with his new teeth. I will need to retrospectively complete a behavioural analysis on the situation if he does it again! Indeed, from from having a quick search online babies are more likely to bite if they are full, and teething can also impact on biting. So looking at contextual factors in considering why baby bites might be helpful because LL was teething when he bit a few days ago because the other top front tooth was probably about to break through.

Here are some “tips to reduce and eliminate biting” from La Leche League (LLL). In summary, they write:

  • it’s physically impossible for baby to bite when latched on correctly and nursing actively. this is because baby needs to stop sucking in order to bite – so this supports my observation that his biting came at the end of the feed when he was “mucking about” and not actually eating as actively as he does at the start of a feed
  •  So, as a first “hint” of when your baby is about to bite, try and watch for a moment–usually after the initial hunger has been satisfied–when your nipple slips forward in your baby’s mouth. Often the tension in your baby’s jaw will change just before this happens.

  • when you notice this “change”, you can release the suction by placing a finger into the corner of baby’s mouth and take him off, keeping your finger in his mouth to protect the nipple. Pulling baby off might seem like an automatic response to being bitten, but it will be less painful if you release the suction!
  •  positioning may be relevant: pull baby in closer. If he begins to position himself away from the nipple, “be alert for a possible bite”. Great

 

See here for further information from LLL on “if your baby bites”, an interesting page that offers more details to the above points on what to do if baby bites, factors that might contribute to biting, positioning matters, preventing biting  and gaining perspective. The contributing factors section is interesting; it’s helpful to think about what is contributing to the biting when attempting to address it. For example, the page writes that colds (lack of clear airway could interfere with suckling correctly) teething and asking for attention can be contributing factors. Responses to and attempts to address biting might be different depending on different contributing factors.

 

 

 

 

 

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