Friday, May 25, 2012

Feeding Calliope

I e-mailed a friend today and said, "that's it. I'm not struggling to feed Calliope anymore."

The epic 45 minute episodes of waiting to catch her attention with the spoon as she turns her rapt attention from the straps of her high chair to her fingers to the tray to the seat cover...

They are wearing me out. They cut our bath time very short indeed, especially as I am bound and determined to get her to bed every earlier, in an effort to cut out the early morning wakings (counter intuitively enough, this is what baby sleep guru Weiss.bluth recommends).

And they are annoying. I don't enjoy the time with her. And time is too precious for that.

So tonight I didn't mix something into her (plain, unsweetened, homemade, raw) yogurt. No baby food vegetables, no food-milled wild salmon, no delicious steamed acorn squash mashed with butter and salt stirred in. And my girl quickly, readily gobbled up close to four ounces of yogurt! Quickly, efficiently, without playing.

So. I guess I've just been feeding her a lot of things she didn't like.

Does it make a difference in the long run, if I semi-force her to try and hopefully eat lots of things?

I don't know. But I'm not sure it's a battle worth winning.

She also doesn't like to touch food, or at least, she won't ever touch food and then bring her fingers to her mouth. So tonight, in a bit of self diagnosed brilliance, I also tried using a mesh feeder, a device I recently described as "useless" on a parenting listserve. I cut a strawberry in half and popped it in, and lo and behold, girlfriend pretty much devoured that strawberry.

My apologies to the makers of mesh feeders. I was wrong. They are awesome. At least for my one weird kid.

I'm half sure that strawberries aren't supposed to be given yet... it's a good thing I don't read those books and websites that prescribe the precise order and timing of what to introduce what.

My nanny-share friend, Amy, is a brilliant baby food chef. She makes delicious foods like quiche and lasagna and then, get this, just chucks a piece of the adult dish into the blender and voila, instant, delicious baby food! Calliope is a lucky but ungrateful recipient of this ingenuity. She will take at least a few slow bites, usually, before outright refusing it.

So anyway, she took tons of yogurt tonight... and then wasn't very interested in nursing. Presumably because she was stuffed full of yogurt.

But I feel kind of sad about the breastfeeding.

I pumped three ounces afterwards, and evening is not my best time for pumping, so that means she really didn't get much.

Calliope likes to nurse and all, but perhaps because we've pretty much always done it on a schedule, it's more a food than a comfort. I mean, a comfort food to be sure, but still pretty utilitarian. Which makes me think it might not be that hard to wean her.

But then I think, wait a second, I'm not even supposed to wean her yet. I mean, not without a reason, anyway. But I just wonder if it will be harder to give up later?

On the other hand, I'm not ready to give up breastfeeding.


Here's where you tell me, it's not about your needs, Mommy.

Ah yes, I forgot.

Anyway, I wondered idly tonight if I should've nursed her before solids, so she would get more milk, but then remembered that whole (unfortunate) growing up process involves transitioning to more solids, less milk.

So no, she's supposed to fill up on solids, and not want a lot of milk. Duh.

I'm glad, at least, that we nurse in the morning before solids.

It will be very strange if my very practical, relatively independent child just decides to give up nursing at some point. The nanny just told me that she only has one shot with the bottle per feeding -- if she goes to get more milk because Calliope still seems hungry, Calliope will refuse to open her mouth again. So she always "has" to put extra milk in the bottle, just in case.

So I'm thinking it won't be hard to stop the bottle.

Actually, I expect that once I am home for the summer with her, she will refuse to take a bottle, since she will rarely, if ever, need to take one during those two months. She already refuses to take one from me, which she was willing to do for quite a long time.


  1. Finn loved the mesh feeders for about 2 weeks. Then he was all about feeding himself! He's never been much for the bottle, either, but he is actually taking it from me now, something he's never done before. Just when you think you have your kid figured out....

    Calliope may just be one of those kids who takes a while to decide she likes food. Your new attitude sounds like a good one; you can't win the struggle to make her eat, after all. You might as well enjoy the time you have with her!

    As for foods - Finn's allergist said the recommendation on delaying certain foods is no longer in effect. The number of kids diagnosed with allergies skyrocketed after those recommendations were made, so they're pretty sure they were wrong.

  2. Just curious about what bottles you have been using. I have been trying to decide between several brands in hopes that I will be able to breastfeed, but also knowing that my son will need a bottle while at daycare. Did Calliope ever having any "nipple confusion" issues?

  3. P.S. I know that you could never be the "bad Abby" :)

  4. Have you considered baby led weaning? I switched to that fairly soon after starting solids because shoveling food in his mouth seemed kind of silly. I just gave him what I was eating, within reason (he didn't get french fries right away lol) and just let him go, he fed himself, some got spit out, some got eaten, and it took him to about a year or so to eat proper meals but it was so much nicer to eat my food when warm as well. One of his first foods was broccoli :) And beyond that, do what you feel is right and certainly listen to your own instincts

  5. I know when I stopped stressing about what & how much Elena was eating, she started eating a lot more & such a variety. I offer new stuff regularly & repeatedly & sometimes she likes it sometimes not but I let her take the lead & we have so much success now...also she never wanted to touch food for a long time then all of a sudden started refusing to eat & threw fits...turns out she wanted to feed herself...good luck but I'm sure with your relaxed attitude, Calliope will come around