Sunday, January 22, 2006

Brave New World: Solid Foods

The girls are five months, two weeks, and some odd number of days old this week.

It’s unbelievable how quickly the time has gone.

It just seems like yesterday that the girls were coming home from the hospital.

It seems like just last night that the girls needed to be fed every two hours.

That’s what made this past weekend all the more exciting.

You see, this past weekend was a big moment in the life of the girls: The start of SOLID FOOD.

Brave New World: Solid Foods!


Now, the start of solid food is big in any baby’s life, no doubt.

But as any parent of multiples will tell you, the start of solid food for multiples is even more momentous.

You see, most multiples, because they are multiples, are born as low birth-weight babies.

The first few weeks/months of life are spent carefully charting the daily milk/formula intake of each child.

Each trip to the doctor for an official “weigh-in” is a breathtaking adventure, where the parents silently pray, “Please have gained weight, please.”

Each ounce of weight gain is a celebration. Each step closer to being “average” weight means your baby is healthy, happy, and thriving.

So the start of solid foods is a celebration, in that it indicates that up to this point, all is well in the development of your twins, and that they are now ready to take the next step in their growth and development.


Our twins have been no exception. If you recall, Caroline started her first week of life being fed ½ ounce of formula every two hours from a “Nutritional Supplement System” (click here for the full story, "First Full Day at Home".

Caroline's First Week of Life: 1/2 Ounce Every Two Hours.

½ ounce! That’s not a lot of food when you think about it!

The girls were so small, they each could fit on one of Dad’s arms.

So to have Katherine and Caroline prepared to graduate to solid foods this week was something we’ve looked forward to for many weeks.

Once we got the okay from our doctor, we were bound and determined to start.


I’ll admit, despite being excited to start the girls on solids, I didn’t do much actual research on the subject, so when the time actually came for the first solid food feeding, I really wasn’t prepared.

In my mind, I pictured the solid food looking like a Cream of Wheat or oatmeal.

But, once I dutifully prepared the single grain cereal according to instructions (one part cereal, five parts breast milk), I was strangely disappointed.

I expected to see . . . . well . . . . SOLID FOOD.

What I had was more accurately – breast milk with little flecks of grain cereal.

It was a soup, really.

However, any disappointment I had was quickly forgotten once I got the girls settled in their high chairs, tied bibs around their necks, and spooned the first mouthful of soup – er, SOLID FOOD – onto the baby spoon.

You see, both girls have been attentively watching us eat our food for the past month.

They have followed our forks and spoons from our plate to our mouth, and actually open their mouths and mimic chewing as we put the food in our mouth, then chew and swallow our food.

So this time, when I spooned the food onto the baby spoon, Caroline (who I was feeding; Terri had Katherine), followed the spoon with her eyes.

She opened her mouth, mimicking what she did all the other times she watched me put food on my spoon.

But this time her eyes got big as she realized, “He’s bringing the spoon towards ME!”

She kept her mouth open, and I placed the spoon into her mouth.

She closed her mouth on the food.

Caroline's First Solid Food

Now, if this were a Hollywood story, I’d tell you that Caroline swallowed her food eagerly, gulped down the oat/breast milk mixture, then happily opened her mouth for more.

That’s not what happened in the real world.

In the real world, what happened was this:

Caroline closed her mouth on the food.

The look on her face changed from one of great anticipation to the look one might get when they’ve sucked a sour lemon.

Caroline looked puzzled, and slightly disgusted.

She promptly spit out most of the food.

She then looked up at me, as if to say, “This is what I’ve been watching you do for the past month? Why do you enjoy it so much?”

In hindsight, I guess the single grain cereal can’t be all that tasty – perhaps she expected better. Or maybe the hard plastic spoon was a surprise to Caroline.

In any case, after I stopped laughing at Caroline’s reaction, I spooned another helping of food on the spoon and started again.

The final tally – more soup was on the bib then got into Caroline’s mouth. But she got some of it down, so it was a good start.


Katherine, on the other hand (always the better feeder), took to the spoon pretty quickly. She got a good deal of her food into her stomach, and probably would have eaten more if we had let her!

Katherine & Mommy

Katherine's First Solid Food

We’ll keep up the single grain cereal for the rest of the week, before starting in on other foods.

But if the first feeding is any indication, we’ve entered a Brave New World by starting on solids. Consider:

Our first foray into solid foods took a dozen more pieces of Kleenex, two more bibs, soiled perfectly clean outfits, and took about 30 minutes longer than our bottle feeding.

Tell me again why I was so eager to start on solids?


Amy said...

HA HA HA! Welcome to my world.

Finally, after 5 weeks, Baylee has the hang of it. They are now each eating between 4 and 5 ounces of baby food (veggies/fruit) + cereal twice a day. For breakfast, we are doing just the cereal.

I know what you mean, though, about questioning why you felt eager. No more bottles on the fly...we have to make sure we are home for the feedings.


Amy75 said...

Oh, how I miss the days when I was excited at weight gain.

You're happy now, but just wait until one of them eats the last Twinkie!