Thursday, March 24, 2011

Feeding Ella 2.0

The scariest parts of my day happen when Ella is eating finger food.

I don't know if other babies are as bad at it as she is, but she sucks at it.

Literally.

We feed her these little cereal-like things called puffs. They're supposed to dissolve easily in her mouth, but she nibbles a little gerbil-bite first. Then she puts the whole puff in her mouth and sometimes pushes it out with her tongue.

All of this I can handle.

It's when she gags that I start to worry.

There are Hershey's Kiss-sized freeze dried yogurt melts that are also designed to dissolve in a baby's mouth. Ella does her nibble first, then her rejection bit, and then sometimes (instead of waving her hand around with it stuck to her fingers) sucks on it. I rejoice--she's eating! she's eating! And then she puts her fingers in her mouth, and sometimes, and now I realize these are the lucky times, the addition of fingers in the mouth equals the subtraction of food in the mouth. But sometimes it means she shoves the food far back enough on her tongue to gag herself.

Once, a couple of nights ago, when Justin was at work in the ER, she choked so badly that she ended up making herself throw up--thankfully expelling the yogurt melt from the back of her throat.

It's more stress that I thought it would ever be to feed a baby.

The first time she gagged it was on a rice husk (Baby Mum-Mum) piece. She had eaten most of the Almond Joy-but-flat sized Mum-Mum without incident. Then, while I wasn't looking, she popped in the remaining bit--about the size of a Tootsie Roll-but-flat. She sat there looking at me with big eyes while her mouth worked wide open tongue thrusts. Luckily, I was able to snag the bit with my finger.

All that may be more information than some of you are looking for, but the long and short of it is that three times a day I am reminded of how precious my moments with Ella are, as I watch her eat and hope and pray that nothing bad will happen.

What I need to do is take an infant CPR and First-Aid class. That way I will at least feel a bit empowered, instead of helpless and fearful.

I wonder if all moms feel this nervous about feeding their child? I try really hard not to show it; I just sit and watch and encourage her when things are going well. The last thing I want is for her to have a complex about eating or to be fearful of simple tasks.

Don't even get me started on sippy cups...

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