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Sunday, December 11, 2011

We Went There

The "there" I'm referring to is solid foods. We did it.

I admit, Amelia has already had some rice cereal. In one of the 10398501980 recommendations early on in her reflux days (aka September) we mixed in a VERY small amount of rice cereal to bottles to feed her to help thicken it up. It did absolutely nothing for her reflux. We added a TINY BIT more, I'm talking 1-2tsp for 4oz of milk. She immediately became constipation, grouchy, and we were done with rice cereal.

I had mentioned the doctor had discussed considering starting solids. His biggest advise was to follow the motherly instinct (he's a good doctor, totally trusts me when I think something is wrong, listens to my concerns, talks everything out and gives me options). Since he isn't there with them and watching them all the time, he can't tell, but there are common signs when a baby is ready for solids. If my babies were showing those signs, it wouldn't hurt them. They've had 6 months of good breastmilk and that would continue to be their main source of food for atleast the next several months. He recommended starting slow, once a day, bump it up as needed, and just go with what I thought was best for my babies.

So I said I'd start some research, think things over, and see where we ended up. Essentially, all my research pointed to Amelia being 100% ready for solids. She is using her tongue (sticking it out mostly, it's freakin adorable), sitting up very well, great head and neck support, showed interest and attempted to grab our food, watched us eat and would imitate our chewing motions, and chewing on toys (hands, feet, objects, anything that gets near her mouth really). Part of the chewing is from teething, but she just likes to suck and chew on things. She is also increasing the amount of times a day she eats. Sometimes she eats almost every hour. She never seems full. You're supposed to wait until a baby is double their birth weight (which happened before she even left the hospital) and about 15lbs, but she's tiny. I doubt she'll be 15lbs by her 6 month adjusted birthday haha So I left that out of the equation, since being a preemie, things are a little off.

Essentially, she was text book ready. I am also concerned about my milk supply. Now that she's eating 4-5oz every 3-4 hours, sometimes even more, I'm having a hard time keeping up with her and her brother. Essentially if I pump I need atleast 8oz to feed them both, preferably more. If I nurse her, I need to pump atleast 4oz afterwards for him. In a 24 hour period, I like to pump enough for 6 4oz bottles for Jack and an extra 8oz or so for Amelia for middle of the night feedings and bottles for when I give her medicine. I know they say I'll get more by demand, and it does go up little by little but not nearly as fast as they're wanting more. If I nursed Amelia, pumped for Jack and she is still crying for more, I've given her formula just because I really don't have any other option. She needs more food, I'm running out of food. I let her nurse before I give her the formula to up my supply but it seems to only do so much good. It's not like I immediately get an extra 2 or 3oz for her to eat.

So last night I took half of an avacado, mixed in about 2oz of milk, mushed it until it was soft and creamy and dished up!

Why not rice cereal? Mostly because I didn't find the need to give them rice as their first food. Clearly, Amelia doesn't digest it very well. She might later on. I did buy store bought rice cereal for our reflux prevention attempt and if I was going to feed them more of it, I'd definitely make it myself (why should rice cereal have 10 ingredients in it? They need rice, just rice, not all the other junk). But in all my reading, it didn't seem like it HAD to be the first food. The doctor didn't say it had to be. I've spoken to some mothers who have never given their children rice. So really, I thought avocado would be easier for them to digest, smooth to go down, and have lots of good healthy fats for their brain development. It also mixed into a nice consistency with the breast milk that turned out really well I thought.

I decided to try both twins, despite Jack not showing the signs of being ready. I did this because of 1. Worth a shot right? 2. If they do develop any kind of allergy, I don't want to be stressing over who I gave what to. If Amelia gets farther ahead on the food lists than Jack does, I don't want to mix up anything if there's any kind of reaction. Now I know, neither of them is allergic to avocado. We'll move on to the next food. and 3. Easier for me if they stay on the same pace. If I'm feeding one, it's easy to feed the other. If I'm nursing Amelia, giving her solids, pumping, giving Jack a bottle...it's just a lot to handle. If they can, staying on the same schedule works out much better.

The result...they BOTH did amazing!

They both sloshed it around in their mouths for a minute or 2. Amelia made faces like we were torturing her. But once they swallowed, they both realized they liked it. Amelia started licking her bib to get more. Jack licked every little bit around his lips that he could reach. Together, they downed the avocado mush in a matter of minutes. I was really surprised that Jack handled it so well.

They were so cute with it in their mouths for the first time. They both had the same "what the heck, Ma!" kind of look and just let the food sit on their tongues for a minute. Then they pushed it up to the roof of their mouth, took a little swallow and down the hatch!

It was a little messy, there was a good amount of sloshing that got out of their mouths and onto their faces, but overall, I'd say 90% of the food made it to their tummies.

What was my favorite part was NO SPITTING UP! After months of terrible reflux, constant spitting up, projectile vomitting, you name it, it was so nice to see a meal go in and stay in. I'm really hoping adding more solids in their diets will help with their reflux.

Later that night, Jack did have a little throwing up spell at his bed time meal but none of it was green, which made me think he had digested his avocado pretty well and only threw up some of the night meal. I'll count it as a win.

Tom gave them solid B+ for their first attempt at solids.

We might try banana or sweet potatoes next. Our plan is to just try out different foods. We're only going to do solids once a day at dinner for a few weeks until they start to get the hang of it. We're really not in any rush with the solids. It's good practice, a little extra something and we want it to be extra food for them, not replacing any meals, so they'll still get the same amount of breastmilk and just a few extra calories of solids. When they get closer to their 6 month actual age, we'll bump up their intake and really start to focus on their nutrition outside of breastmilk to see if solids can start replacing meals.

I plan to make all of their food. Santa brought me a spiffy Vitamix last year for Christmas that is amazing at making...well...anything really. I'm obsessed. I use it every day to make everything, smoothies, guacamole, sauces, lentil loaf (surprisingly, one of Tom's favorite meals...never would have guessed it haha). Once they start eating more, I'll start prepping meals, freezing it, and exploring the best ways to keep 2 babies well fed. But for now, I'll mix something up while we're making dinner and see what the little ones think.

Overall, great success, I'm glad I did it, and excited to see if things keep going this well!

Please excuse Tom's crappy phone pictures. He should have used my iPhone and our children have very pretty blue eyes, not red eyes, promise ;)

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