Aug 28, 2013

My Fear of Table Food

Honestly, I was a little terrified to started Addison on table food. Oh, did you think I was scared of eating table food myself? Silly readers!

No, no, this is all about Addison. Even though I had a mix of emotions about switching her to table foods, I knew that she would love the change. The girl is a huge fan of food. No seriously, she loves food. She will eat anything. She has never been a big fan green vegetables and the pureed ham makes her throw up but yet she will eat both. [Of course now she loves green vegetables - I just kept feeding the green veggies to her because I wanted her to get a taste for them. However I stopped giving her ham. She'll eat all other proteins so if she's not a fan of ham then it's not the end of the world I figure.] A is big on doing things independently, so her being able to feed herself is just one more exciting milestone for her.

Don't get me wrong, it's exciting for me too. I was excited for her to try new foods. I was excited for her to feed herself and for me to not have to feed her every single meal. And despite my best laid plans, I didn't end up making her purees so we did all Gerber-store-bought, which has been a bit expensive (she's an eater). But at the same time, switching her to table foods was just one more way she is growing up so quickly. Plus, I had no idea where to start. What could she have? What if she choked? How do I cook foods for her that would be soft enough? How much of our meals could she actually have and how much would I have to make for her separately? How much do I even give her?

I knew I had to start her on table food sooner or later. It might be a little awkward in college if all she eats is purees. Unfortunately she has a chicken for a mom, so I don't just jump into anything. I ease into everything after plenty of research. I wanted to feel completely at ease. This was a big step. Or at least this was a big step to this first-time mom.

A had been eating eating Gerber Puffs, Crunchies, and Yogurt Melts for some time now before I had made the decision to go to table foods at dinner. My first plan was to start her on table foods at 9 months, but I then quickly backtracked and decided to wait another month. Just before she turned 10 months, we started giving her little bits of things. She tried cheese first, which she loved (what kid doesn't love cheese?). Then she would try just bites of our dinner while still eating purees as her primary dinner. Everything we gave her, she ate happily and with ease.

So finally, we moved towards all table foods for dinner. The purees were no more; well other than lunch. It was actually a smoother transition than I thought it would be. But A is very go-with-the-flow, so like her dad, so when we changed things she didn't even bat an eye. Our doctor had warned me that when you start a baby on table foods, sometimes it can be hard to get them to eat purees again/still because they discover table foods taste so much better. But luckily, Addison was still good eating her purees for lunch since I wasn't ready to switch her on both meals.

For the most part Addison has whatever we're having. But there are those days when what we're having isn't an option for her. It's a seafood dish that I don't want her to try yet - I'm split on when I when she'll try shellfish, although she has had a bite of fish already. Also she doesn't have pizza with us and other meals like that that just aren't an option for her to have yet. So I have to come up with a separate meal for her. I try to get a protein in her diet every night (she does have protein for lunch), but sometimes that just doesn't happen other than what protein cheese has. She does have a fruit and a vegetable every single night. I've also been working on getting grains into her daily diet as well.

It has been challenging enough coming up with meals for the hubs and me, but having to think ahead and make sure A has something to eat too has been a whole new adventure. For the most part she is easy. She'll eat anything. She's pretty easy going. All I have to do is put something in front of her and she'll pretty much eat it.

There are a few things that she hasn't got to try. Sugary things. She has a bite of muffin here and there but that's the most sugary it gets for her. She can wait until she gets her birthday cake to have more sugar. I'm not a mean mom or hyper-sensitive about her having sugar at this age, but she'll have her whole life to eat sugar, why not try and start her out healthier? She also doesn't get things like French fries. She could chew them. And she would probably love them, but at this point, it's not an option. She will just have to live without them for a little longer (she doesn't know what she's missing anyway).

Part of the reason I started cooking the way I did was because I wanted to start my daughter off right. Rob and I have a vegetable and a glass of milk with every meal. We want to start her off on a healthy diet so that she doesn't know any different. Things will change as she gets older and tries even more food, and I have no doubt that I will have a fight to get her to eat her vegetables at some point. But for now, I can make it so this is the only thing she knows. I can make it so all she knows right now is eating healthy - fruits and veggies with every meal.

In the next few weeks I'll be switching her lunches over to table food as well - no purees! Yay! - and I'm dreading it a bit to be honest. Dinners are somewhat easy right now since she can mostly have whatever we are having. But lunches it's just me and her and I usually just a turkey and Swiss sandwich every day. So the new challenge is figuring out what she will be eating for lunches. I have a couple ideas in the works of some homemade meals that I might even share once I get it all worked out and we get going on lunches, but for now we're sticking with the purees for lunches (and that's mostly because we still have some and just want to use them so we didn't waste our money - simple enough).

Although I was initially conflicted and a honestly a little stressed about the change to table foods, I'm happy we did it. I'm happy at our timing. Addison has had many many months eating the healthier for her at this stage purees. She is also great at chewing, so we didn't push her into something she was ready for. [Score one for mommy instincts.] Addison does an amazing job eating and it does make life a little simpler with her eating dinners with us now. Let the family dinners begin!

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