Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gallant Eating

Gallant learned to eat this weekend.  It was fascinating.

He had two food blends.  One was steamed Asian pear mushed through a baby food mill and then mixed with infant rice cereal and formula powder.  The other was baked sweet potato mixed with infant rice cereal, formula powder, and some water.

(The rice cereal and formula powder add calories and iron as well as improving digestibility.  Constipated infants are no fun.  But perhaps "Constipated Infants" is a good name for a rock band.)

Friday night (and prior) he was only able to get food down if we touched the roof of his mouth after putting food in his mouth.  He would involuntarily push the food out of his mouth with his tongue unless we triggered his sucking reflex to override his gag reflex.  Holding a spoon in his mouth that way was awkward, so we fed him by putting the food on a fingertip and letting him suck on the finger.

Saturday he was able to eat from a spoon for a few bites each meal.  The standard infant spoon feeding method worked: wait for him to open his mouth, put in a spoon with food, pull out the spoon so the food is scraped off onto the top of his mouth and upper gums, and wait for him to swallow as much as will go down.  But at lunch his gag reflex returned after a few minutes, and we would again need to trigger swallowing.  At dinner time exhaustion was the problem: without the sucking reflex eating was too much effort and he almost did fall asleep sucking on my wife's fingertip.

Today was the first day he ate solid food at all three meal times.  He ate from a spoon in that standard way, and made surprisingly little mess.


For the non-parents who read this, eating solids is great news.  Infants who only have milk (or formula) for nourishment usually cannot sleep through the night.  They wake up hungry and needing to make wet poops.  Gallant was no exception, usually waking up every three or four hours.  He would fall asleep at 7pm or 8pm but then wake during the 11pm, 3am, and 5am hours with a diaper change required during the last two wakings.  But solids are more filling, take longer to digest, and produce fewer pooping times.  We might soon be able to get a six hour block of sleep!

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