First Experiences with Spinach and Potatoes

Hello everyone!

It has only been two weeks since I first started working in Professor Forestell’s lab but it has already been productive and engaging. The first couple of days I spent getting acquainted with the lab protocols including how to recruit, run the study, and code the data. I usually begin my day by making phone calls to local residents about possibly participating in the study. We’ve already had 2 mothers come into the labs at William and Mary and Norfolk State University, which will be running the study in conjunction with us, and we’ve already scheduled 5 for the next 2 weeks! We also recently put up a bunch of flyers around the shops and restaurants in Merchant Square, including the Cheese Shop, Baskin-Robbins, Aroma’s, Retro’s, and Short-Stop Deli, in hopes that the large crowds will bring in participants! We also have posted fliers around town in some favorite local haunts such as Rita’s, Maggie Moo’s, Sal’s, Hancock’s Fabrics, and Sno-to-Go. So keep an eye out for those when you’re out on the town!

It was a lot of preparation to prepare for the mother coming into the Eating Behavior and Child Development Center. After conducting a phone interview to see if the child is eligible (the infant must be between 4 and 8 months and have experience eating cereal and baby fruits and vegetables), we send out a packet to the mother before she comes into the lab so she does not get lost! We also ask her to keep track of her infant’s feeding habits for three days and to feed the baby with the same bib and spoon we will be using during the feed at the lab. When the mother comes into the lab she signs some consent forms, then we begin the study. We watch from a two-way mirror as the mother feeds the baby spinach and potatoes and then stop her once the infant rejects the food three times. Afterward, we have the mother fill out some questionnaires with us so we can study various factors that may influence the infant’s acceptance and reaction to the food such as the mother’s food cravings. Then, when the mothers go home they are assigned to two groups – a satiety and hunger group. The mother then takes the food home with her and feeds it to the infant for 8 days around the time of the feed at the center. She also records the infants’ behavior. The mother will be coming back this Thursday to repeat the feed and fill out more questionnaires. Additionally, we have been working on 5 pre-locomotor procedures to add to the second day of the study to measure the infant’s temperament, which will be exciting! It will be interesting to see how the infant’s temperament may interact with his/her acceptance of the food! I will let you all know how it goes next week!