Purple Carrot Nutrition
The new tradition is Caribbean nutrition
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Breastfeeding Project - Make a Baby!

by Janelle Zakour RD

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Hello all, it has been some time since my last post... so much has been happening! One of the projects that I have been pursuing is to become a Breastfeeding Counsellor through The Breastfeeding Association of Trinidad and Tobago (TBATT). This course has been both enlightening and challenging... I have not as yet had the privilege of bringing a baby into the world and pursuing a breastfeeding counsellors position has been a cause of confusion for most people. How does a childless dietitian help mothers who have issues with breastfeeding??

It's simple. Babies need to eat too. And what better person to advise on this than someone who specialises in aiding people in healthy eating habits. Breast milk is the most perfect food on the planet for an infant and I personally feel dutifully bound to the cause of promoting breastfeeding to all mothers.  

Assignments are part of this course... and us trainees were given the task of creating a baby from scratch. And not in the old fashioned way :P
So here I am, not having done anything remotely creative since A level visual arts (I'm terrified to count the years), trying to figure out 'how to make a baby'. Mind you, this baby had to have roughly the same weight as a newborn.

So, I pulled out my trusty dehydrator... the one piece of equipment that I have used for pretty much ALL of my UWI projects, including my undergrad thesis (dehydrated corn soup heyyy). I started by making the head out of papier mache i.e. blow up a balloon, mount it on piece of a toilet paper roll, layer on paper dipped in a flour slurry and dry for 24 hours. I may have blown up the balloon a little too big... in the end, my baby had a head shaped like ET. 

While the head was drying, I began my hunt for a newborn onesie. At that point I was pretty convinced that I was going to stuff this onesie with foam and something weighted. Little did I know that newborns are pretty heavy...

I found some airdrying clay in a local pharmacy and thought, hey, this could be a good idea.

It wasn't a good idea... I never used any form of clay in my entire life... for craft purposes anyway. I am quite versed in clay soil farming thanks to Wa Samaki :P

Back to the baby.

I managed to get the hands done looking something like hands, after battling for hours with this horrid material. Sculpting is harder than I thought...

Yes, you saw correctly. That is a sherry glass next to the drying plate. Dietitians enjoy a lil drink every now and then! These clay hands look a little longer to dry as they were made of solid clay. Trusty ol' dehydrator to the rescue again. I dried these at 95 degrees F for 24 hours.

Now the head was the challenge of LIFE. I had done portraiture for Cambridge art and had a fair grasp on facial composition. But trying to mold this with my actual hands and not with layers of pigment on a flat surface was torturous.

The head went from round, bulbous and Casper-like to old Asian lady real quickly... The image on the right is the final before I got fed up and stuck it in the dehydrator. It dried for about 17 hours at 95 degrees.

While the head was drying, I got to work filling the body.  I filled the legs first with rice, then took my old Acadia pillowcase, folded it and sewed rice into half of it. I stuck that in as the torso. For the arms, I glued the painted clay hands into the onesie sleeves and filled the arms with more rice. That teeny little onesie held 5 POUNDS of rice.

Then I proceeded to parade my decapitated creation around the house.

Getting the dried head on was a task and a half. I may have used about 3 glue sticks plus superglue for that head. I also filled it with dried red beans because why not. My baby went from breastfeeding dummy doll to emergency food stash.

A literal FOOD BABY.

I crack myself up sometimes.

Here he is without his sock hat and with his sock hat. I had to stick a wire skewer through his brain and anchor it to the pillowcase inside his body just to make sure his head stays on.

Terrifying. But effective!

I named him 'Erik' after the Phantom of the Opera. You know that part where he sings 'this face, which earned, a mother's fear and loathing'?

Yeah... this face could do with a mask :P

He really does look like ET's baby brother though.

The other part of this assignment was to make a mother's breast... For censoring purposes, I won't upload pictures. Essentially, I just took half of a dried coconut shell that happened to look like a perky boob, sanded off all the fur and painted it with some acrylics. It didn't come out too badly for a 2am last minute project.

I submitted Erik and boob on Saturday during breastfeeding class. 

I do miss him already though. Twas quite the experience!