Howdy everyone! We just finished the midterm period at school. Already looking back at the first half of my semester, I feel pretty accomplished. I have learned a lot and feel pretty confident about nutrition for pregnancy, lactation and breastfeeding (all of which I find really interesting – more on that below) and a decent amount about diabetes, both Types 1 and 2, what happens within the body when these diseases take hold and the correlation of obesity and Type 2 (more about this in another post).
So, my favorite class this semester is Nutrition and Human Development. It involves the nutrition that is necessary for women (and men) during the preconception period, nutrition for women during pregnancy and lactation as well as nutrition for the infant, toddler, child and teenager. My professor is amazing, inspiring and her lectures make you cling to her every last word. I am sad when class is over. I could stay there for hours learning more. We don’t have a text book for this class. Instead, we have 5 extremely informative and relatable books that anyone could pick up at a local bookstore.
The first book we read this semester is called Child of Mine, Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter. This book opened my eyes to the proper and least stressful way to feed children. Being an only child and one of the youngest in my family I have limited experience with kids. The few times I have ever fed children have been pretty disastrous. Other observations of parents feeding babies have always left me with a gut feeling that feeding babies and children was impossible and only a job for the parents with the patience of Mother Theresa. I would always think, “I don’t ever want to be in that woman’s shoes!” But along came Ellyn Satter. Her approach to feeding babies and children makes sense. When I started this book, I was instantly hooked and told many friends and family about it. Many of these people asked “how did this woman come up with this?” Well, Ellyn Satter is a registered dietitian and through her experiences with her own children and the experience she had gained in her own private practice she came to realize that it’s not the job of the parents to worry about how much food their child is getting. It’s simply the parents job to provide the food. That’s the simplest and easiest way to raise good, healthy eaters. Since Ellyn Satter came up with this theory, scientific evidence has backed her up. Children thrive much better when feeding time is relaxed and not forced. The child should be in control of how much goes in. That’s all. Ellyn Satter calls this a division of responsibility between parents and children. Parents are responsible for what, when and where the child eats. (In the case of an infant up to 6 months, only the what and where are necessary.) The child is responsible for how much and whether to eat. It is not up the parents to force feed, bribe or trick a child into eating. This can lead to problems in the child’s eating habits and confidence levels down the line. Rather, the parent takes a back seat and lets the kid do the work. If a child doesn’t eat much over the course of a day or two, maybe more, somehow their calorie requirements will work themselves out over the course of a week. Babies and children are more like adults with their eating habits than we think. They may not eat much one day but they will eat a lot the next and that’s nothing to be concerned about.
I could continue to go on forever about this book, but rather than write my own dissertation on Child of Mine, I suggest anyone interested should read it. For any woman (and her significant other/spouse/partner) who is thinking about becoming pregnant, is pregnant or already has children (or even if you’re a grandparent and want to learn more) this is a fantastic book to pick up and learn about the best ways to feed a child. It certainly eased my anxieties and actually made me look forward to feeding my future children, especially now that I know it doesn’t have to be painful and arduous for both the parent and child. It should be fun. I welcome any questions anyone may have about this book too. There’s so much more to this book and if I included it, your eyes would be glazed over by now.
We have now moved on to childhood obesity and it’s correlation with diabetes (aka Diabesity) and another book that piggy-backs off Child of Mine called Fearless Feeding. I have a test on these plus everything about nutrition for lactation and breastfeeding on Tuesday. More about this in a later post. 🙂 Wish me luck!
PS – If you haven’t already noticed, updated my Books Page with links to Child of Mine and Diabesity. Check them out!