Baby, weaned

Thursday night marked the culmination of over twenty-two months of breastfeeding.  We started our weaning journey sixteen months ago, when we offered Sir his first tastes of solid food.

While Sir was enthusiastic about solid food from the get-go, the majority of his calories continued to come from breast milk until about the 10-month mark, and the balance has continued to shift to more food, less milk ever since.

When my job ended last summer, I continued with the regularly-timed nursing sessions that made it possible for me to breast feed instead of pumping at work (i.e., he wasn’t nursing on demand, and really hadn’t (other than overnight) since I went back to work when he was 14 weeks old).  The routine feedings worked well for us, and I didn’t see any need to switch things up at that point.

Our process of eliminating milk feedings felt pretty natural.  We went from five times a day to four times a day somewhere around the 12-month mark, then dropped another feeding around 15-months when he went from two naps a day to a single nap.

We stuck with the 3-a-day routine for quite awhile.  I wanted to continue nursing through the winter sickness/germ season, and winter weather certainly encouraged snuggling up.

In March, when the time change pushed his nap wake-up time very close to the time of his afternoon [solid food] snack, I dropped the post-nap feeding.

I wasn’t really sure where we would go from there, other than knowing that breast feeding would culminate sometime before our current nine day separation.

Six or seven weeks ago, I dropped the first-thing-in-the-morning feeding.  He seemed happy enough to get out of bed, have a big drink of water, and reunite with all of his toys while I made breakfast, so we went with it.

That left us with the before-bed feeding.  I didn’t plan to continue that feeding for more than a few weeks, partly because I didn’t expect my milk supply to last with such infrequent nursing sessions.  Somehow he kept finding a bit of milk every night, and I had no compelling reason to stop nursing him, so we continued right up to the eve of his departure for Florida.

I held him a little extra long that night, gazing at his sweet face and heavy eyelids, savoring the end of this stage of our relationship.


Related post: Breastmilkin’ it

From Dude to Sir

While I’ve continued to refer to Gabriel as “The Dude” in most of my posts, these days, we use the nickname “Sir” much more frequently.*  I’m not sure where I picked it up, but there is some irony in addressing him as such:

“Would Sir desire a shit in the potty?”

“Is Sir ready for some delicious breast milk?”

Anyhow, at some point we’ll have to drop this “Sir” business, lest he get an inflated impression of his position in this family and society at large, but for now, it’s sticking.

The nickname is not the only change.  Earlier this month, Sir passed the eight-month mark.  One part of me feels like these life-tipped-totally-upside-down-because-of-baby days can’t pass quickly enough and the other part can’t believe it’s already been over eight months.

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Here’s a quick peek at the current state of things.

While mama’s milk continues to provide the majority of calories and nutrients,
Sir enjoys his solid food.  I had some doubts about BabyLed Weaning in the beginning and worried that several bouts of sickness that put Sir back on a milk-only diet would pose significant setbacks in the process, but things are going wonderfully.

He’s tried almost everything we’ve set in front of him thus far, usually displaying great enthusiasm for the whole process, proving that he is, in fact, our child.  He’s also been exposed to most of the foods that are common allergens (peanuts, eggs, soy, wheat, corn) with no apparent issues, which is nice.

Over the past two months, Sir perfected the army crawl.  He moves quite quickly and adroitly, especially when he spots a forbidden object, like the trash can.

So far, he’s displayed little inclination to pick his belly up off of the floor and actually crawl.  I’m not particularly concerned, either he will, or he’ll go straight to walking.

Very hit or miss, much to my frustration, as I mentioned here.  We continue to offer.  These days, Sir usually consents to sit on the potty, but often with no results (despite waiting sitting for several minutes at times, looking at a toy or a book), only to make a big puddle on the floor a few minutes later.

Do I dare to even go here?  Most nights are actually pretty darn good, it’s the daytime sleep, especially at daycare, that’s killing me.  This week has actually been slightly better, but I don’t want to get my hopes up.

Quick Facts

  • Number of teeth: 8 — no molars yet, but he’s working on it!
  • Hair: still brown, though lighter than before, starting to fill in the bald spot on the back of his head, shows signs of having a bit of curl
  • Weight: Somewhere over 20 pounds — a nice little chunker
  • Height: Somewhere over 27 inches
  • Other nicknames: Baby Bulldog (when teething), Little Lizard (when gassy)
  • Likes: Outsa! (how Matthew said “outside” as a baby), eating, putting everything in his mouth, exploring, my animal sound impressions, babbling with us, peeing on the floor shortly after we offer the potty
  • Dislikes: naps, holding still for diaper changes, parental limits on explorations

*I’m sure The Dude will still pop up from time to time.  He was most definitely The Dude while sporting some sunglasses last weekend.

Human garbage disposal

So, here’s the thing: I really hate wasting food.  In particular, I hate wasting good food (a foodie has to have her standards, after all) or food that should be good because we put precious time and high-quality ingredients into it.

My feelings about food waste do not mesh particularly well with introducing solid foods to a baby.  Whether you start with self-feeding (like BabyLed Weaning) from the beginning or spoon feeding, there will eventually be a time when your baby learns to feed him/herself, and this time will involve a learning curve.

The process is inherently messy and wasteful: food on the face, partially masticated food drooled onto the bib, food smashed in little fists, food dropped on the floor, food in the seat . . . .

Of course, since we try to only put high quality food in our bodies, we offer The Dude the same.  We take some normal steps to minimize waste:

  1. Only put a small amount of food in front of him at once.
  2. Make sure the floor is [relatively] clean, so we can hand back dropped pieces.
  3. Offer food when he’s not starving (i.e., AFTER he’s had mama’s milk), tired, or otherwise fussy.
  4. Minimize distractions during mealtime.

But there comes a point when the food is crumbled in pieces too small for The Dude to grasp and/or he loses interest in the meal.

Enter the human garbage disposal, AKA mama.  Yep, I unashamedly pick up the bits of food (including some that have been in his mouth and rejected) from the table, floor, and chair.

Upon first witnessing this, Matthew commented that baby birds typically eat food from the mama bird’s mouth, NOT the other way around.

I do have my limits — some items I rule out as too mushy, slobbery, etc.  Sometimes it goes straight into my mouth, other times, I dress it up a little, adding some nut butter to the leftover piece of bread, or tossing some partially chewed veggies in with some other food I’m going to eat.

I just can’t let good food go in the trash!  What extreme actions do you take to avoid food waste?

Fun with food: Baby-led weaning

We started letting The Dude experiment with solid foods in mid-December, when we handed him a stick of either rutabaga or turnip (we don’t remember which anymore, but either way, it was from our garden).  He enjoyed it as an alternative teether as much as anything.

Since the beginning of the month, we’ve been making a more concerted effort to let him sit at the table and try some solid food at least once a day.  After reading the eponymous book, I decided Baby-led Weaning made a lot of sense:

Baby-led weaning is a way of introducing solid foods that allows babies to feed themselves – there’s no spoon feeding and no purées. The baby sits with the family at mealtimes and joins in when she is ready, feeding herself first with her fingers and later with cutlery (from the BLW leaflet).

So far, he’s tried rutabaga/turnip, carrot, sweet potato, rice cake, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, pear, apple, pumpkin, oatmeal, and homemade bread.  Many of his first foods came from our garden.

Yum, broccoli!

As this photo (and later, his diaper) attests, he was pretty into the broccoli.  Actually at one point during this “Fun With Cruciferous Veggies” meal, he was double-fisting broccoli and cauliflower.  At another point, he put the cauliflower in his mouth, leaving his hands free, one to hold broccoli, the other to hold cabbage.

Squash facial mask

Although this picture might look more like conventional puree spoon-feeding, the difference is that The Dude is “feeding” himself.  Also, we did not cook and puree this squash for him, we just happened to have extra from a big batch we prepared for pumpkin bread.

In addition to the website link above, you can read more about Baby-led Weaning here.  So far, we’re taking it slowly and having fun introducing the delicious, wholesome foods that make up a regular part of our diets.