For the record, and for those of you who aren’t particularly interested in reading my very long analysis of this situation, I mixed a teaspoon of poi (boiled taro root that is pounded down into a paste – we get the stuff from Waipio Valley and its awesome!) with enough breastmilk to make it super runny and just fed it to him off a spoon. He was a little unsure at first. He sucked on the spoon for awhile. And then he attacked that poi in a manner befitting his lineage. When he finished the entire contents of the little bowl he pounded down a 6oz bottle, crawled around talking to himself for awhile, then fell into a food coma (I believe they call that “Hawaiian disease” – eat & sleep).
There tends to be a lot of competition among parents (and its just the beginning for us!) so I suppose its only natural that the subject of weaning is slightly emotional.
Most of the people I have talked to or books that I have read suggest waiting until the baby is six months or older before introducing any solid food. One source suggested that poi shouldn’t be fed until the baby is at least seven months or more. We have friends that claim their children didn’t touch anything but milk until they were 11 months! Current research suggests that an infants digestive system isn’t developed enough to handle anything more complex than milk until they are 6M+ and introducing solids too early could lead to all kinds of craziness like allergies.
But this isn’t merely a matter of health or wellness – it’s a matter of pride. I wanted the award for most perfect mom who had the patience and good sense to feed her kid the nectar of life and nothing else for a year or more or whatever it took to win! If Kenneth waited until 11 months, I want to go 12!!!
I have been researching the subject of weaning extensively in the past few weeks. Ive found some great recipes and other such things, but Ive found that the most common advice is “take it slow”. Ikaika has been giving me some clues that hes up for trying new things. There was the pizza incident and then again this morning he was trying to eat a slice of toast out of my hand. He hasn’t cut any teeth but he is exceptionally large for his age. He cant sit up by himself but he also cant sleep through the night yet (his night wakings have been getting closer together rather than farther apart, much to my dismay).
I think the heart of the issue is that I don’t want to be judged. You can say “in one ear and out the other” until youre blue in the face but the fact of the matter is that people do judge – especially parents – and I don’t want to be thought of as a mom-who-couldn’t-hack-it. Its part of the reason why I chose to have a natural birth, as embarrassing as that is to admit. I know that I need to be able to have confidence in my own decisions as a mom and not care what other people say. Turns out that adopting that attitude is the hardest part of being a parent so far!
Im not going to breastfeeding until college and Im not going to be homeschooling while simultaneously getting my masters degree and writing the great American novel. So I should probably cut myself a break starting right now.
This started back in late January when people began suggesting that I give him some formula to “top him off” at night so he would sleep better. I knew that, for me, giving formula wasn’t an option so I nodded politely. But I didn’t give in to the urge to run out and buy a can of Similac, no matter how tempting it seemed at times. I was committed to breastfeeding. And here we are a month and some change later and hes still eating nothing but the juice of the boob. Now it’s the same pressure that I felt about giving formula but this time its about solids, except now people are telling me to wait until six months or telling me stories about how their kids or whatever.
But Im his mother and I think now is the right time to give him poi. Not because I know what Im doing and not because its what everyone around me is pressuring me to do. I know it’s the right time because I just know and Im his mother.
When I first had the baby my dads one pearl of wisdom was to trust my instincts and not listen to anyone else, including him. Ive got to trust myself on this food thing. Maybe I give the baby poi this week and then go back to milk. Maybe I graduate him to fun cereals. I don’t know yet. But I do know that my gut told me tonight that this kid wants some poi. So here we are, my child is four and a half months old and he ate his first solids. And, more importantly, Im okay with it.