Friday, July 23, 2010

From baby's first solids to angelic toddler

My 16-month-old is an angel. To all the parents out there with the usual screaming and mildly destructive toddlers, I am truly sorry but I have no idea what you’re going through. I didn’t do anything to make him this way – I am just blessed with really, truly, an angel. If it has anything to do with the fact that he is not as mobile as other toddlers, then I’m sure my time will come so I’ll enjoy it while I can.
His angelic behavior includes playing contentedly on his playmate for long periods alone if he is left to it. The only way I know he’s getting tired is when I look over and his either getting frustrated with the toys and letting out soft grumbling noises or has stopped playing altogether, sitting and staring into space with circles under his eyes. Oh, must be nap time! If I’ve left him playing to the point of fatigue he bounces excitedly when I finally pick him up, and is all too happy to curl up with a binky.

Even the limits he tests, he does so angelically. He has developed a new habit of throwing his cup or food to the floor from his highchair. Last week I was spoon feeding him when he started picking up the finger food I served also and dropping it off the edge of the chair. I firmly told him “no.” The next time, I stopped his hand before he dropped it, said “no,” and moved his hand back to the tray. The third time he started to drop food but stopped before dropping it to look at me. I told him “no,” and he actually brought the food back without dropping it! But then he started dropping it in his lap. When I made it clear I didn’t like that either, he grabbed a piece of food, lifted it high it the air, grinned and dropped it on his head! At this point all I could do is laugh.

OK, so there is ONE area that he less than angelic. He still wakes several times at night more nights than not. Perhaps this is our fault for not doing a better job sleep training. I thought it helped when we started letting him sleep with us at the first waking in the crib. For a while he slept like a baby (ha ha) from then until morning. However, his addiction to the pacifier is causing problems. We still put him to sleep in his crib then bring him to the family bed the first time he wakes up, but he is waking several more times next to us looking for that darn binky! He fusses and wakes me up to find it for him and pop it back in his mouth. We’ve got to get rid of that thing. Any suggestions for the transition are welcome.

Despite the sleeplessness, all was forgiven the little angel yesterday morning. He was awake when I left for work so I kissed him goodbye and said “I love you.” My heart melted when he replied, “I yuh yooo!”


It was July 25th last year when my son had his first bite of solid food! I remember the date because it was my sister-in-law’s 18th birthday. She was staying with us and we had some family over to celebrate. He’d just had his 4-month check up the week prior and had fallen behind in weight gain. The doctor told me to eat more calories and fat since I was breastfeeding (no problem! Please pass the cake), and ordered solid foods for baby now rather than waiting until 6 months. I think it was the right time for him anyway, because he had been showing interest in our food for a couple of weeks.

I mixed Gerber single-grain rice cereal with expressed breast milk until it was runny. I added a bit of applesauce for sweetness, which experts do not recommend due to allergy risk but I wanted him to like it. We sat the little guy in the highchair for the first time, reclining it since he couldn’t sit yet, and fitted him with a bib. I tested the temperature of the cereal mixture and lifted the spoon to his mouth. He loved it! He took several bites and had this look on his face like, “Finally, I’ve been waiting for this!”

Feeding him solids and eating more myself were lots of fun. However, we were also pretty stressed about his decline in rate of weight gain. While pouring through Le Leche League websites looking for the effect of caloric intake on milk fat, I came across an article on overproduction that fit my son’s symptoms to a tee. He’d been colicky since about 6 weeks, but I didn’t realize this was shortly after I started pumping and freezing extra breast milk. I didn’t know overproduction could be bad. I also didn’t know his lactose intolerance and green frothy stools were red flags for overproduction. I was devastated and insisted on blaming myself.

Although I still wish I would have discovered the problem sooner, at least we figured it out. The good news was I could start eating dairy again, and stop pumping so much! I donated all the extra frozen milk to the San Jose Mother’s Milk Bank. I ate extra fat (yum) and faithfully fed cereal at dinner time and we focused on trying to get the little guy back on track for weight gain.

Finding out there was a problem with our child was very stressful. I felt a lot of guilt and worried something more serious was wrong with him. I was actually afraid he would just get worse and not make it (crazy, right?). But we’re still here a year later! Although he never really “caught up” on the weight gain, he did stabilize and has kept his curve over time. It has given me new perspective on parents that face disabilities and diseases in their children. I really feel for them and am grateful my baby is generally healthy despite the issues. Every new parent makes mistakes and some are more devastating than others – it could have been a lot worse.