It would appear we have been starving our child for the last few weeks.
Quantity of food is another of those areas for which there exists only very rubbery guidance. For solids it is usually something like “offer food but never force”, “offer different options and don’t be concerned if they aren’t interested in certain foods”, “let the child guide you” hmmm. For formula one receives a little more specific guidance; there are vested interests at play.
Reading from the rather agriculturally named ‘Feeding Table’ on the back of the tin we use:
- Quantities per feed
- Water – 240 mL
- Scoops – 4 (so, one scoop per 60 mL)
- Formula feeds per day
- 3 – 4
- Feeds per day other foods
- 2 – 3 (plus)… yes, helpful
So, our bottles are exactly 240 mL and we learned the hard way that trying to jam 4 scoops of formula on top of 240 mL of water requires the steady hand of a surgeon. Surgeons we are not; so after several messy failed efforts we decided to drop down to 180 mL (3 scoops) per feed.
We have been giving Milo roughly 5 bottles a day; 900 mL of water plus 15 scoops of formula. Now, one would presume that given the good people at ‘Bellamy’s Organic’ are in the business of selling formula their guidelines are likely on the upper limit of infant requirements. Even with their no doubt generous ‘Feeding Table’ the upper limit suggested is 960 mL of water and 16 scoops. We are only one scoop behind. As this blog will testify Milo also consumes vast quantities of all manner of foods, particularly with the recent introduction of the ‘Einstein Breakfast’.
But recently he has been cranky, and not partial to sleep. The reasons for this malaise have eluded us (and may still). Compounding this issue is the fact that Milo’s hungry whinge mirrors his tired whinge which both mirror his bored whinge; and this kid needs a lot of stimulation.
Often times he will start grumbling and start scaling my body to sit on my shoulder. I look at the time and cleverly deduce he must be tired. So downstairs we go, sleeping bag and schnuller at the ready, only for him to look at me with an expression that says “what did you bring me down here for dad? I was trying to get you to cut off Huckleberry at the southern end of the tunnel”. Although of course he expresses this question with much less civility.
This boredom will also cause him to stop eating or drinking even though his hunger is not satiated. If the milk is not flowing at a sufficient rate he will push the bottle away forcefully and then refuse any further eye contact. Or if something catches his eye on the carpet, like a twisted morsel of yesterday’s dried apricot, he will stare fixedly at it, discontinue eating and lob whatever lunch he can find at this hilarious piece of apricot, often giggling.
In short, he is not easy to read. So, in lieu of any useful guidance on food quantities we may have been interpreting hungry displeasure for other esoteric issues such as concerns about boredom, separation anxiety, concepts of permanence or climate change.
On Thursday Kuepps suggested that perhaps we have inadvertently been ‘skinnying’ our child. This is a term that she coined a few years ago in the lead up to our wedding, dress fitting considerations etc. Essentially at any moment when you are not ‘fattening’ you are ‘skinnying’; walking, turning down a cronut, to name a couple of obvious examples.
On Thursday morning we attended our third Swim School class. The big kid Lennox has dropped down to an earlier class, the lower grades to get his confidence back. From our brief view of the end of his class he appeared to be dominating; doing the Hokey Pokey on his terms only.
Kuepps had her first time in the pool with Milo this week and her calming influence was apparent immediately. Milo splashed on command, chased coloured plastic balls with enthusiasm and even chilled by the side of the pool for the paparazzi. He continues, however, to be very distrustful of jelly on or off the plate. Neither is to his liking.
Upon our return home Kuepps suggested we start loading Milo up with calories, so the anti-skinnying began. Kuepps headed out for a work dinner so I was left to calibrate this new intake of solid and liquid fuel for the first time. To guarantee a solid intake during the evening meal I pioneered the first ‘Einstein Dinner’ seen in our household, and started shoveling. I am somewhat concerned about this technique however as I am not convinced the Einstein Haze allows the satiation trigger to travel from his stomach to his brain. However, dosed up on a hefty meal and additional milk before bed Milo slept well and woke up in a delightful mood on Friday morning.
In my experience there is only one real remedy for a hungry boy; slow cooked lamb.
So, Friday’s one and only task was to hunt, gather and prepare this slow cooked lamb recipe devised by our very clever food blogger and author friend.
Each hour more delicious than the last.
First stop, supermarket. I wish to recount two amusing anecdotes:
– Firstly, we were in a great mood because lamb was in our future. The supermarket was reasonably empty because most people work at 1pm on a Friday while we pursue our day’s singular goal of securing and preparing lamb. I therefore felt liberated enough to sing Roxanne by The Police (which was playing on the radio) to Milo at quite some volume. As we were in the Goji Berry aisle a chap came around the corner from the legumes section also singing Roxanne with gusto. As he passed us the song had just reached the duet chorus which we instinctively sang together in Milo’s direction “Roxaaaane, put on your red light, Roxaaaane, put on your red light”. This beautiful and serendipitous moment passed quickly. The unknown chap grinned at us then headed off toward the self check-out
– Secondly, while procuring some food pouches for Milo, I had perhaps three of our usual brand in my hand, I glanced down and noticed a rival brand was on special, 6 for $6. I let out a quite audible and genuinely excited “ooooooh” and quickly returned the pouches in my hand in favour of the discounted brand. I then took a moment to behold what my life had become.
Back home we prepared the lamb and slipped it in the oven, slow and low. We were wracked by nervous energy all afternoon as the aromas tantalised us, driving my child into a wild hysteria, crawling around at top speed babbling and stabbing everything in his radius with his plastic spoon. Twice during the afternoon I lost my grip on him whilst changing his nappy and he sped off away from me in the nude toward the kitchen, driven by a primal lamb-lust he does not yet understand.
Finally Kuepps was home and it was time to withdraw the beast from the oven. We flung hunks of lamb at Milo as quickly as possible which he grabbed in both fists and smushed into his mouth area with a look of joy and desperation on his face. While carefully keeping our hands clear of the frenzy we kept up a steady flow of boiled peas onto his tray to balance the protein blast. He intercepted these plump green spheres while still in motion and added them to the procession toward his mouth. There is something very cute and appealing about my son with his sleeves rolled up whilst eating; not sure what it is, he looks so earnest and industrious.
It is hard to know exactly how much lamb Milo consumed in that tumultuous half hour, but a 1.5kg leg had been greatly reduced by the time we all took a breath. Strings of lamb draped off Milo’s left ear, a large morsel sat proudly atop his head. Much to the cats’ disappointment an unusually small amount of detritus lay on the carpet beneath Milo’s high-chair, only a lucky few fragments had been spared the hoover.
Milo grinned and breathed deeply before being hosed off and taken downstairs for a long, protein fueled sleep.
Lamb, get in my mouth
So, day one of anti-skinnying seems to have been a success. We will keep up our efforts over the weekend and monitor his mood and sleep patterns closely.
- Litres of formula consumed – 1.2
- Duets sung with a stranger in the supermarket – 1
- Hours spent whittling furniture from discarded pallets – 0
- Minutes spent alphabetising our DVD collection – 0