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feeling like a bad mother

(9 Posts)
joeypalmer Fri 02-Sep-11 04:14:33

I am new to Australia with a 8 month old daughter. She is a happy, smiley baby and eats well, sleeps well (now) but I am finding it hard with any support network of family around me. she had a check up today with the local nurse who told me that she needs to be feeding herself by the time she is 1 or I have failed and also that she should be eating mashed food now not puree. So i mashed tiny bits of pasta into her food when we got home and she choked and choked until me patting her on the back made her sick. she is 8 months, and not eating chunkcy food, doesn't roll, doesn't crawl and isn't good with the finger food yet. But she is happy all the time, eats well most of time, drinks water, sleeps through the night... these are things that some other babies dont do so does it really matter about the rest, wont it come when she is ready. I feel like such a bad mother and I am also pregnant again and worried that I am going to be a bad mother to this baby too when the time comes. I am just finding it too much like their are strict deadlines babies have to meet here in Melbourne and if they dont then the mother is the failure. Any advice would be great

Ozziegirly Fri 02-Sep-11 06:34:01

Hello! Welcome to Australia. Firstly sorry you're feeling a bit crap, it is hard being in a new place with no support at all.

If you want to meet new mums, can I suggest going along to your local Early Childhood Centre as they may have group details. ALso, try Playgroup Australia - we set up our own "playgroup" which was a follow on from our mum's group, basically when the babies got too wriggly for sitting in a cafe we now let them roam in a church hall garden while we sit around and chat and eat cake and occasinally intervene as a child attempts to dive head first off the top of the sandpit (me).

As for feeding, they are very keen over here for you to ditch the purees and get onto "normal" food. Out of the mum's I know (who have babies aged about 7 months to 1 year) I would say only 2 or 3 are on totally "normal" food (my DS is one of these but only because he point blank refused to be spoon fed any more. But nearly all the other babies have a mixture of finger and spoon fed mashed food.

If you would like a suggestion, I would start giving mashed stuff like carrot, pumpkin, and then also give some finger food of bits of chicken, potato wedges, oven dried bread with avocado etc. But don't feel bad, she's still really young and you have plenty of time.

Also, don't worry tooo much about "choking" over "gagging" -choking is rare and you can tell they are choking if they look at you in panic, can't breathe and have staring eyes. If they are gagging and coughing they aren't choking, they are just naturally dealing with a bit of food that they're not ready to swallow. I can highly recommend learning how to deal with proper choking as it makes you so much more calm about leaving them to gag up bits of food. DS did this all the time at first and my DH would look at me in horror as I calmly sat there drinking tea as DS gagged and spluttered in front of him.

Also, the nurses are a bit more forthright over here, but if you can find one you like it does help. We found a lovely one who comes once a week to a chemist and has helpful suggestions for things - ours at the Early Childhood place were a bit too, i dunno, kind of "hard" and wanted to push the babies on quickly.

They LOVE tummy time over here too.

Anyhoo, just wanted to post because I know what it's like. I moved from Adelaide to Sydney when DS was 5 weeks old and I thought I would never meet people and yet now I have a big group of lovely like minded people who I see all the time and are just fab.

Good luck!

Poshbaggirl Fri 02-Sep-11 06:46:39

Hi joey, you said you added bits of pasta into her food, i think that confused 2 different textures. Like if i added bits of pasta to my otherwise smooth soup, i'm kinda expecting a drinking experience coz its soup, but then get a bit of pasta which i have to chew, confusing even for an adult of you weren't expecting it. Iyswim. Instead of adding lumps of stuff into what she is used to, just make the normal mush less mushy! So instead of a smooth texture have a less smooth, but more textured consistency. Try mashing with a fork rather than a food processor (guessing you use a processor coz you said puree)
Talk to other Mums rather than the professionals! In RL if poss, but here if neccessary.
Tell us about what is a normal days diet at the moment for her.

harbsinoz Fri 02-Sep-11 08:45:43

Hi, she was choking as she was wretching and went bright red and was flapping her arms around in a panic. i just tried mashing avocado with some really tiny bits of chicken and she wouldn't touch that. I also always put steamed carrots and beans and brocoli on her high chair table and she tries to eat it but because she has no teeth she breaks off bits and then cant swollow them and again chokes.

I always put small bits of plain toast on her tray at breakfast and she wont touch that, or any bits of fruit. i've tried mashing food for her in the past and she wont eat it she just spits it out.

The advice is great in theory, you both sound like experienced mothers which I am not and having no family around me to help and with my husband at work all day, I get no time on my own so everything gets on top of me. I have plenty of friends who i have met through various groups but none of them have a problem with food at the moment. Their problems are with sleep etc.

I am afraid that I am find all the Australian mothers I have met in groups too competitive for me with their children stages. Its only the English friends I have that are helping me to feel like a normal mother.

Ozziegirly Fri 02-Sep-11 11:04:53

I am far from an experienced mum! ALthough thrilled that I am coming across as one <preen>. I've only got one DS and it's been total trial and error - interestingly though at my mum's group food has been more of an issue for more people than sleep - just random really.

It sounds like you're doing all the right things and I moved from purees to mashing by just mashing stuff with a fork - BUT every baby is different, so I do sympathise. DS used to refuse lumps - he would carefully work a lump to the front of his mouth and spit it out, looking at me with a look of distaste and indignation. Then suddenly he just got it. So I would say (in my lack of experience) that you're doing the right things so just keep at it.

Sorry you're finding Aussie mums too competative - I think my mum;s group is unusual as we were all saying just the other day how it's amazing how similar we all are in outlook. Maybe try doing some other stuff like Gymbaroo? Or music classes? Or try Playgroup Australia.

Turkelton Fri 02-Sep-11 11:58:09

Hi Joey smile
I'm also new to Australia, living in Mackay, Qld for nearly a month now. It is very hard to meet people but I am hoping that by going along to playgroups etc it will happen smile Also have some English and Irish friends here already which helps. I Have twin girls aged 2 and when they were weaning, dd1 was well able for the lumps in the food, but dd2 was a different story, took ages and ages to get her on them properly, The best advice I can think of to give you is you know your daughter best and you know yourself what she is able for. Just keep doing what you are doing, a bit lumpier day by day and the finger foods of course, thin slices of cheese or the soft baby crisps you can by in the supermarkets. Please don't let that nurse make you feel like a bad mother though, I've yet to meet a school age child who is still on purees! There is no panic and it is not a race. Now can you tell me please how you got your dd sleeping the night! I have a stubborn toddler here who still refuses too smile envy

CornishMade Fri 02-Sep-11 13:55:23

I moved to Oz with my DS when he was 8 months old...
I can recommend reading Baby Led Weaning by Gill Rapley. I didn't do the whole BLW thing myself, I did purees and finger food, but there was some interesting stuff in that book about ideas for finger food and also more importantly, the difference between gagging and choking which as ozziegirly says are two very different things. It made me so much more confident to give my ds finger food and not panic if he started to gag. Also, finger food at this stage is for playing/experimenting with, not 'eating'. Don't expect too much.
I'd second not putting e.g. pasta or chicken into purees, rather just gradually make the purees thicker and slightly lumpier, mashing with forks etc and just taking it slowly and not stressing! Easy to say I know but please try to relax about it. There are many ways of doing things and every baby is different, so one health visitor's opinion isn't necessarily right for you. Nor is comparing your child with others.
Try Playgroups Australia, Mainly Music (singing and playgroups) and your local libraries too. I met my mum friends after I moved here by going to 'Books and Babies' at my library. FWIW I found Gymbaroo to be expensive and by its nature, competitive... Try differenet playgroups until you find one with people you like, it won't necessarily be the first one you go to. Good luck.

pinkpeony Fri 02-Sep-11 14:16:32

Hi joepalmer, I'm not in Australia so can't comment on that bit... But don't worry about the feeding, you are not a terrible mother. My DS was like yours - would only have purees until he was about 1, and they had to be super-smooth purees, not the lumpy ones, he would gag and wouldn't eat those, and he had to be spoon fed. Then when he was about 1 all of a sudden he went to eating "normal" food - i.e. sandwiches, pieces of meat, fish, whole veg & fruit, etc. So the whole staged weaning thing didn't work for him. (and like your DD, he slept through the night early on, so I didn't worry too much about the eating) DD is the complete opposite - at 7.5 months, she has no interest in purees, will have a few spoonfuls then shut her lips tight, but loves finger foods - I think she just wants to eat what her brother eats. She decided to baby-led-wean herself. She manages to gum down pasta, veg, bread, ricecakes, etc. On the other hand, she is a terrible sleeper... All babies are just different and will progress at a different pace.

Poshbaggirl Fri 02-Sep-11 22:37:57

None of us are super mums, older and wrinklier, but no different to you!!! We only offer help, because when we found it hard others were there to offer us help and advice, so now we try to pass it on! Not better, just further down the line! My DD1 is 18, so for me weaning feels along time ago. The best advice i can give really is to believe in yourself and your own instincts. You know your daughter best, just do what feels comfortable for both of you. Doesnt matter if she stays on puree food so long as shes eating and enjoying it!

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