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May 10, 2005 12:43 PM

O.K., a chowpup's on the way - what can I do to prepare?

  • t

I may have posted to the wrong board, but I seem to recall a long list of postings about what to serve (prepare for) a chowpup - now I've been accused of planning ahead (right now about 8 months early - actually 1 1/2 years), but there's no time like now to plan.... Anyone rememeber, or does anyone have any suggestions?

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  1. Include ChowPup at meal times so she/he can see the enjoyment of food. Several ChowPups taught me that there are no boundaries for enjoying food at an early age. Youngest ChowPup once astounded a wait person by ordering escargots at the age of four. I never 'made' the Pups eat anything but I did insist that they take one bite, even a small one. Also did not allow sodas in the house and only permitted chips when we were marketing - small bag was bought and consumed on the premises. Allowing even young Pups to participate in the cooking process leaves an indelible impression; my Mum allowed me to chop the parsley also break eggs for custard and Yorkshire pudding and stir cake batter. I make lamb stew which tastes just like hers and my daughter makes the same stew that tastes like my Mums.

    My mantra has always been - decide what you want for dinner the following day, the night before. You can always change your mind but the decision is made for you and its one less thing to think about. I also blended my own baby food (didn't like the canned/bottled stuff, no flavor).

    4 Replies
    1. re: Zoe

      With the caveat that I do not have any children, I definitely agree with having a rule that children have to taste, and that no "extra" meals are prepared. As a child, we had a "three bites" rule. I guess the idea was that it took more than one bite to know whether you liked something or not. This said, there were definitely evenings where one or more child remained seated at the table until the requisite bites were consumed (or concealed in a plant, the serving dish, the dog's mouth)!

      1. re: MMRuth

        We had a one bite rule - I sat an entire evening staring at a cold pork chop before they gave up and made me go to bed (I had just discovered that Babe the Pig = Pork)

        Finally when my brother was forced to take his one bite of Grandma's kasha at the table and proceeded to vomit all over his plate my parents relaxed that rule to - If you don't what is for dinner you can't have anything else. Worked fine for us.

        1. re: AimeeP

          Yeah, personally I think the whole "one bite" thing is a bit sadistic--especially when they are very young.

          I always encourage my son (3 years old) to try something new (or old), but I would never force him to eat any food. Instead, I try to explain to him why a food is good for him. What vitamins it has, how they will help him grow. What animals like to eat a given food. What it tastes like. The people he knows who eat this food. Where it comes from. Many times when I put something on his plate for the first time, he doesn't try it. But after a bit of this brainwashing, the second or third time, he invariably does.

          Just this month, after a year of sitting in tapas bars where free sardines/anchovies are brought with drinks, he reached over and bit the head off of one and said it was delicious. I had never even offered them to him in the past, because my SO always snaps them up and I don't like them all that much myself. Now he loves them and begs for them after school every day...

          1. re: butterfly

            Good philosophy. I think that would have worked better than eat it or else!

            My father always told us potatoes would make hair grow in our ears. Oddly enough that was the one thing I liked when I was a small child.

    2. I agree about the cooking part. My son (4 years old) loves to cook and be involved.

      We also do not make anything just for our son, if you know what I mean.

      He eats what we eat but he also gets to help plan meals.

      We also don't hound him to eat something he does not like, but he has to try everything at least once.

      1. hmmm, are you talking about before the pup gets here or after?

        BEFORE: I have recently read that if a pregnant woman eats a large variety of stuff before--including spicy etc--it affects the development of the infant's taste buds in a positive fashion. therefore, you need to eat out a lot and at many different places and also buy lots of cookbooks and try lots of stuff.

        AFTER: If you are breast feeding, keep up the eatting. Focus on all your favorites, eat veggies etc.

        THE SOLID YEARS: Don't start with sweets and that means fruit and peas and the like. Avoid them sugary things. Have kid at meals. Let them feed themselves. I know there are a lot of "rules" now about what to introduce when. I have no idea what they are.

        OLDER: Know your kids. We have one kid who forgets what he likes and another in the "no" stage. You put it in front and she says "no" even if she ate it for lunch just fine. We have the three bite rule. No one has tossed their cookies yet. The one who forgets takes the first bite and goes "oh yeah, I like this." The other one does a fine impression of Camille but lives.

        Don't take kids word for likes and dislikes. Stop! don't yell at me. What I mean is that kids get a thing about a label and whether its true or not they adhere to it. Someone told my kids or said around them that kids don't like spicy food. In fact both my kids DO like spicy food---particulary the med. soon tofu at BCD-- but right now they ferverently believe that they don't. We serve it anyway and tell them no its not spicy. [and in that spicy is a state of mind, we figure that's correct from our perception]

        We do not make two meals. Dinner is dinner. After the three bites of everything, if you don't like it, you don't have to eat it but you stay at the table with the family. If you are really starving, you may make yourself a peanut butter toast or have granola and yogurt but mama is not doing it for you. Truthfully, we usually dont' have a problem with this. There might be one thing that a child decides they don't like but then they eat the rest of the meal.

        7 Replies
        1. re: jenn

          I'm expecting 2 pups this fall myself. My best advice: Don't read too many baby books on how to introduce foods or ask the pediatrician too many questions, use your judgment instead.

          Buy a food mill, it's great for increasing the texture of fruits and vegetables as the baby grows. And experiment with your food processor - my daughter was 7 months old for her first st patricks day, we made a puree out of mashed potatoes and a tiny bit of corned beef for her. I think she also had some soaked soda bread too.

          When the child is older, explain to them what utensils do what and let them try. My daughter loves the food mill, whisks, cherry pitter, pastry bags, etc. For me, having her learn (and enjoy) the process is as important as developing her taste buds.

          1. re: aoinmd

            How could I forget my food mill!! I second this idea. We took it with us everyhwere and my son just ate whatever we did. The mill made it easy.

            1. re: aoinmd

              I agree on following one's intuition. I knew my son was ready to start eating when it started watching us eat. As I brought the spoon to the mouth, he started automatically opening his mouth each time. We found that the perfect first food was little cubes of very soft tofu. And, even now, tofu is one of his favorite foods...

              1. re: aoinmd

                I agree with this. Trust your instincts about when your child is ready for what.

                But I do recommend introducing one thing at a time at first so if they have an allergic reaction, you know what it was from. And then there are the caveats about honey and egg yolks and milk after 1 year b/c otherwise you could seriously make your kid ill (honey) or encourage allergies (egg and milk). At one year their stomachs are more ready for that stuff.

                1. re: aoinmd

                  Have recently started feeding solids to my two chowpups. Favorites have been sweet potatoes, carrots, banana, avocado, pears, apples (all organic, then cooked and pureed) and organic whole milk yogurt. When I do the cooking and mashing myself, there is a bit of texture which the boys don't seem to mind. We tried cereal a bit, but it was kind of a bust (messy, bland and ground their systems to a halt). Am excited to try more things, including tofu, and to be able to simply mash up "grown-up" food once we've introduced a wider range of items. I second the recommendation not to overthink this: Aside from the top allergens, follow your instinct. I actually returned a book that my MIL gave me because it was so dogmatic. I think being mellow and fun about introducing food should be the goal so food is simply enjoyed for what it is and doesn't become an "issue".

                  As for nursing: I have enjoyed my enormous appetite after a very nauseating pregnany. Have lots of tasty easy-to-eat snacks on hand: trail mix, hummus, avocado, cheese, boiled eggs, fruit, energy bars, etc. Make yourself food whenever you get a minute: for example I made my lunch in the morning so I could be assured of having it when I needed it! However I can no longer nurse and snack at the same time (yes, I did this while nursing 2 at once), the boys are now too distracted by what mama's eating!

                2. re: jenn

                  I'm expecting too. My friend had me all freaked out when she told me that you have to watch what you eat while breastfeeding - she said her son suffered greatly (unpleasant details ommitted) after she had a spicy chili. I did not want to hear that after the deprivation of pregnancy (no sushi, wine, oysters...) I was expected to avoid spicy foods!
                  BUT, I thought about it and realized that plenty of cultures eat spicy all the time, and my friend really eat doesn't do spicy or even variety often. So I fully plan to keep indulging my spicy cravings until I see evidence that it's causing a problem. At least I'll be sensitive to the possibility.
                  One new thing I have heard about lately is nursing Moms finding that they have to avoid dairy because their pups show some sensitivity.

                  1. re: julesrules

                    I have a close friend who could not have any dairy or milk protein at all (lots of label reading) when she was breast feeding her first, but has found with her second child that if she just has a very small amount (not a bowl of ice cream, but allows herself to have butter on her food or perhaps a few bites of yogurt) the little one does just fine. If she has a larger amount of dairy the little one can get sick. It's really finding the balance point for your child.

                3. A slightly different spin on your question:

                  I would prepare as much stuff as you can for yourself that can be frozen (now might be a tad too early, watch out for freezer burn!) for the first few months. Lasagna, soups, spaghetti sauce, whatever you like. Cooking just doesn't really happen in the first three months. At all. It's also a great gift from friends and family, if anyone asks - either something for your freezer or a meal delivered.

                  When you're ready to feed the pup, there's all sorts of stuff you can do (cooking, pureeing and freezing veggies, fruits, etc.) but it is WAY too early for that. The book Super Baby Food walks you through preparing all your own baby food. Just watch out, though, because her recommendations about when to introduce certain foods to a babe do not agree with current APA guidelines.

                  1. a
                    Amin (London Foodie '''')

                    Now you have totally and utterly confused me. What do
                    you mean that you are actually ''1-1/2 years early''
                    in your planning ? You mean to say that you have
                    not as yet done the pre-requisite and plan to do so in
                    November, then hoping for a conception, with delivery
                    9 months later ? WoW !!

                    OK, here's my two cents for what it may be worth:

                    1. Plenty of nappies (that’s Brit for 'diapers' or
                    2. When you travel to a foreign land always know the
                    equivalent in their language for 1 above. When my
                    son was just a toddler we went to Madrid, and I was
                    asked to go out and source some nappies. With great
                    difficulty I learned that in Spanish it was
                    called ''braga panales'' but in error, when I
                    reached El Corte Ingles (dept. store) in
                    c/princessa, I said I wanted 'bragas'' so was
                    directed quite red faced to find myself in the
                    ladies lingerie section.

                    3. plenty of wet wipes, creams, lotions, oils.
                    4. high chair (for when they're able to sit)

                    Now some golden rules:

                    (a) When breast feeding, don’t eat any chillies or
                    stuff that will antagonise the baby's delicate
                    (b) If there is excess production (more than what the
                    baby is consuming), then FHS don’t put it in a
                    milk jug in the refrigerator. A visitor friend
                    once opened the refrigerator and unknowingly took
                    some for his tea, liked it, and asked where we get
                    our milk from.

                    As regard to food in the early days, I think you will
                    find the liquidiser as your best friend.

                    Am tired from thinking that far back, so enough for

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Amin (London Foodie '''')

                      Quote: 1. Plenty of nappies (that’s Brit for 'diapers' or
                      2. When you travel to a foreign land always know the
                      equivalent in their language for 1 above. When my
                      son was just a toddler we went to Madrid, and I was
                      asked to go out and source some nappies. With great
                      difficulty I learned that in Spanish it was
                      called ''braga panales'' but in error, when I
                      reached El Corte Ingles (dept. store) in
                      c/princessa, I said I wanted 'bragas'' so was
                      directed quite red faced to find myself in the
                      ladies lingerie section. End Quote

                      Better yet just use cloth! They are not just about folded squares and pins any more and cost a lots less then 'sposies which just end up in a landfill somewhere.


                      1. re: Amin (London Foodie '''')

                        Great advice. Except I have to disagree with your gold rule a. As my lactation consultant pointed out food has to go through your entire system before it makes it to breastmilk. I had tons of hot food while breastfeeding and pregnant with no problems. Although counter to my lc's wisdom, I go ahead and credit it as the reason why my 20 month old love Thai red curry noodles.

                        1. re: Amin (London Foodie '''')

                          Never mind your friend with a taste for breast milk... On TV yesterday I heard this odd man (he calls himself an "orthomolecular nutritionist" and does segments on a Canadian healthy living TV show) claim that he loves to drink colostrum (pre-milk fluid). I assumed he meant cow not human... did a little research and apparently people are drinking bovine colostrum. Yuck.