Monday, October 21, 2013

Feeding the Troops: Years 0-4

The twins turned 4 last month, so I thought it would be a good time to take a look back on their first four years of eating habits and the results of choosing Baby Led Weaning! I have learned a lot in the past 4 years with a lot of hits, but even more misses.

Birth: The boys were born at 37 1/2 weeks weighing 6lbs 8oz and 7lbs 2oz. They got both breast milk and formula for the first 3 months, and only formula after that.

Preston eating pureed pears at 5 months old
Preston eating pureed pears at 5 months old
First Tastes (6-7 Months): At our 4-month checkup, Landon was in the 25th percentile for weight, and the 75th percentile for height. (long and lean) The pediatrician wanted him to put on some weight, so she suggested starting the boys on pureed vegetables. We were to start with once a day at dinner, and work up to 3 times a day over the next few months. I really wasn't comfortable with starting the boys on solids so early, but I followed the advise of the pediatrician.
Their first food was pureed sweet potatoes. I bought an organic sweet potato, steamed it, and pureed it at home. We stuck with once a day feedings until they hit 6 months, them upped them to three meals a day over the next month.
Baby Led Weaning - 7 months - 2 years: For a month I had been a baby food making maniac steaming and pureeing fruits and veggies every Sunday, until I stumbled across Baby Led Weaning. Everything I read on the subject made perfect sense, and it sounded like a perfect fit for our family. (You can read about the benefits that sold me on BLW here.)

Landon, wearing a bit of broccoli...
So from 7 months on, the boys started eating almost exactly what we ate. They loved sauteed or steamed veggies, chicken, fish, pasta, beans, and of course, fruit. I would place the food on their high chair trays, and they chose what to eat and how much to eat.
Preston eating a typical lunch spread at 8-months old

Traveling and eating out was easy because there were no baby food jars or supplies to bring. They each had a Tiny Diner place mat that we would secure to the table and they were ready! I would order, and they would split whatever I was having. (They never got food off of the kids menu).    

For the first year and a half, they boys ate very well, loved healthy whole foods, and rarely refused anything given to them. They especially loved fruits and veggies. I would make them things like Rice Cooker Mac & Cheese and load it with veggies. Most of the time, they would pic out the veggies and leave the pasta. It was so funny to watch them go absolutely bananas over broccoli sauteed with olive oil and garlic, and blueberries. We went through so many blueberries.  

Then came the two's.

Turning 2, and the end of anything green:

Preston with an apple, a carrot, a pear, and BROCCOLI!

Our first setback started because of a comment made by another child in daycare. Every day packed the boys breakfast and lunch, and they would eat together with the other kids. Right around the time the boys turned two, another child told the boys that the green vegetables they were eating were 'yucky.' Suddenly my veggie lovers would not eat green veggies anymore! I was beside myself. I felt like two perfect years were ruined! It started with green, but the veggie boycott spread to veggies of other colors and pretty soon they were eating mostly carbs (Fruits and grains), with a bit of chicken and fish.

Landon the day he decided to like tomatoes.
It was time to get creative with the boys foods and work on and work on expanding their palates. From two to four, we have been building back slowly. There are still things they will refuse to eat at dinner, but that is completely for a 4-year old. Here are some of the ways I get veggies in my boys, and re-introduced veggies into their diets in a fun and stress-free way.

Today, the boys will eat some veggies, and refuse others.
Preston for example will not eat raw tomatoes. But every night, he gets one right on top of his salad. And every night he tells me he doesn't like tomatoes. And every night I tell him "That's okay. Maybe you will like them tomorrow." He used to be the same way about cucumbers, but one day he tried them, and now he likes them and eats them.
Small victories.
We will keep working on it. All in all the boys eat really well and love healthy nutritious foods. When I asked them, Preston said his favorite foods are apples and blueberries. Landon says he likes all foods, but really likes cereal and strawberries.
But they are also 4-years old and are easily enticed by the brightly colored packaging of most kiddie junk foods, fast food that comes with toys, and treats. My goal is simple and realistic. That they eat well most of the time, and enjoy treats on occasion.

Have a great week!


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