Thursday, May 7, 2015

Feeding them



LB
 

LB

GB

GB

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I used to make photo diaries of my days when my children were very young. I felt like it helped me stay in touch with the world. I took pictures of everything we did, from morning til night, uploading my photos to Yahoo to create slideshows. Sometimes I shared them with other moms on message boards where I was active at the time. We were all doing it; sometimes we'd go for weeks, everyone sharing a slideshow in turn. I loved it. I think it was a lot like blogging, actually. Blogs were still pretty new when the LB was an infant. I tried it, which I don't think I've ever mentioned here. I had no traffic but I kept it going for about six months. I'd always wanted to try again; it took another six years to get up the courage. The photo diaries suited me just fine during that period, though; they were a record, just for me, of the busy but tedious days at home with young children, and I look back at them now with a mix of pride and amusement.

Lately, I'd been thinking about feeding them as babies. I think it's the time of year; they were both born in September and I started them both on solid foods at about six or seven months old, in the spring. They were exclusively breastfed before that. (I tend to avoid discussing breastfeeding in social situations (blogging included) because I know it can be controversial. But I am proud of my accomplishments in that area. I nursed them for years. I nursed through my second pregnancy and then tandem-nursed (nursed both children at the same time) for over a year as well. I let them wean themselves, which happened well into the toddler years for both).

I didn't set out to do it this way; in fact, I was squeamish about it right up until I had my first baby and was sure I'd only last a few days. But then my pregnancy went off the rails, the labor and delivery were nightmarish and my postpartum recovery was like something out of a Civil War tent hospital. I noticed that in all of this, the breastfeeding I'd so reluctantly started was the only thing actually going well. It was empowering, so I kept going. It was important to me to delay solid foods as long as I could, with both babies, and I was happy to nurse until the right time.

When we did start, I gave them single-grain cereals like rice and barley for a couple of weeks, then moved on to single-ingredient purees and mashes. I made their food myself and I loved it. We moved onto "grown-up" food fairly quickly; I just gave them the blander foods from my own plate, broken up or crushed as necessary. Watching them learn how to eat solids was exciting! They were so different in how they approached it. The LB preferred meats and cheese to starches. His sister was the opposite; she ate pasta, beans, rice and potatoes with extreme gusto. She is still far more likely to eat starchy foods than her brother is. But both have always liked fruits and veggies, even as babies. I can barely keep enough fruit (or baby carrots or cucumbers) in the house to meet their voracious demands. Not that I'm complaining.

I think that one reason I feel nostalgic about their early feeding is because it was simpler. They only ate what I gave them. They'd never had candy or soda or chips. They'd yet to experience the dubious wonders of McDonalds. I'm not particularly controlling of their diets as they've grown; we all get our fair share of treats around here. But like every part of growing up, there was a lovely, fleeting innocence. One of the best parts was their facial expressions. I'm so glad I took photos of some of these times (or had the Bear do it while I did the feeding).

They love the photos too; it's hard for them to conceive of a time when they hadn't already eaten everything they love (or hate) now. Yes, you were both little babies who had never tasted mushy bananas or watery peaches or smashed kidney beans or shredded bits of chicken! You don't remember it, but you were. And you were surprised and eager and you looked incredibly cute in your Fisher-Price high chair and your bib. You looked so much alike, but I can tell you apart; my son, more like me, and my daughter, more like Daddy, both of you exactly ours.

29 comments:

  1. Oh Jennifer, your two sweethearts are so utterly adorable...
    And I see the differences between the two of them - especially the eyes ! Not only their colour, but also their shape... I'm going to stroll back in your blog, to see if I find a photo of your Bear, just to look for the similarities...

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  2. Would you just look at that pair of cuties - they're adorable! Well done you with the breast feeding - tandem feeding is quite an achievement. I loved all the trying new foods with my babies too - I had a freezer full of pureed fruit, veg and pulses; all frozen in ice-cube trays and then transferred to freezer bags. Unfortunately, I never got around to labeling them and some of the colours were so similar that I'm sure they had the strangest concoctions at times! xx

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  3. You've done it again Jennifer, you've written a post that has triggered so many happy memories, not least the one that the three of us have just been talking about during dinner. May 1997, General Election night in the UK and my husband was in Atlanta, GA on business and I was alone nursing my baby daughter through the night and listening to the election results come through on the radio. It was a landslide to Labour and heralded the end of 18 years of Tory rule. It was a memorable night.

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  4. I breast fed both my boys through cracked nipples and mastitis. Like you I had a nightmarish first labour, and felt that the breast feeding really helped me calm down and connect with the baby. Adorable photographs of your lovely tots, I always enjoyed making the foods too, butternut squash and pear purée was a big hit in our house, and such a great colour! X

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    1. I had mastitis with my first.- Ouch! It was rough!

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  5. Nursing was great! I could just plop down and feed them at any time. No bottles to wash! Everywhere we went, I had their food with me. Just needed privacy. :)

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  6. What an adorable photos Jennifer! Very well done on your breastfeeding tandem! I am still nursing my three years old girl and looking forward to get pregnant again :)
    Lovely post by the way!

    Lluisa xoxo

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  7. What a lovely post. I breastfed for years and years as well, I'm a huge fan of it. And I started mine on very similar things. I love that look you get when you give them something new and unexpected, it's priceless. CJ xx

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  8. Great post Jennifer. I absolutely enjoy making baby food. I did it with my first and I am continuing to do it with my little one now. I exclusively breastfed both my oldest and now my little one. And I too allowed my first to wean herself. I'm sure I'll continue and do the same for baby. I'm enjoying this journey. Your babies look so cute in all these photos. Sounds like you had some journey. - And what a lovely one!

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  9. Such gorgeous little faces! Your heartfelt post brought back happy memories for me, too. Feeding, nurturing and loving my babes. It's still the same, although the two boys now eat man-sized portions and leave empty boxes and packets in the cupboard so I won't realise they've eaten all the biscuits!

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  10. How lovely, I breastfed both of mine, I remember the pain when my son was feeding through my bleeding nipples, but was so glad I continued. Precious times, beautiful photos xx

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  11. A beautiful post Jennifer and brought back so many wonderful memories of my 4 the latter 2 crazy
    breastfeeders lol Those 2 of yours are absolutely gorgeous, such special times in our lives xoxo

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  12. What beautiful babies and what great facial expressions. I'm sorry you had such difficulties in your labours and afterwards but it's great you could breastfeed the children. I've heard it makes them more intelligent :-)

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  13. Your babies were both beautiful babies! LB had so much hair as a baby. Charlotte was born with a head full of dark brown hair. I loved that she was able to wear little bows in her hair from day one. I am a bit sad that I was not sucessful with breastfeeding. We stuck with it off and on for the first three weeks (I had a very low supply) and then she developed colic, and that was the end of it. But I am happy I was able to give her what I could for the first few weeks. Those baby days were such special days. I think of them quite often.

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  14. What adorable babies! I can see GB so well in her younger years, LB too but not as pronounced. I breastfed all my kids too, not as long as you, but I truly enjoyed it.

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  15. Is there anything sweeter than this! Look at those faces!!!!! How cool that you made those slideshows...you will have them for years to come!!! And your kiddos will love watching them! And as for breastfeeding...that is awesome! I think we women should be able to scream that from the roof! It is a natural and beautiful thing and to be honest with you Im mad at myself for never getting a photo of me nursing my babies as I would love to look back at it as they are such precious moments! Loved your post here today friend! Wishing you a wonderful mothers day!!! Nicole xo

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  16. Oh what gorgeous bubbas! How fantastic to have your slideshows to go back to for memories! They change so much so quickly that it can be hard to remember them at certain ages. I took so many pictures of my first child, but the second two not nearly so many. I really must make sure to remember to keep snapping away, because time moves oh-so-quickly :)

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  17. Ohhh...your babies were so beautiful! I mean, they still are, of course. They're just grown a little bit more now. ;-) At first when I saw the baby pictures, I thought, "Whose children are these?" I thought maybe they were your friend's babies. I breastfed my boys too, plus made homemade baby food. Both my boys weaned themselves too young for my liking though - under a year old. They both just stopped cold turkey one day and even though I tried and tried every day for at least a couple of weeks after that - nope! Wanted nothing to do with mama. I cried, of course. Looking back on how much McDonalds my kids ate when they were growing up makes me feel guilty now. I had no idea back then (this would've been mid - late 90's) that McDonalds was such crappy food. Now knowing what I do - and so much more about nutrition and healthy eating - I would've done things a lot differently. Oh well, no use beating myself up. Hindsight is great. Ha! We all do the best we can as moms at the time.

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  18. Gosh, my youngest is turning 29 tomorrow - so it really took me a LONG ways back to remember feeding them as babies. Your two are so cute back then and beautiful now! You are a wonderful mother. I remember using this funny little plastic grinder for making baby food. You're doing good if they love carrots and cucumbers! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  19. Precious memories, Jennifer, and thanks for sharing them :) One night when my youngest son was a little more than one he was sitting in his highchair with his dish of food in front of him. His eyelids drooped closed and his sweet little face plunged into his food...and he stayed sound asleep until we rescued him and got him tidy and ready for bed :) Since he was adopted and I had no children before him I was unable to nurse him although I tried, but both of our naturally born to us daughters I breastfed until they interestingly weaned themselves at about eight months, xx

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  20. Precious moments to cherish. I haven't a record of my own 3 children, apart from in my head. We have recorded every little thing of our Grandchildrens lives and look back regularly through the scrapbooks.

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  21. Awww, two cuties. I don't think your daughter's changed at all. How lovely to have the photo diaries to look back on, something to treasure.

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  22. I adore this post Jennifer. It took me back to our three experiencing solid foods for the first time. I haven't looked at those photos in a long, long time. What a wonderful Mom you are. Your love for your family comes through loud and clear in each post. Have a wonderful Friday.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  23. Such lovely memories, they're both such cuties! I breastfed both of my girls and I'm glad and proud that I did. When they started having solids we used to puree whatever food we've cooked, mixing it with baby rice. I remember Lulu getting so excited after she's had her first taste of pasta with beef fillet and tomatoes. She was 8 or 9 months old, and it's still her favourite dish. X

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  24. Gorgeous post- and wow you did well. Firstly with nursing after your difficult labour and second taking all those wonderful pictures to reflect on now! Nursing didn't happen for me sadly. The trauma of my daughters birth meant that my milk didn't come in until 10 days after. By 7 days she'd lost too much weight and I had to give up. I was devastated. It was12 weeks of guilt until my wonderful health visitor reassured me all would be alright. With my son, remember I had broken my pelvis so after the delivery I was able to be pain relieved properly for the first time in over a week. Opiates. And I didn't think it was fair to make him go through withdrawal. It was the right decision coz a week later he went home without me when my health took another serious downturn. I l know nursing carries so much emotion and guilt... But though I couldn't. I admire anyone who does. I'm sure it was a great comfort to you when many things around you were so traumatic. I get that more than you'll know. I loved seeing pictures of your babies as younger versions! Thank you so much for sharing, J9 x

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  25. Aw they look so cute how lovely to have photo's like this to look back on.:) xx

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  26. As someone who had a miserable, painful and short time breastfeeding (two weeks for Bella, three months for Angus) I salute your nursing skills! Good on you, that's a real achievement and you deserve to feel proud of it.

    It's so obvious to me which child is which - their baby faces are so like their childhood ones. I see you did the mushy, pureed spoon kind of weaning like I did. Here, that is now apparently considered out of date - it's all about Baby Led Weaning now, where you let the child feed themselves. I wonder if it's the same in the US? xx

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  27. You did a great job with those babies of yours. We don't talk about the breast feeding either, what seemed so lovely now seem weird as I have two adult children walking around. Little Buddy takes an hour to eat, he is soooooooo slow and I have to say sometimes I lose my patience with him. He is so tiny he needs to eat so I still have to be a big part of his mealtime. I try to keep a yarn project near by so I can do it and stay calm, usually that works.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  28. Hi Jen sorry I have missed lots of your posts. We are having a busy time.This post is particularly current right now in my own life. Your children as babies and now are beautiful xxx

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