My Breast to Bib summary:
Kate from Modern Alternative Mama has come out with a fantastic new ebook directed toward the youngest members of the family…and their mamas. It is an ideal compliment to the other whole foods books in her “In the Kitchen” series. In the well-researched Breast to Bib–Modern Alternative Mama’s Guide to Nourishing your Growing Family, Kate covers your little one’s nutritional needs for the first two or three years of life in a non-judgmental, conversational manner.
She includes information about the benefits of breastfeeding. Her research on longterm nursing (two years and longer) makes us closet nursers no longer feel like freaks for extended or tandem nursing. On the other hand, she is highly encouraging to those who cannot supply enough milk, offering homemade formula recipes and supplementation options.
Kate simplifies the topic of feeding solids to babies, eliminating the complex age-based (as opposed to readiness-based) feeding regimen often “fed” to parents. And, listen people, it makes sense!
Kate also discusses how to deal with baby and toddler food allergies, from recognizing them to healing those nasty buggers. While I live with this issue daily, I generally stay away from this complex topic on The Simple Homemaker. It is anything but simple, and I hesitate to draw my readers into something that complicates life. Nevertheless, not recognizing and dealing with food sensitivities early on may contribute to long-term intestinal and immune damage, far more difficult to heal in later years than in infancy and toddlerhood. Ignorance in this case is not bliss. Sigh.
Finally, Kate offers recipes and food choices for babies, toddlers, and older children. This includes recipes that can be used for full meals and snacks, as well as ideas for convenient portable foods to replace the highly-processed but oh-so-delightfully convenient Gerber and General Mills snacks parents often turn to.
My thoughts on who would benefit from this book:
If your child has eczema, colic, excessive gassiness, frequent rashes, irritability, hyperactivity, allergies, or any other sign of digestive issues, you would benefit from this book.
If you or your child’s caretakers think Cheerios, “toddler puffs,” and rice cereal are great first foods for baby or toddler, read this.
If your baby’s grandparents don’t understand why you won’t let your “food sensitive” child eat a graham cracker or “teething biscuit,” get them this book. (I am in no way saying your perfectly healthy older child can’t have a graham cracker…or, er, a teething biscuit, but there are children out there (I have three) who react to certain foods and cannot have them for a time…or ever. Yup, not simple–believe me, I know, but ignoring it does not make it a non-issue.)
If you do not have support for extended breastfeeding or tandem nursing, are being pressured to wean, and are made to feel badly for not following conventional feeding “wisdom,” you’ll find the encouragement and support you need—both scientific and anecdotal–in this book.
If your child is abnormally picky about foods, preferring only carbs and sweets, this book could be a good launching point for you to address some health issues to get your little one on the right path.
If you are pregnant and want to know how to proceed with nursing, supplements, solids, and eventual weaning, this is a great resource which I wish I had 16 years ago. Even if you aren’t prepared to follow her recommendations in full or don’t agree with everything, you can’t help but take away a lot of valuable information that you can apply immediately.
My giveaway and coupon code:
I am giving away one copy of this excellent book to one reader. Enter here:
For those of you who prefer to buy a copy, Kate has given The Simple Homemaker readers a special discount of 25% off using the code HOMEMAKER25 through April 23, 2012. If you purchase through this link, I receive a commission, which I totally appreciate.
Kate is currently having a sale for 35% off Breast to Bib! Just enter code BABYFEED35. I don’t know how long this sale lasts, so if you’re interested in purchasing, don’t delay. This would make a great shower gift!
My somewhat tongue-in-cheek warnings:
While Breast to Bib confirms many of the natural instincts I have as a parent, those instincts are not supported by conventional medicine and the world in general, which makes life a little more complicated and a little less comfortable. If you read the book and take some of its points to heart, adapting your diet and lifestyle accordingly, you may begin to notice the following:
- You will be unpopular for not giving your nine-month-old child Cheerios and graham crackers. A good answer: “It leaves more for the rest of you.”
- People will automatically assume you are judging them if your baby is snacking on avocados and cheese instead of fruit snacks. Don’t judge them.
- You will be called extreme for nursing beyond 6, 12, 18, 24, 30 months. Don’t listen.
- Every third person who learns you don’t feed your baby processed foods will say, “So, what do your kids eat? Nuts and twigs?” to which I like to
liereply, “They’re allergic to nuts, so just twigs, thank you.”
- Your baby’s pediatrician will poo poo you when you bring up your allergy concerns and your notebook of carefully documented symptoms. I recommend just poo pooing him back when he brings up his carefully documented bill.
- Generations of parents will say “my kids turned out fine” when you decline their advice about rice cereal and sugar water. For this one, it’s best to just smile and nod, because they don’t need guilt any more than you do.
- And you, you yourself may be tempted to become a food extremist, something I only encourage when absolutely necessary, which, in my life, it is for a season. Seriously, do what you can to consume good food, but do not let food consume you.
My misgivings on the Real Food movement:
I was somewhat hesitant about introducing you to Kate Tietje’s newest ebook: Breast to Bib—Modern Alternative Mama’s Guide to Nourishing your Growing Family. Not because it isn’t an excellent resource, because it is indeed very helpful, and something I wish I had at my disposal 16 years ago when awaiting my firstborn.
The reason I hesitated to review it at The Simple Homemaker is that most of us conscientious mothers do the best we can with the knowledge and support we have at hand. When we later learn that we could have done much better with proper awareness, or, worse, that our instincts were correct and the poor advice we followed from medical professionals and other “experts” was not only wrong, but harmful, we are plunged into guilt, anxiety, and often bitterness. I don’t want that for you. [Please read Kate's excellent remarks in the comment section below on this topic.]
Secondly, despite the fact that we usually eat a very unprocessed, real foods diet here at The Simple Home (locusts and honey anyone?), the “Real Foods Movement” (not Kate’s ebook collection) has a “dark side” that I don’t want as part of The Simple Homemaker or my life. (Read more about that below.)
Nevertheless, the information in Breast to Bib is far too valuable for me to withhold, and it could be the support, encouragement, or affirmation you need to forge ahead with what you determine is best for your baby, toddlers, and twos, despite a possible lack of ”real world” support. Please proceed without guilt and anxiety for past choices. Also, please venture gently toward a more whole foods diet without stressing about being “good enough” or “perfect,” which leads me to…
My final word on The Dark Side of the Real Food Movement:
The move toward eating unprocessed foods and preparing grains and other foods in a more “traditional” manner is called the Read Food Movement. Technically, I suppose we are “real foodies,” but I admit that with obvious hesitation. Why hesitate? Why not strongly promote the movement on The Simple Homemaker?
While there are many wonderful real foodies out there, the Real Food Movement has a Dark Side.
Many within the movement have or portray a dogmatic judgmental attitude. I have been lashed out at for many things, such as buying canned tomatoes instead of shelling out thrice the amount for jarred tomatoes. Did that make me buy jarred tomatoes? No.
It made me feel guilty and inferior for feeding my family an otherwise healthy meal that was one can short of someone else’s idea of perfection. It made me feel poor and desperate for not being able to afford the highest quality food. It made me feel that, despite all the things I did “right,” the few things I did “wrong” were subjecting my children to a lifetime of disease. And it made me feel hopeless, because no matter how hard I tried, it was never, ever good enough. Ever. Where’s the joy in that? Where’s the simple in “never good enough”? There isn’t any.
So, my friends, while I wholeheartedly agree that unprocessed foods are the optimum choice, and I will from time to time share simple steps or resources to help you (if you’re interested) gently and simply move in that direction, it is my fervent desire to never make you feel hopeless, guilty, or afraid…all of which consume sneak up on me almost every day from time to time and make me want to bury my head in a bag of Doritos. Rest assured that I will never attempt to draw you to the Dark Side…although I hear they have cookies.
Let me reiterate, Kate’s collection of ebooks is excellent. No Dark Side there!
Disclosure Statement: Kate gave me a free copy of Breast to Bib for review purposes. That in no way affected my opinion of the book itself. Also, if you purchase a copy through my link, I receive a small commission, which helps support our roadschool.
Original artwork “The Dark Side of the Real Food Movement” by my 13-year-old daughter, Marissa.