Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dad tip #121: Sometimes you have to stop yourself from helping your baby

There's nothing worse than seeing your child suffer even slightly, even for a moment. But sometimes you just have to stop yourself from interfering because in some instances, when your child struggles with something, they're learning from that experience.

Let's look at my son's first attempts at feeding himself Gerber Graduates banana puffs. The puffs are these star-shaped snacks designed to be finger-foods for babies. They pretty much disintegrate when salivated upon but only become sticky when lightly moistened. With less than stellar motor coordination and a tendency to drool in the presence of food -- or in the presence of pretty much anything, for that matter -- his early attempts at eating the treats resulted in sticky puffs stuck to the highchair, the floor, and my son's hands and cheeks. In fact, the puffs seemed to be pretty much everywhere but in my son's mouth.

After a few moments, the urge to help him overwhelmed us and we fed him a couple of puffs. He was hungry! But, we also quickly realized that he wasn't going to get any better at it if we didn't let him figure it out for himself. Now, he can put those suckers down right- or left-handed while contemplating quantum physics or thinking about the potential of CERN's newly functional Large Hadron Collider.

It's pretty much the same thing when it comes to eating with a spoon. However, that just takes more coordination, more patience, and more paper towels to clean up the mess. We're still working on that one.

Anyway, keep this advice in mind because it seems to apply to just about everything right now.

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 25, 2008

Dad tip #97: Babies need time to adjust to new food

This morning, when introducing our son to smooshed avocado for the first time, I was reminded that he's rarely ever had a distinct positive reaction to a new food or even a clear neutral reaction. Usually, there's some grimacing or even flinching of some kind once he's realized that he's tasting something he's never eaten before.

I suppose this stands to reason. If I were a baby and I had the tendency to stick everything and anything in my mouth, I might be surprised if I tasted something different that might actually be edible.

For instance, the first time we gave our boy apples, there was a lot of head shaking and squinting; basically the same reaction an adult might have if sucking on a really sour lemon. But, after the next couple of exposures to apples, he couldn't get enough. So, the advice is to not necessarily take their initial reaction as gospel as babies do apparently need some time to adjust to new food.

HOWEVER, Gerber 1st Food Peaches smell like @#$%! No really. They actually make my wife gag when she smells them. After several attempts at feeding them to our son (for which we sort of feel guilty now), we're convinced that he doesn't like them. We'll give fresh pureed peaches a go at some point, but we probably won't ever subject our child to the putrid concoction that is Gerber peaches.

Sadly, it seems, avocados are not on our baby's favorite food list either. But I'm sure that someday he'll love them on a big juicy bacon cheese burger smothered in swiss.

Ahhh ... some day.

Labels: , ,