Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Recording my child’s diet, how hard could that be?

Because I work for TEDDY, before C was born I knew about the diet collection. I even helped out during the training phase by recounting my own diet to be entered into the computer. But honestly, the most difficult parts of the diet collection seemed to be entering it into the computer and uploading it to the main diet database. I guess that IS the worst part from a staff point of view—little did I know how complicated the diet records could actually be!

At C’s first TEDDY visit when he was 3 months old, I knew in advance that there would be a 24 hour recall of his diet but I didn’t give it much thought. How hard could it be—C was exclusively breastfeeding every few hours—no measuring needed! When B said it was time to do the diet record I said confidently, “Just breastmilk!” Then she said, “OK, starting after midnight, what time did he first have breastmilk”? HOLD ON—I have to remember what TIME I dragged myself out of a deep sleep to feed my 3 month old? I’m trying to block out those middle of the night feedings from my memory! I don’t WANT to remember that my sleep was interrupted 3 times last night! It was then that I knew the diet record would not be my friend.

When C’s 6 month birthday rolled around we still hadn’t started solids and to be honest, I was resisting it because I loved being his only source of nourishment. Then I got the 3 day diet record in the mail. Flipping through the pages, I knew that I did not want to have to include bites of cereal that he may have eaten, or may have dribbled down his chin into the chubby folds of his neck. Problem solved—no solids until after the 6 month TEDDY visit!

When it was time for the 9 and 12 month visits I knew I had to bite the bullet—C was well into solids by that point and I was going to have to suck it up and record it. Fortunately he was pretty good at keeping it in his mouth by that point and the store-bought jarred food was easy to record. Maybe this diet thing was going to be okay after all.

Then we got to the 18 month visit. The first day of the 3 day diet I had such good intentions. I put all his food into a measuring cup before giving it to him. I even copied recipes to bring to the visit. On day 2 I was feeling so ahead of the game that I gave him his painstakingly measured food, neatly wrote it all down, and then turned around to smile at C in his high chair, only to see him feeding all the food I had so carefully measured to the dog!

It’s nice that the diets are only collected every 6 months now that C is older but I can already see the 2 year diet record will be a challenge. Often throughout the day C will stop his playing to pry open the pantry door in search of Cheerios or animal crackers. Sometimes he asks politely for them but he really prefers just grabbing the box, shoving in his little hand and taking out a huge handful, some of which makes it to his mouth and some that the dog snatches as it falls to the floor. I never thought I would give so much thought to the amounts of food my child eats!

Coming up next—a two or three part series of posts about diet collection tips from a TEDDY staff member