A while ago I wrote about taking Bronwyn to the growth monitoring clinics to have her weighed. (the culture of motherhood: fat babies part 1) Well now that she's old enough to eat solids, I find that we're in a whole new phase of the fat baby adventure. We took Bronwyn to Lusaka two weeks ago to get her influenza booster and I took that opportunity to talk to the pediatrician about feeding. When Bronwyn turned six months old, we started dabbling with some solids here and there, but I was really feeling unconfident regarding how much to feed her and when and what and so on. I had been comparing my baby to all of the other six to nine month old babies in our village, most of whom are significantly smaller than Bronwyn and wondering whether my lack of strategic and intentional feeding practices over the last month was going to turn my baby into an under weight, skin and bones child. When her weigh-in showed a mere one tenth of a kg weight gain, I freaked out and unloaded every concern possible onto our ever-patient pediatrician. Dr. Marsden gently allayed my fears and even pulled up the WHO growth charts for breastfed babies and showed me that not only is my child NOT wasting away, she is in the 84th percentile for weight – which, furthermore, is even up 3 percentiles from her six month check up. Hearing it that way made me feel better. (Though I’ll admit there is something in me that wants to see her in the 100th percentile… I blame Cornell for my percentile obsessions.)
But then the doctor started talking about blending different foods to make baby food (with an electric food processor) and putting the purees in ice cube trays in the freezer. Jeremy and I listened, but didn't get into the fact that do not have a a freezer, a microwave or an electric anything. We have a hand crank food mill that we've played with but its actually harder thank you would think to get things small and squishy and baby food smooth. That and waking up every morning and procuring a pumpkin or other suitable food and then boiling it and then mashing it and trying to feed it to baby B is actually really time consuming and difficult. We never wanted to do this, but we’ve actually started buying jars of baby food in town and giving it to her bit by bit. I feel like I’ve been driven into a closet with my baby feeding methods because I can’t rightly suggest to anyone else that they follow my example. The cost of store bought food is prohibitively high for all other moms in my village. I want to set a good example, I want to be able to share knowledge with my fellow village moms, but the truth is that I’m probably as random in my feeding patterns as they are. The only difference is that I know enough about food groups and growth charts and all that jazz to actually stress out about it! I’m doing some research and talking to my pocket of experts and hopefully will make sense of how to feed my baby and what advice to give others. In the mean time, I’ve been duly humbled and have once again been driven to my knees, seeking wisdom and grace from the one who always provides.