Alex isn’t eating solid foods yet, but that introduction is only a few weeks away. I see how he stares at my pasta during dinner! So, I was reviewing the food chart our pediatrician gave us earlier this month and thought it was interesting that they recommended starting with a few spoonfuls of olive oil and some parmesan cheese. It makes you think about how cultural food really is—I mean, when you think of Italy, olive oil and parmesan cheese certainly come to mind. Italy also recommends giving herbal remedies like chamomile or fennel-based infusions to calm fussy babies. Fennel is a popular vegetable here so it’s not a surprising choice. Apart from what foods are considered healthy, the recommendations that each country makes about what children should eat is clearly influenced by culture.
My husband has a friend in Estonia with a baby and she said the pediatrician recommended introducing potatoes as a first meal. Being near Russia and Poland, that makes sense, doesn’t it? I’m guessing that in Japan they feed their babies congee (a type of rice porridge) and probably introduce fish at a very early age. In America, they recommend starting with rice cereal or even meat. I did hear of something disturbing from a friend—she noted that her friend fed her child what appeared to be Cheetos made especially for kids. I looked it up and Gerber’s makes cheese puffs for toddlers—what a brilliant way to get our kids hooked on junk food early. I think I’ll stick with parmesan cheese!