Let’s get one thing straight. Babies and solids is messy work. Very messy work. Starting solids should come with a warning – expect there to be more food on your child (and you), than in their tummy. I should have known this I guess, well in advance of Ella beginning solids. For some reason I thought it would be ok to feed her solids whilst wearing clothes that I would like her to stay in for the rest of the day. Nope. First time Mum fail. See I (naively) thought that something called a ‘bib’ would neatly wrap around my child’s neck and conveniently catch any spit ups or bits of food that (for some reason) did not end up in the right place. Before Ella was born I even went out and bought her a few gorgeous bibs, hand made with loving care. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
For months now, Ella has had a drawer of dozens of bibs, not being used. I also (naively) thought for a fleeting moment that maybe I wouldn’t need so many. How on earth could a child need so many bibs. Now that Ella has started solids….I understand why. Mess, mess and more mess. In fact, most of the bibs that I bought her just don’t cut it! New Mums should be warned against buying gorgeous little bibs with handmade embroidery and appliqué. The only advice you need is, buy big ones. The bigger the better. In fact, someone should make an outfit made out of giant bibs that Mums can slip onto their child before feeds and wip off into the wash afterwards. Now that would be money well spent! I’ve since learned that you can buy plastic ones and even one variety that has a large scoop like container on the front to catch all the mess. Wonderful! Something I would have liked to know a month ago!
Starting solids with babies is a confusing topic for most new mums. To start with, there is so much debate about when to start, how to start, what foods and when, how much, sweet or savoury, home made or bought, it’s enough to make you go batty! When Ella was born, the advice was six months. Now the advice is between four and six months. I had been looking for signs of readiness for a while…Ella watched us eat, was gnawing on everything (teething??) and lately has started waking in the night again for feeds after a somewhat blissful month of sleeping through the night. So starting solids was something that I thought would be fairly straight forward in that when she was ready, she would chow down like a master.
Let’s just say that I’ve worked out that it’s not as easy as that. For starters, we first gave her rice cereal and she did not seem interested in that one bit. Not that I blame her, it is disgusting stuff. So I mixed it with breast milk, then pears and tried to make the whole experience ‘fun’ for her. All I can say is that my little girl certainly hasn’t developed her appetite yet. She certainly enjoys the experience more with her Daddy. Yes, he thinks he is more fun than me! Don’t get me wrong, I love this new stage of her development, but at times it feels like a whole lot of hoop jumping! Steaming, stewing, blitzing, pureeing…all to end up on her shirt front. Needless to say for about a week, I was a little frustrated, and I’m sure Ella wasn’t far from it either.
Advice from friends has been a real blessing in terms of putting things in perspective and not rushing things. Every baby is so different. Focussing on introducing foods slowly to look for any allergies is really the basis for starting at this age. Since we started (about a month ago) she has now shown a real love of pears, but I guess she can’t survive on a sole diet of this sweet fruit in various forms. Pumpkin was next (much to her Daddy’s disgust) and she certainly shared his sentiments early on in the piece. My little pumpkin wore more on her face and clothes than anything. Today she ‘wolfed’ down sweet potato which is promising. I guess I’ll just continue to take it one day at a time and build up her taste buds and familiarity with using her mouth in this new way.
In the mean time, I’ll stock up on extra large bibs and lots of them.