Savraj is teething badly and he is getting so frustrated at mealtimes. I’m finding it a little bit of a struggle to keep him calm because, if he gets into a mini tantrum during a meal, he loses interest in eating the rest. It’s usually if the food isn’t here fast enough or if there’s too much chewing involved! I think this links to him not wanting to self-feed much either so he wants it faster than I can give him. As soon as he sees his plate, he gets frustrated and wants his food NOW.
For breakfast he had Heinz First Steps Oaty Banana Porridge and I was talking to him to help him stay calm. I decided to give him some Heinz So Yummy Original Biscotti to play with, while cooling down his porridge as a slight distraction. He is still learning to feed himself and keeps blowing it out when I let go of the finger food, which is so funny, but is a sign he’s still resisting feeding himself. He had a little crying moment towards the end, and I think it’s because the spoon of food wasn’t immediately ready at his mouth. I calmly asked him why he was crying and then tried to keep a happier tone of voice, which got me a smile.
Time with Daddy
Tonight Savraj had pork mince bolognese with pasta twirls, and I kept pre-mealtime very calm and had the food ready and cooled before sitting him down. Tarminder was home to keep him entertained in another room whilst I prepared the food which helped but is not an everyday thing. Time with Daddy stopped Savraj getting worked up before the meal had even started. This meant there was less fussing in the highchair and he was able to eat and finish his meal. We gave him lots of claps and he was a happy baby.
Toys to distract
Savraj had a toy with him at breakfast to see if that kept him calmer as he’s quite attached to it. He started off well with cereal and milk and you could see him focusing on chewing since he had his hands busy.
I wouldn’t normally give him toys, but he didn’t want to let go of it before breakfast and I didn’t want to start the meal off with some crying as he (and we) had a very sleepless night. I made a little feeding game out if it, so he knew that the next spoonful was arriving and I wasn’t leaving him without food in between mouthfuls.
Dinner was Heinz By Nature Pasta Bolognese and Savraj loves these pouches so much – the texture and flavour – and it’s so quick for us to give him because it comes right out on the spoon. He only gets annoyed at our speed if we’re not fast enough.
I try to get his food ready before he gets extra hungry but it’s a strange one. As soon as he sits in his highchair, it’s like he is suddenly so hungry because he knows what is coming. Prior to his meals, he’s fine, not upset at all. When he does get sad, I don’t want to take him out of his highchair whilst crying, as I want him to understand that we can help him with whatever he is upset about. I try to talk to him and then take him out when he’s calmer.
Change of scene
We decided to try something new and let Savraj eat breakfast with us at the same time in the living room where we usually eat. We did this because we wanted him to learn from how we eat ourselves, and I wanted him to feel included and pick up good habits. He seemed so calm about it and seemed to enjoy his oat banana pancakes in the new environment. I think going forward we will continue to do this on weekends when we’re all home together. The change of scene must have helped too because he wasn’t screaming or crying.
Lunch was lentil soup and bread. Savraj had a toy to play with in his highchair while I prepped the food. I gave him the crusts to play with whilst his food cooled down so that he felt that it was eating time when the meal hadn’t yet been served. It meant that when I was giving him his lunch he already had some food in his hand so he wasn’t as agitated.
I’m trying to encourage his self-feeding skills too because he is still very reluctant to put food in his mouth – he wants to be spoonfed. He was being so funny blowing raspberries in between spoonfuls of soup, so I thought he wanted a break. Then he got annoyed that I wasn’t feeding him, even though he had bread in his hands. But the next thing I knew, he was eating the bread by himself – and that’s a real step forward because it was something we were working on for ages. For him to finally have that instinct made it all worthwhile.
I felt super proud of him because for so long he hasn’t wanted to hold any food. Slowly I have seen his development; first being able to touch food and then choosing to pick it up. And now he’s calmer in his highchair and feeding himself, it makes me feel relieved. Also, I laughed because I was thinking, great, I don’t have to feed him until he’s 20 years old!
We've done a lot of spoon-feeding with Savraj until now because he's been reluctant to pick up food for himself. I've started a new tactic to see if he might have a go at feeding himself. Lunch was a homemade veggie dish and then some kiwi to boost his Vitamin C intake, and I put it on his tray a few minutes before I started feeding him to see what he would do. He kept looking at it and touching it, then looking back at me for reassurance so I gave him an encouraging smile just to say, yes it's fine, you can touch it, you can feel it – you can even try and eat it. But he didn't. After about three minutes I gave him a spoonful and I think he did a happy wave, he was obviously waiting for me to feed him.
But then I think that paid off because at dinnertime as we were feeding him, he actually picked up the spoon and went to suck on it. Tarminder was feeding him Heinz By Nature Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Shapes, which Savraj loves. It was so nice, we got really excited because it's the first time Sav has actually put the spoon to his mouth. That is a really good step for us. He did give the spoon and food a flick and it went everywhere, which I'm used to, but daddy wanted to put the spoon away. I had to encourage him to let Sav make as much mess as he wanted.
We've realised that as Sav explores the food, mealtimes are a lot messier than they used to be. He's enjoying playing with the food sometimes now, and when I put food down on the table, he goes in for it straight away. It's really nice to see because a month-and-a-half ago he wasn't doing that, he was just looking at the food and he wasn't grabbing it, wasn't interested in touching anything.
He has tried some savoury puffs this week and it has been brilliant. He's picked them up himself and loves the flavour. He actually knows how to feed himself with those which is so different from a few weeks ago.
Breakfast was yogurt with berries, and I've noticed he's getting better at using two hands to feel the food and passing it from one to the other. He is interacting with the food and he wasn't doing that a couple of weeks ago. I can really see the journey, can see him developing as a baby. His hand to eye co-ordination is growing, it's nice to see that he is thinking about it as well. When he has the food in his hands, he's squishing it, he's thinking about how it feels, exploring the texture of it. I am just going to encourage him to play with as many foods as he can, hard and soft, squidgy and warm, different textures. I still spoon-fed him though, because he just wanted to squeeze the berries and had no interest putting them in his mouth.
Trying finger foods
At dinner in the evening I had a friend over so Savraj wanted to play instead of eat, but I thought if I offered him food straight on his tray table rather than a plate then he could play with that. I gave him some broccoli and cauliflower florets but also kept a bowl of it next to me, mashed with cheese sauce, so I could offer him spoonfuls at the same time. He was good at noticing the finger food and picking it up, but he didn’t want to be encouraged to be fed today. I tried to guide his hand to his mouth with the pieces, but he got upset and didn't want it.
When Savraj gets upset at a meal because he doesn't want to feed himself, I sometimes feel like it’s my fault for continuing to spoon feed him. I could leave the plate with food there or just the food on the table-top but at the same time, I can’t watch him sitting in his chair crying because he’s hungry and doesn’t want to feed himself. So, when he picks up bits of finger food that's a huge step because it’s taken us a while to get to this stage. He isn’t a baby who likes to put everything in his mouth, nor does he let us hold his hands. Toys and teething aids are just never in his mouth, it's just not a natural reflex for him.
His auntie was round for breakfast, so I let her feed him Heinz By Nature Oaty Banana Porridge. He took longer than usual to put his hand into the porridge which was unusual for him, so I let him play with a spoon to still make sure that he was having that interaction and developing his motor skills. He was quite happy to be spoon-fed the whole bowl.
For dinner that night I gave Savraj some salmon, butternut squash and parsnips and I was excited because I'd hoped he'd find it tasty – but I know previously that when I've been excited for a meal it hasn't gone too well and he's cried and not liked it. So, I was also a little bit nervous. I shouldn't have worried because he loved it. I've really seen the difference with him over the last few weeks.
Before, he wouldn't let me touch his hand or give him the spoon, and if I held his hand with the spoon, he would pull it away, tense up and get quite annoyed by it. At dinner tonight he was actually letting me hold his hand. It was really nice to see that he let me hold his hand to guide it into his mouth and he sucked on the spoon for a few seconds, took the food in and was quite happy with himself.
I was really happy with him because it's not something he has done before. If we keep that relationship up, playing with food on the tray table as opposed to the plate, or guiding his hand with the spoon or with the finger food into his mouth, he will finally realise that's what he has to do and the reflex will become natural. And he might start feeding himself.
Lumps and bumps
"Although I had my heart set on baby-led weaning, so far we’ve gone with traditional weaning as I can control what size pieces Savraj has. Now that he’s 7 months it's time for him to experience different textures. Savraj has to get used to the lumps and that might sometimes include gagging, which can be scary.
I tried fresh strawberries and blackberries with his Heinz First Steps Summer Fruit Porridge for breakfast and left them whole so he could experiment with the feel. He didn’t try to eat them – he wants Mummy to feed him! Normally he wants to be spoon-fed but today he started to touch the fruits which came as a surprise to me. I was quite pleased with that. I crushed them so that he could eat them and mushed them up so I felt comfortable because they were quite big pieces. This way I don't think he will have much chance of gagging with it, so it's a nice puree. I feel like breakfast is always a winner with Savraj since this is when he’s the hungriest, and he enjoys his berries. I just have to make sure I feed him fast enough.
We've been trying to introduce more lumps and bumps and for lunch I made rice and shredded chicken curry. But I feel as though I was a bit naive, thinking that he could handle that many lumps and that kind of texture. The rice was over cooked and mushed.
Saved by the blender
He got really upset mid meal because the texture was too much for him to handle and he couldn't swallow it down, so there were tears and he kept twisting his head away. I ended up pureeing it in a panic halfway through, and then he did eat it like that, even though it looked a bit gross! The portion size was also massive, so maybe it was a bit intimidating on the plate. I don’t know why I felt that brave giving him so many lumps, but you learn from it each day and I guess I won’t know what doesn’t work unless I give it a go. I’m just glad that the meal was saved by the good old blender once again.
We’re off on a spa break for two nights so I’ve had to pack meals that are convenient, yet balanced. This was the first time we fed Savraj at the service station on the way so I was nervous about getting a highchair and him focusing on lunch. When he was just having milk, it felt like you could give that to him anywhere. Now he's on solids, there’s a whole other set of complications. How do I keep the food fresh? Where will he sit? How will he react in a new environment? And what will people think of me giving him food that's difficult to eat because it has more textures?
Dinner that night was honestly one of the hardest meals we’ve ever had and it resulted in both me and Savraj in tears. We had to do an emergency meal in the hotel room, so Tarminder held him while I fed him Heinz By Nature Sweet Potato, Chicken & Veggies, because I know he loves the flavour. He was overtired and crying a lot and I was worried about him not swallowing properly or choking. We sang to him to calm him down and he eventually had the rest of the pouch.
Things improved so much after that – I think because Savraj had a good night's sleep and was in a much better mood. On the way home he had Heinz By Nature Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Shapes in the motorway services and although I had to serve it cold he was fine, watching it come out of the pouch and onto the spoon and eating it all up. What I love about a pouch is that we can comfortably go out and Savraj can have his meals on the go. They are our go-to now because he’s familiar with the texture and flavour. We're especially proud of Savraj because the pasta shapes pouch has a little bit more texture and lumps, which he has got used to. Even if he isn’t paying much attention to us or his food, I feel reassured he won’t gag on it.
Combining weaning and this trip has been challenging but everyone needs a break. I feel like Savraj has developed his eating skills over the last few days being away from home. It’s so easy to be stuck in a routine that works for you as a family and not step outside your comfort zone when it comes to feeding your baby. Savraj has shown us that he’s adapted and I’ve relaxed."