Friday, January 25, 2008

Fattening Her Up in My Gingerbread Kitchen

Ever since we brought Pebbles home from her overnight hospital stay, we've been engaging in Operation Fat Baby. Trying to fatten up a baby is totally counterintuitive to me. I've always been of the "let them eat what they want, they won't starve" school. But here I have a baby who may not have doubled her birth weight by her first birthday, who has lost ground, and this is where I put on my Mom Apron and say, "Eat up, kiddo."

Operation Fat Baby got a big boost by the news that the American Academy of Pediatrics recently admitted that there is no hard evidence supporting the notion that you have to hold back certain foods from your baby until certain ages. That is, as long as your baby isn't already suffering allergy symptoms, you might as well feed your baby whatever you want as long as you're sure he or she won't choke on it. You don't have to wait until your kid is 2 or even 3 to feed peanut butter, fish, eggs, anything -- or at least they have no proof that waiting will help your kid avoid allergies.

Mind you, that's not to say it's a bad idea to introduce foods one by one. That seems to just be common sense -- you watch for signs of allergic reaction for a few days before moving on to the next new food. Still, we have pretty much thrown the "wait four days" rule out the window at our house.

Pebbles is interested in table food. She likes it warm, spicy or at least salty, and she most likes food that comes directly off an adult's plate. Since she is perfectly capable if eating practically nothing if she's not excited about it, and since she seems perfectly willing to go on weighing under 15 pounds until she hits the college cafeteria and the Freshman 15, we have decided to give her practically anything in which she shows interest.

Until today, it worked pretty good. She likes noodles (whole wheat of course), so she enjoyed a cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole with the chicken chunks picked out. Macaroni and cheese with eggs and cauliflower (a la The Sneaky Chef) mixed in also went down well.

But today, today she was phenomenal. After a so-so breakfast and lunch, she ate well at dinner, polishing off several tablespoons of black-eyed peas and brown rice in chicken broth, with carrots. I gave her a few cinnamon-flavored Sun Chips for dessert.

But that wasn't enough. A couple hours later, she was still awake due to a late nap when the rest of us had dinner. She reached for Nutmeg's pizza. She lunged for Epu's bowl. And she ended up eating a half dozen shreds of pizza (first time having tomatoes) and many more bites of that black-eyed peas/rice/chicken dish.

I think Pebbles finally may have discovered the joys of food. As with every positive development reported here, I attach to it my great hope that this is not a fluke.


Bert said...

Woo-hoo! Congratulations on the food progress! We look forward to seeing a round little Pebbles in a few weeks!

Sara said...

Ah yes...the love affair with food begins.