The Stress of First Foods for Baby
When I had my second child I figured I knew the ropes and had this entire feeding first foods thing down pat. Yeah right! It is right when you start feeling confident that life throws you curve balls. Ever been there?
I thought recalled everything I learned from my first child including the trauma of making baby food in a food processor. So I bought a Baby Bullet so I could more easily puree “grown up” food into something my darling baby could ingest. You see I was seven or eight months into feeding my first kid baby food when I realized how much cheaper and better for you homemade baby food is. While I understand that jarred baby food is terribly convenient (as I have discovered and taken advantage of on numerous occasions) and not necessarily bad for baby, homemade baby food is not that difficult (once you have the right tools), doesn’t have shelf stabilizers (if you are fixing raw vegetables and such and not blending fish sticks), and personally makes me feel better about feeding my baby. Sorry Gerber!
Don’t know what you don’t know
What I didn’t remember is how much I stressed over whether my child would choke on the food I offered. Of course I may not have stressed because I was too timid to offer food with chunks until well after 2 years of age! The benefit of being a second time mom is that I know more this time around. With my first child the list of things I didn’t know was extensive. What’s worse (or maybe better) is most of what I didn’t know, I didn’t know I should know. The bliss of ignorance! No wonder I didn’t stress.
Fortunately some of the things I have learned have actually eased my stress levels. With the exception of peanuts and honey, parents are now allowed to introduce any and all foods to their child earlier. In 2012 (while I was still pregnant but well after my first was past toddler-hood) the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology concluded there was no evidence to support delaying these foods past 4 to 6 months, once a baby has safely tolerated a few more traditional solid foods, such as iron-fortified cereal, fruits and vegetables. In fact, by introducing these foods early on, parents may protect their children from developing food allergies in the future. WooHoo! One less thing to stress about and even feel good about.
But wait, there’s more
So as the first foods are starting to progress and I’m feeling more confident, my darling second child threw me for another loop though. He stopped growing.
Between 12 months and 15 months he was the same exact height and weight. So then I started stressing about how much he was eating! He was eating what I thought was plenty, the same stuff I had fed my first child. I must have been doing something wrong! My first thought was to get him to eat as much as I could so he would grow.
Not really the best option though. Turns out there is no need to make sure the baby eats a certain amount. In fact, making babies eat more or less than they need may interfere with their ability to self-regulate.
And in the end, he did grow (as did the number of gray hairs on my head). He was not wasting away. He did not contract some weird “stay at 12-month size forever” disease. Now I’m just wondering what the next food stressor he will throw at me will be.