Feeding Emmalee has been a concern for me since pretty much the moment she was born. I had what I feel was a very traumatic birth experience. I was induced, labored for 19 hours, and then was told that because of my oversensitivity to the Pitocin my uterus had swelled and I would need a cesarean section. The epidural gave me severe chills and when Emmalee was officially removed from my body at 8:30 pm I had been awake for more than 36 hours. I also ended up developing shingles from the stress of my experience. As I lay in the recovery room, convulsing and so tired my vision was blurry, a nurse asked me if I would like to breastfeed my baby now. I don’t know if this makes me awful, but I did not want to breastfeed her. I didn’t really even want to look at her. I just wanted to pile about thirty blankets on top of me and go to sleep.
That moment was the beginning of the end of breastfeeding for us. We also had latching issues and had to supplement with formula almost right away because Emmalee wasn’t gaining weight. And to top it off, breastfeeding made me feel physically ill. That’s probably incredibly weird, but I would get dizzy and feel nauseas every time I had to do it. So by three weeks old breastfeeding was history, but my concerns over Emmalee eating had just begun.
I’ve always worried incessantly about whether or not Emmalee is eating enough or too much. For months I kept a daily log recording the time of each feeding and how many ounces she consumed. When she started on cereal and baby food I painstakingly measured and worried over portion size, following a recommended feeding schedule from Gerber to make sure she was getting the proper amount of fruits and vegetables and iron fortified goodness each and every day. Luckily my apprehensiveness has mostly been unnecessary because Emmalee has always been an excellent eater. That may have contributed to her remaining in the 95th percentile or higher at every doctor visit. Once she got the hang of eating from a spoon, it didn’t matter what was on the spoon she was opening wide for it. She loved every vegetable and fruit I introduced, and when it was time to start on stage 3 dinners she didn’t even flinch. She loves snacks. Puffs, Cheerios, Teddy Grahams and Goldfish are her favorites. I thought that with all the sleep trouble we’ve had and tantrums we’ve survived, at the very least I can say I don’t have to deal with a picky eater.
And then, a little over a week ago, Emmalee became picky. She seems to have decided that she is through with baby food. She still eats her cereal mixed with fruit in the mornings, and here and there I can get a stage two veggie in her, but she absolutely refuses the dinners now. So I’ve been scrambling a bit. It is probably fortunate that I can’t afford to be a stay at home mom because I am not the slightest bit domestic. I hate cleaning and I despise cooking. For me, cooking is using the microwave. If I want to go all out, I might pop open a box of Hamburger Helper or boil some pasta for spaghetti, but that honestly hasn’t happened since well before Emma was born. It was incredibly convenient to be able to open a jar of Gerber and viola, dinner served. But those days are over and I am now faced with the whole new challenge of figuring out how to make sure Emma is getting the nutrition she needs from the meals I’m capable of preparing.
Feeding Emmalee what I eat is not really the best option, though she would certainly disagree. I am a terrible eater. I consume much more fast food, take-out, chips, cookies, donuts, and other junk food than a person ever should. How I am not 300 pounds I do not know. But Emma will certainly not get a well-balanced diet traveling down that road. So we are embarking on a new journey, trying to find a balance between my desire to not have to cook and my desire to provide Emmalee with the nutrition she requires. Thank goodness for Gerber Graduates or I don’t know how we would survive.