Tag Archives: formula

Food Glorious Food

I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.  Here’s a belated post about my insight of 2009: it should have been written two days ago, but we are staying at the in-laws’ and I’m forced to be sociable and away from the computer.

David is a fussy eater.

Let me clarify that.  David eats four things: garlic bread, sausages, chocolate buttons, and Ella’s Kitchen fruit pouches.  David will not touch fresh fruit or vegetables, never mind put them in his mouth: they might bite back!  Rice?  Pasta?  Anything that might be served with a sauce or have a sauce touch it?  No way.  (Yep, he’s his mother’s son!)

Until last week, Joe and I could reassure ourselves that “food is for fun until one”.  We kept offering fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, different kinds of meat…  He would poke at them, look disgusted, and throw them on the floor, mostly before they’d been anywhere near his mouth.  We tried bribery: “Put this piece of banana in your mouth and you can have a chocolate button!”.  We tried letting him get on with it: more food ended up on the floor and none was eaten.  We tried all-out war: “You WILL eat this risotto.  Here’s a lovely spoonful…”.  It was spat out.  As a result, he “topped up” on milk, to the point where most of his diet was milk, with a few snacks thrown in.  He wasn’t sleeping as well as he should, he was waking up screaming hungry in the morning, and he was refusing to eat anything solid.

Two days ago, I did something mean, nasty and awful.  I took his milk away.

Not completely away, you understand.  I know that he still needs it for growth and development and vitamins.  We just drastically reduced the amount he drinks overnight.  We don’t offer it an hour before a meal or half an hour after: if he’s thirsty, he can drink water or juice.  We offer it in the newborn-sized Avent bottles, and when he finishes it he can have water, unless he’s desparate.  We’ve set ourselves the target of 5-600ml/day, and we’ve got there straight away.  David, as you can imagine, is unimpressed with this state of affairs, but still doing really rather well.

This morning, he got up with Joe, and for breakfast he ate a whole croissant and a serving of plain yoghurt with pureed blueberries and blackberries.  Half-way through this morning, he decided he was hungry, so ate a fruit pouch, two breadsticks, and a biscuit, and drank half a cup of juice.  At lunch he tried quiche and baked potato, which he wouldn’t previously have touched, and ate four slices of garlic bread.  At dinner, he spied the leftover profiteroles from Joe’s relatives’ Boxing Day family lunch, and was bribed into eating a fruit pouch.  That was followed by both profiteroles, a large piece of Stollen, and a whole cup of juice.  His total formula intake today?  500ml.

We’re not there yet.  He still doesn’t like the texture of anything runny, he won’t touch sauce, and vegetables are apparently the work of the Devil.  I was surprised that he ate the profiterole after the inital touching and poking, and still asked for more.  I don’t think it’s a taste issue, but to do with texture: it certainly explains why he’ll eat purees but nothing lumpy or slimy.

So, there we are.  My insight of the year: to do with taking away milk (and therefore being the meanest mother in the whole, world, ever, or so David will tell you) and making David eat Real Food.  It works.  I shouldn’t be scared to make parenting decisions and worry about what other people will think, because we need to do what works for us.  I needn’t worry about David’s reaction, because he’ll survive.  I am starting 2010 more confident as a parent than I ever was, and it’s fantastic.

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Filed under baby led weaning, David, Food & Drink, pictures

Handsome Toddler Boy

Oh my word.  When exactly did this happen?

My son, my tiny, tiny baby boy, is growing up.  Yesterday he chased after Eric, demanding a “big hug!”.  He can put the balls in the ball-run at the soft play centre like nobody’s business.  He plays with other children, and is so gentle and patient with those younger or smaller than him.  He’s taken a few steps, and when he’s got his walker he can run.  Last week we had to buy walking shoes, as his feet were squeezed by his cruisers.  We’re also going to have to buy some more 12-18 month clothes at some point: they seemed impossibly big when he was born.  Now, his newborn clothes reach his knees and his elbows, and he’s into the toddler ranges in most shops.  He’s the most loving, affectionate little boy I’ve ever met.  I love him so deeply it hurts.

This journey, it hasn’t been easy.  My pregnancy was wanted, but so unexpected.  We were fraught with worry all the way through; Joe and I had to learn to be a couple before this ticking time bomb exploded into our lives and made us a family.  There was confusion over my due date, with two and a half weeks between my dates and my midwife’s.  At twelve weeks, when I suffered bleeding, I was convinced we were going to lose him; that feeling stayed with me throughout the pregnancy.  He was born eight days before the midwife’s date, and a month before mine, perfect in every way.

Bonding with David took me a long time; longer, perhaps, than it took Joe.  There was this expectation that I’d be ecstatic to have my new baby, that I’d love every element of motherhood.  Who in their right mind loves cracked and bleeding nipples, sleepless nights, shitty nappies, and not being able to sit down on less than six layers of padding?  I was severely anaemic, and had to take iron tablets.  I was ill, and tired, and I hated breastfeeding with a passion, but I forced myself to continue until David was a month old, the time that I could express milk and introduce bottles.  I was adamant that I would NOT use formula, that I’d be a terrible mother if I did.  I remember sitting up and trying to feed David, and passing out while I was feeding him.  I remember sitting in a clients’ offices when David was ten days old, trying to feed him and failing, and feeling so miserable.

When he was about eight weeks old, I started the Pill.  It made me bleed heavily, and I became very anaemic again.  I couldn’t express nearly as much milk as before, and David would either go hungry, or start having formula.  He started on formula, and I knew that I was supposed to feel like a terrible mother.  In reality, I was relieved.

I’d had some mental health support from a community mental health nurse since David was four weeks old, and when he was about three months I was able to see a psychiatrist.  That psychiatrist prescribed a low dose of Sertraline, an antidepressant that is safe to take whilst breastfeeding.  I wish I could say that it provided an instant fix, because it didn’t.  I stopped feeling suicidal, yes.  In fact, I stopped feeling much at all.  My visits to see him consisted of “Yes, I’ve got side effects, no, I’m not suicidal, yes, therefore things must be much better, see you in six weeks.”  In June, when David was six months old, I could take the side effects no longer, and stopped taking the Sertraline.  I felt better almost as soon as I stopped taking it, well, as soon as the week of withdrawal symptoms had passed.  At the end of August I managed to get myself discharged from community mental health support, too, and I felt free.

We’ve muddled along for the last few months, and things have slowly been improving.  I’m not sure at which point it was that I finally felt better, more at home with myself.  Maybe I’ve just settled into motherhood now, and maybe it’s just because David is just easier to look after, more enjoyable.

Because David is easy, these days.  He’s a toddler, he understands what I’m saying and responds to it.  He stops playing to give me a hug, then goes off and does his own independent little thing.  He’s mimicking what we say all the time (including “crap!” in the car the other day.)  Even his tantrums, although trying, are an interesting side of his personality that has only just started to show.  When I was in the darkness, I never thought I’d feel the kind of joy that I feel watching him grow and change and learn.  Now that I am here, I appreciate him even more.

If you are reading this, and you feel like I did, talk to somebody.  Tell them how you feel, and get some help and support.  It is not your fault, you are not a bad parent, and you will get better.  It’s worth all the hardship just to come through it and feel alive.

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Filed under David, Mental Health