Monday, October 21, 2013

Feeding the Beast. The beginning.

Ugh. You guys, I got sick again. And so did the baby (poor sniffly, adorable baby).
A friend recently told me that once the baby gets sick that the whole family passes it back and forth and "you're never healthy ever again."

So far, only two of us have had the same virus and one has been as you can see, I'm still in denial.

Illness, continued lack of sleep,* work deadlines, impending winter (you know, yard clean up, swapping out wardrobes, time consuming dribble), family visits annnnd BOOM. That was my head exploding. Whatevs.

*R, "I never thought I'd look back at two months and think of that as the golden age of sleep."

Let's talk about food prep. R and I are very into taking the foods we get from the Farmer's Market and saving them for winter. We do this with the food from our own garden as well, but this year we basically practiced survival of the fittest in the garden. Because the baby takes priority over all things.

And in that vein, we didn't stay on top of our Farmer's Market winter prep nearly as well as usual. What we are prepping is largely baby food. Who'd a thunk, right?

Preparing and storing fruits and veggies now means that we'll have organic, nutritious food ready when he starts solids right smack in the middle of December.

So far we have canned pear sauce and apple sauce. Froze pear juice that we can later dilute with water. We have chopped/blanched/vacuum sealed carrots and parsnips. I currently have a basket of German butterball potatoes awaiting mashing and freezing. There are also an acorn squash and a couple of sugar pumpkins hanging out, meekly awaiting slaughter.

Of course, preparing for our little guy to eat solids has kicked off a new area of research (Surprise! Let's talk about Research Topic # 375! Let's start with Appendix B, as in Boring Your Socks Off, shall we?).

Traditionally, people start their babies off with rice cereal. I know that this is what our pediatrician will recommend because she mentioned it at his two month visit. Spoiler: we will not be feeding our baby rice cereal. Double spoiler and addendum: I am not trying to shame people who choose to feed their babies rice cereal; do what you damn well please.

It turns out that rice has a very high level of arsenic. The effects of arsenic vary, depending on exposure and the type of arsenic compound. We are all exposed to arsenic all the time, I'd just like to keep my son's exposure as low as possible. So, no rice cereal.

As I started researching rice cereal, it turns out there is no actual reason to start infants on grains at all. It's one of those "that's what we've always done" kind of things...except it isn't. It's actually a fairly recent trend and it turns out that there may be some very good reasons to delay exposures to grains. I say may be because I still need to verify what I've read.**

**That the production of amylase, the enzyme needed to break down grain, isn't produced in high quantities until after one year of age. To summarize, feeding a baby grains before that time is hard on the digestive system and may increase the likelihood of food allergies. Again, I am still planning on verifying this in academic, peer-reviewed publications (AKA don't believe everything you read on the internet).

At any rate, it seems like grains are recommended because they are 'iron fortified'. I can just make sure to feed my baby other foods that are high in iron, like meat or kale. So there's a good chance the little guy isn't going to be carb loading for quite a while.

I am also looking into baby led weaning. Basically, that's not pureeing everything and letting a child actually chew by feeding them things like steamed chunks of veggies. Based on my stockpile of fruit sauces, I am not planning on screaming any baby led weaning war cries. I'm thinking that we'll incorporate some of these practices, which is why the carrots and parsnips we prepped are sitting in our freezer in pieces rather than pureed.

This is just the first of what I'm sure will turn into many a ramblin' soliloquy about baby food and nutrition. I suppose I should also mention that the little guy is going to be exclusively breastfed until at least 6 months of age and that his primary nutrition will be breast milk until he's a year...barring some freak milk drought or something.

So join me, won't you, as I start my nerdy, hippy hybrid journey that I'm thinking of calling Feeding the Beast.
That's brilliant.
I'm totally using that. I'm changing the title of this post right now.

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