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From "Experience and Children's Eating Behavior," Birch & Fisher.



Our group investigated the effects of repeated exposure to new foods on children's preferences for these foods and found that with repeated expsure, many new foods that children initially rejected were accepted (Birch & Marlin, 1982). However acceptance does not come immediately but make take 8-10 exposures and must involve tasting the food; looking at and smelling it are not sufficient to induce increased acceptance (Birch, McPhee, Shoba, Pirok, & Steinburg, 1987). Unfortunately, parents do not often appreciate that a child's initial rejection of a new food (a) is normal, (b) reflects an adaptive process, and (c) may be followed by increased acceptance of the food after the child has repeated opportunities to eat it. The commonly held view is that the child's initial rejection of a food reflects a fixed, immutable dislike for the food. As a result, the child may be viewed as finicky, and the new food may not be offered to the child again, eliminating any opportunity for the child to learn to like the food. The child's neophobia plays a central role in early food acceptance. The fact that early and repeated opportunities to eat new foods can change initial rejection to acceptance underscores the critical role of parents in selecting the array of foods offered to their children.

Our group recently investigated infants' responses to their first solid foods and whether their acceptance of new foods was enhanced with repeated exposure (Sullivan & Birch, 1994). Infants 4-6 months old were fed a novel vegetable on 10 occasions, several times each week by their mothers, and intake of the vegetable was measured before, during and after their opportunities to each the food. Infants were videotapes while eating, and adults rated the videotapes for the infants' acceptance of the foods. Over the exposure series, infants showed dramatic increases in intake of the vegetables, doubling their intake from about 30 g to about 60 g. An unanticipated result was that the results differed for formula-fed and breast-fed infants; increases in intake were most dramatic in the breast-fed infants. We hypothesize that this greater acceptance of a novel food by breast-fed infants is due to their greater experience with a variety of flavors, which pass from the maternal diet into breast milk. Recent research reveals that flavors ingested by mothers are present in breast milk and that infants respond systematically to these flavors (Mennella & Beauchamp, 1991a, 1991b). Research with animal models has shown that young animals who experience dietary variety show much more ready acceptance of novel diets than do animals whose dietary experience is limited to a single diet (Capretta, Petersik, & Stewart, 1975)."


- From Why We Eat What We Eat: The Psychology of Eating, Elizabeth D. Capaldi, ed. (Washington DC: American Psychological Association, 1996), p. 132-133
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Juliana van Olphen-Fehr. Diary of a Midwife: The Power of Positive Childbearing. (Bergen & Garvey, 1998)

I can't resist reading these stories, I just can't. Even when I'm feeling blue about my personal choices (or lack thereof), I have to read such memoirs.

As a document about the Certified Nurse-Midwifery movement, this is an excellent autobiographical source. It's even funny in a number of places. There's a certain amount of didacticism, a certain amount of dogmatism, involved. It's important to read this document in the context that it's the work of an activist, and of course you'll pick up on the activist tone. I wish there was better balance in the stories she tells (most of them are either 'how the OB sucked' or 'how I and other nurse-midwives were great') but it's certainly more balanced than some of the earlier works. The experiences she documents took place in the late 1970s through the 1980s, and that's important context (some things have gotten better, some worse, and some things haven't changed.) It's also important to remember, when reading this book, that this is a document about primarily a home-birth practice, where the patients accepted were SEVERELY limited by her risk definition-- no overweight patients, no smokers, etc. etc.

Basically, when Ms. Olphen-Fehr talks about her personal feelings and experiences, she is giving us a picture of what it means/meant to become a CNM and to start up her own practice, how home births work/worked while she was practicing (as of the publication of the book, she had become an administrator in a CNM training program, also a worthy pursuit). I would NOT take her strictures or opinions as generalizable to all CNMs or any other kind of baby-catching professional, and I wouldn't read this as a document about childbirth (as one of the reviewers said, too many babies suffer pain or injury for some moms to be able to deal, even if they haven't had the sort of traditional medical birth of the kind she censures. On the other hand, for those interested in how home-birthing more or less works before pursuing it for oneself, this is a good read, not least because the author points out, somewhat tactfully, problems she did have to struggle with. (Ok, I admit it: I don't think I'd want her for my midwife, but I think she's emblematic of her time and for people for whom her approach works, I think it's useful to know what she offered.)
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Reposting for my other peeps:

Antique Infant Feeding devices:
http://wdmem.blogspot.com/
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It's a curious fact that all pictures of beluga whales make them look like dorky stuffed animals, probably because of the body shape, the huge forehead melon, and the perpetual smile.

In real life-- if you've ever had a chance to see them in real life-- they are strikingly spiritual in appearance, though they have a very Zen/Tao sense of humor. (Visiting beluga whales in Seattle, I became convinced that belugas in captivity see their human visitors as a kind of interactive beluga tv, especially if they can convince small girls to watch them closely enough to be splashed.)

Anyway, Cute Overload reports that the Shedd acquarium has a baby beluga (and has had a number of them in the past). Here's the update on him/her: http://www.sheddaquarium.org/beluga_calf_update.html
Which provide temporary relief for whatever ails us.

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