Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Another Recall

Heinz has announced another recall of a jarred baby food, this time Sweet Potato and Beef Medley.  Recommended for 8 months and up.  Looking at the pictures, it looks like a puree but is probably lumpier.

My first thought is "Ewww.  Who buys this for their baby?".  Oh, wait...I probably did.  Although I could cook a nice sweet potato, I never got smooth pureed meats.

My next thought is "Food before one is just for fun; breast milk is the primary source of nutrition."  Well, we're supposed to say "Breast milk or formula" but statistics say more babies are formula fed at this age then breastfed.  But if we're trying to make breastfeeding "normal", then people shouldn't be adding "or formula".  It's already assumed, so let's leave it out.

However, formula is expensive and many parents want to get  their kids on "solids" as quickly as possible.  Current recommendations are no solids before six months, and then basically anything except raw honey, and if you have allergies in the family, avoid the allergens.  This is not to replace breast milk though.  It's in addition to.

A current "trend" is baby lead weaning.  It's not weaning in the sense of taking two weeks to get your baby off the breast or bottle.  It's more like baby lead "introduction" to solids.  The idea is that you can offer bite sized pieces of real, human food that you would eat, and if your baby is ready, they will eat it.  If they're not ready, they won't eat it.

Think back.  Waaaaayy back.  Back before the commercialization of parenting.  What did mothers do?  Take a piece of their food, squish it, flake it, chew it, etc and give it to their baby.  They didn't have the option of pureed chicken or dried cereal in a box.  Why have we fallen prey to the big companies that make us think we're wrong if we don't serve rice flakes or veal Parmesan that looks like something the cat barfed up?

I'm in some Frugal Parenting groups on Facebook.  These are geared more to giving away unneeded items, but every day people ask questions about parenting, and not always with a frugal mindset.  Like, "What age can I start cereal, baby is 3 months old now".  As well as waiting till six months for the biological reasoning of stomach enzymes, I suggest that waiting till six months is also frugal because you can skip cereals and serve real foods.  And you'll also save money on cleaning baby clothes LOL.

Yet so many parents are insistent their baby needs infant cereal!  Pablum was created by the Hospital for Sick Children during the Great Depression for babies that were malnourished.  It's less than 100 years old, a tiny speck in the millions of years of human evolution.  Is your baby malnourished?  Even if so, there are much better options.  Rice, in particular is a crappy food, without much actual nutrition, and it has great negative socio-economic and environmental impacts on tender cultures around the world.  These cereals are "fortified" so parents think that's a good thing.  What that means is that the natural minerals and vitamins were stripped away during processing (this IS a processed food!) and (lab made versions) were added back in.  The %RDA listed is not accurate because these minerals and vitamins are harder to absorb.

It's OKAY to skip baby cereal, and jarred foods, and those pouches.  Don't be a media push over.  If your great grandma didn't use it, you can survive without it too.  Somethings might just make life easier, but it's not a "need".  But is also okay to give cereal!  I would stay away from rice and wheat though.  Why start your baby out on a carb heavy diet when we know it's not healthy for adults?  A little homemade oatmeal is nice though (once in a while).

 Does this look like a happy baby?  Not really.  I waited till six months to give Megan cereal (compared to just before 4 months with child #1).  Although I knew it wasn't necessary, I fell for it anyway.  However, I was in a real learning phase around then, thanks to the boom of parenting forums and the Internet.  If I could do it over, I would.
Compare this to two months later, and eating "real" food!
What baby wouldn't rather gnaw on a cob of corn then have spoonfuls of mush forcibly put into their mouths?

Monday, April 27, 2015


The earthquake in Nepal is tragic.  It's hard to prepare for something like that when you're barely surviving day to day.  Earthquakes and tornadoes tend to create total destruction, so even if you have a 72hr kit, you might not be able to access it, and well, it's only going to last 72 hours.

On one hand, I subscribe to the socialist Canadian view.  Help for everyone, for the good of the country.  We're all people, we all need help at some point.  What goes around, comes around.

On the other hand, I cringe when I hear that the Canadian government is contributing $5 Million dollars to the relief efforts.

"Our biggest concern for them right now is going to be access to clean water and sanitation, we know that water and food is running out."

(This quote was just grabbed from a news sidebar).

What about all the people in Canada who don't have easy access to quality food and water?  Anyone remember the  Attawapiskat First Nation crisis?  What about the children here who rely on school breakfast programs for the best meal of their day?  What about the people living in Toronto Public Housing?  Where's the money from our own government to help them?  

I know there is a lot of wastage in Canadian programs.  Attawapiskat was ordered to repay a large amount of the money the government gave them.  Many people claim there is wide spread abuse of the social assistance program.  I know people in the system, and it's not easy to get, and to stay on.  For a small number, perhaps it is easier than "getting a real job", but that's not a huge number.  You hear complaints about someone on welfare having their nails done or using a newer cell phone.  Sometimes you'll find out that the cell phone is their home phone, their computer, their TV, their only contact with modern technology.  It's pretty hard to get by without access to the Internet these days, or not having a phone number.  Sometimes someone else is paying for it.  Whatever.  I do think financial awareness classes should be mandatory.  However.

I think it's awesome Canada can send some money to Nepal.  It's "only" 17 cents per person of Canada.  Just imagine, though, what that $5 million could do to help Canadian people.  But we're all people.  Is helping those that have barely anything to start with, more important than helping those that payed into that money and could help generate more revenue for the government?  Imagine if hospitals didn't have to charge for parking just so they can buy new beds or a CT scanner.  Imagine if you didn't even have a hospital to go to.  Imagine if post secondary education was a little more affordable for all Canadians.  Imagine if you were fortunate to get educated through grade 8.  

I don't want this $5 Million to supply bottled water and nutritionless rice.  I hope Nepal has some plans in place.  Katmandu was a growing hub of business, I hope it can recover and improve. I really do hope that.  I just can't help thinking of those, though, that are squashing cockroaches in a TPH apartment, with leaky windows and no hot water, at the same time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Americanized Birth

Oh, America.  You've given us lots of awesome stuff, and some not so awesome.  Two of the saddest things have to be the infatuation with food, and the medicalization of birth.

I was watching "Outrageous Births:  Tales from the Crib" on TLC.  While a few of the stories are truly outrageous, so many are actually more like how birth should be happening.  The problem though, is that people have become so far removed from "normal" birth, that what is normal is now considered "outrageous".

A woman was getting induced, two days past her due date because she was "overdue" and worried about the size since her last baby had been born a week early and was 7lb 14oz, and she didn't want to have a big baby!  Due dates are estimates.  The doctor uses a standardized due date "wheel" that is based on a 28 day cycle, with ovulation happening on day 14.  Not that many women actually have this cycle!  So the due date is actually considered an estimate.  Doctors generally consider a 2 week period on either side of the due date to be "normal".

The average newborn weight is 7lb12oz-7lb14oz.  At the end of pregnancy, a baby typically puts on 1/2lb per week.  So, even if her first baby was early by a week, he would have been 8lb6oz by the due date.  Not a "large" baby by any means.

The next few things really made me shake my head though.  She gets checked, and it is determined she is 5cm.  That means she's in active labour.  Yet, the nurse says "Let's start the induction with pitocin to get this labour going."  If the nurse doesn't understand the point of an induction, what hope does the patient have?

Okay, there was the small issue of a tornado heading towards the hospital. But the mom got an epidural and was unable to assist in her move to safety...they knew about the tornado when they gave the epidural.  I don't know why they thought they needed to speed up the birth to "beat the tornado" since they don't have any control over either.

Anyway.  Ladies.  If your nurse says you're 5cm and they're going to induce you, ask for a new nurse.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Say Wha?!

I was just channel surfing and paused on TLC, during an episode of "My 600lb Life".  The patient was in to the visit the doctor for a pre-surgery approval appointment, and has had five months to lose some weight before being approved.  She hadn't lost any weight and had to explain herself to the doctor.  She claimed she was doing everything she was told, "I'm eating low carb, like you said.  I even started making wheat bread myself so I could stick with it".  You could almost hear the doctor giving himself an imaginary head slap.  Her support person also looked dumbfounded and they both told her that wheat bread is still bread and is not low carb.  She truly looked surprised.

Oh, people.  Really?