A solid effort

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Like everything to do with raising your children, there are a thousand opinions out there on the internet. Starting your baby on solids is no exception, and let me tell you, no matter how you’re currently feeding your baby I can guarantee that someone out there thinks that it’s WRONG.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with starting solids, it’s scary enough even without the one million opinions. Needless to say I was a little nervous about weaning my baby from milk to foods.

A few friends from my antenatal group really helped with pushing me along. They were excited to start their babies on solids and wanted to begin as soon as possible but I wanted to leave it for as long as possible. After all, breastmilk is just so much easier and requires no extra thinking.

But when Ashton started to grab and yell at our food, I knew his exclusive breastmilk diet was coming to an end. At exactly five months, I gave him a piece of capsicum to suck on. It had begun.

After that came the purees. Avocado, banana, pumpkin and whatever else I could get my hands on. I was a puree machine and I was pretty damn proud of myself. Every day Ashton would sit in his little chair and open his little mouth for whatever was on his little spoon. I could tell he loved the taste and texture of my foods but was still not sold on swallowing. In other words, lunchtime was gag central at our household and whatever bib he was wearing was certain to fall victim to flying food debris. That was okay, he was learning, and I was too actually.

In the afternoon or at dinnertime I would also find him something to suck on and play with - A chicken bone, a big piece of melon, a strip of cucumber, or a corn on the cob with all the kernels removed.

Piece of cake, I thought. But not actual cake, that’s bad for babies.

Little did I realise that when solids go in, solids have to go out too.

I’d fed Ashton mashed kumara one afternoon and he’d eaten it like a total champ. But it had been three days since he’d made any kind of code brown in his nappy and I was started to worry about the mess that was inevitably building up in his bowels.

I’d put him to bed each night and hear him straining and pushing, trying to get that brown sticky stuff out and onto the white cot sheets.

Push Ashton, puuuush! I mean seriously, how much poop could that little man hold? He was usually a two-poops-a-day kind of guy. We were now pushing four days and I couldn’t imagine how that was making him feel. That damn kumara!

On day four, I took him to get his five month immunisations. It was shear co-incidence, but suddenly I realised that the rotavirus immunisation often caused a little bit of diarrhoea for 48 hours afterward.

When night came he was grizzly and grouchy but there was still no poop. At 8pm I heard the straining noise once more. He was in his cot, red in the face, but he still wasn’t pooping.

WHY WON’T YOU POOOOOOOP?

That morning at around 6am, I heard it. The sweet symphony of slick, slidey poo. Ashton let out the almightiest of wet farts, with each pop singing in a melodious harmony. It was music to my ears… kind of.

I wasn’t one hundred percent stoked with a 6am wake up by an incredibly stinky baby. I was also well aware that I’d taken the mattress protector off the cot a couple of weeks ago for a wash. I was happy the moment had finally come, but every part of me was hoping his nappy was able to bear the heavy load.

I scooped him up rather reluctantly and we made our way to the change table in the bathroom. It had gotten onto his back and out the sides of his nappy, but luckily it had stopped short of the sheets and had only made a mess of his bedtime onesie. You readers without kids are probably groaning right now!

He had done the biggest poo in his life and I would be the lucky one to clean it up. Ahhh mum life.

So to sum up my experience of solids thus far, I say this:

Don’t be afraid of the food, be afraid of the poop. Holy crap (no pun intended) that stuff is next level – and we aren’t even on actual food yet. God help me when I stop the purees!

Everything else about solids is great. It’s so awesome watching your baby taste and explore food for the first time. Right now Mr Ashton is sitting in his exer-saucer, chewing on a silicon teat filled with frozen melon. He loves it and I love having a few moments to sit and write a whole blog post while he does!

So I say go for it, mamas. The world is your oyster, just be prepared for the clean up!

Rachel Chen