Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rice cereal as a bedtime snack? Not for Pebbles.

Lately, it seems like everywhere I turn people are suggesting that I give my baby rice cereal as a bedtime snack. The rice cereal, they say, will help her sleep a solid 12 hours without waking up.

This is not an option for us. Pebbles (by the way, in case you missed it on Facebook, Pebbles is my baby's new blog nickname) does not and will not eat rice cereal. I consider it junk food. She's a paleo baby, so she eats no grains whatsoever. She eats meat, vegetables and fruit. She's super healthy and super happy. There are plenty of other healthy and happy paleo babies out there, too. Some sleep through the night; some do not. None eat rice cereal.

I know the moms offering advice just want to help, and I'm sure many of them empathize with my lack-of-sleep situation. But I'm starting to get a bit stressed over the frequency in which the suggestion comes up. Especially because I just don't know how to respond.

Do I just say "thank you for the advice" and leave it at that? I like this idea in a way, because it allows me to avoid having to explain it all to someone who may or may not be interested. Then again, why should I actively avoid the discussion? I mean, I know why. It is because people get offended very easily. If I share my feelings about processed baby cereal, some moms will be insulted because they gave their babies rice cereal. They'll feel like I am criticizing their choices, accusing them of loading their babies up on junk food. I don't want anyone to get that impression. Paleo or not, I firmly believe that almost every mother out there wants to give her children the best nutrition possible (some just have different ideas about what that means and/or different available resources). Inevitably, though, I run the risk of offending someone. The irony is people seem to have no qualms about trying to persuade me to abandon my principles for the sake of my own sleep (a couple of moms have actively tried to talk me into giving her rice cereal or other grains). Double standard?

So far, I've just been explaining (briefly) that she doesn't eat grains. I get a lot of blank stares. I guess I feel a bit ... stuck. Avoiding the subject seems like a cop out, but I also don't know that engaging people in a discussion about it is all that beneficial to anyone involved.

I'm sure I'm not the only mom who has encountered this scenario. How would you respond?


  1. I've gotten it too :) I'm not paleo but I am WAPF which says no grains til baby is 1-2 years old when they actually have the digestive enzymes for properly sprouted grains. So my babes didn't get rice cereal either - and all my friends with babes did. Mine DID sleep through the night. But I know some don't. Don't sweat it :) I did do avocado mushed with breastmilk before bed and that really helped if you wanna try that - otherwise you need to do what you feel is best for Miss P ;)
    I have taken a couple different approaches with people - I either don't say much of anything and just appreciate their concern or if they are really pushy - then I'm gonna be honest. If you present it in an intelligent way - baby DOES NOT have enzymes to digest grains as an infant...you can't argue with that. If they are gonna be pushy then I'm gonna get real ;)
    Keep up the good work Mama ;)

  2. Ugh. I totally hear you. I feel the exact same way whenever I have to politely decline peoples' well-intentioned offers to share their babies' Goldfish crackers, Cheerios, Baby MumMums or Gerber Puffs with my little guy.

    When I say, "No thanks. Oliver doesn't eat those" or ("doesn't eat grains"), I feel like what they're hearing is, "I can't believe you feed that crap to your child. I would never do that." And of course that is not my intention at all.

    In any case, I still haven't really figured out a comfortable way to address the issue - and it comes up several times each week here, as we are constantly going to the parks and community centres to play. Just wanted to commiserate and let you know that you are not alone :)

    P.S. Do babies even still eat rice cereal at 10 months??!

  3. I am so glad I am not the only one who feels stuck. I get the blank stares all the time, and I don't know how to handle them either.

    I have come to realize that not everybody has been fortunate enough (yet) to understand how much healthier Paleo is than any other "healthy diet" out there. However, I have given up trying to explain and justify why my baby grows up Paleo, or why I stuck to it even during pregnancy.

    People who are open and interested in learning more will ask questions and won't give you the blank stare. It makes me feel good every time I come across one of them. All the other people I simply tell that there is no right or wrong way to raise (and feed) a child, so to please respect my decision just as much as I respect theirs.

    Keep posting about your frustrations, and just remember, there are lots of other mothers out here who feel exactly the same way you do. You are one awesome mama to put it all out there for everyone to read. Keep up the good work!

  4. I came here hoping you were going to tell me the Paleo alternative so I can get my 11 month old to sleep through the night! LOL! It seems like the huge meal of heavy proteins and veges would sustain him through the night better than rice cereal anyway... (sigh)

    Yep. I have this problem, not only with cereal but with lots of stuff. And even in relation to my own diet. It's tough but I don't feel like it's a cop out to just brush past it if it's a stranger that's offering the advice. You aren't going to see them again so why waste your breath? (the funny thing is that they all tell you as if it is some little-known secret that nobody would have told you before! In fact, maybe you could say, "duh! Like I've never heart THAT ONE before!" and just leave it at that! hehehe Or if you HAVE to be polite you can say, "yes, I've been told that.")

    If it's a friend, I simply say, "not till he's two year's old". Truth is, I don't ever want him to eat it but I know that I have to be realistic so it will probably happen someday. But, my rule for my first son was no processed foods or treats until after 2 (this was before I knew about Paleo and it was hard enough to pull off this feat with people trying to sneak him potato chips and cookies at family parties. Grrrr....). Anyway, by saying "after two" it sounds overly restrictive but not completely unreasonable to most people because I'm not saying "never". It just puts it into the same category as Ice Cream and Candy, which is hard for people to understand but they have a harder time understanding why/how someone can choose to live without grains and legumes. So, I find that works for me. And, actually, lately I've been saying "1 year old" because that's a closer mile marker. Once he turns one I'll push it to "two" hehehe...

  5. I have a paleo baby as well and I get those sort of suggestions all the time. But thankfully I don't think I've offended anyone yet.

    I basically say, "I'm being pretty picky, admittedly. I figure with everyone realizing how we as adults should not be creating a diet centered in starch and carbs I shouldn't choose that as the staple for my child's diet. At this time, she does not eat any grain whatsoever."

    I think the "at this time" really comforts them and they seem to all really respect my decision.

  6. Meh, I gave my son rice cereal, mum-mums, corn puffs and pretty much every other horrible thing under the sun... and he still never slept through the night. He's now entering the "living on air" stage at a year and a half where I'm lucky if I get him to eat 2 or 3 bites of whatever dinner is... so I'm doing my research to put the best stuff possible in those 2-3 bites. But I agree with Rachel - it seems like protien and healthy fats would help a kid sleep through the night better than any quickly digestible starch ever made...

  7. I have been very fortunate in that my baby has slept through the night since she learned to suck her thumb at 2 1/2 months. I find that the rice cereal advice usually comes right after "Does she sleep well for you?" I think I have avoided a lot of that advice by being able to say that she sleeps just fine. However, I have gotten that advice and I think that most people are just trying to be helpful. They tell you what worked for them. They have no idea that Paleo eating even exists and, let's face it, there are still a lot of doctors out there giving this advice. Usually I just responded with "No, I don't plan to give her rice cereal." and leave it at that. By the way, I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog. Planning to look around for a bit. :)

  8. WOW it's not just happening to me!! Thanks all - I'm feeling a lot happier knowing I'm not the only one encountering this. I have to say I have just started bending the truth and saying she's sleeping though - there is some confusion when I look so shattered though hahahaha

    Take care and thanks again


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.