Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Those proud moments (and a recipe for Pad See Yiew)

I'm not sure if I've come out and said it before, but our 3 year old is a pretty dud eater - he's fussy, unwilling to try new things and most dinners are a bit of a battle ("I don't need dinner, I'll just have a snack, I'm not hungry").  That said, through a series of well-practised tactics we can generally get him to eat almost anything, it just takes quite a lot of patience and occasional bribery, i.e. if you eat all your brocolli we can watch the rest of Lego Star Wars.

Knowing that this is the situation, I felt quietly smug when Leo's kinder teacher asked him what his favourite dinner is the other day and he said "Tofu, I love tofu".  What a hipster kid!  I think this comment stemmed from the following recipe which I adapted from Bill Grainger. 

Eleanor's Pad See Yiew

200 grams dried rice stick noodles
1 head brocolli, chopped into small florets
200 grams marinated tofu, chopped into cubes
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
60 mls light soy sauce
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Cook the rice noodles according to packet instructions boild for around 8 and throw the brocolli in for the last two minutes of cooking time.  Drain noodles and brocolli.

Heat oil in a wok over high heat, add garlic and stirfry for about 1 minute until fragrant and softened.  Add soy sauce and sugar and cook until bubbling and starting to reduce.  Add tofu, brocolli and noodles and stirfry for a further 2 minutes until all are coated in the sauce.  Make a hole in the middle and tip in the eggs.  Stirfry until egg is cooked.  Serves 2-3

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why is feeding babies made so hard?

Generally I think that introducing food to babies shouldn't be so tricky but it seems confusing even the second time around. The Age ran an article on their front page this weekend titled "Who knows best in the battle of the breast?". It covers some new research around links between the age of starting solids and allergies.

The first thing that struck me was that this was front page news - really? Is this all you've got (accepting that it was a slow news Sunday). Surely this only interests a teeny tiny portion of the population.

The second thing that struck me is that they'd somehow managed to make the article about breastfeeding - what sensationalist journalism! The research in the article suggests that there may be benefits in introducing a wider range of foods between 4 to 6 months, rather than waiting until after 6 months or longer, to prevent allergies. This really has NOTHING to do with breastfeeding - it's about introducing babies to food. However, they'd managed to get an (almost entirely irrelevant) quote from a lactation lady saying that the introduction of solids might reduce the level of breastfeeding - based on no evidence. The quote was used to suggest that if you feed solids slightly earlier you will deprive babies of breastmilk whereas I think most mothers would totally understand that you still offer plenty of milk when starting solids (give us some credit - the breast is best message is very loud).

The advice around when to start babies on solids seems to change each year from 4-6 months to after 6 months and then back again and really there is no concrete evidence on which to base your decision - which is later acknowledged in the article. While of course I think the media has a role to play in promoting new research in this space, I think there is no reason to add a controversial angle to it and further confuse what should be a relatively straightforward decision.

Most of the sane advice that I have read suggests to start kids on some basic foods (fruit, vegies, baby cereals) when they show interest and have reasonable head control and to seek medical advice if you have a family history of food allergies. Breastmilk or formula should still be a central source of nutrition for the next few months after introducing solids. It should be that simple! Let's not add an element of guilt (am I depriving my baby of precious breastmilk) to this normal developmental stage.

If you want some reliable advice on introducing solids, I think the Victorian Govt's Better Health Channel is a good enough place to start -