Monday, November 2, 2009

food, glorious food

OK, I need to make this quick because it's after 11pm and my brain is mush from grading. Did I mention I'm TAing a grad course this semester? I've just spent the last two hours watching individual therapy role-play DVDs and I couldn't generate an engaging post right now if my life depended on it.

So in lieu of something thoughtful, I have a question, no, two questions:

We've been doing the conventional food introduction thing for a while now (minimally allergenic foods, pureed and introduced 3-4 days apart) and we finally have a decent list of tested foods to draw from, including avocados, apricots, apples, peaches, pears, mangoes, bananas, watermelon, peas, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, zucchini, rice cereal, oatmeal, multi-grain cereal, teething biscuits... I think that's it. We're making the bulk of his food (95% or more, if you don't count the cereal) and it is totally satisfying to puree up a bunch of fresh, yummy foods for him. So far, all of this has worked very well for us, but I've been doing the math and I'm realizing that if we stick with this technique indefinitely, he'll be in high school before we've safely introduced enough ingredients for him to order anything off the average restaurant menu. (OK, not really, but you get my point.) It's not practical to keep up this pace, so (first question) when does the conservative approach say it's okay to ditch the 3-4 day waiting period between foods? Anyone know?

Also (second question), will someone give me the scoop on the more adventurous food introduction programs out there? I'm talking about baby l.ed wea.ning and the like. How does it work? Why is it okay? How do you trace back allergic reactions when they appear? How can a baby eat table food when they only have 1.5 teeth? Elliot balks if I mash his banana or avocado instead of pureeing it. Explain it to me like I'm in kindergarten, will you? Please?

P.S. I'm probably in on the NaBloPoMo thing. In addition to being afraid of failing at things, I'm also lousy at recognizing my limits. It's an illness.


Anonymous said...

I was thinking the same thing! PBS has had about 15 foods and we wait the full 4 days inbetween because she is so sensitive.I worry she is missing out or won't be able to drop formula at a year. She does like to feed herself though and will eat already tested foods smashed or in a small dice. I hope someone in blogland has a good suggestion for us. I am so glad I am not the only one!

jessie said...

Holland turned 6 months on Sunday and we started baby led weaning. He has had avocado banana apple pasta turkey meatball and cucumber. The thought is that waiting until 6 months reduces the risk of food allergies hugely and the waiting rule was suggested for babies starting food at 3 or 4 months with an immature digestive system. There is a great book out there!

SupersammyG said...

I can't help on this but if you could figure it out before Ella is old enough for solids I would be very happy. You have some time since she won't be 6 months adjusted for a couple of months. Thanks in advance!

nutella said...

I read the BLW book and they don't seem terribly concerned about allergies unless they run in the family or involve the major allergy triggers (peanuts, tree nuts, strawberry, and a few others I can't recall). I think they kinda of assume that IF you notice a reaction you can work backwards to figure out what it is and eliminate it. You're just supposed to make them food in stick shape, put it within reach and back away to a safe distance.

All of that aside, we've ben cautious with food introduction and have "followed the rules" like you have. We started a few weeks early because Miles was showing all the signs of being ready. He never had runny purees as we began with thicker and chunkier stuff (all homemade except the cereal). Now that we are past the magical 6 months, I'd like to ramp things up a bit and fudge the 3 day wait rule.

Farmer Femme said...

I feel like I've been beating the same drum for a while, but Nina Planck's book "Real Food for Mother and Baby" did change my perspective on food and how I'd like to introduce food to my babe. She has a couple chapters on child-led weaning.


Two Moms, Two Monkeys said...

Our boys are almost 7 months old and are barely on rice cereal (one in the bottle and one with a spoon) so you are way ahead of us! Age adjusted they will be 5 months soon so I am hoping to add some more variety. Let us know what you come up with!

Anonymous said...

Gill Rapley's your woman. Her book, Baby Led Weaning, is pretty comprehensive.

Her mantra? Food is for fun, until they're one. No food you can feed a baby is more nutritious and calorific than milk. It should remain their staple diet. You don't aim to replace milk feeds, just let the baby drop off their milk intake as and when their intake of solid food increases.

Basically the theory is that if they are physically mature enough to pick it up and put it in their mouth, they are physically mature enough to handle it once it's in there. They don't need teeth (seriously, you'd be surprised what our boy can gum to within an inch of its life!)

There may be gagging at first, as the gag reflex gradually moves further back in the mouth. Gagging is ok - it's how we protect our airway. Choking is VERY rare (and could happen with things other than food) - look for silent panic and know what to do. Actually, the transition fron totally smooth puree to lumpy puree is more dangerous, because baby treats the lumpy food in the same way - by sucking it straight to the back of the mouth (think slurping smooth soup from a spoon. Now think minestrone).

If you've waited til 6 months and there are no allergies in your family history, you don't need to worry about introducing things one by one.

If you have allergies, you can't stand mess, you're likely to fret over how little they're eating or you are utterly panicked at the idea of choking, BLW might not be for you, but we're enjoying it HUGELY - many posts to come on this during NaMoBloPoWhatsit.

(This looks like I'm dictating - I'm not, I'm just rushing!)