Why is it that as mothers we feed ourselves last? It doesn’t matter if I am at home all day or out at a restaurant. I always make sure my son is fed first. I know I know, “put your oxygen mask on before assisting others,” but it is just so much easier to make the kid happy as quickly as possible. I used to be ok with this because feeding him first meant a cranky child was a little less cranky once he was fed. And if I was quick enough to make my food after his, I could actually sit down to eat a few bites with him as well. Or when I am very lucky, Bekytt actually wants to eat the delicious breakfast his papa has made for all of us and we can all eat together. But today his list of what he wanted to eat was crazy, and he only had a few bites of each, so when I grabbed his leftovers to take with me to eat as I drove to work, I cringed in disgust.
I love that Bekytt is talking more, sharing his desires more, and continuing to sign what he needs. Despite the fact that I rarely understand him, there is one word that is clear as day, “cake.” He recently was introduced to angel food cake by a wonderful friend on our trip to Minnesota, and for weeks after that all he has wanted is cake. So when the request for cake every morning changed to pancake, I thought I could live with that. As soon as Bekytt wakes in the mornings, he is always telling me something he wants. Most of the time I can understand it and slowly oblige, but today I knew we didn’t have much pancake mix left so when he signed “pancake,” I figured we could at least try?
Well that pancake turned into a crepe, or something resembling a very thin pancake. And the sausage his papa was making ended up getting burnt in the chaos of the morning. The banana and PB and J I was making him for lunch turned into a breakfast sampling as well, and nearly all of it was left half eaten on his plate. So when I looked down at the “breakfast” I had for my drive to work, it was half eaten, burnt, cold sausage, a few slices of orange, mushy banana bites and the crust from his PB and J. Ugh! There has to be a better way. There is no possible way I’m eating this, but I did. And it was as gross as I thought it would be.
Does anyone else have anxiety over their mornings? Because no matter how many times I tell myself to breathe, and it’s ok if we’re late, or that my kid doesn’t eat breakfast or I don’t eat breakfast, at least we have each other! I inevitably get stressed. There has to be some “system” we can create to make mornings go smoothly, allow me to drink hot coffee, and actually sit in my kitchen to enjoy a hot breakfast, right? Well the only system I know of would be to prepare the night before, get up earlier and make sure whatever we decide to have for breakfast is something Bekytt actually wants so we can eat too. None of which is likely to happen any time soon.
“They” say as parents we decide what to feed our children and when, and the child decides how much. Sounds great doesn’t it? I try so hard to remind myself of this, but in actuality I just want my child to eat! So often times I will cave to his specific requests if it is somewhat a nutritious choice and allows me to take care of myself in the morning. I think all parents get this anxiety of what their kid eats, whether too much or too little from the very start to their child’s life. Babies are constantly getting weighed. Whether they are a preemie or not, whether they were born healthy or had a little rougher start, all pediatricians weigh babies to decide if they are thriving, growing as expected, and they tell are not shy to point out when our child changes a pattern, falls off their growth curve, or jumps up to another curve. So much emphasis is put on this growth pattern as an infant, I swear we all go crazy over it. Is my baby eating too much, too little? Should I keep trying to breastfeed? Give them formula? Should I do baby led weaning? Do I introduce solid foods at 4 months? 6 months? Should I wait until a year? Can they have cows milk? When can they have it and how much? Should I wean them from nursing or stop cold turkey? What is the right age to do that? Are you stressed yet? I sure am!
Just remembering those days makes me crazy. No wonder I am crazy about his food now. Why can’t we just do what is recommended to our toddlers to our babies? Parent led feeding I think they call it? We decide what to feed our babies and when, and the baby decides how much. I met a mother today who told me even when her baby stopped thriving and was falling lower and lower on the growth curve as a baby, that the doctor didn’t do anything anyways! Come to find out, her child had something severely wrong with her kidneys. I have another friend I work with who is clearly not eating enough, related to multiple health issues, and they have not even considered a feeding tube. So what is the point of making us mothers crazy?! I say we should all just check in with our mommy gut now and again. If your gut says it’s ok, it likely is. The power of our mommy gut has more power than most professionals give us credit for. So when that check in sends you a red flag, continue to advocate for your child and get the answers you need. Doctors are wonderful when given great information. So while I may not get the stress free mornings I crave, maybe I can allow myself to eat those delicious and nutritious breakfasts my husband offers to make for us and just breathe easy as I drink my coffee and eat my eggs while Bekytt runs around the house screaming “cake, cake!”
-Kathryn Kraft, MPT
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