Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Leah can feed herself

I've been letting her play with her food more. I always put a few Cheerios on the tray - no more than 5 at a time - because I read that more than that is overwhelming to a baby this age and may frustrate her. And I've been giving her a piece of whatever she's eating that she can touch and hold and rub in her hair or throw on the floor or grind up in her palm or squish into her clothes. It's been hard for me because I don't like the mess - and Shafi definitely would have difficulty with this kind of permitted messiness. But I have read and was also told by the pediatrician that this will help her get more comfortable with food and interested in feeding herself.

I guess they were right - because yesterday at dinner she picked Cheerios up off of her highchair tray and put them into her mouth. Not just once, which she has done before. I think she actually ate about half a dozen of them. Sometimes she held them between the tips of her thumb and forefinger and bit them in half with her cute little front teeth and then also managed to put the 2nd half into her mouth. Sometimes she put the whole thing in her mouth at once. Sometimes she stuck half her hand into her mouth in order to be sure she'd keep the Cheerio in there and then she'd practically suck on her fingers as she pulled them out so that no food would follow them.

Shafi and I clapped and smiled. Hopefully that gave her the message that we like her feeding herself. And maybe in the next few days she'll also feed herself more foods.

We've also been much more relaxed about what foods she eats lately. She had pizza for the first time at a birthday party on Saturday. I gave her the end crust to hold and chew on - which she enjoyed. And I tore the rest of the slice into small pieces to feed her. She loved it! We also gave her a little bit of our food at the diner on Saturday at brunch - some tuna salad, some eggs, some breakfast potatoes, and a couple bites of pickle.

As we're giving her more and more foods she seems to be getting less picky too. She's even been eating vegetables and other savory purees. She still doesn't like the stage 3 foods - something about the mix of puree and pieces seems to bother her, but if I separate out the chunks and finger feed them to her she'll eat them.

And she's been eating more "real meals." For breakfast yesterday she had a scrambled egg with some schredded cheese mixed in, a mini blueberry waffle, and some cut up strawberries and blueberries. And today she had instant oatmeal (maple and brown sugar), a blueberry yogurt, and some cut up strawberries and blueberries. And for dinner last night I gave her a range of defrosted items for the first time - a cube of beef stew that I had frozen, a cube of soft cooked apples that I had frozen, and some frozen edemame I had bought. She still seemed hungry after all of that, so I also gave her a jar of green beans and brown rice (a stage 2 food - 4 oz) and she actually ate the whole thing.

"Hmm - this raspberry is too weird" - don't worry, Leah did take to them later:
Leah loves hanging out in a highchair at the diner:
Putting the Cheerio in her mouth:
Successful transfer of the Cheerio from the hand to the mouth:

Eating the Cheerio:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Leah's 9 month check-up

We went in for Leah's 9 month check-up this morning. She's huge! Do I say that every time?

She's 30.5 inches tall - still in the >97th percentile. And she's 20 lbs 2 ozs - the 72nd percentile. And apparently her head has really grown and is now in the 86th percentile.

Other than the bit of a cold she has at the moment she's totally healthy. The doctor did the usual exam and asked questions about her development. She asked when Leah started crawling. I said she's really only been crawling for a couple weeks but that she started scooting around 7.5 months. So the pediatrician said she'd like to do her blood test today. Sometimes she does it at the 1 year check-up, but since they check for lead, they like to do it at the first appointment after the baby has been "mobile" for at least 6 weeks. They also check for anemia - not sure what else, but they said we'll get a call in a week or so with the results.

Thankfully the doctor is expert at drawing blood from babies. She showed me how to hold her and she held her right hand very tight and got her vein on the first stick - didn't take too long but she did have to take 2 vials. Leah screamed and cried the whole time, but I think it was just traumatic and not really painful. As soon as the blood test was over she gave her the flu shot in her left thigh. Then I picked her up and hugged her and she pretty much calmed down immediately.

Leah was a bit tired this afternoon, but not so different from yesterday so I'm not sure if it's the cold or the flu shot. She was practically falling asleep this evening, so we fed her and put her to bed a little early - around 6:40. She only cried for a few minutes before falling asleep. We had done the bath before her afternoon nap because I wanted to loosen up her snot by keeping her in a steamy room for a bit (as per the doctor's recommendation). Definitely seemed like a better way to get the snot out than using the nasal aspirator.

The other excitement today is that Leah seems to have mastered playing "roll." In case you're not familiar with this game - it's the infant version of catch. If you roll the ball to Leah she actually rolls it back to you. We've played this game many times, but today was the first time that I was sure she was intentionally participating. It's nice to have another game to add to our repertoire of knocking down blocks, banging together stacking cups, and watching Mom play pat-a-cake.

Tyler came over for a playdate and Leah kept trying to put her finger in his mouth:
When she finally succeeded, he bit her:
She loves Cheerios, but she was having a bit of trouble eating them with a stuffy nose:
Leah loves pulling up on the coffee table and trying to grab the computer cords:
Her musical table is definitely her favorite toy at the moment:
She'll look up only for important things like posing for pictures:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Leah turned 9 months old yesterday!

I can't believe how old she is...and how much she can do now. She's truly crawling - not just scooting or army crawling. She's pulling up on everything - if she can reach it and grip it she can pull up on it. Yesterday at the Dojo playgroup I turned around and she had pulled up along the wall by the gate. It's too high for her to reach the top. Apparently she held on to the edge of the wall next to the gate in order to stand up...that's definitely new. I imagine that means she can stand up on her own once she gets her balance a bit better. And a very important development...she's figured out how to sit back down well - no more getting stranded standing and screaming for help.

She's eating more and more table food. I gave her a little bit of the halibut I was having for lunch yesterday. She ate a few bites. She also had a few of the cannelini (white) beans with it. Then she refused to eat any more - but despite the frustrations I'm enjoying introducing her to "real" food. For breakfast today she had an entire 4 oz Yobaby yogurt - blueberry is her favorite so she'll eat the whole thing. And it's amazing how big she opens her mouth when she's eating something she really likes. It's like she's saying, "Come on Mom, this stuff is good. Give me a bigger spoonful!" Then she ate an Earth's Best blueberry waffle. They're multi-grain organic waffles and a set of 4 mini waffles is about the same size as a normal frozen waffle. I defrosted 2 of them and she only ate 1, but I think she'll have another for lunch. She did seem to like it. Although I thought maybe I could give her the whole thing and she'd hold it and bite off pieces. She bit off one bite - but then she seemed to be enjoying banging it on the highchair and watching it fall apart too much to eat it - so I took it back and fed her bite size pieces. Then she ate about a quarter of a kiwi. I think blueberry and kiwi are her favorite foods at the moment.

We have her 9 month check-up this Wednesday. I'm going to ask if the pediatrician thinks it's okay to give her berries. It seems like she would probably like them, but because they're a common allergen it's usually recommended to wait until a year. I haven't tried frozen veggies I bought for Leah, but I have been giving her some other things that I bought after other moms recommended them. She does not like tofu. But I think I'll get a banana and see if she'll eat the tofu mashed in with banana. She does like rice cakes. I got some sort of organic lightly salted plain rice cakes. I just break off bite size pieces for her. I'd say she still prefers Cheerios, but she'll eat about a quarter of a rice cake at a meal.

I cut up several fruits the other day. She's been eating the soft cooked apple, but I have to break it into very small pieces or she spits it out - I think she's afraid of choking. I also cut up some grapes into bite size pieces. She seems to like those, but again I have to cut them up pretty small for her to not spit them out right away. The one thing she didn't like - watermelon. I'm think it's actually the texture though - or maybe fear of choking. I tried really small pieces and she swirls it around and tries to gum it but eventually spits it out - similar to cantaloupe and honeydew. After a couple bites she refused to take any - but maybe that's not because of the taste but because of the frustration of not being able to eat it.

She's also getting better at communicating. She shakes her head while eating - which at first I was worried about - is it intentional? Does she have some sort of tick? But now I'm sure - she is saying no. This morning I tried to give her another bite of waffle and she pursed her lips and shook her head back and forth fairly vigorously. Then I gave her kiwi and she ate it. I tried more waffle - shook her head. More kiwi - mmm good. Is that nature or nurture? Has she learned that shaking her head means no from watching me? Or is it just natural to shake your head when you don't want something? Either way - it's pretty cool that she can communicate....but I'm sure the fact that her only efficient communication is no is going to frustrate me a lot!

Leah the adept crawler and talker:
She was so happy that Malia came over to play:
Getting to know her new friend Cooper:
Showing off her crawling skills for James...who is going to be crawling soon:
Making her latest facial expression - tongue over top lip concentration face:

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting...research subject...busy day

I brought Leah along with me to vote today. I tried to explain to her that voting is every American's civic duty and that she'll get to participate in 17 1/4 years. I tried to tell her that this is a historic election - the first time a black man is a presidential nominee. I'm not sure she understood. But someday I'll at least be able to show her pictures of her sitting on my hip while I turned the knob to vote for Obama.This afternoon we went into Manhattan to participate in an infant study at NYU. The study was about sounds and how infants learn language. Leah sat on my lap while looking at a screen and they played sounds and showed still pictures on the screen. They videotaped Leah and apparently the study has to do with her eye movement and such related to the pictures and the sounds. They told us that Leah was a great test subject...she was paying attention and didn't squirm too much. And they gave us a cute t-shirt and certificate as a thank you for participating.
Leah continues to improve her standing and sitting back down skills...and continues to find more places to pull up:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Leah likes beef stew

Who would have thought? Maybe she just likes her food with more seasoning than the Gerber and Earth's Best people put in the jar. I made beef stew last night - with beef broth, Guinness, beef, tomato, carrot, potato, onion, garlic, and some other seasoning. Don't worry, after cooking it for over 3 hours I think the alcohol was cooked out.

Since everything was cooked to fairly soft and Leah seems to be into finger foods more, I decided to go ahead and give her some of the stew for lunch. I tore the chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes into very small chunks and fed them to her with my fingers. And I spoon fed her the stew. It took her a couple bites to decide it was okay, but she did. And then she ate a good amount of it. So I gave her more for dinner.

She also had the majority of a kiwi - some for lunch and some for dinner. I've got a fresh direct order coming tomorrow with some other goodies to feed her. And I think tonight I'll try soft cooking an apple so that she can eat some of that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I witnessed Leah figuring out how to sit down after pulling up at the coffee table...and I caught some of it on film. So now when she appears stranded in the crib, I will leave her stranded...I know she can sit down...and now she needs to know that standing and crying in the crib when she should be sleeping will not bring Mom's attention.

After standing up straight, Leah started to bend at the knees and lower herself towards the ground:
And then she sat down:

I also got her a new toy - a busy cube - that is nice and heavy so she can pull up on that without pushing it or turning it over - and it's got fun stuff to play with on each side:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Leah likes disco...but I wouldn't say she loves it

Yesterday we went to Baby Loves Disco. It's a disco party for kids approximately 6 months to 7 years old. The Brooklyn one is held at Southpaw, a cool bar / live music venue in Park Slope. There's a DJ playing disco from the 70s/80s, a bubble machine, and egg shakers and scarves to play with on the dance floor. There's also a cool chill out room with books and toys and comfy couches to rest on.

There are all sorts of sponsors, so we definitely felt a little bombarded by advertising and such for children's products and services. But it meant that the price was pretty cheap ($12 each and free for "non-walking humans") and there were nice healthy snacks including cheese, grapes, guacamole, goldfish, Cheerios, Chex, juice, and soy milk. And for us big kids there was also a cash bar. We gave Leah a taste of some new foods. She did not like the Happy Baby quinoa, black bean and banana we gave her a sample of, nor did she like the guacamole. But she liked the goldfish crackers, rice Chex, and wheat Chex. And she loved the bits of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

So in addition to having a fun time dancing and hanging out...we discovered that Leah is really starting to like finger foods. She still doesn't seem to want to feed herself. And she doesn't seem to like purees with chunks in them. But she likes finger foods that she has to "chew" - and not just Cheerios. So for dinner last night when she rejected several stage 3 foods - apricot with fruit chunks, spaghetti with cheddar in tomato sauce, and salmon with french lentils (although she did eat prunes and oat flour) - I tried cutting up some fresh kiwi. First I cut it up into very small pieces, and she liked it. Then I tried giving her bigger but thin slices, and she liked it. She was pretty good at chewing it up and she ate a lot - over 1/3rd of the kiwi. And when she'd had enough she started spitting it out. Not exactly how I would choose for her to tell us when she's done eating...but it works.

Dancing with Baba:

Singing and dancing with Baba:
Dancing with Mom:
Hanging out in the chill out room:
Partying with Leah's friend Tyler and his parents Jan and Nu: