Monday, October 4, 2010

31 for 21 Day 4: Need Advice

Today is a rainy day (can you call it rain if it just spits all day) and Sweet Pea isn't feeling her best.  I'm hoping she didn't catch Daddy's cold, but we will see in the next day or two if that is the cause of her extra fussiness.  I normally really enjoy rainy days, but today I am feeling a bit beat down and want to ask all parents out there for a little advice in the feeding arena.  Sweet Pea has become more and more determined to self feed.  Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great development!  However, there is a severe lack of finger foods that she can handle (chewing wise mainly) and so we are still having to rely on puree baby food and baby cereal for some nutritional components.  Her spoon holding is coming along quite well (better with her right hand than left, but she tries with both), but it's the in between bites time that is really getting to me...
  • We battle over getting the spoon to the mouth with the food still on it - luckily she will let us hold her hand and guide it most of the time (I'm sure that will end too, but hopefully not before she gets better at it herself)
  • Trying to teach her not to bang the spoon after she fills it
  • Trying to teach her not to fling the food by waving the spoon wildly in the air like she is at some rave
  • After putting the bite in her mouth she puts the spoon over the edge of the highchair and drops it!  If we try to stop her from putting it over the edge she then sends it flying backwards!
That last bullet is what is driving us absolutely batty!  We have tried for weeks now to tell her not to do that as we pick up the spoon and try to give her another bite.  I think that we have inadvertently turned it into a bit of a game though!  She does this routinely and there are times where we go through many spoons in a meal before we just give up.  Obviously what we were doing wasn't working.  This morning I came up with what I'm hoping will be the her 1 or 2 warnings and then when she reaches the limit of warnings, take her out of the highchair, stopping the meal and explaining why.  I did that this morning and the result was screams!  After she calmed down we went back in the highchair and tried again...only to be repeating ourselves again very soon so again I stopped and took her out.  This time I had to run out to the street to move my car off the street before I got a ticket and when I closed the door the screams really started.  I know now not to have to leave during one of these "lessons"!  When I came back in 30 seconds later she was beyond rescuing and even though we tried to eat some more cereal, we failed miserably.  I was able to get her to self feed 1/2 a waffle though and so I was feeling like we ended okay...not great, but okay.

While I know that we should be happy that she is even willing to put food in her mouth, I can't help but be frustrated today by this ongoing issue.  I am happy that this is very typical behavior that Sweet Pea is exhibiting, but I still don't know the best course of action to stop it.  Do I keep trying the removal from the meal when she does this?  It is going to be very difficult at dinner time because we are on a tight time schedule, but maybe we can avoid spoon feeding foods at that meal and focus this at breakfast when there is a bit more time to deal with it.

Are there any other suggestions?!?!  Help!!!!!


  1. Well, I think you're right on the spoon-tossing game. It sounds like she really likes the cause and effect of it all and the reinforcement of you getting the spoon and giving it back.

    What would happen if, at mealtimes, you continued with the warnings and direction "no throw", but you also had a pile of spoons in your lap. If she tosses hers, no drama. You reach down and get the fresh one and there's no cause/effect reinforcement on your end of things.

    LC was NOT as willing as Sweet Pea to allow us to guide a spoon to her mouth and she is still prone to falling into the "silverware as a drumstick" performance mid-meal. It helped us quite a bit to give a spoon to LC and one to ourselves as well. Usually, she was so distracted concentrated on operating her own spoon that she would allow us to feed her from our spoons in between bites she took on her own.

    Either way, love to hear she's so independent and passionate about setting her mind on something. That screaming stubborn stuff is going to serve her well in the years to come!

  2. I just attended a conference in Atlanta put on by DownsEd, they are a group out of the UK who have done tons of research and work with children with Ds. They are quite amazing. Anyhow... they did a session on behavior. The short explaination (and they do it so much better) is that our kids are very social, duh. But part of that is that they kind of enjoy even the negative attention. They talked about kids who are runners, as is my Ella, and said when they run away basically stick them in a stroller, do not give them eye contact and do not say a word. That way you are not giving them any attention and they clearly get the point that that was the wrong thing to do. So, perhaps applying this to your situation would be to take the spoon and food away, without saying a word or giving her eye contact and just walk away for a minute or two. Come back, put the food in front of her and carry on as though nothing happened. If it happens again maybe increase the time that you are away. I don't know if it will work, but this strategy has helped me with Ellas running. She HATES the stroller and screams and throws a fit as I carry on going wherever we are going. But I have noticed that she is walking with me more and more, without me pulling on her or getting on to her! So who knows it may work : )

  3. M insists on self feeding too. It's great, but not so great I agree! This is our comprimise. She gets a bowl and I get a bowl. She gets a spoon and I get a spoon. I fill her bowl with a layer of food, a very thin layer. She can dip to her hearts content but doesn't make a HUGE mess. While she's feeding herself, I steal in some bites using my spoon & bowl. I've found that applesauce and peach yogurt are good options as they are easy to clean and don't stain.

    As for the throwing...I think that's just part of her being a wild lil baby and loving to get a reaction out of her parents. Options: ignore it, don't give her the spoon back, or move her away from the table briefly not giving her any sort of verbal feedback. No looks, no reprimanding, nada...just move her away from the table. After about 1 minute, bring her back, give her the spoon again and try again. I'd give her 2 chances before she doesn't get her spoon back at all until the next meal. She'll get the point (eventually) that throwing isn't ok. It may take a LONG while though. M still whips her cup periodically and we "broke" the habit a while back.

  4. Max is a thrower and I don't even dare give him a spoon yet!

  5. Since weve only had little G for three months I dont have much advice but here are a few foods: (I agree with the yogurt esp Greek or custard style since its thicker as well as the applesauce) take a whole banana and mash it, grits with cheese melted in them,oatmeal is good and you can buy the flavored packets, howabout mac n cheese?

  6. Owen tosses food as well it drives me crazy, he does it with any finger food that is bigger than bite size - if its too big its over the edge - he will even take a bite off of crust of bread and toss the rest over. And forget about having his cup on the table its on floor in a second. But I have started to notice a particular look (challenging) he gives me when he tosses stuff he is definately checking to see my reaction, to see if I get cross with him, so I am learning to keep a poker face and I am going to try to ignore this behaviour and see if it improves.