Giving Colin his first solid foods was an emotional day for sure. Days leading up to this had been filled with planning, worry, excitement and then when the time came, a bit of something else. Something maybe bittersweet, maybe also relief? It was a really big moment watching my little guy take his first steps into the unknown world of solid foods, starting his nutritional independence. The focus on food in our house is intense. Everything that is brought in, everything I eat is scrutinized, journaled and monitored for its reactions. Shifting this focus, bringing Colin directly into the process was a strange feeling. I felt happy, sad, excited and a bit of worry all over again.
On a Saturday morning we let our daughter Hannah give Colin his first spoonful of oatmeal cereal. That in itself was a wonderful moment, watching a very excited big sister get to do the honors. Not a whole lot stayed in Colin’s mouth but he seemed to like the experience and was all smiles. We didn’t feed him too much, giving him just a few tastes really to experience a new texture and also to be cautious in case of a reaction. Colin seemed fine for the most part. He did have a big spitup that day which is unusual for him and he was kind of rashy but we weren’t sure if these were coincidences due to other variables that day.
The next two times we tried oatmeal over the next three days were a different story. Colin starting crying immediately and gagging on the food. It was very thin but all of it came back out and he would turn his head and cry. We stopped immediately both times, fearing we would create negative feeding associations. All along I had been so worried about WHAT Colin would eat I never even thought he might not WANT to eat. I happened to talk with a liaison from the early childhood center in our school district, the day after our second failure, and she wondered if he had an overactive gag reflex. She recommended trying a different food and possibly meeting with an occupational therapist if the gagging persisted. I read some things that said it is possible for babies to naturally avoid foods that might make them sick and some babies with reflux can associate food with pain. Could any of these be the case? I started to think starting solids was going to be an even bigger challenge than I had anticipated.
We decided to stop oatmeal and try bananas since they are another low allergy risk, have much more taste and maybe an easier texture to handle. I chose to skip the spoon and try a mesh feeding bag, letting Colin just teethe on the bananas to get a little taste and texture in his mouth. To our delight it was a huge hit. Colin went nutso over the bananas. The next day when I brought the little mesh teether over he reached for it and opened his mouth. He had half the thing shoved in his mouth trying to eat more. And boy did he sleep well that night. Coincidence? Maybe, but I wasn’t complaining. After the second day of bananas I noticed Colin was getting eczema on his face and belly again. I waited another day or two before giving him some more. More eczema. According to my baby books, I should probably stop bananas and try them again later. It is hard since they were such a success but we will put bananas on the back burner for now and try something else in a few days.