Wednesday, June 03, 2009

"Ah" And "Bah" And "Gah"

My niece will be six months old early next week, and she started eating solid foods this past weekend.

Her mother started by giving her infant cereal on Saturday morning along with her bottle. She liked the cereal.

At lunchtime, she was offered pureed poached pears, which she liked very much, and pureed steamed peas, which she did not like at all. Babies generally do not like any vegetable the first few tries, and it will probably be a week or two before my niece begins to like peas.

For Saturday night’s dinner at my parents’ house, my niece was offered pureed cooked butternut squash, which she did not like, and pureed fresh, warm applesauce, which she liked very much.

She had her cereal again Sunday morning as well as her first taste of pureed banana, which she did not like. Her dislike of banana was not a surprise, since it often takes a week or more before babies begin to like the taste of banana.

For Sunday lunch at my parents’ house, she was given pureed poached pears again, which she liked very much for a second time—I think pears must be her favorite, for now—as well as pureed steamed butter beans, which she did not like.

For Sunday dinner, again at my parents’ house, she was given pureed mashed potatoes, which she liked, and pureed poached apricots, which she did not like as much as the pears.

On Monday morning, along with her cereal, she was offered pureed banana a second time. She clearly remembered the banana from Sunday, because she spit it out as soon as she tasted it.

For Monday lunch, she was offered pureed poached peaches, which she liked—but not as much as the pears—and pureed steamed lima beans, which she did not like.

For Monday dinner, she was offered pureed mashed potatoes and pureed homemade warm applesauce, both of which she liked for a second time.

For Tuesday morning’s breakfast, she was given a very small amount of pureed fresh orange along with her cereal, and she was very definitely intrigued by the taste of the pureed orange—but, once again, she didn’t seem to like it as much as the pears.

At lunchtime on Tuesday, it was back to pureed poached pears, again a success, and pureed steamed peas, again not a success.

Last evening at dinner, my sister-in-law tried pureed butternut squash a second time and pureed poached plums. My niece took a couple of swallows of the butternut squash last night, nothing more, and three swallows of the plums, nothing more.

This morning she had a very small amount of pureed fresh orange for a second time with her cereal, and I think she is beginning to like the taste of orange.

For today’s lunch, she had pureed applesauce again, which she still likes, and pureed steamed wax beans, which she did not like.

For tonight’s dinner at my parents’ house, my niece was given pureed mashed potatoes and pureed poached pears. I think this combination has become her preferred dinner, at least for now.

Naturally, my niece only takes a few swallows of solid food at each meal. Her infant formula remains her main source of nourishment. Other than her morning infant cereal, all other solid foods, as of now, are exercises in experimentation, preparations for a few weeks from now when solid food will become a significant part of her diet.

At present, she is, more or less, learning to swallow, and trying out her taste buds, and little else. A month from now, however, she should be a genuine eater, able to accept meaningful amounts of solid food three times a day.

She is just at the point at which she can sit in a high chair during family mealtimes. She is buckled in, of course, but she can now make it through breakfast, lunch and dinner sitting up on her own in a high chair. Her chair is placed alongside her mother’s chair at mealtimes at her own house. At my parents’ house, she sits between her mother and her grandmother at a corner of the dining table, just as my nephew used to do before he took his place at table. I wish I could be there to see it.

My niece burbles a lot now—lots of “Ah” and “Bah” and “Gah” sounds come out of her—and she responds fully now to people, sounds and interesting, colorful things. Her eyes follow people around a room and she burbles when people talk to her.

Her favorite toy is a small bright red corduroy animal with bright yellow ears and bright green hands and bright black-and-white-striped socks on its feet. It has bells inside that ring every time the toy is moved, and she loves it. She can pick it up and put it down, and move it from hand to hand.

She is at the point now at which she can enjoy the colorful pictures in a picture book. She will happily sit on her mother’s or father’s lap and enjoy looking at the pictures in a children’s book while one of her parents reads out the nonsensical rhymes and stories. She could not do that as recently as a month ago.

My niece doesn’t cry much, and she has not been prone to childhood ailments, for which we are all thankful. Happily, she has not suffered any sudden ear infections or sudden high fevers to which infants are sometimes susceptible. She has been a very healthy baby, and for that we are all blessed.

In exactly another month, Josh and I will get to see her again.

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