Final Notes about Spinach and Potatoes

Hey everyone!

This is my final blog! I can’t believe how fast this summer has gone by. It seems as if it was just yesterday that I was being trained on how to conduct this study! Over the course of the summer I have learned so much about how the research process works and about infants’ eating behavior and temperament. Furthermore, working with the moms and babies has been a truly enjoyable and engaging experience.

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Range of Reactions

Hey everyone,
            It has been another busy week here at the lab! Two mothers have come in for their day 2 of the study already this week, and one for day 1. The first mother told us that her infant did not like the baby spinach and potatoes, but when she came in the lab for day 2 she ate about 20g more of food! It will be interesting though to look at the video and do a facial analysis and see how many negative facial reactions there were. When we did the temperament procedures with her, she was not upset by any of the tasks. She was extremely happy and content the whole time. On some of the tasks she seemed more interested in me than the toys! The second infant that came in, even though she was in the satiety group, ate the most food of any infant yet. She ate 1 jar and about ¾ of another! I wonder though if that was because she really likes the food, she was very hungry, or because it is important to her mother that she eats until she is very full. Maybe it is even all three! When I did the temperament procedures with her, her responses were pretty much on par with the other infants who have come in. She was content the whole time, except she became a little bit upset after the end of one task. I am really curious to see if the infants’ reactions on the temperament tasks will match up with their mothers’ answers on temperament questionnaire.
            The infant who came in for her day one was interesting to run since she was the youngest baby I’ve done the study with yet. I think her mother was surprised by how much she ate, because I guess normally she doesn’t have a large appetite! I am curious to see how much she eats when she comes back after the home exposure period next week. She became distracted and drowsy during the feed so her way of rejecting the food was much different than I had observed before. Normally infants will turn their head, not open their mouth, or push the spoon away when they are done. I wonder if this was just her feeding style or her level of alertness? I guess I’ll find out next week!

Update from Tyler

Hey fellow researchers,

It has been continuing to grow busier here in the lab! Four mothers have come in since my last post! Gratefully, all the mothers and the infants have been great. The mothers really catch on quick with following the directions of the feed, which makes everything run smoothly. I got to run my first infant boy this summer, which was exciting. He definitely seemed to have a voracious appetite! It was interesting to see how much he accepts the baby spinach and potatoes since he is already starting to eat more appealing table food. But he ate one and half jars, which is pretty good for an infant! When we did the temperament procedures with him on the second day, it was interesting to see the differences and the similarities between his reactions and the previous baby’s. He was pretty content most of the time, except he got a little upset by one of the tasks, which the previous baby had not liked as well. I’m starting to wonder if there will be a pattern in how babies react to the tasks, but it is still too early to tell yet!
The next two baby girls that came in had pretty easy temperaments and were very comfortable in the lab. One of the girls ate a lot, but the other was more distracted with her reflection in the double sided mirror, which was pretty funny. I was curious to see if the last baby that came in would be different because she is older and had more food experience but she was not really different in her consumption patterns. I am curious to see in the future if age and food experience will make a difference in acceptance. I will tell you all how the rest of the day twos went in my next blog!

Testing Temperament

Hey everyone,
           Hope your summers are continuing to be productive and fun! Over here in Tyler Hall, I just had my mother come in for her second day. It was so interesting to see the changes that had taken place over the eight day home exposure. Although the mother said her infant did not really seem to enjoy the food at home, when she came in the lab the infant ate quite a bit. I found this really interesting. I will just have to wait to see what happens with the other infants who are coming into the lab! The pre-locomotor temperament procedures went very well for conducting them for the first time.  The infant did not like two out of the five tasks, which was intriguing. My colleague who is running the study in Norfolk also found that the same two procedures caused the infant to react strongly. We do, however, make sure to change the order of the tasks every time to rule out any other variables influencing the infant’s reaction. I am curious to find out whether the next few infants will react the same way to the task.
             Just so you can get a picture I will briefly describe the tasks. The first task involved presenting two rattles to the infant, letting him/her choose, then letting him/her play with the rattle, after which the mother took the rattle away and gave it to me to present back to the infant. The second temperament procedure I performed involved standing behind a tri-fold cardboard and sticking a parasol through a pre-cut square and opening and closing it in front of the infant. In the third procedure, we had the mother lay her baby on a soft blanket on her back, and after 30 seconds I would try to place the baby on her stomach. In the fourth procedure, I had the mom stand behind the tri-fold cardboard. I would knock and open the doors revealing the mother 4 times, and then on two trials I would open the wrong doors, so that the mother was not revealed. Last but not least, for the last task, we gave the infant blocks to play with, but the mother was instructed to remain neutral and not to engage in play with the child. Maybe from these descriptions you can guess how the infant reacted? Maybe I’ll let you know next time…

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!

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