My rating: 2 of 5 stars
As much as I liked the first book, On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep this one fell short for me. It really shouldn’t be its own book, and I almost feel like the used price I paid (a couple of bucks, shipped) was a rip-off. Why not just append it to the first book, since it’s really more of a pamphlet, any way?
Despite the typos, overtly christian themes, and repeated tips, there were a few nuggets between the covers of On Becoming Baby Wise II: Parenting Your Pre-Toddler Five to Fifteen Months. “Begin as you mean to go” is Ezzo’s big tip, meaning that you should start correcting “wrong behavior” the minute it starts instead of waiting until the child is older. Even if your infant can’t understand why she can’t throw her bowl off the table, she shouldn’t be allowed to do so.
The reason I picked up the book to begin with is because Frances has taken up the habit of yelling loudly during dinner time. If I’m not feeding her fast enough, we’re treated to a very long and loud vocalization. We’re going to take the advice from the book and not feed her another bite until she’s quiet. And if she doesn’t comply, we’ll remove her from the situation and try again later. It’s worth a shot!
Since I’ve been getting into baby sign language, I was especially sensitive to Ezzo’s suggestion that you only introduce one sign at a time. Other material I’ve read says to use as many signs as you can. I mean, research shows you shouldn’t limit the number of spoken words said to your infant, so why limit the number of signs?
I also don’t necessarily agree with the suggestions for introducing solids. Ezzo is still in the “cereals first” camp, while we think it’s best to start with vegetables, fruit and meat. We already combine different vegetables together, and often feed Frances whatever we’re having for dinner, like Indian food or spicy Mexican. Also, I feed Frances solid food first and follow up with breast milk. I figure she might not even notice when we wean if she’s used to filling up on solids first.
Basically, I’d skip this book. I’ve heard On Becoming Toddlerwise is worth picking up, which I’ll do at some point.
THE BABY FOOD CHRONICLES
I’m afraid to admit that the deep freeze became even more full this month. Well, I don’t feel too bad about it since September is when the growing season in Nevada reaches its peak. Now that there have been a couple of nights where it threatened to freeze, the harvests are in and I’ve managed to stash away some goods from my parents’ garden.
The main reason the freezer is fuller than it was last month is because I pulled out the Babycook my sister-in-law passed down to us. I know that the Babycook is small so you’re encouraged to make food fresh every day, but the garden produce is getting older by the minute so I’ve been making a full batch of puree every day and then freezing the leftovers.
Then I remembered what our pediatrician said about infants not getting enough iron, and I decided that Frances needed some red meat in her diet. I read somewhere that lamb purees up better than beef, so I made a batch of lamb for her. She doesn’t eat much at a sitting, so into the deep freeze it went.
Once I’ve preserved the rest of the fresh produce, maybe we’ll make more progress on decreasing the stockpiles. Then again, a smart squirrel stashes away nuts for the winter!
Now that Frances is in full-on teething mode, she’s been using her Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders every day. I slip in a combination of frozen banana, mango and peach and she obsessively sucks at it until her face is cold and red and her fingers are frozen themselves. If it’s close to nap time, I add a cube of frozen chamomile tea to the mix to encourage sleep.
I’m very grateful that mesh feeders exist, but I have a few complaints about the Munchkin variety. For one, they can be hard to open. I had to use pliers once to get the darn thing open. My biggest grievance is that they are incredibly difficult to clean. Banana in particular doesn’t even come out with scrubbing. Even a toothbrush isn’t that great a cleaning tool, and sometimes I have to scrape it inside out with my fingernail. Where the mesh meets the plastic is an especially tricky spot. And you better clean it immediately after use or you’ll be tempted to just throw it in the trash!
Still, I wouldn’t give up our mesh feeders, because they are such a great distraction. I do wonder about some of the other brands out there. Has anyone tried the Kidsme Food Feeder ? It’s silicon instead of mesh, which seems much easier to clean. Is it worth the much higher price?
My daughter has had four cavities in her four short years of life. How is this possible? I can’t say we’re religious flossers, but the rest of our dental routine is pretty admirable. Regular brushing? Yep. Fluoride tablets? Absolutely. Hard candies? Not allowed.
According to our dentist, my daughter’s tooth decay could have been caused by extended breastfeeding. She pointed out that once solids are introduced, bacteria in the mouth can change and breast milk can actually cause cavities.
After doing a bit of my own research though, I have to disagree. Repeated studies have shown that breast milk has proteins and antibacterial qualities that prevent tooth decay. My older son was also breastfed until well over two years old and has never had a cavity to this day.
So what has caused my daughter’s cavities? The dentist also mentioned that sharing utensils can cause babies to get some of the strep mutans (a bacteria that causes tooth decay) that we have in our adult mouths. I have to say that we’re probably guilty of sharing ice cream an ice cream spoon now and then. Still, our punishment is FOUR cavities! That seems rather harsh!
Have you had any issues with extended breastfeeding and cavities? Have you received any encouragement or warnings from your dentist?
We’re still figuring out how this whole solid food thing is going to happen. We’re leaning towards baby led weaning, since that seems to mean that we don’t cook separate food for her. My parents rave about the food mill they used when I was little, but I can’t seem to find one that’s any good. For now, I think I’m just going to smash everything up with a fork.
We have our spoons at the ready, since that was the one thing Franci’s dad registered for when we had a baby shower. I don’t think we’re going to buy any plastic plates or bowls at this point, which we might regret. Our kitchen floor is linoleum so everything seems to bounce off it instead of break.
I would like to find a good sippy cup, however. Frances doesn’t care too much about her bottle, so I think we might as well move right to sippy cups so I can serve her soups a la French Kids Eat Everything.
What’s your favorite sippy cup? I’m ready to go buy one, but I want some recommendations first!
Frances turns five months this week so we’ve been thinking a lot about her first food. After reading an article about Diabetes Tied to Timing of Baby’s First Solid Food, it got me thinking about introducing food before six months. It’s hard to know what’s best when there’s so much “research” out there!
We finally came up with a compromise: she gets her first food when she can sit in her highchair without slumping to either side. She’s pretty close to this milestone, so it shouldn’t be too much longer.
There are so many first foods to choose from, but I think we’ve settled on avocado. I still haven’t worked out all the details, but I want to make sure and present each new food in all the different ways possible (fresh, cooked, mashed, chopped, mixed with breastmilk, etc.).
I was talking with Rebecca and it turns out that avocado was Audrey’s first food too. Maybe we can re-create this photo of her!
When did you first offer solid food and which food was it?
With all the hype surrounding the health benefits of chia seeds, including here on the Green Baby Guide (check out this recipe for peanut butter chia seed balls), it got me wondering if babies could get in on the trend. It turns out, they can. Chia seeds are not known to contain allergens or other ingredients harmful to youngsters.
Photo from The Gluten-free Gourmand
If you’re interested in concocting some chia seed baby food of your own, check out these Chia Seed Baby Food Purees over at Hello Bee. If you haven’t discovered Hello Bee already, check it out! She has a lot of great baby food ideas and great food photography, too. (She makes a spoonful of pureed pees look like a work of art.)
Second on the Google search results for baby food using chia seeds was this article: Can I Give My Baby Chia Seeds? In this article, the conclusion is that babies can get the benefits of chia seeds when the mother eats them herself and then imparts the nutrition to her baby through her breast milk. The article claims that most of the time, “you don’t need to give your baby any supplements like this.” I found this advice a bit odd, as I wouldn’t consider chia seeds a “supplement” so much as a food in its own right. For someone like me, who was always thinking up ways to boost my daughter’s baby food (see my ancient article Fattening Baby, Naturally), chia seeds could have made a valuable addition to her diet.
What do you think? Have you introduced chia seeds to your baby’s diet? Would you?
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you’ve been following my posts, you know that I’m into French Parenting books. As a reformed picky eater, I’m fascinated by the topic of food and kids. Frances still has two months before she tries her first bite, and I still can’t help but read all about it!
In French Kids Eat Everything, Le Billon and her French husband decide to leave Vancouver, B.C. and take their two young daughters to spend a year in the village where he grew up. They found that it was impossible to fit in to their new home without adopting French eating habits, so that’s how the story begins.
Once again, I was drooling over the menus fed to even the youngest children at the state run daycare. The emphasis of each meal is to socialize, try new foods, savor each flavor and learn proper table etiquette. Since the French eat so slowly, and all the food is delicious and nutritious, obesity rates are 3% in children (versus 20% in the US).
One thing I liked about French Kids Eat Everything is that the lessons are good for adults too. When Le Billon talks about the pervasiveness of snacking in North America, I had to take a hard look at my own habits. I never used to be such a snacker, but I fell into a routine of “6 small meals a day” and too many of those “meals” are sweet and not savory. I think the biggest problem with the small meals is that I never feel satiated, which leads to more snacking. If I go out for breakfast or lunch I’ve noticed that I don’t snack as much later in the day, probably because I eat more than I would for that meal at home. I think it’s time for me to start eating more food, less frequently.
At the end of the book, Le Billon and her family move back to Vancouver and realize how French she and her daughters became. The saddest part of the book was when her older daughter came home from elementary school crying because she couldn’t possibly savor her lunch in the 10 minutes allowed at school.
Like Le Billon, I realize that I’m ultimately American in my cooking habits. I might use fresh ingredients and French recipes, but I also have a freezer full of frozen meals. I often cook a double batch so I can freeze half, which seems to be the opposite of what the French do. I also won’t turn up my nose at food offered to me, just because it’s not “meal time”. To my American sensibilities, that’s just rude.
My three-year-old took the above picture while nestled into our bike trailer on a multi-mile afternoon bike trip. Our Schwinn Trailblazer, which has served us dutifully as a double stroller and a bike trailer, is still going strong after six years of heavy use. Now that our six-year-old is finally riding his bike independently, we no longer have to strap both kids into the trailer and let them fight over the limited territory. My three-year-old now gets the whole thing to herself!
We bought our Schwinn bike trailer used on craigslist for $100 and it has served us well. But would we have enjoyed the higher-end bike trailers like a Burley D’Like Bike Trailer for $575? Or a Chariot Cabriolet Bike Trailer for $449?
Families that use bike trailers for transportation on a daily basis may want to invest in a top-quality bike trailer, but it’s well worth looking for a used model. Today on craigslist I found a slightly used Burley D’Lite Bike trailer for $115(That’s about $450 dollars less than buying a new one!). And the best news? A family could buy the trailer used, enjoy it for five years, and sell it for almost exactly the same price. Most secondhand pieces of top quality gear, if well-maintained, will re-sell for a similar amount to their purchase price.
So, in my experience, no matter what bike trailer will best meet your family needs, it’s worth the extra time to search for a used model. Do you have a bike trailer that you adore? Do you think it was worth the extra investment?
I never thought I’d be the mother of a picky eater. What imbued me with such confidence? Why, I wouldn’t allow it! I’d feed my child normal, adult foods and she would eat them, too. If she whined about it, too bad. I didn’t want to turn food into a power-play, and I didn’t want to have the kind of child who survived on Saltines and gummy worms.
I remember reading a magazine article about a mother who used to be some sort of gourmet city-slicker. Pre-kids, she and her husband would frequent all of the hottest restaurants and try all the newest food fads. She loved food—she was a food writer, for god’s sake! Two kids later, she was eating hot dogs every single night. That will never happen to me, I said to myself. I won’t allow it! NEVER!
So how did I end up here, with a daughter who does indeed survive on white food and air? Lately we’ve been on a mission to expand her eating repertoire, and she was very proud of herself for trying “salad.” That meant a microscopic piece of lettuce went into her mouth for a few seconds before she spit it out.
Here’s how it happened: She was born this way. I believe that now. I know parents of picky eaters and parents of good eaters. Sometimes the parents are picky themselves; sometimes they’re not. Sometimes one kid in the family is picky, the other is not. I think it’s just the way it goes. Audrey never liked eating. She wasn’t a good nursling. She’s always been skinny.
When it was time to introduce solid foods, I wanted to do it right. Don’t feed them rice cereal, I’d heard. If you do, they’ll develop a taste for bland foods and eat nothing else. Okay. So her first food was avocado. Then I made my own baby cereal out of ground oats. I added in pureed kale and black beans and squash. She ate almost anything if it was mixed into oatmeal. Yet we still struggled to keep her weight up, which I wrote about here in Fattening Baby, Naturally.
She got a little older and we fed her spicy foods—pad thai and salsa. She ate it up just fine. And then at some point, the pickiness settled in like a permanent fog. You see, she started making up her own mind—we could no longer shovel kale and oats into her open bird-mouth. She could say no. She was still too little for her age, so my “just make them eat what we’re eating” model didn’t work out the way I’d envisioned. The thing was, she wouldn’t eat it. She would go hungry if I did that. That’s how it began—we started thinking that she’d enjoy eating more if we fed her things she liked—toast and cheese and fruit.
I made a list of everything Audrey will eat on one of my old picky-eating posts, and some people said they didn’t think her diet sounded so bad. Now it’s three years later, and her diet is more or less the same.
While I do (sort of) believe that she is a picky eater by nature, it’s time that I admit that we have been enabling her pickiness, too. We’ve recently embarked on a mission to introduce her to more foods. I’ll post about our progress (or lack thereof) in the upcoming months. 2013 is going to be the year we turn her eating around. Just you wait!