Q&A: Daycare and food question for baby

Here's one that kind of makes my head hurt.

Elise writes:

"My daughter is six and a half months old. We introduced solid foods
around five months, and she does well with cereal and some mashed
foods. However, she is not very interested in purees and has recently
begun insisting on finger foods (she snatches food out of my hands and
puts it in her mouth). I've given her cubed, steamed carrots and
potatoes, sliced ripe banana, etc, which she really enjoys. This is all
great, so no problem, right?

The issue is with daycare. My daughter is in a full-time daycare
center. She has wonderful caregivers, it's in my office building
which allows me to come by to breasfeed one or twice during the day,
and we are mostly happy with it. Unfortunately, they have very strict
food policies. Parents are only allowed to bring in bottles and jar or
some other type of pre-packaged food until their babies are old enough
to start eating the center provided lunch at age one. There are no
exceptions — infants cannot start center lunch early and parents may
not bring in food prepared at home. 

I plan to speak with the director in hopes of getting the rules
changed (I am not the only unhappy parent either). Right now my daughter
only eats cereal at daycare and has dinner with us at home. I'm hoping
you or some of your readers might have suggestions for what I can
bring for lunch in the future. The center suggested that I bring
Gerber Graduates (Puffs!! Crackers!) and things like fruit cups (that
come packaged in syrup!). I would prefer it if she were eating fresh
fruits and vegetables. She only has two teeth, so anything I bring needs
to be soft and easily gummed. 

Any ideas?"

Speaking of advocating for better food for kids, it makes me sad that already in daycare kids are being fed stuff that's less-than-healthy. Everything pre-packaged is really restrictive. I can understand that it's probably some kind of liability, but they're not the only daycare in the country, and many many daycares don't have restrictive policies like that, so it can't be an insurmountable policy. Keep pushing for change.

(As an aside, I love questions about daycare in which the caregivers are great. It makes everything so much better when you're really happy with who's with your kids all day.)

I've been wracking my brain to try to come up with something fresh but also packaged, but am not having much luck. Could they count a banana? It's in its own package, and if they broke off big chunks she could handle it.

I'm going with the Baby-led Weaning research that shows that kids do better with bigger pieces at first that they can control and put in the fronts of their mouths, than with small pieces or purees that are shoved into the back. Their finger control keeps pace with their tongue/mouth control, so that by the time they can pick of a small pea they're able to eat it safely on their own.

So a half a banana is something a little baby could pick up and gum in the front.

But even if they allow a banana, that's not a lot of variety.


Does anyone have any ideas to save Elise's baby from eating lunchables?

52 thoughts on “Q&A: Daycare and food question for baby”

  1. I’m surprised it’s an issue, though, if parents are allowed to bring in bottles every day. I mean, the center doesn’t require that all infants be limited to premixed formula, right? Which seems analagous. crap, how is that spelled?Anyway, I would be very curious about where the rules come from — is the center managed by one of the big companies, and is this the center’s interpretation of what corporate HQ wants? We used to be in a KLC center, and parents were expected to check off what items from the school lunch menu we wanted our little ones to have. That, honestly, seems like a way for a center to avoid liability: food gets taken for a test run bit by bit, rather than dumping it all on a child at 12 months.
    Is there an exception if there is a physician’s note? Can you use those frozen baby meals, thawed so the teachers don’t have to do anything? Prepacked hummus?

  2. I’d google plum organics and happy baby food. They’re both available at our local whole foods and I’ve seen them on amazon.

  3. Applesauce, fruit leather. Or when you come by to breastfeed, offer solids after nursing. Since solids are only for practice before a year and should only be offered after nursing, if you are breastfeeding, it honestly won’t matter much at all if she doesn’t eat lunch while at daycare. She should be getting the great majority of her calories from breastmilk still anyway.

  4. Is it really so essential that she eat something (other than milk) at daycare? I did the baby-led weaning thing with mine, (she wouldn’t eat purees anyway) and she didn’t eat significant amounts till she was nearly a year old. I was under the impression that most of the solids they eat in the first year are really more for practicing eating than for nourishment…their bodies are still meant to get mother’s milk or formula for the majority of calories/nutrition. Can you feed her solids before daycare and after at home?Aside from bananas, I’d add avocado if they will let you. It can be fed direct from the skin with a spoon like a puree.

  5. If you’re in the same building, why can’t you take your baby out of daycare during your lunch break and feed her elsewhere?It seems like you ought to be able to add a few infant-friendly options to your own lunch, and eat together outside of the care center (even if that just means “on the front steps of the building” or “in the employee cafeteria.”) Feed her what you choose to feed her (non-prepackaged, fresh food) wherever they let you nurse her – the mother’s room or whatever. It’s none of their business what you feed her there, whether it’s breastmilk or bananas.
    Added bonus – you get more time with your kiddo.
    Leave some of those cereal puffs with the daycare for her snack, or in case you’re delayed and she gets hungry.
    My kids loved oatmeal at that age, and you can make it in the microwave (just be sure it’s completely cool before you give it to her, obviously). They wouldn’t eat baby cereal, but they’d eat plain old Quaker oatmeal. Watch out for the individual packages, as they have a TON of sugar. Cut up an apple into tiny bits and put it into plain oatmeal before you nuke it (so the apple will soften), shake a little cinnamon on it, and you’re good to go. Or stir in some no-sugar-added applesauce.
    My kids also loved to gum plain, untoasted bagels at that age.
    You could quite easily cut up and cook some veggies the night before, and let her eat them cold for lunch the next day. Fruit too.

  6. Our daycare’s policies are nowhere near this restrictive. I can bring in any food I want for her, as long as I label and date it. Fresh fruits and veggies have to be brought in every day, though.Can you find prepackaged cooked carrots? My baby is sort of like yours- not so interested in purees, prefers finger foods. She does really well with cooked carrots and green beans.
    However, if you love your daycare in every other way, I wouldn’t stress about this too much. My daughter eats one meal a day at day care and mostly refuses to eat much dinner. I think a lot of kids this age just don’t want that much in the way of solids. I suspect this will be one of the things that you stress about greatly at the time, and later hardly remember. (I had a similar issue with convincing my first child to eat finger foods. She couldn’t move up to the “walking babies” room until she did, and she just wasn’t interested. I stressed and stressed. And now I look back and wonder what I was so worked up about? She’s a happy 3 year old, and the extra month or so in the little babies room doesn’t seem to have hurt her.)
    Anyway, good luck!

  7. That’s insanely restrictive. We did baby led weaning, so we gave our daughter pretty much all whole foods from the get-go (around 6 months, although actual eating started more around 8). Our daycare agreed to give our daughter the vegetables from the center-provided meal (which generally wasn’t available to kids her age). Perhaps you could talk them into that?Or, to agree with Joy, offer solids yourself after breastfeeding, since it’s really just practice. Or maybe those microwave steamer packages of vegetables that come in single servings, like the Birds Eye Steamfresh Singles – you could microwave them in the morning, since I think you don’t have to open them to cook them, and then she could eat them cold during the day. I know some people are opposed to steaming veggies in the microwave, so maybe that wouldn’t work for you, but I’m not one of them. 🙂

  8. We used the prepackaged vegetables you can get in the canned veg aisle at the supermarket. We prefer fresh or frozen vegetables as a rule, but the servings are too big and we always ended up wasting half. The little packages are the perfect size. I think we got the carrots, green beans, and corn ones usually.

  9. I did canned vegetables (organic without salt added)as finger foods a lot. You could send them in since they’re pre-packaged and they would just have to warm them up. Because they’re canned they are nice and mushy and not a choking hazard. Also, organic applesauce might be an option. Gerber makes some yogurt puffs that are really tasty too.

  10. Weird. I was able to make baby food at home and bring it in every day. I just labeled it and put it in the fridge with the bottles. I know that in our daycare we are not allowed to bring in home-made treats for parties, we have to bring in something packaged/professionally made. It’s probably a liability/labeling situation, and I can see that when you’re feeding other people’s kids but for your own? It seems over the top.You can buy cheerioes or other dry cereals in the one serving sized pack. Applesauce, also, in the lunchbox packages. Bananas are a good idea. Avocadoes – easy to dice or mash. Yogurt? Animal shaped cheezy crackers (fishes, ducks, bunnies, etc of various barands) come in lunch sized packs.
    I think a lot of it is just going to take thinking outside the box – looking at what’s in the grocery store that’s geared towards school aged or grownup lunches that might also be appropriate. The deli or bakery section of the grocery store might have something good – that’s where the packaged hummus is in our store.

  11. This is a tough one. For those not familiar with licensed US daycare restrictions, I understand how this can be confusing. Even the best US daycares have strangely rigid dietary rules. They follow a USDA food plan for older babies and children and a child must be allergic to almost everything for the daycare to allow a parent to opt out of the meals — and that’s only with expicit instructions from the child’s pediatrician.I have a 15-month-old son who I just moved to a new daycare, largely because of the old school’s meal plan, and I’m so pleased with my decision. His new daycare has a full-time cook, and they offer a greater variety of foods, including fresh fruits on a regular basis. His old daycare rarely served any fresh fruit and their “hot lunches,” though they met the USDA requirements, were sorely lacking in variety, thoughtfulness and, IMO, quality.
    I’m sorry for the long explanation, but I do have a couple of tips for Elise. I just wanted to share my story, because not all daycare food is the same. If you aren’t satisfied, consider making a move.
    Here are my suggestions: Check out Earth’s Best and Amy’s Organics for healthy pre-prepared offerings (I find those brands at Target, but they’re also online).
    And, though your daughter enjoys finger foods, ask your daycare provider to continue feeding her jarred foods for a bit longer. I’ll bet she’ll eat it for them, and then you can allow her to have fun and explore healthy finger foods at home.

  12. I’ve never heard of this policy for a daycare, only for preschools, and there it’s generally because one (or more) of the kids has a severe food allergy. Homemade food doesn’t come with labeled ingredients, so there’s no way for staff to check whether it’s safe. They might have trained the staff so that all food they prepare on-site is safe, though.It’s kind of unusual for an infant to have an identified anaphylactic allergy, but I guess it’s not impossible. And maybe there are older kids at this daycare, not just infants. Have you asked what the reason for the packaged food policy is?
    I don’t mean that you shouldn’t try to find a way around it, if there’s a safe one. It’s really unfortunate that allergy-friendly often means less healthy, and there must be better solutions. I hate that my own son’s allergies have forced me to switch from “good for you” to “not going to kill you TODAY.”

  13. “Even the best US daycares have strangely rigid dietary rules. They follow a USDA food plan for older babies and children and a child must be allergic to almost everything for the daycare to allow a parent to opt out of the meals — and that’s only with expicit instructions from the child’s pediatrician.”That’s not universally true, though, which is what made me ask about where the rules are coming from. Around these parts (DC), you can have the USDA rules, the DC rules, OSHA rules, center management rules, food service provider rules . . . . Because the rules can conflict, the center may have to choose one, and that is where you can sometimes get some flex.
    Both centers we have used have allowed parents to bring in food for their children; there were some restrictions (no nuts, no candy), but nothing onerous.

  14. I think there are two separate issues here. 1) Daycare policy on home-made food. I agree it’s restrictive and the parents should talk to the administrators for some other options. 2) Holy batman. your kid is 6.5 MONTHS old. Not 6 yrs. At that point breastmilk/formula, whichever one you use, should be 90% of their food intake. Why are you even worried about getting a substantial amount of purees into her? And if the idea is to get her used to textures, solids and supplement a little, offer her cereal/fruits after nursing in the morning and do the same at/after dinner. That’s plenty. If the daycare has the same policy for toddlers and older kids, I understand this is an issue, but as far as “intake” from solids for a 6.5 mo old, you should not worry.

  15. Susan, I’m not sure about that. My son attends a NAEYC-certified center and, although they do request that you refrain from bringing in sweet things, junk food, and things containing nuts, they are not really restrictive beyond that.I don’t have any good advice, but I think your daycare is ridiculously restrictive, OP, and I hope you find some good workarounds. The idea of taking her out of the center to feed her sounds good, but I could see that it might be onerous (at least if your child is anything like my 14-month old, who is constantly hungry). My kids were both the same about purees, they went almost straight to chunks of soft food, so I view this as a very natural progression and one that should be accommodated.
    Our center did send home a leaflet about nut-free foods and how to avoid foods with traces of nut proteins by using almost entirely pre-packaged food, so I wonder if that is one reason for your daycare’s policy. (Probably the other one is choking hazard liability?) I realize I could be opening a can of worms here, but this drives me crazy. I have no problem with avoiding nuts, and I understand that some kids are so allergic that they need to avoid all traces of nuts, but no one in my son’s room has any kind of nut allergy. Still, better safe than sorry, but when you get to traces-of-nuts in his non-nut-allergy-having classroom, I have a hard time believing that you are gaining any additional safety; I bet lots of kids have peanut butter for breakfast and come to school carrying more nut protein than will ever appear in his food. And I really, really, really really really object to any solution that gives such heavy weight to using pre-packaged food. (I do want to protect kids with allergies, though, and if a kid with allergies were in my son’s classroom I’d be more understanding of the more extreme protections.)

  16. lolismum, if she has to work through management to get the policy fixed, it is going to take some time, especially if it’s a center managed by a national company or by a board of directors that only meets once a month or so. This isn’t about what a 6.5 month old needs; it’s about what works well for older infants.

  17. I disagree with some of the comments about age here – yes, it would be early to be pushing solids on a kid, but this baby LIKES solids. She’s grabbing for them at home and enjoying them. So I think her mom’s reasonable to want her to be offered the right kind at school. (Says the mom whose 5-month-old grabbed for bacon and shoved it in her mouth on more than one occasion.)I second the avocado idea – it comes packaged in its lovely pebbly skin, does that count? 🙂 I would also investigate the specific rules. Most daycares that accept subsidized students do have to comply with USDA rules, but I’m really surprised to hear about no parental exceptions – when Mouse went to one of those, we could send in whatever. I think you might have room to negotiate.

  18. I think lolismom’s point bears repeating. The majority of the baby’s caloric and nutritional intake until 12 months of age comes from breast milk or formula (or a mixture). Food at under 12 months, as several posters have commented, is only for practice. While it’s great that the OP’s baby is into finger foods, letting her play/practice with these at home in the mornings, evenings, and weekends should be plenty of practice time. She doesn’t need the vitamins and minerals from food, nor the extra calories.

  19. Also, not all fruit cups are packed in syrup. It’s not as good as fresh, but we often rely on fruit packed in fruit juice.

  20. I am in Canada, but our supermarkets carry common baby food brands that offer ‘organic’ options, with no sugar or sodium added. I know these brands aren’t USDA-certified organic, but they might be a temporary measure to solve the current problem.

  21. Notwithstanding the objections to the policy, the chunkier varieties of Earth’s Best Organics (“3rd foods”) could work. You can get just vegetables or fruits or “dinners” with meat and/or pasta. She might like them.

  22. Can you take your lunch break with your baby, and feed her small bits of whatever you’re eating?What @Charisse said. The OP’s issue is not about generic guidelines about breast or formula feeding, it is about the SPECIFIC feeding PREFERENCES of a healthy, wonderful little baby who happens to LOVE solids. You know your baby’s unique needs. I firmly believe you are correctly interpreting your baby’s signals, and I want to encourage you to keep doing so. Don’t let anyone stand in your way, mama! You’re doing a great job!

  23. Like @Moxie, it makes me sad too that infants are being fed stuff that’s less-than-healthy. There’s something wrong when the solution for the fear of litigation, or the attempt to control allergic reactions, is to move kids away from a fresh/whole food/homemade diet to one that’s pre-packaged, and often chemical laden.So, @Elise, I totally feel for your situation.
    I don’t really have any other ideas to add, other than echo some of the ideas already put forth. Hummus is a great idea (as posted by someone upthread). I checked the label of the one I bought the other day and it had all pronounceable, whole ingredients.
    Also, I’d like to echo @Hush’s comment. I hope you feel us all behind you, supporting you, as you approach the director of the daycare to try to get things moving in a more positive direction.
    We were lucky with DS’ daycare (we’re in Canada). Even though it is a large centre (80+ kids), they let me bring DS’ own food as he wouldn’t eat their food. Gradually they worked with him in switching over to the daycare centre food.
    In the nursery, the kids ate the same things as the older kids, it was just pureed or mashed into chunks. And I believe that once a child was ready for bigger chunks (less puree) and pieces of food they just moved them to that, regardless if they were ready to move up to the next room or not.
    And for the record, I believe kids in the nursery were given a big chunk of soft banana for snack time, so hopefully your daycare will consider the bananas (& maybe avocado too as mentioned by @Charisse) ‘pre-packaged’.

  24. Food ideas not relatied to whether it’s a good policy or not. It is the policy.* Fresh cut up melons from the salad bar at the grocery store (with a little sticker over teh edge to prove it’s packaged)
    * Rotini pasta salad from the deli counter at the supermarket or Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods or wherever
    * Canned no salt added vegetables (organic or not). They don’t need to be warmed. I feed my kid canned green beans and green peas straight from the can (drained and rinsed, actually). I use Meijer brand. Not too expensive so if they have to discard the balance of the can, no big deal.
    * Tasty Bite brand vacuum-sealed meal packets of Indian and Thai Cuisine… lentils, rice, etc (tastybite.com).
    * Individual seving packets of Cheerios or Puffins cereals.
    * A can of low sodium soup, drained of the liquid to feed the soft meats, veggies, and noodles.
    * If it just has to be sealed in a box but they can use it from day-to-day, you have more options like a tub of hummus, a package of bagels, a box of cereal.
    * I like Ella’s Kitchen and Plum Organics for these slurpy packages of pea and spinach and apple puree my kids love. Free shipping on those from amazon but I’m sure you can find them elsewhere.
    * Depending on your child’s preferences, you could send in canned tuna or a pre-cooked, packaged hard-boiled egg.

  25. Actually, depending on where the OP’s daycare is, the daycare policy of prohibiting home brought food may be in violation of licensing requirements (not that you’d want to hold that over their heads). I would think that a daycare would be ELATED to have a parent eagerly involved in providing proactive solutions to what to feed a child during this awkward transition phase.That being said – this is a temporary phase, it will be shorter than you think, so in the big picture it probably wouldn’t be worth upsetting what sounds like a great situation (I would give my eye teeth to have daycare in my office!). Babies also learn to eat different things in different places, I doubt she is hungry while at daycare, and she gets to play with new foods while at home with you.

  26. I like the idea of having lunch with your baby, if that works with your schedule. Otherwise, I’d send in the single serve fruit and veggie cups — and they’re not usually in the baby food aisle. You could can your own stuff, I suppose (there are tiny little jam jars you could use), but I’d look in the canned food aisle, or the frozen food aisle, for pre-packaged single-serving size stuff to send in just to save myself the time.My son started grabbing stuff from our plates at about 5 months, and he flat-out refused pureed foods, so I understand your frustrations.

  27. How frustrating! I have no good ideas! We don’t do purees at home either b/c its so messy and my 8.5 month old would much rather have cottage cheese, avacado, banana, carrots ect cut up than anything else. Yeah, the Gerber Puff thing is very prevalent. Everyone loves them, including my husband, but it seems totally nonsensical to give them junk like that when they’ll eat a banana or avacado.Sorry, not really sure why I posted except to say I would be annoyed too. Dumb rule.

  28. Not sure if someone mentioned this, but check out the Dr. Sears brand of Happy Baby products. They have some chunkier baby foods too.

  29. My little guy (9 months now) LOVES solids. Not purees. Real food. He eats and eats. Yeah it’s ok for them not to eat much in the way of solids til a year, but there’s nothing wrong with a kid who actually WANTS real food to eat real food.SOme “packaged” things we eat – canned black beans, canned no salt green beans, canned no salt carrots, canned in fruit juice fruits (peaches, pears), veggie burgers (he really likes the Gardenburger Veggie Medley one), cereals like Bunny Love or Life cereal, Trader Joes fruit/cereal bars…
    And my guy has NO teeth. ANd he can “chew” all of this just fine.

  30. I was thinking the same as @Amy: bring your own baby food and enjoy your lunch with your daughter!(As an aside, a friend of mine brought her kids home from public school for lunch because of the school’s long list of foods that caused allergic reactions in one or more kids. She couldn’t come up with decent food to send to school so she brought her kids home to eat.)

  31. Thanks for posting my question, Moxie. It was making my head hurt too. I think the daycare policy came about because there is a child in another classroom who is very allergic to more than just nuts – wheat, milk, berries, etc. But even so, the policy seemed overly restrictive to me, since this particular child isn’t in the infant room.To be clear, I’m not stressing about the amount of solids my daughter eats, especially at 6.5 months. She is getting ready to transition to older infants, and this came up with during a talk with her new teachers.
    She is no fan of taking a bottle and sometimes only drinks 4oz while at daycare. She nurses every hour once we get home and still wakes frequently at night to eat, to make up for what she doesn’t get during the day. I was hoping to help balance that out by keeping the focus on breastfeeding whenever we are together, and letting her eat/play with solids while at daycare. I also don’t want to not feed her then, because all the older infants are eating and she wants to eat when everyone around her is eating.
    I think branching out past baby food to individual servings of fruits and veggies is a great suggestion. Thanks also for suggesting the “chunkier” organic baby foods. Between them, I should have enough to keep my daughter happy without resorting to only processed food.

  32. I gerenally hate the term “no exceptions” because we don’t all fit into a cookie cutter mold. This must be so frustrating to go through in this situation! I have no real solutions, but a couple thoughts.Like @persephone said, our daycare/pre-school doesn’t allow for parents to bring in non-packaged foods from home because of the allergy policy. (Luckily, my boy didn’t start going there until he was a year, so he gets some of the food offered in his room. Also luckily, he actually loves purees, so I do pack some of those for when he doesn’t eat what they have.)
    As the mother of a 3 yo with a peanut allergy, I’m thankful for this policy at the school. BUT I would totally be understanding if someone had this situation and really needed to bring in foods from home for a baby. We did baby-led weaning with our daughter, so I understand the method and the reasons it would be needed. There should almost always be valid exceptions to rules.
    Another point that is mentioned above that I wanted to reiterate is that solid foods are not the main nutrition for babies under 1. In fact, in the baby-led weaning world, I have often heard the phrase: Food before 1 is just for fun!
    This is not to say that you don’t know what your baby wants/needs and that those wants and needs shouldn’t be met. It is to try to reassure you that if you can’t work something out with the center about the food but you love every other aspect… then maybe just repeat to yourself like a mantra that Food before 1 is just for fun! It always helped me not stress about my kids eating/not eating during those early stages.
    Last thing… my mom watched my daughter during the day before she was 1, and she simply wasn’t comfortable with the chunks of food for baby-led weaning. So she would feed her purees for lunch. I let it go, because it was just another way of eating. I made sure to give her the chunks she liked for breakfast and dinner and on weekends, and she did end up eating the cereals and purees with my mom. Luckily there are organic and very simple purees and some packaged foods, as others have mentioned.
    Good luck!

  33. @Elise, I also had a baby who was not a fan of the bottle, and who went to daycare at 7 months. What ended up working for Mouse was a sippy cup, the hard-plastic toddler kind NOT the infant transitional kind. She’d accept someone else feeding her in an upright sitting position with her facing away from them, and that specific kind of sippy cup; otherwise no dice. (And I didn’t have her onsite so I didn’t have the option to go nurse her during the day.) Just wanted to pass on something you could try if it’s a concern for you. Good luck!

  34. I’d give the fruit cups another shot! Mandarin oranges, peaches, pears, etc are excellent first finger foods. Just have the daycare teacher drain the syrup and rinse them 2-3x in water to remove excess sugar.

  35. My daughter goes to a licensed daycare and there are Head Start kids there as well. I was allowed to bring in home made purees and finger food. I can understand restricting what you can bring in for other people’s kids, but you should be able to bring in whatever you want for your own.The only thing I was asked not to bring was grapes. Even cut small they weren’t allowed to give them to her unless they were peeled. And I wasn’t about to peel them. (Strangely, cherry tomatoes were OK cut small with skin left on.)
    Bananas are good, so are avocados, and I didn’t read all the comments, but did anyone suggest cheese? Probably not at 6.5 months, but soon she’ll be able to handle soft cheese and/or cheese slices.

  36. As the mother of a severely as in anaphylactic type rapid reactions allergic toddler, now 2.5,I find the prepackaged thing really puzzling. We have to avoid all dairy, all egg, all peanut and all bell peppers and chili peppers.It honestly is far, far safer to make your own food from scratch than it is to find safe packaged foods. Many fruit things come from factories that make fruit and yogurt things. Bars and granolas come from factories handling peanuts. Etc. Meat products are only safe from prepackaged kosher sources unless it’s fresh meat home-cooked. Sorry about going on and on.
    I have heard that in the US schools and restaurants have to accommodate allergic individuals. Whereas although nuts are banned at some schools, including peanuts which are legumes, no place has to guarantee anything for your allergic child.Nor does any restaurant.
    So probably the daycare is scared of being sued? And thinking this is the best thing to do.
    But to me this misses the point. It’s not easy to do in daycare, but it’s vital from the allergy prevention standpoint that your child gets fed or feeds him- or her-self separately after all little hands are washed. And at meal’s end they’re washed again.
    My daughter sitting next to a child waving a prepackaged dairy containing cake like at a recent health check is the fastest way to a reaction. The first one she had since last August. Not severe but I was hopping mad nevertheless. We had to attend.
    The newspapers here had a big story which ended happily of a teenage girl who kissed her boyfriend after he’d eaten hazelnut cereal for breakfast. And cleaned his teeth. One presumes that was not a peck on the lips but more a tonsil-tickler.
    She was nut-allergic and after staff used her Epipen it was off to hospital. Allergic reactions come out of nowhere.
    And the son of a friend, severely dairy allergic got a mistakenly packaged butter-mint with milk in instead of the clear mint on the package. He lived too, Epipen and all that.
    Packaging honestly doesn’t make anything safe. Having parents bring in hygienically packed food, as in made at home or ready-made, which is then fed or eaten only by their child is the safest option.
    Far better than hoping for the best and that the fruit cup didn’t come after the fruit with yogurt on the production line.
    To my mind it’s not what foods are allowed but what the protocol is around food and eating and allergy. It’s pointless avoiding foods if there’s no first aid preparation for allergy.
    And sounding like the wet blanket I am it’s not just food. My daughter is severely allergic to casein, a milk protein used all over the place. It can be in glues and paints for little ones and in popular baby toiletries.
    My friend’s son developed a peanut allergy when he was three and a half. He had has asthma by then for over a year.
    He had a terrible reaction to making bird-feeders with peanuts at school. There was no Epipen at the school but the ambulance was called straight away and arrived within five minutes because it was nearby and he lived. He’s fine but his parents are still very wobbly.
    Sorry about ranting on a soap box. But I really feel for the OP and this policy, and I do feel strongly that there are far better policies for allergy out there for daycares and schools.

  37. @Wilhelmina – My kids have casein intolerance (GI – not allergy), but I still find an astounding lack of concern or knowledge around the subject. I brought packaged, boxed soy milk for my kids to drink at day care. Then, they started providing soy milk for them. Great. Then they switched food providers and the new wholesaler swapped LactAid milk for soy milk. Totally not the same thing. Fortunately, an alert person asked me if the switch was OK before giving it to my son (who would’ve gotten diarrhea, diaper rash, yeast infection, and been booted from childcare until it healed). We’d have been better off if I had just continued bringing it from home (sealed and labeled).

  38. I wanted to second (third, fourth?) what some previous posters have said about Plum Baby (and other brands) who offer wonderfully tasty purees (not what you wanted, I know) but are packaged in a pouch that baby can learn to hold and eat from all on her own. Since food is more for fun and practice at her age, maybe she’d enjoy the challenge of holding the pouch and figuring out how to make the food come out :-)My 12 month old still enjoys the pouches on occassion (even though she has turned her nose up at my homemade purees since 9 months) especially if I freeze them and offer as a slushee.

  39. I’m curious what the daycare provides for lunches. Can the care providers use what is offered for lunch and just mash it up a bit? A lot of 12 month olds still have difficulty with swallowing and they are constantly having to cut the lunches into chunks or dice or mash depending on the child’s abilities. At least that is how it works at our daycare. My strategy would be to sit with my baby for a few lunches in a row and show the care providers how much to mash up her food or which items to give her out of the lunch.Good luck with however you figure this one out!

  40. After reading others’ comments, I realize I was overstating the restrictions that some daycares have. I only know what I’ve learned about my state’s (very restrictive)guidelines for licensed daycares.I’m heartened to hear that things are different in other parts of the country. Perhaps my state will become more flexible at some point.
    And, good luck, Elise! I hope you have success in your search for healthy foods for your baby.

  41. I just reread the question. I missed the part about not being able to start eating the daycare lunch until 12 months. How frustrating!

  42. I didn’t have the childcare food rules to deal with, but I did have a child who was breastfed and not very interested in bottles while I was at work. It sounds like you’ve already figured this out, but I later learned that my daughter had “reverse-scheduled”. While I was at work she’d take just enough breastmilk from the bottle to keep her going. But then she’d nurse every two hours all evening and through the night to make up for what she didn’t get during the day. It’s fine for the baby (and for mom, if she can handle that much night-nursing.) I’d second another commenter’s suggestion to try a sippy cup, or even a very small flexible cup, if your daughter seems hungry during the day but won’t take a bottle from the childcare provider.

  43. Quick question– I’d always been under the impression like other posters here that food until 1 yr when breastfeeding was “just for practice” and breast milk sufficed. But then a pediatrician told me that the milk does cover all needs UNLESS there are solids being given at which point the nutritional value decreases. I think it was something about iron? Sorry, haven’t had time to research this but if anyone has more info I’d be interested. Also, if anyone has an opinion on giving solids (blw mostly) here and there, not on a regular daily basis for awhile…

  44. @Motherson – I have a start of an answer! Breastmilk has much less iron than most fortified foods, but babies absorb most of it easily and are able to use it easily. However, once a baby is exposed to fortified foods, something shifts and the baby is no longer able to absorb the iron from the breastmilk. The ‘fortified’ iron in food is much more difficult for babies to digest, and they only absorb a small fraction of what they ingest. Hence, the concern about iron supplementing. So breastmilk has everything a baby needs for a year (your body stores enough iron for that purpose) but people mistakenly think they need to feed 6 month old babies iron-fortified cereal – but it’s actually the cereal that is creating a need to supplement the iron! (How ironic ;)Here’s a link to kellymom.com about iron:

  45. You could look into Just Tomatoes products. I used them with both of my children from right around the time they started eating solids. They are simply dehydrated fruits and veggies, nothing else added. Fruit leathers are also another goto product in our family. We don’t do baby food at all in our house, so I’m always on the lookout for great finger foods for my kids and have loved both of those!

  46. This is not a helpful problem-solving post, but I am just so angered at the idea that centers feel that they can dictate what a child is allowed to eat. Who knows the child best? Who is the parent? Whose priorities should prevail? And quite frankly, who writes the enormous monthly check?

  47. I know this is way late.. but I’ve been mulling over it since my own 7 month old is about to start daycare and doesn’t eat “baby food”. At our orientation meeting today I asked about bringing stuff and they said “only commercially packaged foods” and gave some excellent reasons why (mostly having to do with limited storage reserved for breastmilk and formula).But then it dawned on me as I was looking over the meal menu for the week and noticing all of the foods that I would have sent anyway! All you need at our daycare is a note from your pediatrician stating that baby is ready for table food. Teachers can (and will in our case) pick and choose from the menu what to give baby (and can help by mashing stuff or cutting it in small pieces if needed.) Communication with the teachers would obviously be crucial to check for allergies, what’s been introduced already, how much to give, etc.
    So that’s what we will do and I hope it’s at least a little helpful to you!

  48. Fight the policy and help out not only your own child, but all the others who attend there. Daycare policies that hinder healthy eating and toilet training are really bummers. In the meantime, can you drop by and feed her yourself (pulling out just outside the door of the center) until they change?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *