Babies eating in public – highly distracted

So far, we’ve been really lucky with Kaia because she’s been such a good little eater. Not only does she seem willing to try pretty much everything we put in front of her, but she’s really embraced greens. Many times, she actually prefers to eat whatever green vegetable we put in front of her over other things. I’ve been really intentional about trying to make sure there’s something green on her plate at every meal, so I hope that effort is paying off.

The thing is — she’s mostly eaten her solids in a controlled environment. That is to say — she’s almost always at home, in a high chair strapped in with a tray, silicone bib on, with one of us there coaching her and supervising, encouraging her to eat. The second she’s had anyone else there, even if it’s Chris or our handyman friend, she gets really distracted and wants to know what else is going on. She’ll try turning her whole body in her chair. She’ll stare at the washer as our clothes are being swished around. If she hears music, she’ll stop and try to see what direction from which the music is coming. Babies are easily distracted, and so that makes feeding them in public even more challenging. Kaia is no exception to this.

The first few days while at the hotel restaurant for breakfast and at the lounge in the evening, it was a real struggle to feed her. She’d take a few bites of something that she seemingly liked, but as soon as a friendly face walked by, she’d smile and try to watch that person, thus ignoring her food and anytime we’d try to get her attention. I’d usually be pumping and trying my best to be careful to not get my tubes twisted in something while attempting to spoon feed her or get her to look at a new food I put down in front of her. Chris had been really sensitive to her making a mess, so in certain places, he insisted we try to put food directly in her mouth or spoon feed to reduce the amount of mess. The problem with that is that Kaia is pretty independent; she prefers to self-feed, and sometimes she gets REALLY angry when you try to feed her that she’ll just flat out reject the food, even if she had previously indicated interest. She got mad when we tried to control a pouch at the Christmas market the other day, and she just started fussing and crying, and then just refused the pouch altogether. She’s not at that level of dexterity yet to realize that when she squeezes the pouch too hard, the food just squirts out uncontrollably and fails to end up in her mouth. Now that we’re at the end of the trip, it’s gotten easier, but it was still hard and took a lot of time. Plus, I’d be scrambling to eat my own food before it got cold while also cutting and prepping her food into safe bites/sizes, and so it was a lot of multitasking for me. It was hard to enjoy most of those meals.

Even though Chris wasn’t doing most of this feeding, he was clearly getting very impatient with the whole process, especially since Kaia will ignore a food… and then 40 minutes later, decide she wants to eat it again. She likes to take her time and graze — if you want to call it “grazing.”

“Every meal we sit down and watch her eat is yet another tick against having a second child!” he grumbled.


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