Monthly Archives: March 2011

Lactivism, Breast Feeding, Bottle Feeding, Formula And Mothers At War

If you’re easily offended or like a good fight, now might be a good time to look away. I’m talking about the World War 3 of parenting: breast vs bottle.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I also want to talk about lactivism – that word that raises heckles, and shouts of ‘nazi’ and bully and so on – and unethical companies.

Breastfeeding and Race: South Africa

*** Welcome March Carnival of Breastfeeding readers.***

I find myself in a strange situation. I am one of my race, yet not of my culture. I fit in to a race that is not mine – yet am part of its culture. But let me start at the beginning and explain myself a little better…

Baby Led Weaning: First Food Suggestions

I’ve written a bit on the why of baby-led weaning, I’ve spelled it out in my top ten reasons, I’ve written about what Baby Led Weaning equipment you need (or don’t need, as the case may be) for Baby Led Weaning, but I haven’t written anything on how to get started, or more accurately, with what to start.

Before I just rattle off a list of foods, however, here are a few important things to remember: (And if you want to hear it from the expert on Baby Led Weaning, Gill Rapley,  you can buy her book.)

  • Baby Led Weaning shouldn’t be started before your baby is ready, i.e. showing signs of interest in solid foods (which can start as early as four months, but hold out for six), is able to sit up on their own, and is six months old.
  • Baby Led Weaning is about the experience of food, rather than the nutrition only of it. Food is fun till one. Until they are around one, milk should be your child’s primary source of nutrition, and food should be introduced for the touch, feel, smell factors. Food should be mushed in the fingers, sucked, gummed, smelt and experienced, and how much is eaten is rather irrelevant. Around the first birthday, your child will automatically start eating more of the food.
  • Baby Led Weaning doesn’t mean you give your child food and then walk away. It’s not ‘hands off’ in the way that scares parents looking in to it. It’s still weaning, there’s still parental involvement. It’s just baby led.
  • Babies don’t need teeth to eat. They are perfectly capable of breaking down foods with their gums – be smart though. A 500g rump steak isn’t a good idea.
  • A baby’s gag reflex is in the middle of their mouth, unlike an adults, which is more towards the back. Your baby might sound like he or she is choking, but it’s unlikely. The gag reflex is precisely there to prevent chocking. At the same time, don’t leave an infant unattended when they are eating.
  • If your child doesn’t like something, it doesn’t matter. Remove it from the plate, and offer it again in a few weeks time. Tastes change as taste buds develop.
  • Try to use organic foods, and don’t boil them. You’re trying to maintain the flavours – bland food isn’t very interesting. Steaming works best for hard vegetables, or we often pan-fry in a non-stick pan with no oil.
  • If there is a history of allergies, asthma or eczema in either parent’s family, try to avoid milk products (cow’s milk, cheeses and yogurts), shellfish, citrus fruit and their juices or eggs, until your baby is around eight months old. If there are allergies, also avoid sesame seeds or peanuts. If you’re really concerned, do a blood allergy test, so you know for definite what to avoid and what not. There is also a school of thought that says avoiding these things increases the risk of allergies, rather than reducing it – do your research and decide for yourself.
  • Honey, salt and wheat products are not recommended until the baby is a year old. This is a strange one for me, as, for example, in South Africa we give babies “biltong” – dried, cured, salty meat” for teething. ‘Regulations’ and ‘recommendations’ vary from country to country and over time, so do what you feel is right for your baby.
  • You can change to baby led weaning at any time, even if you’ve already started puree feeding, but be aware that babies used to swallowing purees first may be more likely to try to swallow and then gag on finger foods.
  • We’ve never puree fed, and you don’t have to start with mush.
  • When you were pregnant, your baby became accustomed to your way of eating. If you’re breastfeeding more so.
  • These are suggestions for first foods. Use your discretion and if you’re not sure, wait a while. All of these suggestions are aimed at children over six months, some for over one year:

Fruit

  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Melon
  • Pears
  • Peaches – if soft, raw is fine, otherwise lightly steam
  • Nectarines – if soft, raw is fine, otherwise lightly steam
  • Plums – if soft, raw is fine, otherwise lightly steam
  • Strawberries – after six months, if no allergies in the family.
  • Apples – great for teething gums, but do be wary as it is a hard fruit and can be a chocking hazard. Otherwise bake and cut into chunks. With cinnamon. Yum.
  • Blueberries – cut in half to ensure they aren’t swallowed whole (for smaller babies)
  • Grapes – great for gumming, but keep an eye on younger babies. Peel if you desire, as the skin can get stuck on the throat, which is quite uncomfortable. Peeled and frozen and halved is also heavenly for sore gums.

Vegetables

  • Carrots – great for teething, but same criteria as apples. Lightly steamed is preferable.
  • Broccolli – lightly steam or roast
  • Cauliflower -lightly steam or roast
  • Butternut Squash – roast or boil
  • Sweet potato – roast or boil – cut into thin fry like pieces for easy holding. Don’t deep fry though.
  • Potato – roast or boil- cut into thin fry like pieces for easy holding. Don’t deep fry though.
  • Courgette/baby marrow/zucchini – steamed or roasted or lightly fried or grilled
  • Aubergine/eggplant – good for cutting into squares, roast, steam or grill – taste it to make sure it’s not too bitter.
  • Cucumber – raw
  • Asparagus – a favourite in our home, but be aware that it can be stringy and be both in the stomach and the mouth at the same time! Cut into bite-sized bits.

Other

  • Rice – great for motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination!
  • We also choose Plum baby snacks, especially those that use spelt instead of white flour.

Great snacks to have on hand:

  • Pasta – try gluten free if under one
  • Cubes of cheese – no molded or goats or sheeps milk under one
  • Fish or meat – well cooked. Although Ameli’s been eating raw salmon (sashimi) since 12 months
  • Hard boiled egg – assuming no allergies
  • Home-made low sugar seed and nut bars – assuming no allergies

Spices

  • We use loads of herbs and spices in our food.
  • Cinnamon – supports the digestive system, but delay introduction if there are food allergies in your family. Also a great source of iron – so no need to worry if baby is otherwise breastfed.
  • Turmeric – great for adding flavour to food and also a powerful anti-oxidant
  • Cumin – supports digestion
  • Coriander – again good for iron among other things and great with chicken dishes
  • Nutmeg – also good with chicken, soothes the tummy
  • Ginger – also good for upset tummies (hello, morning sickness!) . It also eliminates gas from the intestines, and is an all-round good food.
  • Garlic – adds masses of flavour, an anti-oxidant and apparently improves breastfeeding if mama eats garlic.

And a final note:

We try to avoid adding sugar to anything, because really, glucose does nothing good to the body. Instead, replace it with Xylitol. It is slightly more expensive, but is sweeter and actively helps prevent tooth decay and can even reverse the effects of some decay.

In truth, the best way to Baby Led Wean is to cook your own dinner, and take a few bits and pieces of age-appropriate foods off your plate and onto your baby’s. That way there’s much less wastage, no extra preparation, and you end up eating healthier too, since you want to give your baby the best.

Anything to add? It’s sure to help someone!

10 Reasons to Choose Baby Led Weaning

I love baby led weaning and it’s one of the greatest things I’ve discovered in parenting. It always amazes me how people struggle with both the time consuming and financial burden of purée feeding.

I once tried to explain Baby Led Weaning to mothers on a parenting forum and what amazed me the most was how negative they all were: the most common argument was how ‘scary’ it sounded, or how ‘dangerous’. Which I felt was a little sad. I mean really, which parts of parenting don’t feel scary or dangerous at times?

***
Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

The Carnival of Natural Parenting is hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama.

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So, here are seven reasons why I think Baby Led Weaning is better for babies:

  • Benefits of longer milk feeding/ digestive preparedness

Baby led weaning doesn’t normally start until the baby is around six months old, able to sit up on his/her own and has shown some interest in food. As a result, a baby led weaned baby will probably stay on milk feeds until around a year before solids really make up much of the diet at all. Following the ‘food is fun till one’ principle, a BLW baby will receive most of their nutrients by milk while playing with food until one, when they’ll start eating more. With my little girl, there was a marked difference in the quantity of solid food she ate before her first birthday compared to how much she ate a few weeks down the line.

Since baby is still on milk, they are getting all the nutrients required, and you don’t have to worry about force feeding a child that doesn’t want to eat.

  • Natural motion of babies mouth

The mouth is designed for food. When a baby breastfeeds, their sucking motion isn’t actually sucking at all. If you watch a breastfeeding baby, you’ll see the jaw moves almost in a chewing motion – which it doesn’t do with bottle feeding. Breastfeeding prepares a baby for chewing, and baby led weaning helps them to take food in, chew and swallow, rather than puree feeding which simply requires them to suck back (which is where choking hazards come in) and swallow.

  • Natural desire to feed self

Babies have a natural instinctive desire to feed themselves. Have you ever seen a baby fighting to try and grab the spoon? They are naturally inclined to learn to feed themselves. And why not? If your 12 month old can feed herself, you won’t still be having to spoon feed at 3 years old. And you won’t be making airoplane noises or choo chooing around the room to get your child to eat either.

  • Experience of different textures and flavours

Food is fun till one is a great, and messy, principle. It means that everything that goes on the plate becomes an experiment of flavours and textures. Mushing marrow between the fingers, slip-sliding mango up and down the plate, ‘tearing’ pieces of bread or meat, and spearing sashimi (raw salmon) Baby-led weaning breakfastare all great explorations and help prevent pickiness.

  • Promotes development of hand-eye coordination and finger dexterity

Picking up kernels of rice one at a time requires quite a bit of dexterity and concentration, so it’s great for developing these essential skills. Chasing a cherry tomato around a plate and capturing it requires hand-eye coordination. And the reward is tasty.

  • Less picky eaters

It is said that BLW toddlers aren’t as picky eaters as their puree fed counterparts. This is partly due to having been exposed to different foods (I don’t see sushi and asparagus flavours in pots), but also to the different textures so there’s not the expectation of mush – blended mush- and baby gets to know individual flavours, sharp tastes, sour tastes and so on.

  • Baby listens to own body

Although I can’t find much by way of scientific evidence for this – after all, who’s going to pay for a study that’s not going to make anyone any money? – it is anecdotally claimed that babies won’t eat food that is later found to be bad for them. I have personal experience of this with my daughter. I’m willing to trust it, because in the end it can’t hurt.

But there are also at least three benefits for mama, and the family as a whole:

  • Starting Baby-Led WeaningLess strain in terms of  time and cost

I don’t know what a month’s worth of puree feeding costs, but I understand it’s quite a lot. At least with baby led weaning, you don’t have to spend money on bottles of food, and you don’t have to spend time on spoon feeding.

  • No need to puree, easier to prepare food

Maybe you’ve always made your own purees, so it hasn’t cost you that much? That’s fine, but with no need for puree’s you don’t need to stand praparing seperate meals. You don’t have to wash your blender every day. You don’t need to buy special food pureeing equipment. You make your family meal, and everyone eats the same thing.

  • Family eats healthier, mum doesn’t finish off baby’s food

Everyone eating the same thing is also healthier for the whole family. For the most part, we all try to do the best we can for our babies, and we want to give them as healthy food as possible, which generally means the whole family eats healthier. In addition, there’s no weight gain from finishing little Johnny’s fishfingers after your own meal. What we do is simple: I prepare the same amount of food as we’ve always done, and take a few bits and pieces off each of our plates to give to Ameli. She doesn’t eat a huge amount anyway, but now that her appetite is increasing, I just make a little bit more, and any left overs go into the freezer for days when I don’t have time to cook.

These are my reasons for baby led weaning. Can you think of any more?

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Choosing to Breastfeed — From selfishness to self-giving, CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy lists reasons why breast is best for her and her family.
  • The Top 10 Ways to Succeed as an Working Attachment Parent — That Mama Gretchen shares tried and true ways to succeed with attachment parenting even when working away from home during the day.
  • Ten Ways Families Can Enjoy Nature (for free!) — Spring is nearly in the air, and Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction is dreaming of the fun and frugal ways that her family is going to get out and enjoy nature this summer.
  • Top 10 Nursing Positions / Situations — Momma Jorje uses her 5½ years of nursing experience to share her Top 10 Nursing Positions/Situations. She includes some adorable photos of her youngest daughter at the breast.
  • My Top Ten (plus two) Life Altering and Growth Inspiring Books — A top ten list of books from MJ at Wander Wonder Discover that changed her life as an individual, a parent, and an earth dweller.
  • Top Ten Ways to Be Present With Family — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares how to make the most of parenting and family life through being present.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Natural Parenting Dads Are So Attractive — Nada at miniMOMist sure digs her husband, but it’s not just his good looks — it’s his parenting!
  • Top Ten Natural Tools for the Work of Play — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree offers insight into 10 natural toys that will span the early years (and save you money).
  • Top Ten Ways To Have a Harmonious Home — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her natural parenting-inspired methods for maintaining a harmonious daily life with her toddler.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Home Birth Rocks — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares her passion for birthing at home – the natural place for natural birth.
  • Top Ten Books for Natural Parenting — Pregnancy, herbs, cooking, and healthcare — the ten books Asha at Meta Mom the most.
  • Top 10 Slacker Ways to Natural Parent — Guavalicious is happy to show you how to parent naturally the slacker way.
  • Top10 Ways to Spark Interest, Learn, and Have Fun With Everyday Tasks! — Bethy at Bounce Me to the Moon gives you her top 10 ways of incorporating fun and lessons into everyday tasks and chores.
  • Top 10 Tips on Authentic Grandparenting — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting offers a list of tips to make the grandparent-parent-child relationship flow smoothly.
  • Top 10 books for raising loving, spiritual children — In her ‘food for the soul’ post, Mrs Green from Little Green Blog shares her favourite spiritual books. No matter what religion you practise, there’s something for everyone!
  • Top 10 Ways to Know You Are a Natural Parent — So what makes us “natural parents,” anyway? A lighthearted look at the Top 10 Ways to Know You Are a Natural Parent by the editors and readers of Natural Parents Network.
  • 10 Things That Helped Me Become a Natural Mama — The Accidental Natural Mama counts down ten things that helped her find her moderately crunchy inner mama self.
  • 10 Reasons We Unschool — Patti at Jazzy Mama explains why unschooling is the right choice for her family.
  • Top 10 Reasons to Breastfeed Your Toddler — Extended breast-feeder Kate Wicker of Momopoly makes her own top 10 list for why she loves nursing her 2-year-old.
  • 10 Lessons in 1 Year — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter shares 10 parenting lessons that she has learned throughout her first year of motherhood.
  • My Top Ten Parenting Tools — Amyables at Toddler In Tow names the top ten tools that have been helpful to her while learning to parent respectfully and successfully.
  • 10 Reasons to Choose Baby Led Weaning — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares ten reasons to choose Baby Led Weaning when it comes to solids.
  • Top 10 reasons to choose midwifery care — Lauren at Hobo Mama lists the features that drew her to midwives’ care for pregnancy and birth.
  • Top 10 Reasons to Co-Sleep — 10 practical, emotional, and completely selfish reasons to co-sleep and share a family bed from Lily, aka Witch Mom.
  • Top 10 Things No One Told Me About Natural Parenting — Adrienne at Mommying My Way explains that the best things about natural parenting are things she never expected.
  • Natural Parenting Benny & Bex Style — Pecky at Benny and Bex explains why Natural Parenting principles work best for her boys.
  • Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Time-Out — If you are uncomfortable using time-outs in an attempt to control your child’s behavior, try one of these gentler alternatives. Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares her Top 10 Ways to Avoid a Time-Out.
  • Top 10 Breastfeeding Misconceptions — Sheila at A Gift Universe examines ten reasons women give for why they didn’t breastfeed as long as they wanted, and shows how these obstacles can be overcome.
  • Postpartum Gift Ideas — Alicia at I Found My Feet suggests a top 10 list of gifts for mother’s after giving birth.
  • Top Ten Mama Necessities Money Can’t Buy — Buying baby gear is fun, but Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama knows real parenting must-haves can’t be bought in stores (or even on Amazon).
  • The Pandas’ Top Five Crunch-osophies — Top five crunchy philosophies, as employed at the Panda Residence by Ana at Pandamoly.
  • Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Son Intact — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children has shared 10 reasons why you should leave your newborn son intact.
  • Top Ten New Mom Survival Tools — Wolfmother shares her most beloved motherhood survival tools at Fabulous Mama Chronicles.
  • My Top 10 Parenting Scriptures — Dulce de leche is learning to integrate faith and parenting. Whether it is breastfeeding, babywearing, comforting her children, or gentle discipline, she finds that the Bible has beautiful passages to encourage her on her journey.
  • Ten Great Spring Activities To Do With Preschoolers — Kellie at Our Mindful Life and her family have come up with a great list of activities to do together this spring.
  • Attachment Parenting in the NICU — Erica at ChildOrganics shares some strategies to help you parent naturally in some unnatural circumstances.
  • Preparing for a Hospital VBAC: My Top 10 — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis shares 10 ways she’s preparing for her upcoming hospital VBAC.
  • 10 Ways to Reuse Yogurt Containers — Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes keeps the stacks of yogurt containers out of her recycling bin by reusing them in both practical and creative ways.
  • Top Ten Things Every Breastfeeding Mother Needs to Know — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood believes knowledge is power and wants all moms to be well informed.
  • Simply what it looks like — Andrea!!! from Ella-Bean & Co. offers a glimpse into natural parenting through the eyes of mama and babe.
  • Natural Cleaning Ideas – Top 10 — Laura at Laura’s Blog lists the ways she keeps her house clean and clear of chemicals.
  • My Top Ten Shows Worthy Of Screen Time — Tree at Mom Grooves shares her top ten list of shows that she believes are positive, educational, kind, joyful, and a nice way to share some downtime with your children.
  • 10 differences between pregnancy and parenting in Japan and the US — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry gives her impressions about differences in pregnancy and parenting in Japan and the US.
  • Top Ten “Dad” Things — Liam at In The Now talks about his favourite ways to spend time with his children.
  • 10 Most Popular Ways To Treat Cloth Diaper Stains — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey gives ten easy tips to make your diapers like new.
  • Top 10 reasons why cloth nappies are fun — Tat at Cloth Nappies Are Fun shows how using cloth nappies can brighten up your day.
  • Top 10 Books for a Natural Mum — Isil at Smiling like Sunshine talks about her Top 10 Books for a Natural Mum.
  • Top 10 Ways to Use Natural Parenting for Children with Special Needs — Danielle at Mommy Makes Cents feeds the needs of her family and special needs child through the use of Natural Parenting.
  • Ten things everyone should know about unassisted homebirth — Olivia at Write About Birth shares practical tips for women considering an unassisted homebirth and debunks some common myths
  • Ten Reasons it Felt Sew Good To Make My Own Play Food — Brittany at Mama’s Felt Cafe lists her 10 (OK, 11) favorite reasons to grab a needle and start sewing your own felt play toys.
  • Ten Reasons to Plan a Home Birth — Since a home birth can be an incredibly empowering experience, Leslie at Lights and Letters outlines ten reasons why you should plan to have your baby at home.
  • Top Ten Books for Birth, Breastfeeding and Parenting — Megan at Just Me(gan) writes about the ten books that have helped her the most in her natural parenting journey.
  • Step Away From the Amazon List — Stefanie at Very, Very Fine wishes she hadn’t bought so much useless stuff.
  • 10 Ways to Cloth Diaper on a Budget — Michelle at The Parent Vortex shares her best thrifty cloth diapering tips.
  • Top 10 Natural Strategies for Conception (aka How to Get Pregnant!) — Despite facing plenty of health issues, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama found her way to two first-try pregnancies thanks to these natural strategies.
  • Must Read: Natural Parenting Top Ten — Amy at Anktangle wants you to do a little reading! She shares her top ten favorite books to help parents prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting.
  • Top 10 ways I’m not very good at natural parenting (and why I keep trying anyway) — Jenny at Babyfingers shares the ways she is imperfect as a natural parent, and why she embraces natural parenting anyway.
  • Going Granola — Tashmica from The Mother Flippin’ Blog describes the 10 ways that natural parenting sneaked up on her. She never expected to go all granola on the world.
  • My Top Ten New Mommy Moments — Melissa at The New Mommy Files recounts the ten most memorable moments of her daughter’s first year.
  • A Top Ten Letter To Me… — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes herself a letter of reflections and bits of wisdom she would have liked to know as a new mama.
  • 10 reasons why I chose breast over bottles — Becky at Old New Legacy writes a quick list of why she chose breast over bottles.
  • Top 10 Ways to Get Breastfeeding Off To a Good Start — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes shares 10 effective ways to ensure breastfeeding gets off to a good start.
  • Ten Fundamentals — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante gets philosophical with a list of the fundamentals that drive her natural parenting.
  • Top 10 Montessori Principles for Natural Learning — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now gives her top 10 list of Montessori principles parents can use to encourage their children’s natural learning.
  • Ten Top Ways to Connect Kids with Nature — Terri from Child at the Nature Isle offers 10 ways to immerse ourselves in the natural world and develop a love affair with the Earth.
  • 10 Natural Baby Items I Love — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares product ideas to support your natural parenting.
  • Top 10 Things In My Arsenal of Kitchen Witchy Mama Tricks. — Joni Rae at Tales of A Kitchen Witch shares with us the simple things she would never want to be missing from her cupboards.
  • Top 10 Flower Essences for Families — Kim of Nature Baby Bloggings lists her pick of the top ten flower essence which can help ease families through the ups and downs of life.
  • 10 Family Systems and Routines That Work for Us — See what routines, organizational systems, and parenting approaches work for Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings to help avoid conflict and maintain sanity in a family with three young children.
  • Ten Things I Wish I Knew About Before Little Man — In this reflective post, The ArstyMama discusses ten things she wishes she knew more about before the birth of her son, Little Man.
  • The Top 10 Things Every Natural Household (with children) Should Have — Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro shares a list of the most common natural products and remedies she uses for health and cleaning.
  • Dear Ameli – Letter To A Seventeen Month Old

    4 March 2011

    Dear Ameli

    Believe it or not, I’ve just had to check my diary to see what all we’ve gotten up to this month. For a short month, it was definitely an intense one.

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