Reuben and I have enjoyed feeding together for four months now. But recently he’s been getting a bit more fussy and less satisfied from me. When I chatted to a Healthcare professional, it was suggested that Reuben was ready for something more substantial. You know what that means, don’t you? Yes, smellier poo!
What sparked this wasn’t only the fussier behaviour at the breast, but also an event last week. Reuben had his four month jabs on Tuesday and towards the end of the day he was getting really grumpy. I mean, really fussing and crying. He didn’t have a temperature, but I pulled the Calpol off the shelf anyway and gave him the recommended dose for his age. The bottle of purple paracetamol came not with a syringe dispenser, but with a spoon. In my mind I contemplated whether Our Boy would be able to accept this method of feeding, but decided to give it a go anyway. You know the story: as soon as I gave him the Calpol (which he readily took with the spoon), all crying stopped and he had a glimmer in his eye when he looked at me afterwards. He was then fine for the rest of the evening.
The Department of Health recommend the introduction of solid foods from 17 weeks (about 4 months of age), and the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommend beginning weaning no earlier than 20 weeks. Reuben turned 17 weeks last Saturday, so he’s right at the very cusp of the age range for the recommended start date. However, having signed up to all mother-and-baby clubs under the sun, we have already received a few free samples of baby rice to correspond with our child’s development.
When I phoned up Cow and Gate (which I *highly* recommend for any queries when pregnant or beyond) to talk through his behaviour on the boob, I chatted to a healthcare professional who suggested that Reuben might be getting bored with me (I know, I know, I don’t understand either!). I was asked what his reaction was when we were eating. To be honest, we’d never really let him watch us before – we always grabbed a sandwich at lunchtime when he was napping, and enjoyed supper when he was neatly tucked up in bed. So, that evening, we prepared some food and let him watch us. We had a single plate of food between us and in the first instance I ate in front of Reuben. Then Peter took the plate from me, I moved to be by Reuben’s side (he was in the bouncer) and chit-chattered away as an attempt to distract him from Peter and The Plate. Nothing could remove the gaze from The Plate. As another test, we prepared a bottle of formula to supplement Reuben’s feeds during the day to see whether he was still hungry and wanted more. Of a six ounce bottle, he took five ounces, and straight away afterwards gave me the biggest grin I’ve seen in a long while!
But you know me, I’m cautious. Especially with our first child. I have heard that you don’t want to be too cautious, else your child could end up being fussy with food. But I don’t want to rush in to anything if he’s not ready for it. I will talk more with our health visitors when we take Reuben for his weigh-in on Thursday to see what they think. I chatted with them last week briefly since Reuben had only put on a single ounce in weight over that week, while his normal weekly weight gain is between 5 to 10 ounces (apparently, when a baby’s weight plateaus, it can indicate that the child is ready to obtain more calories from other foods in the diet). My thoughts currently are to let him watch us eat and get used to the idea of sitting with us at least a couple of times during the day to enjoy food, and also to supplement his feeds in a formula milk form so that he gets the extra calories he needs if he can’t get them from me.
But you can guarantee that when we do eventually introduce solid food, it will be a milestone and no doubt will be remembered in this house for years to come!!