How to Follow Every Single Piece of Parenting Advice You Hear

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So this post on tumblr has been making the rounds for a while now, but I just saw it again and thought it was worth sharing here. “I Learn By Going Where I Have to Go,” is a mashup of all the extremely “helpful” baby sleep training advice showered on new parents.

It’s so easy to get all stressy about what we should and shouldn’t be doing with/for/to help our babies that we forget there’s actually no one right answer. Period. It seems like there is one, somewhere, if only you read the right article or ask the right person, but it turns out the right answer is different for everyone. You have to decide for yourself what feels right. That’s true about parenting, and it’s also true of life in general, but I digress.

Lately I’ve been stressing about how to start the babies on finger foods. They seem to want to feed themselves, to move past the tiny jars of mush, but I worry about them choking. Some people use Baby Led Weaning, some start with cheerios, some say just continue with the mush. Everyone has a different opinion.

I bought some Baby Mum-Mum Rice Rusk snack things (try saying that ten times fast) at the store.  They are supposed to dissolve easily in the baby’s mouth. Then I tried one. They didn’t seem to dissolve immediately. Then I looked online… 10-MONTH OLD DIES EATING BABY MUM-MUM and I turned off the Internet and put away the snacks.

Lately, mealtimes have become more interesting. The babies’ personalities are really emerging in full force. When I bring out the baby food, M is all over the place grabbing the spoon dumping it on the floor, leaning way forward to lick the tray, grab the bowl with her mouth, mash her fingers in the mush and smear it around. In contrast, Bean seems content to sit back and let me spoon the food into her mouth, watching M curiously, taking in her surroundings.

Maybe the ideal way to start each of them on finger foods is different. But that’s not my point. I’m trying to get past this “ideal” way of thinking. My real point is, they’re different, I’m different, our circumstances are different, and we’re just going to do what feels right. This morning I finally got out the Mum-mum box and gave them each a piece. They carefully brought it to their mouth and sucked on it a bit, nibbling tiny pieces. They did not immediately shove it down their throats and choke to death. We’re figuring it out.

Yogurt Fail, and Some Wins

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So I guess we’re committed to this solid food thing now; there’s no going back! Tonight the babies had six ounces each, splitting a jar of sweet potato, corn, and apple puree, one of spinach and potato, and half a mashed banana. We’ve been bringing the highchairs to the table while we eat breakfast. Yesterday we had oatmeal and they had oatmeal and some mashed banana. It’s pretty fun.

Today we discovered that Bean hates yogurt. She cried the moment it hit her lips and kept it up each time we tried to offer the spoon. Even the smell of it seemed offensive to her. Mattie liked it okay. We’ll try it again some other time. It is, after all, a completely new food group. Here are the foods they’ve tried so far:

banana

avocado

spinach

potatoes

sweet potatoes

applesauce

carrots

pears

mango

lentils

rice

oatmeal

butternut squash

corn

peas

broccoli

prunes

turkey

yogurt

Not a bad list. So far everything has been mashed, though they seem to be tolerating textures better. Also, they clearly want to feed themselves. They grab the spoons and practice putting them in their mouths, they grab at the bowls and jars; their little hands are itching for action. I think finger foods are in our near future.

Who Can Resist These Faces?

Who Can Resist These Faces?

I think they are having a growth spurt. They are devouring the food, opening their mouths for the next spoonful like hungry little birds. Today they ate prunes and oatmeal in the morning and squash and corn at night. Who can resist them? Look at those faces. How lucky am I.

“It Gets Easier,” a Load of Bunk?

This mantra, heard from parents of older children, from twin parents, this: “It gets easier.” I think I’ve even said it myself to parents with younger babies. What was I talking about? Sure, they’re sleeping better (knock on wood!), but new challenges keep cropping up every day.

Take solid foods. Now there’s more cleaning, more chaos, more sweet potato on my sweater. Today I tried feeding them both sweet potato myself. They were each in a highchair. One started crying. I got confused which spoon was which, there was chaos, gobs of orange, I had to take Mattie out and put her in my lap. I’m not sure how much they actually ate.

I’m starting to wonder if this mantra is like the carrot dangling in front of the donkey. Just keeps him moving forward. But they do keep getting cuter, if that’s even possible. So that’s something.

Sweet Potato Extravaganza!

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What a pro she is!

Today the babies had their first taste of sweet potato. This was their first solid since our false start with rice cereal a couple months back. I’d say they definitely enjoyed it. They polished off the jar we opened, and by the end they were grabbing the spoons and opening their mouths for the next bite. 

Sweet potato is very…orange. And it was everywhere. In the creases of their hands, on their shirts, pants, socks, sprayed on the table, on D’s face, smeared on his sweater, my shirt, and of course all over their happy faces. The table was full of soiled crumpled napkins. Safe to say it was about as messy as one tiny jar of orange mush could be. “Next time we should just strip them naked first,” I said. In any case, they enjoyed it, and they’re eating solids now. They’re practically adults.