Andrew the dog · Baby · Baby Feeding

Ari, Week 24: Thanksgiving and more

Oh, man. We’re starting to have our hands full here! All of a sudden, at 5 1/2 months old, Ari seems to be able to see much better than before. And – right on cue – he can reach and grab better, too. When we go out to eat he wants the silverware (or chopsticks), then it goes on the floor. He wants to grab my menu and sweep it back and forth and throw it on the floor. He can see small objects and he wants them, too! Now I have to think about what is within his reach! He also likes to sit in his high chair and play with toys on the tray, and he’s constantly dropping them on the floor.

A. and I were able to both go to Book Babies with Ari this week. I was amazed by how much more interactive he (Ari) was than normal. Now he is looking at people across the room, making eye contact, and smiling. He reaches out and explores faces with his hands. Tonight he visited a little with A.’s dad on a video chat and he was smiling at him and reaching out and touching the screen.

Our sleeping arrangements have changed this week, with Ari now sleeping most of the night in his crib in his room. He’s gotten a little big for the bassinet by our bed. I still bring him to bed with us when he cries in the early morning, so I can go back to sleep while he nurses.

He also did his first back-to-front roll this week! (Front to back already happened.) That was a couple of days ago, and today he’s rolling himself around like it’s nothing. I finally took him to mama-baby yoga today and he happily rolled back and forth on a blanket in front of me.

We had a really nice Thanksgiving with lots of family and friends! Both sets of our parents came and stayed in a hotel, along with my grandma and A.’s brother and his wife. A good friend of mine was visiting from Berkeley, and another good friend came over for dinner, too. There were three big dogs – Andrew, my parents’ dog Luna, and my friend’s dalmatian – plus A.’s brother’s dachsund. Ari joined us in his high chair but he didn’t eat anything.

We had so much great food: A. and his dad made Challah; my mom made her wonderful brandied cranberry sauce; A.’s dad made turkey, mashed potatoes, and a gluten-free turkey gravy with brown rice flour; I tried a recipe for vegan hummus mashed potatoes that I really liked and a delicious vegan mushroom gravy, a gluten-free vegan cornbread that wasn’t so great, and a gluten-free vegan pumpkin pie that turned out pretty well; and my friend brought brussels sprouts, peas, herbed yams, and three kinds of stuffing! It was a good thing she brought stuffing, because I looked and called all over town trying to find my favorite Pepperidge Farm stuffing, and no one had it! I guess you have to buy it really early?

Speaking of eating, yesterday Ari started solids! There are a lot of theories on when and how you should start solids with babies. It’s no more mixing rice cereal into bottles at three or four months old. I’ve been reading about “baby-led weaning,” which seems like a natural, feed the baby from your own plate kind of thing, and involves feeding more solid textures and letting the baby just play with the food if they’re not ready or able to eat it yet.

According to some of the reading I’ve done, starting solids earlier than six months used to be encouraged as a way to help babies get fuller stomachs so they would eat less frequently and sleep longer at night. But as we learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, there has been concern about moms losing their milk supply and not breastfeeding enough if they start solids too early. La Leche League and other breastfeeding advocates (like KellyMom) are into delaying solids to prevent too-early weaning. The American Academy of Pediatricians says to start solids at 4-6 months, as long as breastfeeding is still the main source of nutrition until six months and is continued for at least the first year. The World Health Organization (WHO) says to wait until six months for solids and continue breastfeeding for two years or more.

Ari is sitting up well and putting things in his mouth easily. We’ve been letting him lick and taste things for a while – salty green olives were a favorite – and now that he has a high chair we’ve been excited to start giving him some food. He still seems to have the “tongue thrust reflex” and pushes foods out of his mouth, so I don’t expect him to take much in. But it would be great for him to start developing his taste buds and getting used to different flavors and textures.

Then there’s the question of what to feed him, and how to go about it. I have seen advice to introduce only one new food a week to help monitor for allergic reactions. I’ve also read that it’s okay to try a new food every 3-4 days. And with baby-led weaning, it seems like you might be giving the baby foods off your plate that have more than one ingredient, and allowing them to try a wide variety of foods whenever they want. Rice cereal used to be recommended as a first food, but now the consensus seems to be that you can start with soft fruits and vegetables or different kinds of grains, too.

We have a big bag of organic sweet potatoes, so we started with those! I went ahead and cooked and mashed some, thinned out with water, and we spoon-fed it to him. This is not the baby-led weaning approach – I think I’ve been getting a little too excited about getting new foods into him! But he grabbed the spoon and shoved it in his mouth sometimes, and stuck his fingers in it and sucked on them. I think he actually swallowed some! I had to remind myself that he should only have a teaspoon or two at first so he doesn’t fill up. There’s something about having a dish of mashed food in front of me that makes me want to keep spooning it into his mouth until it’s gone!

I do want to follow more of a “baby-led weaning” approach as opposed to just spooning him purees, though. Here are some resources on that:

Baby-led Weaning

Wholesome Baby Food

What to Expect

Wikipedia

Someone’s personal story

Analytical Armadillo

And, because I’m interested in Montessori (more on that later): this. The author seems to share my thoughts on high chairs, too.

Anyway, pictures!

Here is Ari at a Thai restaurant with my parents. He started out in the high chair:

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And he played with a spoon:

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Here he is playing with his toes. He’s been doing a lot of that!

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Here is Luna in our backyard on Thanksgiving:

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And my friend’s dog on Andrew’s bed:

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And Andrew under the table:

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The dinner table while we were still putting food out:

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Poor Ari just got his bib to put in his mouth:

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And an empty spoon:

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Here is Ari ready for a walk in the cold, in the little sleeping bag my friend’s mom made:

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Still not crawling, but close?

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Another time in the sleeping bag, with the matching hat:

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And, finally, chowing down on the sweet potato! It’s too bad I didn’t get a picture of him tonight, grabbing the spoon handle and shoving it in his mouth!

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He has now conquered the bear and the elephant! For our photo session, he kept turning from one side to the other, climbing on them and knocking them over.

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10 thoughts on “Ari, Week 24: Thanksgiving and more

  1. Ooooh, I can’t wait to see Ari again! That bowl of mashed sweet potatoes looks HUGE! I guess we’re going to need to get a bigger elephant and bear….

  2. I am also a Pepperidge Farm stuffing fan! I finally found it hidden in a small rack at Safeway, not with all of the other stuffings. Maybe someone will bring a bag of it to you…….

  3. I didn’t mean for my above post to show up here; I meant it to reply to your email, sorry.
    I love the weekly updates and look forward to seeing Ari’s progress. So many changes and “firsts” that first year of life. The photos are always great, too!

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