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Feeding Babies in Traditional Culture

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 
Where could I find more info on this?? I'm really confused by the encouragement to start feeding babies at four months and I'm wondering where SF learned about this.

We started at seven months but she didn't really eat anything until eight and a half months. I feel like Traditional cultures would have waited longer but I'm not basing that on anything other than gut feeling!!

I'm going to start searching for more info but I thought I would ask and see if anyone around here new of something.

TIA!!!
post #2 of 77
I wonder too but I think the information on breastfeeding in NT is WAY off base. Maybe if baby was on formula it would make sense, but I think not with breast milk. My inclination was to wait until 6 months or so and follow the baby's lead.
post #3 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nan'sMom View Post
I wonder too but I think the information on breastfeeding in NT is WAY off base. Maybe if baby was on formula it would make sense, but I think not with breast milk. My inclination was to wait until 6 months or so and follow the baby's lead.
This is the one aspect where I disagreed with NT wholeheartedly. IMO, kids need to be breastfed and solids delayed as long as possible, especially grains. Formula, even the homemade stuff, can never match the immunological (is that a word?) properties of BM.

Here are some links on solids:
http://www.borstvoeding.com/voedseli...uidelines.html
http://kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/index.html

And JaneS ( ) will tell you that babies don't fully start producing amylaise until 2. That's the enzyme that digests grain.

ETA:
These aren't TF links, they just explain why solids need to be delayed and explain the baby-led approach.
post #4 of 77
Thread Starter 
I agree that waiting is best. I wish I knew why SF reccomended starting so early. I guess I'm looking for info on Traditional Cultures and have no idea where to start. I tried to search useing a couple different terms but came up with nothing.

Thank you for the links.
post #5 of 77
Personally I think SF might have skimped a little on her research in the baby-feeding parts of NT. OR she selectively chose research that supported what she did with her kids. (I don't know where I read this, but I think her kids were bottle-fed.) I disagree with a lot of the infant feeding parts of NT, and I wholeheartedly disagree with the position of the WAPF on breastfeeding not always being best (there was an article in Wise Traditions that claimed that mothers without a good diet were better off feeding their kids the WAPF-recipe formula.)
post #6 of 77
Thread Starter 
I remember reading somewhere here that she had supply issues or something (no idea if that is true or not). I remember reading that study about the breastfeeding too. I do wonder, however, about what is in the milk of mothers today who are eating mostly Lean Cusines, Weight Watchers prepared foods, Pop tarts, hot dogs and Oscar Mayer bologna.
post #7 of 77
Oh, I'm sure that nutritionally, milk from mamas who eat Lean Cuisine and other crap is NOT as good as milk from mamas who eat good food. That DOESN'T mean that formula is better. There's a whole host of benefits to the baby with respect to facial muscular development just from the action of nursing, as well as bonding and comfort benefits, that IMHO outweigh any nutritional deficiencies of the milk.

(Sorry for the thread hijack. I'll shut up now.)
post #8 of 77
Thread Starter 
I guess the type of mother that would go to the trouble of making to NT formula is the type of mother that is not going to eat a lot of crap herself. I believe that store bought formula is the worst thing ever but I think it would be interesting to see a compairson between homemade raw formula and the breastmilk of a mother eating all modern processed foods.

I do agree that the act of nursing itself, no matter what you're getting, is important for other reasons than nutrition though. I am curious about SF's experience and why she feels the way she does about the whole issue. I wonder if I wrote to her in one of those "Ask Sally" columns she would answer??

Anyone interested in finding a group of people yet to be infiltrated by our modern diet and see how they feed their babies??
post #9 of 77
This is a complaint of mine as well, and I believe most all on the TF forums. It doesn't make sense that traditional people would be going through the trouble to specially prepare food for a child that doesn't need any, now of course I can see them getting tastes of things here and there, but wonder when that would start- I think there would be traditional wisdom that this was unwise.

On the amalyse I wish Jane or anyone else would post about this. I thought I had read this, but cannot find any references, what I found said some number like 6 mo, which I know isn't accurate. I am fairly sure I have read that it is believed at least in some cultures that grains are postponed until the molars are in, which would follow the 2 yr guidelines pretty close. I know I have tried to tell moms not to do the nast rice cereal, whole grain or not and everyone just thinks I am some solids nazi. However, I do know next time around I will be even more strict.
post #10 of 77
Thread Starter 
Well I knew later on the grains was better. I hadn't heard two but it doesn't really surprise me.
post #11 of 77
My guess would be that in traditional societies they'd let babies "play" with food, or have tastes from the family's table, as soon as they started grabbing things and stuffing them in their mouths. I've also heard of parents chewing food then spitting it out and giving to baby- then the parent's digestive enzymes would kick in if the baby didn't have them yet.

I don't think traditional cultures prepared special "baby foods" under normal circumstances. What they'd do if mama died and there was no wetnurse available, I have no idea.
post #12 of 77
Interesting thread! I too have wondered about Fallon's position with breastfeeding and so forth. Perhaps her personal experience influence her view of breastfeeding. Yet I think in most traditional cultures breastfeeding is the main source of nutrition and when the babies are old enough to eat, they do so by sampling from the table (like Ruthla posted).

I have always wondered about this because that means that kids from such traditional socities were introduced to food that were/are quite flavorful and well seasoned. I mean if an Indian family made a spicy lentil dish and the baby tasted it, they would eat it. This is most likely the same with other cultures-children experiencing complex flavors/smells at young ages.
This make me wonder why children (especially of the Western world) seem so picky and exclusive with their food choices. Is it because we have singled out every food to be feed to them-as in the case of standard baby food- a jar of peas, peaches, bananas. etc.-so flavors are experienced singly and thus kids have a hard time trying to enjoy even more complex flavors and foods-anyway just a thought. I also wonder about food allergies of children fed traditionally(do they have less allergies, that is). Hope I didn't go too off topic here .
post #13 of 77
Here's Sally Fallon's breastfeeding experience in her own words:
http://www.westonaprice.org/children/saga.html

It doesn't address solids. And to me it also highlights some inconsistencies in other WAPF literature, namely the implication that children will be perfect if nutrition is adequate, because sometimes there are unexplainable problems, like her low milk supply, as she states in this piece. She says the following: "My difficulty with breast feeding was indeed a humbling experience and it has given me a great deal of sympathy for mothers who have the same problems. I have never found an adequate explanation for my lack of milk—my diet was relatively good, I did not have a thyroid problem, I did not consume junk foods, I had support at home, my babies were healthy, I had a letdown reflex and no problems with the breasts or nipples. Nevertheless, my milk supply was simply not adequate, certainly not for rapidly growing boys."

I wish other writing on the WAPF site gave the same consideration to other problems instead of blaming everything on nutritional deficiencies. (I feel defensive about it because of my children's dental problems, in spite of the fact that with #2 I did everything "right" according to the WAPF and yet his teeth have weak enamel, just like big brother's baby teeth, just like my baby teeth.)

Personally, I think 4 mo. is way too early for solids for most babies, as many others on this board have stated. I think it's best for babies to only taste or play with solids until past the first birthday, if breastfeeding is going well and mom's diet is good. I don't have references for that, it's my instinct and my babies' instinct (in both cases, they only wanted to taste and explore food, not swallow much, until after 1 yr., and then past that point incorporating more solids has been very gradual, with the bulk of their nutrition still coming from breastmilk for many months after that).
post #14 of 77
After I read NT I loved it but was pretty bummed about the attitude towards breastfeeding.

Then I got pregnant, my milk dried up, and I had a starving 6 month old on my hands. After a few hellacious weeks of figuring out what was really going on (the pregnancy was a huge whoops) I finally got my dd to take the NT formula from a bottle. I was so thankful to confidently feed my baby GREAT formula, but was surprised at how my dd's reflux completely stopped with the first bottle, and she turned from such a fussy, gassy pukey baby into a incredibly happy baby who slept through the night.

But I didn't really connect all that until I read Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price, the book that NT was inspired by, and I became convinced that many women without a doubt do not have perfect breastmilk. If you actually look at the pictures Dr Price took of the TF vs white bread and sugar people and read his research, it's shocking. It's so obvious that just one generation, or even just a few years of a change in the mother's diet, can negatively impact her children.

So I think it's a good idea to give my babies egg yolks at a young age as insurance against the crap I ate growing up and the crap my mother ate growing up, and the crap her mother ate when she moved to America. I would wait for them to show interest though -- 4 months isn't a magic number for me. S
post #15 of 77
There were tribes and peoples that started solids early. (I specifically remember certain African tribes that started supplementing with raw liver and blood at three months). Babies do need that iron supplementation at a young age as they will run out of iron by six months. The iron is available from raw liver, raw egg yolk, or blood (uggh.)

My personal experience is this-- with my first son, during that pregnancy I had a decent diet with lots of supplementation but still not ideal. I was coming off of years of not eating well at all which makes a big difference. So, my first son was a skinny (though tall), fussy, colicy baby. He did not take any interest in any supplementation of anything whatsoever until he was like 10 or 11 months old when he started barely playing with it. This did cause me concern at the time being a 1st time mom!

After a few years of healthy eating and a near-perfect diet during pregnancy, my second son was born pleasantly fat and roly poly. He has a broader face too, btw. He is solidly built and strong and consistently ahead in physical milestones, and shows mental acuity as well. Although his rolls of fatness are beginning to lessen, he is still quite large, being 5 months old now he is wearing size 18 months. He is the opposite of the fussy colicy constitution my first son had-- he is so laid back and happy, he just will sit there and laugh and laugh for almost no reason at all. To me, the stark difference between the two boys is the perfect testament to the NT way of eating during pregnancy. (BTW my older son later filled out and became more laid-back and happy as we adjusted his toddler diet.)

Now, my second son (5 mo) has been VERY interested in food for the past 4-6 weeks and I give him tastes of things on my finger (barely any) let him play with my bowl or spoon, and feed him his raw egg yolk about once a week. We just started the raw egg yolk about three weeks ago. He LOVES his egg yolk but only actually eats a couple of little bitty mouthfuls; mostly he just mouths it and spits it out. But he loves it, he likes being just like mama and his big brother.

My conclusion, based mainly on my own experience, is that when a baby is recieving all of the nutrition they need from the breastmilk, and has received all the nutrition they need in utero, they can spare calories to other foods for more experimentation and fun, and they feel playful and adventurous enough to do so. In my first son's case, I don't think his body felt it could spare any calories to anything but breastmilk, because all of his nutritional needs weren't being met. Also his fussiness/colic made him unwilling to try new things. So that's what I think anyway.
post #16 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by thomlynn View Post
I guess the type of mother that would go to the trouble of making to NT formula is the type of mother that is not going to eat a lot of crap herself.
The problem is, past bad habits and/or the eating habits of past generations.

I ate a bunch of rubbish during high school and the year after, then I found out about NT and slowly started switching over but I had a baby within that time frame that I was switching over to NT. My son had enough little health problems for me to be able to say that my breastmilk could have been better.

Quote:
I believe that store bought formula is the worst thing ever but I think it would be interesting to see a compairson between homemade raw formula and the breastmilk of a mother eating all modern processed foods.
You can see such a comparison. If you go over to the breasfeeding boards you will often find moms asking about underweight babies that don't see mto be getting enough nutrition. Then go to the Weston A. Price site and see the pictures and testimonials of babies fed the homemade formula. I have heard enough personal stories on both sides to convince me.

Quote:
Anyone interested in finding a group of people yet to be infiltrated by our modern diet and see how they feed their babies??
Weston A. Price did just that and recorded his findings in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He found that there did exist supplementation of breastmilk even for healthy, thriving infants at a fairly young age (as young as 3 months). I'm sorry I can't remember all the specifics. Hope that helps.
post #17 of 77
My ds went on commercial formula because of my medical problems at 2.5 months. He was also interested in food very early. I decided to start solids early because I figured it would be better to have real food (what we were eating) replace some of the (icky) formula. I would delay solids longer under more ideal circumstances though.

Interesting thread.
post #18 of 77
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post

Weston A. Price did just that and recorded his findings in Nutrition and Physical Degeneration. He found that there did exist supplementation of breastmilk even for healthy, thriving infants at a fairly young age (as young as 3 months). I'm sorry I can't remember all the specifics. Hope that helps.

Yes I know that and I haven't finished the book yet but I'm not finding a whole lot of specifics about babies in what I'm reading.
post #19 of 77
I don't know what Sally's reference for "amylase in saliva not present until well into the second year." but it's discussed in many other places as dependent on molars appearing to be able to masticate food properly as well.

Google "ptyalin infants" and you will find a lot of resources about saliva, grains and babies producing amylase.
post #20 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionTigerBear View Post
There were tribes and peoples that started solids early. (I specifically remember certain African tribes that started supplementing with raw liver and blood at three months). Babies do need that iron supplementation at a young age as they will run out of iron by six months. The iron is available from raw liver, raw egg yolk, or blood (uggh.)
That has not been true from bf'ing sources I have read or my own experience. From what I can remember reading the later solids are introduced the less this problem occurs and I am thinking that delaying cord clamping until there is no longer a pulse affects this as well. Luke did not eat solids really until 17 mo, his iron was beautiful when tested at 12 mo, I never did any supplementation.
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