So I just got back from going to the doctor with Alex because he's not eating or sleeping well lately. It's probably an ear infection, or his teeth coming in. The doctor seemed to have a handle on that, so I'm not worried. What I AM worried about is what Alex is supposed to be eating.
This is where culture differences really get on my nerves and makes me REALLY hate living here. The differences in countries doesn't just stop at two hour lunches and long vacations, it's also about the basics including health care and the attitude of the care providers here. We've been having problems with the doctors here since before Alex was born. First with the doctor who was treating Ana. He abandoned her the night before she was going to give birth because she was questioning his decision to induce labor less than a week after her "due" date. He was incensed that Ana and I were doubting his word and told her that she should find another doctor. Wonderful, hey? Later that evening/day Alex was born and he passed off the delivery room duties to another doctor who ended up being wonderful. It was pure luck though, things could have gone horribly.
So now I'm concerned with what Alex is eating and what he's supposed to be eating. If I don't know what he's supposed to be eating (or a good approximation) how am I supposed to know if he's really sick or not? I read my books including "What to Expect in the First Year" and went online to see what a 9 month old eats. All the sources I checked talk about starting more solid foods around this time (i.e. not pureed or overly mashed): cooked carrots, bananas, rice cakes, toasts, potatoes, pastas, rices, etc. Basically from now on you start the process of your baby starting to eat like you eat - even if he doesn't have teeth yet like Alex - the baby will do quite fine mashing the food with his gums. Also, in terms of quantities, I read various sources and came up with about 600ml/24oz of formula each day and 3 meals of about 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of solid food a day.
This is NOT what Alex has been eating... he's been eating just purees and his formula for the past several months. So today I asked the doctor what he was supposed to be eating - to confirm what I've been reading online and she told me: 1 bottle in the morning, a mid day puree of meat/vegetables, a mid-afternoon puree of fruit and a bottle in evening. What?!?! That's it? What about introducing solid foods, I asked, and described what I've read. Well, first, questioning the doctor was met with a withering look, and a reconfirmation that until a year at least, there's no reason to give the baby solids. Ana's mom was there confirming that this was "obvious". What the fuck?
Well, I understand that the baby is supposed to eat more or less what he wants and that babies vary widely and all that, but the difference between these extremes in feeding is insane. Which is right? The U.S. or Spain? Guess which one I think is right? Now of course, which one do you think my wife thinks? This shit REALLY pisses me off. It's not that I think the medical care here is bad - we had a wonderful experience after the birth of Alex (with just a bunch of stres and tears before). It's just that I don't think the doctors here keep up and don't value the opinions/knowledge of their patients at all. To not have any idea what the whole of the U.S. does (and U.K. - I just checked with Jim) is asinine and just makes me angry and just causes more stress in my house for something that should be clear and easy to understand. It's not like there aren't a billion frigin' kids born every day - it should be pretty much standard now what a kid will eat at 9 months without a hell of a lot of differences in modern societies, no?
Urgh. I just want to go home on days like this.