munchkin meals

**I forgot to mention this yesterday, but THANK YOU so much for all the wonderful comments regarding my new job!  I could not be more excited!**

We started MacKenna on solid food at 6 months, so we’ve been at it for 2 full months now.  Man, I thought breastfeeding was hard… starting a baby on solids is SO much harder!  I never, ever expected my baby to not enjoy every single bite that went into her mouth.  Naive?  Maybe.  I just expected a good eater, not the difficult one that I am dealing with right now.

We were so worried about her eating + weight gain (at 8 months, she is weighing 13 lbs 8 oz, but she was a small baby to start with at 5 lbs 6 oz) that we actually took her to the pediatrician last week, much against my choice, but I will do whatever is going to put our minds at ease.  The doctor assured me that she was right on track (although, she’s still weighing in the 1st percentile) and that we really didn’t have anything to worry about.

What I didn’t expect was for her to tell me to cut back on breastfeeding – from feeding her 5-6 times per day to 4-5 times per day – and to stop giving her baby food and just give her table food.  What she didn’t know was that we have been trying both purees + table food/baby-led weaning since the beginning and are still dealing with a difficult eater.  But, I took her advice and attempted a new feeding system that would fit our family.

Before I get into what MacKenna eats on a daily basis, let me explain our little schedule.  I’ve tried to have MacKenna on a schedule since she was about 6 weeks old.  At the time, it was really more for me and helped me immensely during those first few months.  We’ve sort of stuck with it ever since and it seems to be working well for us.

MacKenna nurses 5 times a day:  6 AM, 9:30 AM, between 12:30 + 1 PM, between 4 + 4:30 PM, and right around 7:30 PM.  If she eats well with her solids, she will usually sleep through the night, from 8 PM until 6 AM.  Otherwise, she will wake up once in the middle of the night.

She gets 3 solid meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Breakfast is around 7 AM, lunch at 1 PM, and dinner promptly at 6 PM.  Breakfast + lunch our usually the meals we struggle with and I have a feeling it has to do with her hunger level since they are very close to her milk feedings.

So, here is what MacKenna ate the past few days…

Breakfast

Tuesday’s breakfast was banana in the mesh feeder and mandarin oranges.  She really didn’t eat much of this breakfast, but I’m to the point where I am no longer forcing her to eat.  She’ll eat what she eats, no need to piss her off.

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Wednesday’s breakfast was again banana and mandarin oranges that she did much better with – maybe 2 or 3 bites – and a Baby Mum Mum that she ended up cutting her chin with.  Oops.

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Lunch

Lunch is by far the most difficult meal for us and always ends in tears.  Tuesday involved mandarin oranges in the mesh feeder (didn’t eat it), some peas (didn’t eat them), and some pieces of asparagus.  She sucked a 2-inch chunk of asparagus in.  I proceeded to freak out, stick my finger in her mouth to get it out before she choked, and scratched the inside of her mouth in the process.  I got just-got-a-shot crying, so lunch was promptly ended.  No more asparagus since this is the 3rd time that has happened…

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Wednesday’s lunch involved another Mum Mum (took a few bites), so frozen baby yogurt (she squeezed most of it into her hand without really eating any of it), and mandarin oranges that she took a few bites of.

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And then lunch ended like this…

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Dinner

Dinner usually goes much more smoothly than the first 2 meals of the day.  I think because we give her avocado in the mesh feeder at dinner that she almost ALWAYS eats all of.  She loves it!  And I’m OK with that since avocados are full of calories and healthy fats.  Both Tuesday + Wednesday’s meals involved avocado + mandarin oranges (yes, lots of oranges – she’s eating them, so we’re sticking with them).

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I get a lot of questions about how I clean the mesh feeder.  The ones we use are from Marshalls/Home Goods and the mesh part actually comes out!  So, you can turn it inside out a scrub it really well.  I always use dish soap and the bottle brush to really clean them well.  And I’ve learned NOT to put them in the dishwasher – it does not get them clean!

But, last night’s dinner involved something new:  cheddar cheese!  We had deconstructed nachos for dinner and I had shredded some cheese so we gave her a few bites.  Matt gave her some out of his hands (these are very small pieces, so I’m not worried about her eating them out of our hands) and she kept leaning in for more.  She did really well!

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So, I guess you could say we’re sort of mixing spoon feeding with baby-led weaning.  She HATES spoons but is willing to eat things off our fingers, so we’re going with it.  Whatever we can do to get her to eat!

Thanks to Brittany for hosting the Munchkin Meals linkup!  I can’t wait to go read all the other mamas’ munchkin meals!  Let me know if you linked up – and I suggest anyone else to check out the other posts!

Any suggestions on how to make our meals go a little more smoothly?

  • Winnie

    Our doc suggested feeding solids and then nursing, which may work for you because you said she eats better when she hasn’t recently been nursed.

  • I think she is actually doing well with eating. You have a great attitude about not forcing it on her. It’s great she loves avocado! There isn’t a much healthier food for her to like :) And I love her smile with the mum!
    Oh, and thanks for participating!
    Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) recently posted..The Very First Munchkin Meals Link Up!

  • Yah I tried to put the mesh thing in the dishwasher. Needless to say we only used it once. haha
    Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength recently posted..Munchkin Meals – Working Mom Edition

  • Amanda

    Breastmilk is super fatty and I think it was terrible advice to tell you to cut back. (Of course, I’m not doctor, but really.) Have you talked to La Leche or an LC? Otherwise, I’m sorry to hear that. Babies are people like the rest of us and they want to do things in their own time and like or don’t like things randomly. Just keep trying!

  • Erika

    I never would have guessed that feeding a baby “solids” would be so hard either. Our son is getting much better and I think it’s because I’ve changed up the time he eats and is breastfed – also doing it before he gets too tired is a must! Right now he is only having two meals a day and milk 4 times. I think he is ready for a third meal so I need to figure out timing for that. Are you doing food first or milk?

  • I think you’re doing better than we are. I feel like E isn’t adventurous at all. Either way she’s freakin adorable! :)
    Katie @momslrb recently posted..Munchkin Meals

  • Have you tried Puffs (or similiar)? They’re quickly-dissolving cereal and are great practice to pick up and get into the mouth and since they dissolve fast, the choking/gagging is less when they’re first just learning. My boys are a week older than Mac, and I have one real chow-hound and one that just recently decided food (within the last couple of weeks) is really yummy. He used to gag at anything with any sort of texture, and the tongue thrust was there much longer than his brother’s.

    I’ve always given them both bits of things to “practice” eating with and consider their primary nutrition still comes from me. They nurse on demand when I’m home, after each meal and get two 5-7oz bottles when I’m away. Sounds like they have a pretty similar schedule to Mac, except they wake at least once during the night for a feed too.

    For their meals, I usually put a few things down for them to try – watermelon, banana slices, avocado slices, cereal, berries, noodles (spaghetti noodles are a riot :), sweet potato, cooked carrots/broccoli/cauliflower and then usually spoon feed a puree. They make a big mess, and eat some of it… but I don’t stress, because their main nutrition still comes from breastmilk.

    They won’t nurse forever, and they’re still just learning about eating. You & MacKenna sound like you’re doing great! Keep up the good work :)
    Megan recently posted..June 12th-18th

  • danielle

    Have you tried doing solids before BFing? So, instead of nursing at 630 am, do some solids first and then top her off with BM. If she is hungrier, she may be more inclined to hoover down some food (especially if you said she does better at dinner without having had BF recently).

  • Hi! I’m visiting from Brittany’s page. I’m stalking everyone’s pages and I had to comment on yours because I just felt so bad! I’m sure it has to be hard to have a baby in the 1st percentile for weight! We you and your husband low weight too? I was always in a low weight percentile but my baby got his chunk from my husband. Chase is 13.5 months now and a great eater but he hasn’t always been that way with solid foods. We started rice cereal at 5 months and it was on and off because he would get constipated. Oh I head him waking up from his nap! So let me make this quick. I made my own baby food and sometimes he ate it and sometimes he didn’t. He loved gerber. I have a friend that her daughter wouldn’t eat from the spoon. At around 11 months he stopped eating from the spoon and wouldn’t really eat table food either. We just kept offering it and one day he ate the puffs and then started eating the other foods. email me if you have more questions. there are some great food people to follow on facebook.
    Meagan recently posted..DIY I heart photo collage

  • If you are worried about her choking, could you mash up the stuff that scares you a little with a fork? I had Henry sucking on bread this week at a restaurant. When one piece would get soggy and start falling apart, I just gave him a new piece. The rule of thumb is either BIG pieces that kids can pick up and hold (like an apple slice) or small pieces that they can swallow whole (even if they gag). The middle sized pieces (like asparagus) are the most scary.

    I agree with the posters who tell you to feed food first. Henry is bottle fed so I feed him about 4oz and then food, then more formula if he is still hungry.
    susan recently posted..Workouts: 5/28-6/3/2012

  • I wouldn’t worry too much. She seems like she is interested in all the pics. I’ve heard food before one is just for fun and that their nutrition comes mainly from breastmilk. My son was eating 2 oz of purees 2 times a day from 6-8 months. Now at 81/2 mo he doesn’t like purees at all and will eat bits of whatever we are having for dinner. He seems to like what we have the best. He had bites of black bean and corn enchiladas which was even somewhat spicy and loved them! He will not eat on his own. We have to hand feed him. He doesn’t quite have the pincer grasp yet so he just gets frustrated when he can’t put something in his mouth. Some days, he just isn’t interested in eating, but it doesn’t bother me because I know he gets in enough milk. These days, I am worried that he is losing interest in nursing and eating too many solids. My supply is diminishing when I pump, I hope we can keep it up until he’s a year. See, everyone always worries about something. And I wish I could get my little guy to eat avocado! It’s my favorite and it’s the one thing he seems to really dislike:( Good luck!
    Ashley recently posted..Our New Bread

  • Jen

    You know we’re struggling with this, too. Thanks so much for sharing what M “eats” b/c I’ll try some of these ideas too. I never thought to try oranges or cheese! I’m so sorry to hear about your asparagus experience. Must be so scary! We tried beans this past week and W choked and projectile vomited everywhere. WHY is this so hard?
    Jen recently posted..Five

  • Nikki

    Great variety! My son is 9 months old and on the tiny side too!