Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What Are You FEEDING Him?

Ever since Ryan was about 4 months old, every time someone asks how old he is, as soon as I answer, the next question is nearly always, “What are you FEEDING him??” And my answer is generally, “Anything he wants!”

He is a good-sized kid, and he has an appetite to match. When he was first born, he had some difficulties with eating for a week or two, but ever since then he’s been making up for lost time. When he was strictly on formula and breast milk, he’d easily knock back 10 ounces or more in a single sitting. Now that he’s eating baby food, he’ll go through two 4-ounce packs of fruit and veggies three times a day with snacks and formula in between. He loves everything from bread to watermelon to Cheerios to sweet potatoes to oatmeal. The only things we’ve found so far that he doesn’t like are chicken and turkey!

Now that he’s mobile and on the go every waking hour, he’s started to gain weight a bit more slowly. But he certainly hasn’t slowed his food intake one bit! His menu for an average day is something like this:
Breakfast: 6 oz. banana puree, 3 oz. rice cereal, bit of toast, few chunks of watermelon
Morning snack: 10 oz. bottle, handful of Cheerios
Lunch: 4 oz. sweet potatoes, 4 oz. green beans, 2 oz. oatmeal
Afternoon snack: 10 oz. bottle, few chunks of watermelon, handful of rice puffs
Dinner: 4 oz. mixed vegetables, 4 oz. carrots, small piece of bread, 2-4 oz. apple-berry puree
Bedtime: 10 oz. bottle

For most moms with a 9-month old who weighs 18 or 20 pounds, that amount of food in one day is inconceivable. For most moms with a 2- or 3-year old, it sounds about right. And why shouldn’t Ryan eat like a 2- or 3-year old? He weighs the same as most 2- or 3-year olds! And he works out all day long, pulling himself up on the furniture, marching around the house, crawling around at top speeds, trying to open drawers and closets and doors. Pound for pound, he probably burns off as much energy as a personal trainer working an 8-hour shift.

And every day we try to find a new and different food to try: melon, berries, granola, apples, peas, and every kind of bread. Sometimes it’s baby food from a spoon, sometimes it’s table food in his mesh bag feeder, sometimes it’s grownup food cut into little bits so he can grab it with his own fingers. He’s sampled toast, pasta, cantaloupe, cheese, and yogurt. He’ll happily gnaw on a lemon wedge for several minutes. He’ll carefully examine a piece of cracker for a few moments before giving it a cautious taste, licking the salt off the edges and eventually putting it in his mouth. (Of course, he does the same thing with rocks, attempting to lick off the dirt and get the rock in his mouth before someone stops him, but we discourage that as much as possible.) He’ll drink a bit of diluted apple, orange, or cranberry juice from his own sippy cup, or have a little slug of juice or water from Mummy or Daddy’s cup. He’s even happy to slurp icewater from a spoon.

Having been an EXTREMELY picky eater myself as a child, I am delighted at his willingness to explore the wonderful world of food. I look forward to introducing him to slightly exotic foods like mushrooms and sushi and cheesecake when he’s older. I imagine teaching him to cook for himself, first simple things like scrambled eggs and grilled cheese, then working our way up to meatloaf and chicken casserole, and eventually maybe even something as fancy as beef wellington or stuffed acorn squash. But whatever his future in terms of food, I just hope he continues to explore and enjoy. And as long as I can, and as long as it’s healthy, I have every intention of continuing to feed him anything he wants!

Bookmark and Share