Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hill of beans...in the diaper

This might be too much information, but am I the only mom who gets upset when I see whole edamame beans and peas in my baby's diaper?  I went through all of that steaming and got her to swallow them, but the nutrients didn't get absorbed because the beans came out intact. Grrrr.  A professor once told me that foods aren't really nutrition until their component nutrients are absorbed in the intestine.  Just getting them down the hatch and into the stomach doesn't mean you're out of the woods. 

So, here's a tip.  Infants and toddlers who haven't developed molars aren't able to fully chew all foods so they'll be absorbed effectively. That means we have to help them along.  If you're seeing full edamame beans, peas or whatever your legume du jour, make sure you prep them for digestive success -- take the clear shell off edamame beans and mush them up as much as you can (while still making them a finger food).  You can also blend them up and hide the evidence in everything from casseroles to pasta.  I also squeeze individual peas to get the outside skin off before offering as a finger food.  Nothing in life is easy, right?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Eating a Rainbow

You might be surprised that Mia hasn't yet mastered the art of language.  Yes, she can say Mama, Dada, yeah, baby and Mimi (her nickname) but there's also a lot of undefinable babble in there.  As a dietitian, I'm focused on getting her to eat a variety of foods and communicating the names of fruits and vegetables. 

I'm trying to get creative.  Last week I was feeding her carrots, peas and corn and simultaneously pointing excitedly at pictures of each of them in my "I Can Eat a Rainbow" board book.  I searched Mia's face for recongition such as "Mom is amazing!  There are vibrant pictures of carrots, peas and corn right there and look, she's even feeding real versions to me.  I can't wait to eat all of them.  Happy day!"  That didn't happen.  She did eat a few bites of veggies though. I'll take it.


This morning I filled Mia's bottles with half cow's milk and half breast milk.  The transition to cow's milk begins!  Of course, on my way to work I was convinced she'd starve to death and called my nanny about 3 times by noon.  Mia actually took to cow's milk like a duck -- er cow -- to water.  Phew! 

After feeling like the best mom ever because I single handedly transitioned my child to something new, I hit a roadblock during my commuter reading.  I recently dusted off my copy of "What to Expect the First Year" and was reminded in the 12 month section that I need to banish the bottle.  Drat!  Better get on that too.  So my plan is to transition Mia to cow's milk-only bottles by 13 months (eeek only two weeks to go) while still nursing at night, in the morning and on the weekend.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turning One!

My baby girl Mia just turned one.  When I was pregnant I remember thinking about taking breezy summer walks with my baby sound asleep in the stroller. I envisioned cradling my newborn in my arms as she peacefully gazed up at me.  Yes, those things did happen but so did colic, screaming fits, sleepless nights, tears (mine and hers) and an internal struggle with parenting philosophies (cry it out just wasn't going to fly with me).  
I work part-time as a dietitian in food PR and as such Mia's diet falls in my lap.  When I look back on the past year I can't help but think about nursing.  Something that is supposed to come so natural, didn't.  It took months to get the kinks worked out and like many new moms I had a goal in mind -- nurse for a month, maybe six tops.  Now that I've nursed for a year I find myself reading books like "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" while deflecting criticism from well-meaning family members.  Nursing continues to be an important part of Mia's diet and I'll admit, I enjoy it too. 

Some of my fondest memories from the past year are nursing Mia in the middle of the night in the quiet of my Chicago loft apartment.  But nursing is only part of the equation.  These days I'm trying to tip the balance in favor of more solids, less nursing.  That's my year 2 project.