Jump in

Well, after all that talking about it, I threw caution to the wind, went with my gut, and gave Juniper some avocado.

I don’t think love is even strong enough of a word for how she felt about it. She dove for the spoon. She smacked her lips with glee. The whole thing was very entertaining.

Then, after two days of avocado, we gave her sweet potato. Mind blown! Sweet potato made avocado look like the proverbial brussel sprout.

It’s amazing how after just two times with the spoon, she already is learning how to get the food off of it more easily.

We also tried practicing with the weaning glass. It proved to be more difficult, but mostly because she gets so excited to try and drink from it that she sort of launches herself at the glass, so it’s hard to try and help get the water in her mouth.
I'm glad we went for it.  She is really just having tastes when it comes down to it.  She is probably eating about a teaspoon or two of food total, and she nurses a normal for her amount when she is finished, but man does she seem to love it.  She gets super excited when we sit her in her high chair and set the table for her.  We ordered a Montessori weaning table for her, and we'll start using that instead of the high chair when it gets here next week. 



To Wean or Not to Wean?

The subject of Montessori weaning is pretty hotly debated.  In its true form, Montessori weaning begins at 2-3 months with the introduction of fresh juices and continues on with the introduction of solids at 4 months.  My first thoughts on the matter were that that is way too early, and the whole juice thing doesn’t really fly with me, but lately I've been changing my tune a bit.  

At our four month well visit, without any prompting from me, our pediatrician told us that the AAP changed its recommendations about when to start solids and what to feed baby when you do start solids.  They've changed things from waiting on solids until 6 months and common allergenic foods even longer, to introducing solids at 4 months being okay and there are now no limitations on allergenic foods.  I knew we didn't want to do any rice cereal with Juniper, so I kind of thought we had to wait until six months when we could start with purees, but this got me thinking.  Hmmmm. 

There is so much debate about Montessori weaning, and on the introduction of solids in general, because of the whole ‘virgin gut’ idea.  Basically, the lining of a baby’s gut is permeable to allow the antibodies present in breastmilk through to the baby’s bloodstream.  It’s a perfect system except that the permeable gut also allows potential allergens through to the baby’s bloodstream, making it possible, in theory for food sensitivity to occur.  There is also a lot of talk about how it is natural to nurse an infant for two or three years, and how we introduce solid food too early now.  But. 

But, my baby is showing an increased interest in food now.  I know some people say that babies are interested in everything that you are doing and want to do it too, but I don’t feel that is what is going on with Juniper.  When she sits at meals with us, she tracks my spoon or fork from my bowl, to my mouth, and back again.  She has even opened her mouth a few times.  The girl wants to eat.  I’ve been hiding behind the virgin gut theory and saying that I will wait until at least six months to offer solids.  But, if I’d never read a study (like a primitive mama wouldn’t have) I probably would have offered her a bit of food already. So, I don’t know that I buy the whole babies weren’t intended to eat real food for a long time argument, because I'm pretty sure that if I wasn't over-educated on the topic Juniper would already be snacking on real food. 
For me?
So what’s stopping me?  Well, I guess that is a good question.  My own emotions and needs are stopping me, and it is very un-Montessorian of me.  What would be best for Juniper’s development, I think, would be to offer her some food.  For mama, though, it’s not that simple.  Being back at work has been really, really hard for me (like insanely hard, but that's another post for another day).  It’s not really getting any easier either.  Nursing is one thing that I can do that no one else can do for Juniper, and I like that.  I like that time together, I even like it in the middle of the night, and I am scared of losing that connection.  It might be that exclusively breastfeeding Juniper is meeting my needs more than hers now.  I’m not saying that we’ll stop nursing, just that it might be time to give some food in addition.  She might hate it, but I think that it’s up to her to find out. 


Montessori Madness: The Floor Bed

The other morning I walked into Juniper’s room to find this:

A true Montessori moment.  If you google for images of floor beds, you come across a lot of pictures like this, so I was expecting it, but it was a little weird.  Juniper has been rolling over in her sleep a lot lately.  Usually she cries, and I go in to find her playing superman on her belly, unable to turn back over to go to sleep.  I guess since she’s always slept on her back, and played on her tummy, she doesn’t realize that sleep can happen on her belly too.  Until two days ago. 

This wasn’t the first time I’ve found her in a strange place, but it was the first time that she’d still been asleep.  My first instinct was to go in and turn her back over (or at the very least re-position her so that all of her body was on the mattress), and probably if had been the middle of the night I would have.  But since it was 6am, and I knew she’d be up for the day in the next hour, I left her.  About a half hour later she started squirming around so I moved her back onto the bed on her back and she slept for a little longer that way. 

It probably seems a little weird to leave a baby in an awkward position, but I do think that is all part of using a floor bed.  You’re letting the child figure out how to move around, and also letting them feel that they have power over their own body.  She was sleeping peacefully in her awkward position, so why move her?  Once she wasn’t happy anymore, and she wasn’t able to get to a comfortable position on her own, I stepped in and helped her out.  As with all the Montessori works, it’s all about finding that fine balance between letting the child work independently (and possibly struggle) without letting her get too frustrated.  If frustration (as opposed to a little struggle to accomplish something) sets in, then learning stops. 

So, I guess you could say that the floor bed is working out for us.  Juniper seems to prefer it to her crib, and I prefer it to her crib (I can still lay down to nurse her in the night and pretend that I am still asleep).  Granted, she isn’t crawling yet, so that may throw a wrench in things, but we’ll see.  I’m actually looking forward to her being able to crawl to her sleep space when she is tired (this is the floor bed in practice ideal, but I realize that it may not happen).  We haven’t gotten rid the crib yet, it’s just in the basement in case we decide we need it in a few months, but for now I’m sold.