Sunday, 18 June 2017

Feeding Baby the French Way (Part 2)

When we started weaning SCB onto solid foods, I felt a little bit conflicted about the French nutrition guidelines for babies. I like their structure, their emphasis on introducing lots of different flavours, and the fact that the recommend foods are very gentle on tiny, developing digestive systems. On the negative side, there is very little emphasis given to finger foods and babies learning to chew and, more worryingly from our point of view, the advice seems to be very based on the needs of formula-fed babies, with little attention paid to those who might still be breast fed beyond the first few months.

Fast-forward six months, though,and most of that is behind us. SCB is eating a wide variety of things from all the food groups, 3 meals a day, and all sorts of textures. Aside from teaching her to use a knife and fork, and to say, "Pass the butter, please," and, "May I leave the table?" it would be tempting to believe that our work here was done.

The awesome thing about France, though, is that educating your child about food doesn't stop at making sure they'll happily eat green beans and broccoli. The emphasis on learning about different tastes continues all through early childhood. I remember being massively impressed when I visited a friend and her toddler many years ago and the little one had rabbit stew followed by a wedge of camembert for lunch. (This article (in French) explains why providing a "meticulous selection of good cheeses" is a good way to "awaken" baby's sense of taste.)

I was similarly stunned last week when I went to pick SCB up from the nanny and she announced that she had fed the babies liver for lunch. I think I have eaten liver once in my life, and the nanny admitted that she doesn't like it or cook it at home either, but we both agreed that it was important for SCB to have some so that she doesn't grow up being as fussy as us!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Recently we have mostly been ...

Walking in the park. The weather has been gorgeous and SCB's favourite thing to do at the moment is to toddle along holding our hands. At the moment she seems more interested in speed than balance  literally almost trying to run before she can walk!) though, so we might have to wait a bit longer for her first independent steps.

Walking on the beach. SCB has also been eating sand, getting covered in sand and destroying the sandcastles we lovingly built for her. Our parenting lesson of the month has been learning to always apply suncream before we get to the beach in order to have a slightly less sticky, sandy baby.

Visiting mamie and papy. Heading out to Brittany has been an easy getaway for us to make the most of all the long weekends recently. Highlights from our recent trips have included watching baby swallows learning to fly in the barn , the first barbecue of the year, and plenty of goes on the swing in the garden and even a little pony ride for SCB. Last Saturday we visited the town of Arradon and went to a little hidden beach (sort of - it might just have been empty because it was cold).

Going to a Norman-Breton wedding ( and yes, the jokes about Mont St Michel were flying).  This was actually the first French-French wedding I had ever been to in France and it followed a fairly traditional format. The only unusual thing was that the church service came first. It's illegal in France to have a church wedding before you're officially married at the mairie (religious ceremonies are not recognised by the state), but because this was the groom's second marriage, the church service was a blessing and not a full wedding mass. It went on for about an hour but I couldn't tell you much about what was said because although SCB was extremely well behaved, making sure she wasn't getting up to mischief took up most of our attention.  We were a bit worried about how the evening would go, as French weddings go on for a long time and even the dinner often doesn't finish until after midnight. We had visions of taking shifts to sit hungrily with her in a darkened room at the gîte, but in the end she sat in her buggy throughout most of the meal then calmly fell asleep about 11, only waking when they turned the music up at about 1am, at which point we decided to quit while we were ahead and all went to bed.