What does feeding with love and respect look like in your family? What practices related to feeding have worked for you, and what has not worked? Please share your experiences! If you have a post of your own on this topic, or even a favorite resource written by someone else, I would love for you to share the link!
- I loved this milk sharing story from That Mama Gretchen! She had to return to work after her maternity leave, and it wasn’t easy, but pumping for her daughter while at work has also allowed her to provide donor milk to a local milk bank as well as to a mama in her community that she met through Eats on Feets.
- Speaking of milk, Lauren at Hobo Mama shared an update on her experience with nursing through pregnancy, now that she is well into her third trimester. Since we plan to try for another baby in under a year, there’s a good chance I’ll end up nursing through pregnancy myself, so I really appreciate hearing about Lauren’s experience, and knowing that it can be a challenge, but it’s also totally possible.
- On trying for babies, I loved this post at Offbeat Mama about “birth playlists that don’t revolve around Enya.” As much as I enjoy Enya in the right place and time, I really appreciated this list of songs and will certainly be keeping it in mind for the future.
- There have been some great posts about homemade materials over at Aayla do! Montessori, but I was especially impressed by the sandpaper numerals she made this week. Since I have occasional dreams of starting a Montessori coop in our next home, I’m always excited to see that beautiful, quality materials can be created at home.
- Speaking of Montessori, Cathy at A Montessori Home shared some beautiful photos and information on how she set up her home with her now one year old in mind. I just discovered Cathy’s blog this week, and was thrilled. She, too, is Montessori trained for 3-6, but is new to the world of Montessori infant and toddler environments. She started blogging when her Fin hit four months, while I started blogging when Annabelle hit three, so I had a nice time browsing the archives of her lovely blog, as our journeys are somewhat similar. I must say her environment puts mine to shame, however!
- I was really excited when Desiree of Something Happened on My Way to Buddhahood shared this great article from the New York Times on what can happen when high school students are allowed to be the authors of their own education. I have plenty of time to think about it, but the subject of how to approach Annabelle’s education is one that is always on my mind, and stories like this one are encouraging. The ability of children (and teenagers) to direct their own learning is vastly underestimated. Speaking of Desiree, I also loved this simple moment of zen that she shared this week!
- I was lucky enough to receive a real, live print book in the mail this week, too! I won a copy of a gorgeous children’s book titled Mother Earth and Her Children thanks to the lovely MJ who had a giveaway over on her blog Wander Wonder Discover. MJ always inspires with the simple beauty of her words, as well as her gorgeous photos, like the ones she shared this week in her post “Splashes of Color.” Thanks, MJ!
- Speaking of fun things and lovely bloggers, I thought Abbey at Farmer’s Daughter had a great idea with her Guess the Blogger game. If you have ever wondered what I looked like as a baby, you can head on over and check it out!
|Three friends share a lime|
“Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection.30,34,128,178–184 Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.185 Complementary foods rich in iron should be introduced gradually beginning around 6 months of age.“
“Practice exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months of age, and introduce complementary foods at 6 months of age (180 days) while continuing to breastfeed.”
“A review of feeding guidelines promoted by various national and international organizations has shown that there are inconsistencies in the specific recommendations for feeding infants and young children (Dewey, in press). Some of the feeding guidelines are based more on tradition and speculation than on scientific evidence, or are far more prescriptive than is necessary regarding issues such as the order of foods introduced and the amounts of specific foods to be given. To avoid confusion, a set of unified, scientifically based guidelines is needed, which can be adapted to local feeding practices and conditions.” (emphasis added)
|Annabelle tries some fermented oats with
pumpkin, and hemp seed.
- Iron: The RDA for infants 7-12 months is 11mg, from 1-3 years it’s 7mg, and for 4-8 year olds it is 10mg. Good sources of iron in vegetarian and vegan households include foods such as: quinoa, blackstrap molasses, tomato paste, white beans, peaches, lentils, and hemp seeds. While leafy greens are a well-known source of iron, the iron many contain is not particularly bioavailable. Iron absorption is enhanced by Vitamin C, but hindered by calcium. Using cast iron to cook can also increase the iron content of foods, particularly more acidic foods.
- Calcium: The adequate intake(AI) from 7-12 months is 270mg/day, the RDA from 1-3 years is 500mg/day, and from 4-8 years the RDA is 800mg/day. Good sources of calcium that we eat include: broccoli, leafy greens (note that the calcium in some, including spinach, is not well absorbed swiss chard and bok choy are two of the best choices) dried figs, and various beans and seeds. Calcium is one vitamin that has been hotly debated in recent years, and many experts argue that exercise and Vitamin D intake are far more important to the building of strong bones than is calcium. See this letter from Harvard Health for more information. There’s also a great article on PCRM’s website that pertains to children specifically, but readers should note PCRM’s probable bias against dairy products when reading, as they receive a great deal of their funding from PETA.
- Zinc: 7-12 month olds and 1-3 year olds meet the RDA with 3mg/day and 4-8 month olds with 5mg. Zinc is found in many grains, legumes, and nuts. One great source that has been a favorite in our house lately is shelled hemp seed.
- Vitamin A: For infants aged 7-12 months 500 is considered to be adequate intake, while the RDA from ages 1-3 is given as 300 and for ages 4-8 the RDA is 400 . Vitamin A rich foods in our diet include mango, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato.
- Riboflavin (B2): The RDA’s are .4mg/day from 7-12 months, .5mg/day from 1-3 years, and .6mg/day from 4-8 years. Sources eaten in our house include almonds, mushrooms, and quinoa. Riboflavin is also found in many fortified foods for vegetarians and vegans such as nut milks and nutritional yeast.
- Vitamin B6: Between 7 and 12 months, .3/day is considered adequate intake and the RDAs for 1-3 and 4-8 years are .5 and .6mg/day respectively. Our favorite sources include chickpeas, bananas, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin B12: For ages 7-12 months, the AI is .5
What first foods did, or will you offer? Would you do the same with future children? What advice or information did you rely on in choosing your children’s diet? I would love to hear from you!
**I put a great deal of time, research, and thought into this article, so I would love to see others benefit from it. If you have friends who you think may benefit from it, please feel free to email it, share it on facebook, blog it yourself – use it as you see fit!**
The cultural norm for infant feeding seems to be pretty simple: some women nurse or may express breast milk for their babies, while others feed their babies formula from a bottle. I have yet to meet, in person, a mom who did anything else. It seems that when there are breastfeeding problems, or a mother cannot or does not wish to nurse, the natural solution is infant formula. I’m sure that formula companies are quite pleased that their products are the immediate go-to for the vast majority of moms when breastfeeding is difficult, or is not an option for one reason or another, but this is an unfortunate scenario for infants.
The following excerpt is taken from the World Health Organizations’s Global Strategy for Infant Feeding
“The vast majority of mothers can and should breastfeed, just as the vast majority of infants can and should be breastfed. Only under exceptional circumstances can a mother’s milk be considered unsuitable for her infant. For those few health situations where infants cannot, or should not, be breastfed, the choice of the best alternative – expressed breast milk from an infant’s own mother, breast milk from a healthy wet-nurse or a human-milk bank, or a breast-milk substitute fed with a cup, which is a safer method than a feeding bottle and teat – depends on individual circumstances…Infants who are not breastfed, for whatever reason, should receive special attention from the health and social welfare system since they constitute a risk group.”
- Expressed milk from the mother
- Milk from another healthy mother, at the breast, or expressed and fed using another method such as an SNS, syringe, cup, or bottle
- Infant formula
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