October 10, 2005

And The Kid'll Have The Massaman Beef Curry

massaman_curry_beef.jpgThe traditional first solid food for Japanese babies is rice, not rice cereal. They cook it with milk to make it softer, and then gradually thicken it up. By a year or so, kids are eating straight rice. Of course, according to the infant cookbook I brought home from Tokyo, kids also eat fish, seaweed, all kinds of vegetables, and whatever else along the way.

According to pediatricians, including at least one AAP board member, the US's slow, bland, grains-based arc for introducing solid foods is woefully Western-centric and based more on myths than science.

The AP writer's attention-getting advice, then: throw out the "rules" [they're more like guidelines anyway] and throw in the meat and the spices. DT reader Mark has a more measured assessment: "The big breakthrough appears to have been the realization that the entire world doesn't do things exactly how America does. Who knew?"

Sho' nuff. And though I'm proud of my Pop-Tarts-to-seaweed-eating kid, and we're still cautious of allergy-prone foods, I think the real story is why there's little to no research in any country on the subject of infants and solid foods. Until I see something from the AAP, not just the AP, the kid and I are gonna take all this advice with a healthy dose of salt [and cumin, garlic, and curry.]

Doctors bust baby-feeding myths
[ap/azcentral via dt reader Mark]

Previously: Babies' tastes are set in 3rd trimester, first 3 months?


Actually the massaman curry with Shrimp and a side of brown rice is exactly what our 1 yr old gets every time we go out for thai food (he's been eating it since about 9-10 months). Since there's no history of food allergies in the slightest on either side, we pretty much threw all the guidelines out of the window and fed him whatever (as long as it wasn't a choking hazard). He'll eat anything - actually, the spicier the better (we tend to freak people out when we're feeding him at restaurants). I mean, people in India/Mexico/Thailand/insert any country except the UK have babies and I'm pretty sure they don't eat gerber rice cereal. This was also my rationalization when I was nursing him and eating spicy/garlic-y stuff (sorry, I just couldn't sacrifice real food if I was going to be nursing for a year or more).

My wife has a bunch of cookbooks from Japan and watches this baby cooking show broadcast on the web; it's amazing the stuff they have babies eating...

However, as I have a rather nasty peanut allergy that also prevents me from enjoying legumes such as green peas and soybeans (imagine living in Japan for 6 years and not being able to eat tofu!) [or eda-mame !!], we're taking it really slow with the food introduction.

Rice cereal (both Japanese and Heinz), then oatmeal, some fruit, veggies, and a little chicken so far... we've recently gone out on a limb and let the kid (she's 9 months now) drink some red miso soup (I'm not allergic to the red kind, oddly), and try banana, which I know some kids can be allergic to. She and the wife are in Japan now, and they've given her some fish as well, which seems to be ok.

Here's hoping... I think keeping her on breast milk as well until a year and a half will be a big help; apparently I was on formula after about 3 months... thanks, dubious 60s-70s science!

Yup, we give Sophie all the curry she can eat. Tandoori chicken and veggie booty used to be the only staples of her diet. Yum!

A dairy sensitivity in my eleven-month-old inspired us to hurry up with the meat; beef is a favorite and has been since seven months. Also, she seems to eat most anything intense - big chunks of garlic and onion, thai beef with fish sauce and jalapenos, spicy udon and tofu, and ginger-y dahl have been hits.

We go to Tribeca Pediatrics -- Dr. Michel Cohen -- and they recommend that if there is no history of food allergies in the parents, than an 8 month old can eat everything that the parents eat (except the obvious baddies - PB, sugary juices, honey, etc.) Everything else, FINE! It's been a huge relief for me (now I'm not baking sweet potatoes at 10pm) and the baby seems to like just about everything!

Our ped told use the same thing Anne's dr did - if there is no history of food allergies, there's not real reason to wait. Our kiddo had peanuts at like 9 months. He had fish before a year. And spanish rice is one of his favorite things in the whole world. He also love spicy taco meat. :)

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