Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The most "whole" babyfood

Sam has been actively experimenting with food this summer.  I try to give him the most whole version of the food (without posing a choking hazard, of course) so eventually he will have an idea of how food grows: he has plucked blueberries from bushes straight into his mouth, slurped on garden tomatoes, gnawed on pork ribs, and popped corn kernels off the cob. 

Sweet corn is a huge hit!

At 10 months, breast milk is still the biggest part of his diet, but we're sure having fun with the solids now!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Burying my head in the sand

A defining element of motherhood for me has been the intense emotions that some from the "infant survival" instincts.  Any thought of harm coming to my baby, or anyone else's, sends my anxiety through the roof.  I experienced these emotions to an awful degree in the high-SIDS-risk months.   It's also what kept me in such a state of high anxiety--and depression--when I wasn't able to breastfeed my baby well in his first weeks.

Lately, it kicks in whenever I hear a news story about a tragedy involving a child.  For example, last night I watched a Dateline NBC show about a deranged woman who murdered a man after he ended a relationship with her.  The story was told from the perspective of the man's parents, who left their home to move closer to their son's killer and her baby, their only grandchild, born after the murder.  The show was filled with home movies and pictures of the baby, chubby and cherubic like Sam.  It ended in absolutely the worst way possible: a murder-suicide by the woman, stripping from the grandparents the one ray of hope in their lives and depriving an innocent child of his future. This morning I can't stop thinking about this poor child every time I look at Sam.

A few weeks ago, I found myself agonizing for days after listening to a radio interview with a female author of a memoir who discussed in detail aborting a baby in the fourth month of pregnancy after testing positive for a genetic disorder.

And last week, I read an article in Time magazine called "the only child myth," which discussed some things parents consider when deciding whether to have more than one child.  I thought, morbidly, that it did not mention the risk of child loss as a reason for having more than one.

Things like this rarely crossed my mind before I became a mother, and news stories certainly didn't send adrenaline coursing through my blood.   Of course, harm comes to children every day, and lots of it, because of humanity's imperfections.  Not long ago I read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, which takes place in mid-century Africa, where women give birth to nine children in the hopes that two will survive to adulthood.  What are the mechanisms that allow people, especially mothers, to cope with the reality of children who suffer, and children who die?
Maybe it will get easier for me to face the truths of the world as Sam gets older. But for now, the only thing I can bring myself to do is turn off the radio and TV and bury my head in the sand.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pumping at work

I happened upon interesting view into trying to work and be a breastfeeding mom at the same time.

A requirement for managing this is either having your own office or working for one of the few companies that provides dedicated space. We can't expect to have attitudes like this in the workplace and increase breastfeeding rates in any significant way.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Foraging for babyfood

The wild blueberries in our backyard have ripened early this year, and Sam can't get enough of them.  We're not sure if he even bothers to gum them up before swallowing, with the speed at which he shovels them in.  The wild strawberries last month were even better--they are softer and taste like candy--though there weren't as many to enjoy.  He also loved the raspberries we had at Gran and Papa's house in western New York last weekend, picked from their woods.  I'm trying to think of a way he could enjoy some of their wild black cherries that doesn't involve me pitting them by hand.  Maybe a mortar and pestle?  (He also "foraged" some Mountain Laurel recently, which, according to the very helpful poison control operator, is toxic, but only in large quantities.)

Since babies get most of their nutrition from milk or formula during the first year, feeding solid food before one year of age seems to be mainly for training purposes.  If that's the case, I want to make a variety of textures and flavors available (not just mushy food) so he can practice and learn.  It's also important that we eat the freshest and most wholesome food we can manage, for the best nutrition and flavor.  Foraging for berries has been one fun way to eat good things, appreciate our country surroundings, and (eventually) learn where food comes from.

It's my dream that good food will become just a normal, enjoyable part of life for him, as it is for me.