I first shared our struggles with getting E.J. to eat solid food back in February, and then updated in early April. When I last shared our solid food-feeding progression, we were just graduating from the strategy of dousing Puffs with pureed good stuff and moving on to pinning the baby's arms at his sides while feeding him from a spoon—both very elegant and not at all shameful options, of course.
Well, since my last update, we have made tremendous progress. Tremendous! Admittedly, we continued the arms-pinned approach for some time. E.J. would allow us to actually spoon-feed him that way, and then when we finished his puree we gave him some time to play with finger food. He was still...well, let's call it expressive while eating, but there was actually food being consumed.
The "duck face" was BIG for a while there.
This is his, "My mother is STILL trying to get me to eat avocado" face.
But, as with all other strategies that came before it, this method worked until it didn't. Eventually E.J. figured out how to wiggle his little arm up and out of prison and when he did, he was reaching right for that spoon and guarding that little mouth of his.
But that's when we figured out what really works: E.J. will let you feed him with a spoon if he also has finger food to eat simultaneously. As with all our other successful strategies, Eric happened upon this discovery and it has not failed us ever since. We discovered this right before E.J.'s April weight check, and much to our delight, his weight percentile actually did not drop that month. Instead, he held strong to the third percentile. Hey, he was still on the chart! The doctor instructed us to keep doing what we were doing and come back for another weight check in six weeks.
Well, somehow, some way, something clicked for E.J. in the last six weeks since that doctor visit. Our new feeding approach continues to work and, believe it or not, E.J. even seems to enjoy eating now! He is willing to try new things and has even found some favorite foods. For breakfast, he eats a yogurt/oatmeal/fruit puree mixture along with a scrambled egg and wheat toast. For lunch and dinner, he has some combination of pureed fruits and veggies, steamed vegetables (green veggies like broccoli and peas are his favorite), pasta, cottage or shredded cheddar cheese (other favorites), chicken, watermelon, and really anything else we have laying around that I think would be good for him to try. And he gobbles it up!
Get a load of this guy! Happily eating peas, steamed carrots, Puffs and the remains of some sort of puree.
Not only does he willingly eat his food, but E.J. has started doing some baby sign language to request his favorites. I want to write more in a separate post about his baby signs, because he is killing it with probably at least five signs already, before he is even eleven months old. I'm super impressed. But for the sake of this post, I'll just share that his two favorite food-related signs are "more" and "cheese." That kid strenuously requests cheese quite often! I love that not only is he actually eating, but he is exercising some say in the matter and communicating to us what he wants. Amazing.
E.J. doing his version of the "cheese" sign
VIDEO: E.J.'s version of "more"
VIDEO: E.J. signing for cheese. I love how happy he gets when we acknowledge what he's trying to say!
Of course, this is all well and good but what really matters is if he's gaining that weight. Well, I am pleased to report that we had that six-week follow-up visit today, and little E.J. is weighing in at a hefty 17 lb 9 oz—that's the seventh percentile for his age! Heeeeey there, big boy! Look at you and your chunky self!
Looking oh-so-roly-poly at the doctor today. (Hey, just humor me.)
He's also up to the ninth percentile for height (again, he was in the third percentile six weeks ago), so basically, he's a giant.
The doctor was quite encouraged by this, because now we can see that yes, his body is absorbing the nutrients he needs when he eats, and now he seems to be getting the calories he needs. And he needs A LOT because that boy is CRAZYCAKES in terms of crawling and climbing and generally turning my hair gray, but that's another post in itself. But anyway, this growth means they are no longer concerned about something else being afoot, so there is no need for any testing or anything like that.
So here we are now, with our little late-blooming-eater, who finally found his food groove this month and now is skyrocketing up the growth charts. Phew. What a relief! And not only has the situation improved generally, but this little sweetheart is actually happy when he eats (usually, because, you know. He's still a baby.). I am so relieved that mealtime is no longer a stressful situation in which I sit before him and beg him to eat lest he otherwise whither away to nothing, and instead has now become a fun experience for everyone that involves smiles, laughter, games, communication and, you know, just eating.
A happy, healthy, growing boy!
Way to go, little man. Keep it up and you won't be little much longer!