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!

9 comments:

  1. Things for me to look forward to!

    I still remember the first time I met my now husband's nephew. He was 5 at the time. At one meal, he was using a real knife (and fork for that matter) to put foie gras on a piece of bread. I couldn't imagine an American child doing the same... not to mention eating something like that.

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    1. Yes- it's fun, especially if you caneed avoid getting stressed about all the differing opinions!

      Are you still blogging, Shannon? I would love to readd about your baby adventures!

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    2. I haven't blogged in forever. I really should start back up again. It probably would be a good outlet!

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  2. We are going through all of your early feelings now! I too have been a little worried that breastfeeding hasn't been taken into account with all the recommendations, but we've managed to keep up its importance in our lives anyway.

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  3. Haha, liver, that ended in tears for my French nephew when my MIL prepared it and tried to pass it off as "meat". I think my nephew was 3 and the time, and he might eat it now, but one of the first times wasn't so successful.

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  4. This is probably my biggest frustration with parenting in Canada right now: the power of marketing, junk food and the lunch box system make it almost impossible to teach Mark proper nutrition. It's super annoying. I cannot give him a variety of healthy foods in his lunch box since 1) many foods are banned because of allergies (including anything with eggs) 2) food is stored at room temperature 3) kids don't have a set schedule to eat, they grab food whenever they feel like it. So basically, you're stuck with crackers, processed cheese, cookies and apple sauce. *hitting head against wall*

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    1. Zhu, I couldn't believe it when I read your blog post about your frustrations with Mark's lunches. The bit about them not even having a set lunch time sounds just crazy. I grew up in 1980s Britain and even then my school had a better system for lunches than that. But in the long term I'm sure what you do at home will be the most important thing, and you have two amazing culinary cultures to draw on there!

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  5. Sounds interesting! Well, I did the american way. Put different flavours to the formular, found out which he liked most and gave him this in solid first. Worked pretty well! :D
    Kay

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