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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 ''OrientRice@aol.com'')

                    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 ''OrientRice@aol.com'')

                      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.

                      Link: http://www.fuzzibunz.com/

                      1. re: Amin (London Foodie ''OrientRice@aol.com'')

                        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 ''OrientRice@aol.com'')

                          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.

                          Link: http://www.colostruminfo.com/

                        2. Go out and buy 3 books

                          First read:
                          1)The Nursing Mother's Companion.

                          This is an awesome book and was a huge help when I was first starting out. It has great advice for all stages of nursing. Studies have shown the breastfed babies are more open to different tastes since the taste of breast milk always changes while the taste of formula never does. Also continue to be an adventurous eater while pregnant. This helps develop a chow pups palette too! My son favorite (and very first food) was avocado. My husband is convinced it is because I ate so much guacamole as well as sharp cheddar w/ sliced avocado on whole wheat bread while pregnant. LOL

                          The other 2 books are both by Ellen Satter

                          2)Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense
                          3)How to Get Your Kid to Eat... but Not Too Much

                          Her approach was the healthiest and most realistic approaches I ever heard/read. She has great ideas for preparing yourself in advance with tips on nursing. For feeding kids “real” food her basic adage is that it is the parent’s responsibility to offer healthy meals and snacks and it’s the child job to eat or not eat the food offered. The average child will not starve if they miss a meal, two or three. She also says to never be a short order cook.

                          Lastly, prepare as much easy to heat and serve foods in advance for the freezer. Nursing is the most awesome thing in the world but you are always hungry! If you have foods you can easily heat up and eat with on hand (smooth soups in a mug, veggie burgers, casseroles) preparing an easy to eat meal with a nursling in arms will be so much easier. Also have on hand lots of easy to eat snack food in the fridge (cut up fruits, veggies, hummus, tabouli, cut up cheese, etc) you can easily grab a snack with one hand.

                          Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/sea...

                          1. As an argument for the same thing that people below have suggested--make your kids try new foods; do not make a separate "kids' dinner"--but from the other side, I wanted to offer myself as a bad example.

                            I was totally indulged by my (chowhound) parents as a small child and never pushed to eat anything I resisted. As a result I spent the first 15 years of my life subsisting on pasta with butter, rice with butter, bread with butter, plain hamburgers, and, as a vegetable, pumpkin pie. I literally did not eat a green thing until I started dating boys and found it easier to eat their mothers' cooking than to turn up my nose.

                            Now, the damage was not lasting--somehow I grew up tall and strong, and I am now the avidest home cook and most dedicated, adventuresome chowhound you would ever care to meet--but I lament the philistinism of those early, wilderness years! So follow that three-bite rule with your pups! (I'm certainly going to.)

                            1. j
                              Jane Hathaway

                              First of all, congratulations on your impending arrival! I have a 14 month old and started thinking about these issues well before she was born. The advice I received on this board has been invaluable.

                              I've done pretty well in most areas, but my daughter is still pickier than I ever imagined so maybe you can learn from what I think was my one mistake. I tried to make all of her food as soon as she started eating solids (pureed whatever we were having). That worked out pretty well and early on her favorite food was actually an Indian lentil soup that I make a lot. However, sometimes we were having things that just weren't easy to puree (sushi, etc.) or we were traveling and I opted to use food from a jar (I got mine from Whole Foods - all natural and organic). Unfortunately, she ended up liking the texture of the jarred food better than what I was making for her and she's still that way at 14 months. She's pretty adventurous with finger foods (falafel, bits of rice and avocado from sushi, pieces of food from my plate pretty much anywhere we go), but she won't eat anything off a spoon if it has any texture to it whatsoever. So I think it may have been a mistake to give her food from a jar at all.

                              As for the finger foods I give her: tofu cubes are her absolute favorite, cheese, pieces of bread (she definitely has aquired a taste for high-quality bread and doesn't want anything else), cookies (I get whole wheat fig or berry cookies from the bulk food bin at whole foods - tear into small cubes at first and then give baby the whole cookie later), mini waffles (mine are also from Whole Foods), pieces of falafel, whole beans or chickpeas (sometimes from Mexican or Indian restaurants off my plate) and some special healthy muffins that I keep on hand for her at all times.

                              It can be really exciting to watch your little one get excited about food, but it can also be stressful. Feeding my baby definitely occupies my mind a good portion of the day. The good news is that this topic comes up fairly often on this board and I always come away with a new idea when it does.

                              Good luck!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Jane Hathaway
                                Jane Hathaway

                                A few more things I thought of after my original posting.

                                A month or so before your due date, start doubling what you cook for dinner and freeze the rest. I made enough meals to last us a month before the baby was born and it was wonderful to have great food that I didn't have to think about. I made all sorts of things, but I can only think of soups, pasta sauce and lasagne right now. I got many great ideas from this board. I know I have them in a file somewhere and will post them if I can find them.

                                Print out any of the responses you get here that appeal to you and put them in a file somewhere. Also mark pages in books when you see an idea you like. Time goes so quickly when you have a baby and you'll need to utilize these tips before you know it.

                                Our pediatrician gave me some great advice on when to start the baby on solid foods. He said that I should do it when she appeared to be interested in our food. Suddenly one day she was and she took to solids right away. As others on here have said, I think you just know when the time is right.

                                We've included her in our dinnertime since the day she was born. She sat in her infant seat on top of the table for months and then in her high chair after that (at that point I would give her bits of food while we ate). We also started taking her to restaurants when she was five or six days old.

                              2. As the proud parent of a almost 13 year old who will eat anything, I'm often asked how I got him that way. The things I credit is my craving for all things spicy while pregnant (I know, scientifically questionnable) - he had a taste for exotic and spicy foods from the get go and the fact that I never EVER cooked a second meal for him or any of his picky eating friends (amazingly his friends will eat things at my house they won't touch at home). Dinner is dinner. Good luck and congratulations - momhood is the best thing.

                                1. Some or most of this may have been covered by other posters, sorry in advance for any repetition. I second, etc. the advice about feeding your pup whatever you're eating once s/he is ready for a variety of solids.

                                  Just a few cautions based on my experience:

                                  Beware of broccoli, cabbage and other "gassy" foods in the early days of breastfeeding. Both of my kids had miserable nights when I didn't know (#1) or forgot (#2) this one. Gassy foods do often make gassy babies and when they're really little (under 3-4 months) it's no fun for anyone involved. Ditto some spicy foods and some kids. Fortunately, this sensitivity didn't last long.

                                  Take it easy on the dairy. Both of my kids had dairy sensitivities when little (bad diaper rash and some congestion if I ate dairy.) Not so severe that I couldn't have the occasional ice cream, but w/my daughter I ate v. little dairy until she weaned (at age 2); her dairy sensitivity ended between 2 and 3. My son (7 mos) doesn't seem to have the same issues w/dairy, so I've been easing it back in, but trying not to overdo it. I eliminated cows milk products until he was almost 6 mos old. The good news is that goat or sheep milk did not affect him at all, so I subbed-in goat and sheep cheeses and soy milk (I now prefer coffee w/vanilla soy!) Since he's still mostly breastfeeding, I haven't yet decided if I'll try to introduce cow's milk at 1 yr or wait longer. Soymilk is an easier transition from breastmilk when they get to that stage.

                                  Congratulations and enjoy the ride!