Being told you can start feeding your baby solid foods is eerily reminiscent of the day the hospital staff parade in and out of the room telling you all the reasons you can take your brand new baby home, none of which have anything to do with your competency as a parent. And yet here you are, once again with your precious baby looking up at you, trusting you, and not having the courage to explain to her that you don’t have a clue what you’re supposed to do next.
A little bell went off that to feed my baby solids, we’d need some new tools, including a baby spoon, and I figured I had 2 options. First, I could go to the store and pick up whatever the buyers had chosen to put on the shelves and then narrow down my choices based on whatever looked the cutest. Second, I could consult Google and make my choice knowing I’d done my due diligence where utensil selecting was concerned. Although I’ve gone the buy-what’s-cutest route plenty of times, in this instance, the latter was the only way to go.
See, when Hope was just a week old, a lactation consultant came to our home to help with latching issues, only to leave early, explaining through her own horror and devastation that Hope was never going to latch and that she “didn’t want to waste [my] time.” (She did, however, leave with $285 in cash.)
That was the first time Hope was discriminated against. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but she was judged for her Down syndrome and the consequent size of her mouth and shape of her palate. This consultant made assumptions about what Hope could and could not do after making a diagnosis she was unqualified to make. And we were so vulnerable at the time that we let her get away with it.
Many babies with Down syndrome will face difficulties latching or transitioning from milk to solids, but since Hope’s surgery, I know I can trust her to eat when she’s hungry and stop when she’s full. Although we were in no great rush, I wanted to equip Hope with the best tools to help her succeed with solid foods, even if I somehow failed her on my end. With that, Google brought us Spuni.
“Spuni’s patented tulip design naturally encourages babies to latch onto and suck and swallow food from the spoon, offering babies a more manageable portion with each spoonful,” according to the Spuni website. This was the leg up we needed to improve Hope’s chances of overcoming what could have been a predisposition to resisting the transition to solids.
We have absolutely nothing to compare it with, but for now we love Spuni. The size offers an ideal amount of food for Hope’s little mouth, and she can both latch onto it and suck the food off when she is in bottle mode and gnaw on it when her instincts tell her to chew like a big girl. She even grabs her Spuni every now and then to try to feed herself!
Probably the most hilarious part of the Spuni marketing is its claim at minimizing messes. Sorry, but any baby who is going to lovingly blow raspberries with a mouthful of puree is probably going to make a mess, regardless of which spoon delivered the food to her mouth in the first place.
And in case you are wondering, I’m happy to note that after her surgery, having gone 3 months without nursing, taking all of her milk from exclusively pumped bottles, Hope latched onto me just fine and fed like any other baby. All she needed was a little strength—some from her repaired heart, some from those who love her. And although I’m not a feeding therapist, I’m confident that we are on our way to a lifetime of healthy and happy feedings.