Monday, 12 August 2013


We've started weaning, a process which should take the rest of the year to go from mostly getting her calories from nursing with food as more of an experience than a form of sustenance to the opposite being true. The NHS recommends waiting until six months* so we did, although I had been slipping her the odd taste of food here and there, a tiny smidge of strawberry, the leaf of a fragrant herb, as her interest in what we're eating increased. I started giving her rice cereal for babies a few days before she was properly six months old and bits of bread from our sandwiches to keep her from snatching food from our hands. We quickly added in mashed veggies based on the recipes in the weaning pamphlet that the health visitor gave us at around three months. 

Then we were invited to a "weaning class" presented by the same woman who taught the baby massage class, and the "wait until six months" message became "look for these signs between four and six months, often around five months", namely baby waking up during the night more than she used to, not being satisfied with her feeds, and showing a marked interest in food. Um, yeah, that was the rough patch across almost four weeks between June and July. That information could have saved quite a few sanity points. But we made it and, possibly as a consequence of waiting so long, Little Djinn is a champion eater. We've already moved on to Stage Two foods (not as bland and simple) and she is unphased by lumps, textures, (mild) differences in temperatures, or new flavours. 

Currently we nurse when she wakes up (sometimes twice as she's usually not very interested in food first thing, prefering to play), around 7:30. I have a snack and a cup of tea in bed with Chris, shower and get dressed (LD has her own tooth brush which she gets to chew on while I brush my teeth, then I rub it over her gums much the same way I practice brushing LD's head), and make up cereal for each of us by 10am. This last week Little Djinn was having trouble moving her bowels so we've settled on giving her one "cube"** of prune purée mixed in with her morning cereal. She's not strained greatly (or cried, poor darling) since we started with the prunes and even giggled following her first big bowel movement after I dosed her. Yes, baby girl, sometimes it feels good.  After breakfast we nurse and nap (she naps, I watch telly. Related, why did no one tell me about In Plain Sight? I love that show!). Around 2pm I make lunch, two cubes of mashed fruit or veggies for her, and then another offered nurse and nap though some days she wants that around 4 or even 5. Around 5:30 (or after her nap) she gets two cubes for dinner, something with protein - so far she's had fish and she's had chicken - and then "massage"***, a book, and an option on quiet playtime until she's ready to nurse and fall asleep, usually around 7 with the goal of me being out of the by 7:30 though it's been closer to 8 most nights this week. She usually wakes up around 4:30 for another nurse. If there's something she doesn't finish at one meal I'll often try her again with it at the next meal as here appetite fluctuates day to day. 

Chris is rhapsodic about cooking for Little Djinn. I've made a few fruit purses for her (blueberry and banana, the prune purée) and Chris has made everything else - veggie blends, pasta sauces, protein mixes, you name it. Most of them get made in one pan with a small quantity or ingredients and then mashed or blended and he'll make three or four different things and pop them in ice cube trays in the freezer. Later we move the cubes to ziplock baggies and each day try to offer her a different combination of meals. The chicken he made today (after a fruit "fool" and a veggie blend) filled two trays, a little container for the fridge for today and tomorrow, and a large container for us to eat at some point. The problem is reigning him in :o) but I think she's ready for another cube or two each day so week on week we will go through the food more quickly and he'll be able to indulge.

the weaning class was great, too. It wound up just being us and one of the moms/little boys from the massage class and the instructor. Little Djinn was already weaning so while the food is normally just for the parents to taste and practice making, she got to try things and we brought some leftovers home. The first week she was pulling faces at each new flavour (and then opening for more) but now she just tries things with every evidence of enjoyment. We played on the floor with all the different toys while Chris tried new recipes. We got several sheets of easy recipes, a recommendation for a book which Chris bought, and a goody bag with a potatoe masher, ice cube tray, bowl, spoon, tiny container, and a toothbrush/toothpaste pack. When people ask if we're planning to move to the US at some point, well, not really. Scotland genuinely cares about its citizens and Little Djinn's prospects as a baby, child, and young woman are simply better here. The math may change down the line, but for now this is the best place we can think of to raise a child.

* in years past they said 4 months but research has since shown that infant guts benefit from waiting until 6 months, at which point the iron supply a baby is born with wears out and solid food is necessary 

** we freeze her food in large, specialty "ice cube trays"

** in quotes because she's gotten very difficult to massage since she discovered she can suck on her toes. The available surface area is, um, limited. Mostly I grab limbs as I can pull them away from her mouth and grease them up.