Food Battles – One View on What to Do

Why, hello world.

I had to take a break from professional writing for a few months due to conflicts of interest, and although you’d think that meant I’d be more free to write for my poor unloved blog, I guess..not. Huh.

Wait But Why, my new favorite beloved, has a great post explaining, well, why, I can’t sometimes just get off my butt and write. Especially without a deadline, or (and this is important), the promise of money.

Hatas gonna hate.  Procrastinators gonna procrastinate.

Anyway..

Where was I?

I do have one pro-free range parenting article from earlier this year up on that other site:

Your Helicopter Parenting is Hurting My Kids

It’s not much of a controversial issue by this point.  It’s totally in vogue now to be all like, “Hey, those crazy overprotective parents, I mean, right?”  And, like I’ve said before, this blog is not for advocacy or controversies or opinions — just information. So instead I want to highlight some of the feeding and nutrition stuff mentioned in the article.

Ellyn Satter, a nutrition expert, has become famous for counseling parents on feeding their children and minimizing mealtime battles, beginning with newborns. We talk more and more about on-demand breastfeeding for infants, and thank goodness. Study after study has indicated that infants know when they are hungry and when they are full.

We young parents are starting to get that. But we still don’t get that the concept extends beyond infancy. We’re treating the infants with respect and then infantilizing our toddlers, instead of learning the mealtime division of responsibility:

  • The parent is responsible for what, when, where
  • The child is responsible for how much and whether

This means that if your kid doesn’t want to eat the healthy well-balanced meal you provided, even when considering their taste preferences, well, okay. They will live.

Even as a Satter devotee I don’t perfectly follow her rules. No food in between snacks and mealtimes? Nope. I’m theworst. My kids regularly ruin their dinner, even if they are eating healthy snacks. You know why I break that rule on a regular basis? Because after two babies who had weight issues, I’m still afraid I’m starving my kids. Yeah, those kids. The healthy ones over there currently trying to dismantle my bookshelf.

Our kids are so much more capable than we give them credit for.

I highly recommend reading Satter’s books, even if you don’t end up agreeing with everything in them. I found it very freeing to just chill out regarding toddler eating habits.

For more information regarding implementing the Satter method, check out the incomparable Amalah, who writes an advice column on AlphaMom.

..and so much more. Amy (Amalah) really really loves Satter.  And I love Amy. So it’s just a hippie circle of love over here.

Basics: Low Milk Supply Part One – do you really have a low supply?

Aka: I just link a lot to KellyMom and Nurshable

Do you have a low milk supply? First, is it actually low? KellyMom has an amazing resource page regarding whether or not a mom’s supply is actually low, and if it is, possible causes and solutions. I really can’t add more, as it is very comprehensive. However, some key highlights: If the baby is cluster feeding (nursing off and on for hours), it may just be a growth spurt. If the baby is fussy at the breast, it may just be a new awareness of the world around her, or a need to burp, or just plain baby fussiness. It may be related to the milk – a lower milk supply or letdown is common in the evening, but even that isn’t often a big deal.

Other things to consider – if the baby is moving down the percentile chart, it may just be the chart your pediatrician is using or just a regular slowdown that will later catch up at the next growth spurt.  If the baby is slowing down on diaper output (fewer BM diapers, for example), it may just be an age-related change.  And remember, birth-6 weeks is different than an older baby.

Please keep in mind that not all babies fit prescribed patterns – be safe and weigh your baby just in case, but personal experience indicates a two week old can go two days without pooping and be going UP the percentile chart. In fact, many knowledgeable moms indicate during a growth spurt that BMs slow down during a growth spurt because the baby is using the milk more efficiently. I would love to find actual research on this (or ask one of our contributors, the Lactation Chic at Holistic Mothering), but it fits my personal experience.

Here is another article on our site with useful information on newborn weight gain and stooling.

In general, there is a wide range of normal for poopy diapers for breastfed babies.  And, in general, there is a wide range of normal for breastfed baby behavior.  In fact, check out AlphaParent’s Timeline of a Breastfed Baby to ease your mind. Or, buy Breastfeeding Made Simple, a seriously easy, basic read on breastfeeding without all the complicated rules.

However, a combination of these things may indicate a low milk supply. If your baby is increasingly fussing at the breast, feeds for a long time (past the first few weeks, and for more days than an average growth spurt), has low diaper output, and is going down the percentile chart, then you might want to consider trying to increase your milk supply (and/or supplement either permanently or while trying to boost your supply).

So what can you do? What are the myths and what actually works? Later, we will be going over (or, er, linking a lot to the above sources) combo feeding/supplementing, pumping/nursing tips, prescriptions, and galactagogues.

For more discussion on low milk supply, check out http://www.lowmilksupply.org/ and the Breastfeeding with Low Supply forums.

If you have a medical issue (ex: Breast Hypoplasia/Insufficient Glandular Tissue) check out this podcast.

Basics: Registry

Expecting? Trying to figure out what the heck to register for? Check out these tools:

Lucie’s List  and the Baby Bargains book (and forums) are both great at helping you figure out what you need and don’t need and providing the most cost-effective option.     Check out Consumer Reports for quality ratings on most baby stuff. And if you’re up for crowdsourcing, WeeSpring is a great service for seeing what your friends recommend.

Don’t want to be stuck with just one store? Amazon has a universal registry (but it may be hard for grandma to navigate). There’s also babyli.st – a truly universal registry where you can ask for a doula and a breastpump in the same place.

Update: I forgot a UK website that I used quite extensively when searching for a stroller. http://www.which.co.uk/baby-and-child/ Very very helpful.

Basics: Bottle-Feeding Resources

Do you bottlefeed? Tired of not being able to find good advice on formula feeding and/or exclusive pumping? I’ve got resources for you.

First there is KellyMom.com, which touts itself as evidence based parenting (spoiler alert – evidence-based parenting websites generally are pro-attachment parenting). You may get some scary articles about how bad formula is, but there is also great information on pumping and how to do it effectively. And lest I sound negative, I love KellyMom – it is a great resource.

Second is Bottle Babies, which is the KellyMom for bottlefeeders, whether formula feeding, supplementing, part time pumping, or exclusively pumping.

Third is Fearless Formula Feeder, which has some posts debunking (or at least critically analyzing) studies and articles about the benefits of breastfeeding, but also has Fearless Fridays where formula feeders or combo feeders share their stories.

Basics: Online Communities – It Takes a Village

I’d be remiss if I don’t give major credit to the various online communities that have sprung up around parenthood. There is no way it is humanly possible for me to list every single message board on every topic here, but I can at least provide you a general overview of the major clearinghouses of information out there.  I’ll stick with U.S. based websites, although there are definitely major websites based in other English speaking countries.

Baby Center

BabyCenter has it all. Weekly pregnancy emails and later, emails about the development of your child. Message boards covering every topic imaginable. Blogs. Videos on parenting. Articles and expert advice.  An online birthing class. iPhone, iPad, and Android apps.

BabyCenter is a member of the Johnson and Johnson family of companies – so keep in mind that ultimately, their goal is to advertise J&J products.

Babycenter has a worldwide presence, including BabyCenter UK and BabyCenter India.

Other parenting compendiums have the same tools as BabyCenter, including theBump and the What To Expect boards.

The Bump is a spinoff of the popular wedding site TheKnot.com. In addition to pregnancy trackers, message boards, and advice, the company publishes a pocket-sized magazine featuring pregnancy-related content and local pregnancy &baby resources, distributed through OBGYN offices in 14 US markets.

The What to Expect site is a spinoff of Heidi Murkoff’s bestselling What to Expect series (starting with the well-known “What to Expect When Expecting”.) The book itself has garnered some negative reviews for being overly negative and covering worst-case scenarios, and for being written by someone with no medical training herself.  (A 2005 New York Times article branded it “The Book They Love to Hate”, stating one of the major issues is that previous editions get handed down from woman to woman, factual missteps and all).

Want more message boards? There’s Baby and Bump, the message board for the Momstastic website. Opinions from across the pond? Hop over to netmums.com.  Want a fresher, hipper look at parenting? Check out the aptly named iVillage Parenting Site/Forums, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal with a partnership with BlogHer. (more on BlogHer in another post) Want to only discuss holistic motherhood? Mothering.com is your best bet, you hippie. (I kid, I kid).

There’s also CafeMom,  which has some more liberal terms of use in their private groups than some of the other major sites, and is a profit-making (ad supported) company that uses parents as testers for various products – they then write posts reviewing the products, which are supplied by sponsors.

Finally, there is Circle of Moms, which is for moms only, and is connected to your Facebook account so there is an actual personal connection.

As for me? Personally, I love BabyCenter. When I’m nursing a sleeping baby and have nothing else to hold my attention, the information, catfighting, and photo threads provide me with everything I need. If it weren’t for BabyCenter, I wouldn’t know what terms such as Baby-Led Weaning, or MSPI, or AIOs, or stripping the membranes meant. (Whether I actually needed to know any of that is up for debate – but the origin of this site is the immense amount of random parenting trivia wasting space in my brain).  And, as much as I want this site to be a clearinghouse of information, for a direct competitor, head over to their specialized community boards – at the top of many of the forums will be a moderator’s note with a wealth of information and links on that particular topic.