Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Children reach for food

Because of La Leche League and natural weaning, and the idea that children will reach for food when they want some, so you don't have to schedule and spoon it into them, it was easy for me to see the smallest seedling-root beginnings of how our culture creates the eating disorders they bemoan. Letting kids decide what THEY think is good and bad, instead of labelling things good and bad in advance for them, allows a child to think spinach is wonderful but donuts are kinda yucky.

Without choices, they can't make choices. Without choices they can't make good choices OR bad choices. In too many people's minds, "good" is eating what parents say when parents say (where and how and why parents say). That doesn't promote thought, self awareness, good judgment or any other good thing.

Food is for health and sustenance. Eating with other people can be a social situation, ranging (on the good end) from ceremonial to obligatory to courtesy. There's no sense making it hostile or punitive.

photo by Sandra Dodd
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  1. Someone sent me a note about this post that said:

    "A health visitor's visit whilst my baby was eating weetabix. The health visitor told her to use a spoon to eat and not her fingers. I was surprised, but too intimidated to say that I wanted my child to enjoy eating, and what difference did it make how she ate it as long as she enjoyed it? "

    For that person and anyone else who needs the info, here's an article about a study that says to let babies eat with their hands, and not spoonfeed them:


    It makes sense. How can a baby learn about his food if he doesn't get to smell it, see it, touch it?

    But the study wasn't about learning. It was about healthy choices in a natural way, and about avoidance of obesity.

  2. The blog is gone but I have reconstructed the post at https://sandradodd.com/babies/hands (in July 2022)


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