Friday, August 30, 2013

Carrots. And Baby Led Weaning.

My daughter has always been on the skinny side, save for a month-or-so-long period around the six-month mark when she suddenly turned chubby. But boy, can this girl eat!

I always kind of wonder why.

I was a teeny tiny child. As in, my daughter would dwarf me in comparison if I'm to believe the numbers in my baby book. I didn't eat a ton then, as far as I know, though I did as I became school age and a teen. I ate like a horse. Or at least a linebacker. And stayed anorexic-looking. Damn undiagnosed Celiac.

So I expect my kid to be pretty slender, especially if you consider that her dad is a beanpole. What I didn't expect was that she would regularly eat more than I do at meals (at the age of two)!

When she first started eating more solids, probably at about one and a half or so, I thought, "dang, this is quite the growth spurt!" But then it just continued. And became a new normal. I know kids go in phases of eating more and less, but her set point seems to be at "more", and I know something is up if it changes to "less."

Is it because she eats mostly GAPS foods like I do? Does she need to eat more because her foods aren't as "filling" as SAD foods? (I use that word hesitantly, since I hate the idea of eating food just to promote a feeling of fullness instead of for nutrients.)

Today's breakfast was a whole banana, some grapes, two strips of bacon, a scrambled egg (sometimes two!), and soup.

So I have a good eater on my hands, and I'm not complaining about that, since I know soooooo many toddlers whose parents have to tie them to a chair with a jump rope and force feed them. Like Ensure boarding, but without the whole prison part.

Ok, not really, but I do know many whose kids will only eat yogurt and chicken nuggets. Or string cheese and chicken nuggets. Or chocolate milk and chicken nuggets. (and then complain that their kid always has horrible diarrhea, to which I gently replied, "you know, maybe it's what they are eating? maybe you could try a little less dairy?" Except it probably wasn't said as gently as I'd like to give myself credit for...)

I remember being so worried about whether my kid would eat. And what she would eat. I spent soooooo much time researching things, that I kept seeing information on Baby Led Weaning (BLW). It doesn't really have much to do with the weaning aspect of things, more with introducing solids. While I took away a few good things from it, like not being worried if my kid wasn't eating meals worth of solids every day at the age of six months, I have to say that it did NOT work out as expected with my daughter. I also think that some people for whom it does work worship BLW as a religion. And also look down on those of us who, after an initial conversion, slide back to a more traditional weaning view.

We started with roasted carrots. Oh, how I wish I would not have started with carrots. Devil eczema carrots.

I should have known that carrots were a problem for her when she wrinkled up her tiny nose at them. Every. Time. I thought she was just uninterested in food in general, which she really was until about 9 months, but she was especially hostile toward carrots.

Part of the beauty of BLW is that you don't have to sit there with a little spoon in hand, feeding baby while your plate of roasted salmon and asparagus becomes frigid and disgusting. Instead, you get to sit there, watching every little tiny bite of anything she tries to take while simultaneously trying NOT to hover, evaluating the approximate size of any bite she does take, and reviewing infant choking procedures on a constant loop in your head.

She gags. She shows signs of choking. You whisk her out of her high chair, turn her over, and smack her on the back. She breathes. You breathe. You realize she probably wasn't actually choking, but you weren't about to take the chance. Once you stop hyperventilating, you give her more. She gags again. You freak out again. She looks at you with that special expression of "what the HELL are you doing to me, woman?!"

Any meal at which she doesn't gag constantly is regarded as a success, with the exception of the fact that you were constantly paranoid. Which makes for such an enjoyable meal for parents and baby alike.

So I stopped with the solids after giving it a good go. I eventually tried some purees, the BLW equivalent of the devil's food (cake). She was way more interested. I was way more calm by the end of a meal. And that cold salmon wasn't even a problem.

She never did like the carrots, whole or pureed. And I gave them to her every dang day. And she had an awful, awful rash on her face for months.

The day I stopped the carrots was the day it started going away.

Funny how one of the notes about food in my baby book said, "5 months. Tried carrots, broke out in rash. Try again later."

Go flippin' figure. That would happen to me with the most nonallergenic food in the world.

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