The Ongoing Saga of Poop

7 08 2008

It has become clear to me over the last few months that ensuring the regularity and proper consistency of poop is a very serious task for any mother.  And so, when sweet potatoes and avocado recently resulted in another poop whose exit made Masher–let’s say–not so happy, I became a bit concerned.  Googling around, I found that baby constipation is signified by hard pellets of poop; paste-like poop, on the other hand, is entirely normal.  That definitely made me feel better, but it was only a start.

Constipation, said one site, is by definition a lack of water in the colon.  Well, that made sense, I guess.  After all, Masher wasn’t drinking water.  Maybe I wasn’t mixing enough water or liquid in with the food.  That was worth a try.  Another site mentioned apples and prunes, which I realized I had already introduced in the form of juice, so I could try out the “solid” form instead.  I bought some adult unsweetened organic applesauce at Whole Foods, mixed some in with organic prunes (soaked in hot water, then processed in the blender), and watered down the whole mess.  It’s hard to call this thin, black-spotted goo “solids,” but I suppose that’s what it is, and Masher–despite screwing up his face into a “What the heck are you trying to do to me?!?” look with the first bite each time–seemed to enjoy a tablespoon or so of it over the last three days.  

And now we wait … with a extra pad in his carseat, his favorite place to go.

Mmmmm ... avocado!

Mmmmm ... avocado!

Some good poopy web sites: 

Mmmmm, Sweet Potatoes!

31 07 2008

Yes, that’s right.  Masher loves sweet potatoes … well diluted with breastmilk anyway.  We started ’em a few days ago, just put a few sweet potatoes in the oven to bake and mashed them up when they were done.  Since they were still pretty lumpy, I put a couple of scoops in the food processor and then pushed them through a sieve.  Half of the strained mixture went into the fridge for immediate consumption, and the other half into the freezer for later.  I still need to get some ice cube trays for freezing small individual amounts of whatever I make, but I just put it all in one container for now.

And then, since I totally overestimated and baked three giant yams when Masher probably eats the equivalent of 1/20 a sweet potato at one sitting, I made some very tasty sweet potato banana bread using the leftover potatoes and chunkier bits and a few overripe bananas on my counter.  I modified the recipe slightly, using less sugar and more banana and potato than it called for and made two loaves.  Yum!

Speaking of overripe fruit, yesterday I had a mushy plum and another banana wasting away on the kitchen counter, so I played with a recipe from this week’s Post food section to make a tasty frozen dessert.  My version was easier and probably healthier–just processed the banana and plum (skin, too, for the plum, not the banana!), added some yogurt and honey, and stuck it in a bowl in the freezer for a few hours.  Even my yogurt-averse husband thought it tasted pretty good!  And it was especially refreshing after the fire-breathing chicken stew we had for dinner.  (Note to self:  One family doesn’t need more than one-two jalapeno plants in their garden.  Seven is way too many.)

Unfortunately, Baby Masher wasn’t ready for any this exciting food, although we do plan to debut the all-mighty avocado with him tomorrow.

God Bless the Internet …

26 07 2008

… Because I don’t know how we lived without it.

See, I had been feeling pretty uncomfortable about this whole “solid foods” thing.  It’s something I hadn’t quite admitted to myself or on this blog, but it’s true.  I couldn’t put my finger on it, and I definitely felt as though it was something very personal, but I kept wondering to myself why everyone asked if we had tried the baby cereals yet.  I wondered why everyone asked automatically about the cereals, even the doctor.  I wondered whether babies started with rice cereal in Mexico, or Pakistan, or Zimbabwe, or Japan.  Looking at the cereal, which resembles fish food more than anything else, I wondered what magical properties it possessed that the brown rice or oatmeal in my cabinet didn’t have.  Okay, so I can read on the box that there’s an iron supplement, but what the heck?  If the babies NEED the iron, isn’t there some other way for them to get it besides adding some supplement, which more than likely can’t be absorbed by the body anyway?  And I especially wondered how Masher would transition to eating the food that we eat when he’s starting out eating food a world away …  and in a part of the grocery store I rarely visit, the aisles.  As a girl who shops around the outskirts for fresh vegetables, fruit, meat, and dairy, with monthly ventures into the aisles for whole grains and beans, I couldn’t understand what I was doing staring at a small shelf of canned strained chicken and peas and the like.  I eat at the farmers’ market.  Can’t my baby do the same?

So, like any good 21st century dweller, I Googled.  And I came across a really helpful web site that began to address many of my concerns … and led me to a book, which I ordered on (yay for the Internet, again!) and that was delivered to my house a day later:  Feeding the Whole Family:  Recipes for Babies, Young Children, and Their Parents.  And, after one read, I decided this would probably have to be my new bible.

A paragraph from the book that sums up the answer to my concerns:

When we give babies separate meals made of factory-created food that is bland and full of fillers, we do them a disservice.  This trains them to expect separate meals and prefer bland empty calories.  Do your children a favor and introduce them to food with flavor.  Let them recognize a variety of simply prepared whole foods as the familiar tastes that trigger “home” in their mind and bodies.  Feed them what you eat.  Make what you eat good enough to feed your baby.

             — Cynthia Lair

Look.  It would be one thing if I were still working 50+ hours a week.  And as the author of the book points out, there are organic processed baby foods out there these days, which is a huge step forward as far as processed baby food goes.  And it would be another thing if my husband and I didn’t already eat pretty conscientiously.  (I say “conscientiously” because we always cook organic and heavily local at home, but we are equally happy to stuff our faces with nachos and beef fajitas at Rio Grande from time to time.)  But I’m not working now, and – as family – we’ve already made huge strides toward eating primarily “whole foods” (Michael Pollan of The Omnivore’s Dilemma asks, “Would your grandmother recognize the substance as food?”).  I think we’re ready to go the whole way.

So, what does this Cynthia woman recommend as baby’s first food?  Apples, avocados, bananas, carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, and winter squash, any of which should be cooked, mashed, and mixed with breastmilk or water (if necessary) to the consistency of soup.  Sounds delicious.  Scratch everything that came before.  We start anew.