Monday, March 03, 2008

Fear Factor, the baby edition

We entered a minefield when Dan began eating solid food. No honey for your child until 1 year ... botulism and certain DEATH. No wheat ... allergies or inability to digest. No strawberries or egg whites ... DEATH or just hideous splotches as I found out with Dan. No raisins until the age of three ... choking hazard and possible DEATH!

I know doctors mean well, but they've managed to scare the hell out of parents. Consider this little gem from a doctor's Web site:

A child eats every few hours to take in the fuel that he needs for energy, growth, and bodily repair. Usually, eating is both fun and helpful. Sometimes, it is deadly.
Seriously? This is the most ridiculous, over-the-top, lawsuit-avoiding disclaimer I've ever read. And this is from a doctor I actually like because he's a bit more holistic.

There's a theory put forth by Harvard risk management experts that our lives here in the West are so safe that we irrationally fear random and rare occurrences such as fatal allergic reactions and freak accidents. Turns out, food allergies are pretty rare. Researchers estimate the average person's chance of food-induced anaphylaxic, that is a fatal reaction, is only 4 in 100,000. The same number of Americans die from lightning strikes each year.

As for Dan, he's been eating whole raisins since he was about a year old and hasn't choked yet. In fact, he stuffs large chunks of food in his mouth and managed to somehow not choke, despite having only six teeth. Still!! Even after all the drooling and toy-gnawing. Oh, and today, he grabbed a piece of my pants between his teeth and pulled several times. He laughed so hard that he fell on his bum. God, I hope I don't have a biter on my hands. It does run in the family, unfortunately. Moving on ... He's also had whole-wheat pasta and bread since the age of eight months, well before wheat is recommended. I didn't mess around with the honey, though. That one is scary in that once botulism is contracted it is usually fatal. We waited a while on that one. The one time I gave him scrambled eggs for breakfast at around eight months, he loved them, but broke out in hives all over his face and hands. He's okay with eggs as an ingredient and with the little bits I've been giving him at breakfast.

The most recent new food that Dan has tried is peanut butter. Around Dan's first birthday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended waiting until 14 months, not a year, to offer peanut butter. Jim said, only half-joking, that we should offer his first taste of peanut butter in the parking lot of the urgent care center. On Sunday afternoon, I broke some graham crackers into little bits and smeared a tiny bit of peanut butter on it. Jim pulled up a chair to watch him closely and asked if we had any Benadryl.

We watched. He stared back quizzically. No reaction.

He appears to have survived his first encounter with deadly peanut butter.

1 comment:

maryellenlewis said...

Josee, its kind of funny you mention botulism, because, you know, Caroline had it as an infant. Interestingly enough, she did not get it from honey. Go figure.