After a week and a half of D1 waking up once or twice in the middle of the night and nursing for dear life, concurrent with me getting increasingly psychotic from sleep-deprivation, we have finally solved the mystery: she needed more solids.
You wouldn't think this would be that hard to figure out. But D1's eating habits are strange. For the first twenty bites or so, she is quite eager to take the food. Once the edge is off her appetite, she is more interested in looking around the room, trying to manipulate her sippy cup, or laying in wait for the spoon. (I won't put the spoon up to her mouth while her hands are up, so she has to be quick about it to grab it.) She'll still take bites if offered, but she seems to be doing it more for the sake of getting along than because she's actually hungry.
On the other hand, I understand many babies are in the habit of expressing themselves vehemently when they don't want any more food. I've never seen her do this. She's always happy to have more food around, whether she's that interested in eating it or not. So to guess when she is done, you try to gauge the speed at which she opens her mouth for another bite when one is waved in the vicinity.
The other problem is, she eats so much you feel sure that she must have had enough by now (Not to mention that you've already devoted 45 minutes to feeding here and would rather like to get on with something else in life.) Last night for supper she ate (mashed up) a baked potato, 1/4 cup of chicken, 1/3 cup of green beans, and a few spoonfuls each of sweet potato and applesauce. I haven' t fed preschoolers in awhile, but it seems like most people would be glad to get that much food in a three-year-old.
And yet she's still quite skinny. She may have topped 17 pounds in the past week, but I'm sure she's no heavier. I don't know where it all goes.
But I have come to the conclusion that it is better to spend all her waking hours feeding her, if necessary, than to spend all my sleeping hours doing so.
Update, post 9-month checkup: actually, she still doesn't even weigh 16 pounds. I am very, very thankful for a sensible doctor who thinks it's fine for a healthy, active baby with a good appetite to be on the skinny side. And yes, I should have foreseen all this when I first made up my mind to marry a guy who doesn't cast a shadow when he turns sideways.