Food unglorious food

Don’t get me wrong, Orange loves a good meal. Just like his parents ­čśë But I often get asked by The Professionals how his feeding is going. And I don’t really know what to say.

When we first started weaning Orange, he enjoyed chewing on a banana and was very happy being spoonfed all manner of mashed vegetables, fruit (and quite a few Ella’s Kitchen pouches when I just couldn’t be bothered).

But it was always different feeding Orange than it had been with The Beep. It still is. He likes to hold a spoon while I feed him and, if I load it for him, he will usually get it somewhere in the direction of his mouth. But he’s very far indeed from feeding himself. He should be doing this by now but he’s just not bothered.

Finger food? Well. That might as well just not be there as far as he’s concerned. His little hand might, on a good day, reach out for something I’m holding, but it’s usually soon lost and forgotten, squashed and warm in the depths of his high chair.

I feel under huge pressure to get Orange feeding himself. Every mealtime my heart sinks as he just sits there like a baby bird opening and closing his mouth, waiting for me to spoon in pasta or casserole. Or not, as the case may be. He’s been rather difficult recently as his tastes have started to develop. I need to up my game on the cooking front. He’s a discerning diner, is Orange.

It’s extra hard, given he can still barely sit in a high chair and he struggles to chew and swallow. If I rush him even just a little too much, he chokes and vomits.

I know I should feel grateful, at this point, that he doesn’t need to be tube fed. There is always that possibility in his future. But instead I spend most mealtimes wishing he’s just participate a little bit more, or that I could hand him a piece of toast and he’d plough on in. It’s heartbreaking to watch him just dropping bits of food down next to him and, seemingly, not caring. The less he responds to finger food, the less opportunity I give him to get the hang of it. I just can’t bear watching him fail. Again.

I have a new plan, which is to offer him some finger food with one of his meals per day, for the next two weeks, without fail, and just to not care what he does with it. It is 12.05. Caribbean Chicken then Orange, followed by, er, corn snacks. Gotta start somewhere…

Diet and child development

I have been thinking a lot of late about the effect of diet on child development, in particular about what specific nutrients can do for the brain. We all grew up knowing that sunset yellow food colouring = hellish behavioural meltdown and fish = brain food. It’s the good oils you see.

And today I was reminded of this subject again when reading┬áthis┬ástory on BBC about a family whose two sons are affected by a rare genetic disorder that attacks the brain and nervous system, called adrenoleukodystrophy. ┬áThis condition was made famous by the film Lorenzo’s Oil about sufferer Lorenzo Odone whose symptoms were eased by taking a combination of rapeseed and olive oils daily.

Because Orange is so small for his age, and allergic to dairy, I always add either rapeseed or olive oil to every meal that he eats. And I have a strange sort of gut instinct that these good fats will also help his brain development in some way. I am trying to find out more about it. Orange has something called delayed myelination which basically means that the fatty sheaths in his brain pathways aren’t quite what they should be and as a result they struggle to send messages the right way. Everything takes a bit longer.

What I really want to know is whether I can help Orange in some way with his myelin development, and general cognitive abilities via his diet. ┬áThere is much reading to be done. I am pretty sure there isn’t a dietitian in the land who has the knowledge I need. I am going to try and seek out a progressive medical school somehow that may be doing, or want to do, a study. Orange is a good little eater and I am sure will be a very willing little guinea pig.

Fruit bars are funny

I had no idea that prepacked finger food could be quite so amusing but these fruit bars seem to have really tickled Orange’s sense of humour. He sat with one in his hand for about twenty minutes yesterday, squishing and giggling, and squishing and giggling, bringing it right up to his face and roaring with laughter, then concentrating deeply as he passed it from hand to hand.

So if you are trying to get your little one to develop hand eye coordination and fine motor skills, I highly recommend Organix Date and Apple fruit bars. Not much eating went on but we certainly had a lot of fun playing.

I saw beginnings of a pincer grip and some much more coordinated and graceful movement of Orange’s little arms. Things I never even noticed with my first child, but with Orange it feels like a miracle and lights up my entire day.

Although I am still beaming from Wednesday’s weigh in. After refusing to grow at all for three months, Orange has put on an entire kilo in just a month, and grown 6 cm taller. He has sprouted like a beanstalk and grown a pot belly to boot. Thank you darling Orange, one less thing to worry about for now.

We have lift off with finger food (so proud!)

Orange has been trying (and failing) to get bits of food in his mouth for a while now. He would drop it and get cross and not know where to look to get it back. Anyway, this weekend we had success with the very dull but very graspable baby staple, the ricecake… He is so darned pleased with himself too.

In fact it’s been quite a weekend. Despite being 11 months old and many of his peers crawling and cruising while he lies and watches them, on Saturday he was making serious attempts to move. On his tummy he was grabbing handfulls of playmat and trying really hard to pull himself forwards, while pushing away with his little feet. All that effort was to no avail, but just shows that he wants to do it. From what I understand, that is half the battle.