More food please!

The thing about being a parent to an IUGR* baby is that you get paranoid about their weight, lack there of . A few weeks ago Aviana was barely drinking any milk and refusing solids. For almost two weeks, it got to the point where I asked Chris should we make an appointment to see the doctor? I asked him if he thought I was making a fuss out of nothing? I had weighed her twice on her scales and she was dropping slightly off her own curve. As an analyst I know better that two data points don’t constitute a trend! But it got me worried. So Chris said it can’t hurt to talk to the doctor.

With that in mind and in typical fashion, literally the next day Aviana started eating like she was a giant who hadn’t eaten for months. She drank all her milk and ate all her food. Well, except for meat. Aviana does not like meat at all. We continue to offer, but to no avail. And the majority of vegetables, she won’t touch them anymore. But we have found cunning ways to get her to eat vegetables. Breaded with cheese, baked in muffins and cooked in fritters! That is with the exception of peas, she will eat peas til the cows come home. Go peas! Just give her a big bowl of peas and she will devour them delightfully. It was wonderful to see her eat!

Just as Aviana was getting good at eating…she got ill, and we are back to square one. She has even been refusing her firm favourites of yoghurt, fruit and cereal! But I’ve learned from the past few months that she will be ok. She won’t starve. Mostly because she now knows the baby signs for milk, more, and eat! It makes it a bit easier that she can communicate with us. So we are trying to teach her other signs to help reduce some of the crying and fussing.

I haven’t weighed her recently, but we did measure her height using a highly inaccurate method of her ‘standing’ next to her height chart. It looks lime she has grown almost 1.5″ in the past three weeks! She is tall in comparison to her classmates so it will be interesting to see her official height according to the doctors in a couple of weeks time. She still doesn’t have rolls of fat on her, but she has definitely grown some fat on her, it makes me proud how far she has come this year. It’s been an amazing and interesting year of milk and food discovery that’s for sure. I’ve learned a lot more than I thought I would have by now about how to feed a baby and a toddler. I know we have a lot more to learn as our baby grows into a stubborn toddler 😝

*intrauterine growth restricted

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When you and your care provider disagree

When I interviewed our nanny to care for Aviana one day a week I wasn’t really sure what I should be asking her other than the usual interview questions. I mean Aviana was only 4 weeks old and I only had 4 weeks of parenting experience, I had zero clue what kind of parenting style I would have. I knew when I hired her that she wasn’t a professional nanny, she was in between jobs after being made redundant and was looking for part time work whilst she waited for her ideal job which she would probably be starting around April time. It fit well with us because many of the nannies we looked at were seeking full time employment, so inevitably they would leave us at a moments notice, plus I would be back at work so Aviana would be in daycare we wouldn’t need her after April anyway. At the interview I felt like she was right for us…she had a teenage son, she was already looking after another baby who was a few months older than Aviana and she had been a night nurse for her sister’s twins, so she had some experience, but I knew there was a risk because she may have her own parenting views and not overly experienced. However, that has never turned out to be a problem.

Fast forward six months later and our nanny now picks up Aviana once a week from daycare and looks after her for the evening so Chris and I can spend time together either on date nights or to just get stuff done around the house. Aviana gets some loving attention, her washing gets done, And she will even do a bit of cleaning when Aviana goes to sleep!! It’s great. 

Last week we had our first disagreement over Aviana.  It was my fault really in how it happened. I had put aside some pureed veg with some pieces of Broccoli, peas and watermelon for Aviana to eat for dinner. I didn’t think twice about it. 

I left a note explaining how with the peas Aviana couldn’t quite pick them up yet on her own, but I leave them out (squashed) for her to practice and will feed her one or two so she gets the idea. We are doing baby led weaning (BLW) and purees- it’s the mixed approach we decided to go with. Aviana’s eating skills has been pretty good and she will pick things up and chew them-we’ve given her pieces of broccoli, sweet potato, carrot, banana, bread and toast soldiers with butter, pancakes, watermelon, peas, teething wafers, avocado….she is capable of eating these. So when I left the bits of food for Aviana our nanny tried ‘giving’ her the watermelon rather than let Aviana do it it herself. Aviana gagged. Nanny panicked and therefore didn’t give her anything else. As part of Baby Led Weaning it’s important to learn the difference between choking and gagging. Gagging is part of the learning process for baby. But it can be scary so you have to watch carefully. When I got home she said she didn’t think Aviana was ready for solids (i.e. Not puréed food) because she choked on the watermelon and it was too soon; not even the other baby she looks after is on solid food yet. I said I disagreed, Aviana had met all the signs for BLW and was already enjoying solids. Yes she’s not perfect at it yet, but that’s the point, she’s learning. Nanny disagreed and said that babies usually start solids when they start crawling. I disagreed and said that’s not the criteria. Anyway, we may be waiting forever for Aviana to crawl because I think she will skip that part. So we agreed to disagree and she left and I felt annoyed. And then I questioned myself. Was I putting Aviana in danger? Am I a bad parent? 

A few hours later it clicked with me. Our nanny is not familiar with the BLW method and how it works. I completely neglected to discuss with her what our approach was and ask if she felt comfortable with it. I felt stupid. So I sent her a message late into the night:

I must apologize! I should have asked you if you are familiar with baby led weaning, I forgot it’s relatively new here as an approach but is very common in the UK. I should have discussed it with you 😳 here is an overview on BLW if you are interested… https://www.whattoexpect.com/first-year/feeding-baby/baby-led-weaning/ If it’s something you are not comfortable with, that’s OK, not everyone is! because we are doing a blended approach anyway we can stick with the purees, but thought I should explain it a bit more ☺️

She replied:

Thank you so much for your message. I must say, I didn’t expect caring for Aviana would turn into caring about her as much as I do, and I believe she senses that from me. When she smiles from across the room as soon as she sees me, it truly melts my heart. My main goals when I’m with her are to keep her safe, happy and comfortable. So I do appreciate the info and your understanding if I can’t follow the method exactly. 

And so now I realise that with things like this communication is key as Aviana gets older, I need to keep checking we are on the same page. I see Aviana everyday and as our parenting evolves everyday I forget we are growing. So I need to keep in check that I’m communicating our decisions to our care giver and make sure we can iron out any differences we may have. 

I’m just nervously waiting for that day when our nanny tells us she has been offered her full time job and we have to say goodbye to her. I think its not easy to find someone as reliable, kind and caring like her.