I'm here to talk about infant nutrition
it's an issue that worries
mothers a lot
and I've never spoken before an audience
with such a small percentage of mothers
But it doesn't matter because
approximately 100% have been been children
and so will recognise the subject
A lot of mothers and some fathers are worried
because their children don't eat
A mother said to me the other day
He doesn't eat anything. Absolutely nothing.
I put the plate of macaroni in front of him and he only eats one
I said: but listen, did you not say nothing? One is not the same as none.
If one and zero were the same computer technicans wouldn't be able to work.
Other mothers are worried because
And, well, we doctors are also sometimes worried
Even speech therapists have sometimes told me they are worried about the subject
because there are increasing numbers of two or three year old children who don't chew
who eat absolutely everything mashed up
and it's curious because the same mother who
at nine months says: how big my girl is! Look at how she eats her baby food!
at two years old says: I can't believe it. Such a big girl still eating baby food.
So which is it? Is the baby food for big girls or not?
And if you don't want to get there, the best thing is not to start down that road and so
what I've come here to talk about today is complementary food free of baby, or pureed food
About complementary food on demand in that the child can eats what he wants
exactly the same as we adults do and it works for the majority of us
The problem is that in Spain the rules that are normally given about complementary feeding
are obsessive boarding on paranoia. A mother showed me the typical printed sheet
that she had been given, actually it was photocopied, a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy
(sometimes you find photocopies of things written on a typewriter, they should be confined to the stone-age by now)
that they had been given in the health centre. I suppose that you've seen a lot of similar papers
at I don't know how many months, at 9 in the morning 122 of milk with some spoons of some kind of baby rice
at one o'clock, 50 grams of potato with 50 grams of carrot with 50 grams of peas
in the evening half a pear with half an apple
The pears and apples curiously always are halves, they never tell you the grams
Of course! Depending on the size on the apple it could be very different. This is a mistake of the system.
From a certain number of months on, on Monday and Wednesday 50 grams of chicken
A knew a man whose pediatrician, I don't know if it is that the boy was now a bit old,
they hadn't said 50 grams of chicken, they had said 85, but of course, you take 100 grams of chicken and try to take out 85 and maybe you make a mistake
So his wife sent him every day to the butcher to buy 85 grams of chicken
Can you imagine the scene? Could you give me 85 grams of minced chicken? Well, I'll give you 100, ok? NO! 85, it's for the boy
On Tuesday and Friday 50 grams of beef. From a certain number of months on
half an egg yolk on alternating days that at a certain numbers of months wll be a full egg yolk
Fruit is at 5 in the evening, like the bulls. Mothers ask me how long does fruit last without losing its properties
Fruit has properties? There's a crisis now, nothing has properties!
But whatever, if you want to mash up fruit (not that I recommend it, but if someone wants to. let him mash it up)
What does it matter how long it lasts if with the food processor in a second it's done? Just do it when you need it.
That's when the doubt comes in. "Of course, but fruit is due at 5, but my older boy gets out of the nursery and so
I have to bring the fruit in tupperware to give it to the baby at 5.
But, did you not think about giving it to him at 4:30 or 5:30 instead?
Did you not think that if you are so looking forward to giving the baby a snack you could take a cookie, which is easier to transport
and fruit can be given in the morning or at night? No, because the nurse or the doctor told you
at 5, half a pear, half an apple, half a banana and juice from half an orange
If granny is there watching you have to add a cookie to the recipe
Some people say: they are obsessive mothers. No, please, they are normal mothers. In my opinion what there are are obsessive pediatricans
Because if you go to the doctor and he tells you that you need to inject yourself 12 units of insuline, you don´t give yourself 11 or 13
you give yourself 12 because that´s what the doctor said and if the doctor says that it is because that is the correct treatment
You have the right to think that when a doctor says 12 it is because it is 12
and when a doctor says fruit is given at 5 it is because it has to be at 5
In this paper that I´m talking about, 4 pages with calendars, time tables, grams, minutes, and at the end
it said, Attention! The times are approximate.
But, my dear! if they are approximate then don´t write them!
At least you could have written breakfast, lunch, evening snack and dinner, you would have avoided a lot of unpleasantness
what does it matter if fruit is given as an evening snack or as breakfast?
I´m just after having breakfast in a hotel. I ate fruit, paella and ham
The capacity of mankind at breakfast is unlimited. I don´t know why we have to believe that we can only eat some cereals
I told that mother: " Look, if instead of a healthy son, you would have had a diebetic husband (God forbid)
the endocrine specialist wouldn´t give you instructions like these ones." You don´t tell a diebetic to eat 50 grams of chicken
You don´t tell a diebetic person that fruit is at 5 in the evening. Not even to a person that needs a medically controlled diet
do you give such a detailed diet, and with baby feeding we fall into that trap.
Probably because baby feeding has followed the same pattern for the last 80 years, out of tradition mainly.
80 years ago if babies weren´t breastfed (and rich babies wouldn´t breastfeed because that was for poor people) they also wouldn´t
take milk sold at the pharmacy by a multinational,
milk was prepared at home (in English it is still called "formula"
This amount of milimeters of boiled milk (boiled at home, because pasteurized milk didn´t exist)
with this amount of milimeters of water, with these amount of grams of sugar and there you have the baby formula.
Without vitamin C, without iron, without vitamin D, children got scorbuto
So then you had to introduce them to food very early
You had to give them orange juice, if not the baby would get bleeding gums from scorbuto
You had to give them fruit, and liver, which has vitamin D
especially cod liver with its famous oil
and of course, you got to give the baby his first purées with the baby being less than a month old
The only way to give such a young baby any solid food is to make a purée and stick it inside his mouth
There is no other way. In these days we know that it´s not necessary to start so early, amongst other things because
milk companies have already added these vitamins to their products and
and because babies are not taking the same formula as before.
We have also realised that breastfed babies
never needed any of those things,
so now it is recommended to start at 6 months, but we are starting at 6 months
like if we had started at 4-5 weeks
with infinite precautions, strict control from the doctor and measuring grams
and milimeters, and sticking food into the baby´s mouth
which is the nastiest thing in the world.
And it is curious how babies, that stick everything in their mouths
pens, car keys, papers.
All mothers have taken a piece of wet paper out of their baby´s mouth!
They stick everything in their mouths, but food.
As soon as they see the spoon they burst into tears.
What kind of experience has a baby lived to be able of sticking any kind of dirty
thing to their mouth, but not anything eatable?
It is important to understand what the objective is
of baby feeding, I mean, why do we give them other things
apart from breastmilk? Because we can´t breastfeed them all their lives.
"But I love breastfeeding him, I could breastfeed him for life".
Well, but that can´t be, because if you breastfeed for life
your mother has to come to breastfeed you and your granny has to come and breastfeed your mother
And at some point the chain is going to break
And is breastfeeding for life all YOUR life or all HIS life?
Because he wants to eat more.
And the bottle? Couldn't we bottlefeed for life?
Well, not the bottle, it looks bad, but he could drink.
So we are going in that direction, stage 2 formula milk
and afterwards stage 3 formula and later there is a period where the industry is looking to introduce a product
and then there is milk for menopausical women
and lactose free milk, milk with little lactose
vegetable milk...Shelves of milk
it´s like a cancer in the supermarket, it´s extending and
pushing other food stuffs aside.
There are more and more different types of milk.
Those stage 3 milks, calcium enriched milks,
those soya milks,...they are not designed to be the only diet of a person.
They are designed for you to eat other things and milk as well.
and because you eat other things, you could well noy have that milk
and nothing would happen, at least that´s the idea.
Could they design a milk so that we didn´t need anything else?
Milk for 5 year olds, for 10 year olds, for 50 year olds?
It could happen, why not? If after the age of 5 they are short on calcium,
well, they can add more calcium. If after the age of 20 fosfous is missing,
fosforus, well, they can add some. They're cheap!
It would be very simple to form an international nutrition experts committee
that said exactly what each person has to eat according to their age,
physical activity, their state...There'd be milk for miners,
milk for sportspeople, milk for truckers...
There would be a milk for pregnant women, milk for breastfeeding mothers...
I would go to the supermarket and say: Hey! do you have milk for pediatricians between 50 and 60 years old?
We don't have any left, but we could give you some for gynecologists
But gynecologsts make more physical effort to bring a baby to the world!...
it wouldn´t be the same thing...No, but they are very similar. Next week
we´ll have the one for pediatricians, for sure!
With a milk like this, one that had everything needed, people would always take the exact
amount of cholesterol needed, the exact amount of salt needed
the exact amount of sugar needed...There would be no people with
cholesterol problems, hipertension, high blood sugar levels...
We could live 100 years!
Why don´t we do it?
Because if I have to eat like that
if I have to take a glass of milk for breakfast, 2 for lunch, one in the evenings
and 2 for dinner, and an extra half cup on Christmas day
with turrón flavour, if I have to live like that, eating like shit, I don´t want to live 100 years.
We prefer to eat normal food, paella or rabbit with garlic mayonnaise
or potato omelette, even if we make mistakes
and some people are obese, others have hypertension, others
cholesterol and others sugar, But what the hell!
Whatever we are going to live in this valley of tears, at least we'll have some fun.
And we want to have that privilege of eating normal food and making our own decisions
and we want the same privilege for our children.
We don´t want our children to be eating multimedia milk when they become adults
or the astronauts pill that has everything.
We want them to eat decent food.
So therefore, the objective of baby feeding is not nutricional,
it's not about giving the baby products that breastmilk doesn´t have
because the only thing that should be added, after a certain age,
would be iron, but the easiest way to give iron to a baby is not
givng him chicken, which has iron. If iron was the problem, the pediatrician would not say
start with chicken or meat." He would say:
starting now, apart from the breast, give him a few iron drops every day."
Because chicken, God knows if he eats it or not, if he chews it too much
and spits it out afterwards! It is much safer to give him drops.
That way you know the exact amount he is taking. With breast and iron you can be a lifetime.
And it wouldn´t take anything to add more iron to formula. So that´s easy.
Therefore, the objective, when feeding a baby, is not
nutritional, it is educational. We offer other foods so that they learn to
eat normally. You have to set the objective to middle and long term:
what do I want my son to eat at 2, 3, 5, 7 years old?
Do I want him to eat purée and feed him myself?...
And have to pinch his nose so that he opens his mouth and have to
do the airplane and stick on the Teletubbies to distract him?
I met a mother that used to put on"Baby Einstein."
She understood that it wasn´t going to make him smarter, but it worked great for meals
If you don´t want to get so far, don´t go down that road.
The child, to learn to eat normally, needs us to give him normal food.
And what could be something very simple, very easy to learn at six, at eight
at nine months old, becomes something very difficult at 2, at 3 years old.
In the end they all learn, that's for sure, because obviously...
We're up to the 14 minute mark!
Please, keep concentrating because now comes the most interesting part!
They all eat in the end. When I meet mothers
who are already in hot water
who now have three year old children que don't chew at all and who,
if they find a piece that hasn't been mashed up, vomit everything
and start crying and don't eat anything for the rest of the day
then what I say is: Don't worry, this will fix itself
I mean, will my son graduate from school? I don't know, there are people who don't.
Will my son go to university? Even more difficult!
Will my son chew? Of course he will! Everyone does!
So I know, whatever happens, her son will eat.
He'll chew if you do everything right and
he'll chew if you do everything wrong.
So just in case don't do anything and don't run the risk of doing everything wrong.
What do I mean do everything wrong?
Criticise the child, laugh at him, punish him,
reprimand him, ridicule him..
Things that not only the mother does, but that the whole family contributes to,
Christmas comes and there's always someone trying to be funny who says:
"We're better off that Johnny doesn't eat ham, because there's more for the rest of us."
Please, children shouldn't be humiliated in this way.
If noone says anything, the child will end up eating.
The problem isn't what age my son will eat
The problem is that from now until he starts chewing
we're all going to be, the child especially, either unhappy, or happy
Now, when you're still in time not to get into that mess
what I say to mothers is: let him eat normal, everyday food
I'm not saying to eat the baby food that he's meant to
and after he could have problems with food. No, he doesn't need
baby food. You just need to leave food within his reach.
You can see your child while you eat, basically because
if you can't, he won't let you eat because he'll start crying
You can see your child, he can see you, you're eating
the things he can't eat yet keep far away
the things he can eat at his age you put nearer
and sooner or later he'll grab something and put it in his mouth
and this child who takes a pea and puts it in his mouth
is learning. He's learnt to pick something up with his hand
which sounds easy but is called fine psychomotricity
it strikes me as being more important to learn to put something in your mouth,
you have to get near the opening; learn to notice the different flavors and
textures of different types of food; learn to take decisions
Carrots...don't like them! Chicken...I do!
Parents don't like this. "But, you mean, he's only going to eat what he likes?"
The person who eats what he doesn't like is a fool.
You go to the restaurant, they give you the menu and you ask for what you like.
"I'll have the cod, I can't stand it."
No! You ask for what you like.
And it's important that children learn to eat what they like
because when they are 15, they'll go to eat out for the first time with their friends,
they'll go into a pizzeria and if they phone you up to ask you
"Mom, what kind of pizza do I get?" they're going to look ridiculous
They need to be able to say they want ham and cheese.
Learn to take decisions, learn to chew even though they don't have teeth
Some bread, a pea, a bit of boiled carrot..and chew.
Learn to swallow solids, and learn, above all,
that eating is something enjoyable, that he wanted to and his mother,
who is very nice, let him.
On the other hand, the child who is given the enormous amount of
mashed up vegetables in his mouth, by doing the airplane or fooling him with the pacifier,
You stick in the pacifier, and when there's an opening, the spoon!
Oops, I swallowed it! Pacifier!
Spoon! Oops, I swallowed it again!
Until the child learns not to swallow when his pacifier is taken out
This child, who has eaten a big plate of baby food, hasn't learnt
to use take food with his hand, or put it in his mouth, or chew.
or swallow, or take decisions... (it's going to be put in his mouth if he wants it or not)
or do absolutely anything, and on top of that, as he has eaten an
enormous amount, will be worse fed because that purée of vegetables
doesn't have protein, or fat, it hardly has any vitamins..
It's just a watery soup!
That really is Operation Bikini, less milk and more vegetables!
On the other hand, the other child who will only eat a couple of peaa
a bit of chicken and 2 noodles, because he'll drink a lot of milk afterwards,
will be much better fed.
Thank you very much, let's see if we have our milk with a little coffee.