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Tempted To Eat Your Baby's Table Scraps? You're Not Alone

One-year-old Emily offers her dad, The Sporkful's Dan Pashman, a bite of watermelon (before dropping it on the floor).
Jennifer Hsu/WNYC
One-year-old Emily offers her dad, The Sporkful's Dan Pashman, a bite of watermelon (before dropping it on the floor).

Being a parent changes you in many ways — including when it comes to what you're willing to eat.

Parents eat their kids' leftovers — yes, it's true. And this can mean leftover scraps on their baby's tray ... or bits and pieces hanging off bibs and mouths. Hey, it can look strangely irresistible at the time.

Dan Pashman of WNYC's The Sporkful spoke with NPR's Rachel Martin about how to come to terms with this fact of life. His bottom line: Feel no shame.

Interview Highlights

Why it happens

Well, there's something about the cumulative effects of parenting, the lack of sleep, the way that your kids — as lovely as they can be — can sort of wear you down. I think you get to this place where you're kind of feeling a little sorry for yourself. And there's some food in front of you, and you're vaguely hungry and you're just like, "Maybe if I put this in my mouth, everything will be better."

I managed to convince myself that graham crackers are better after they've been gummed by my younger daughter. They're awfully dry and brittle — but once they get moistened just a little, they're like a graham cracker crust.

Where to draw the line

I think you have to put your kids' table scraps into a hierarchy. So the first thing is the food that's lying around the table or the plate that your kid didn't touch. To me, that's fair game. That's like being at a buffet. Then there's the food that your child touched but then put right back down on the plate ... Then there's the food that your kid touched and dropped on the floor .... I'll still usually go for this, unless the floor's having a bad day. Then there's the food that was in your child's mouth and fell out onto the plate or onto the ground. I think it's not pleasant. And I think you've just got to remind yourself of that and back away.

Room for creativity

But there are also opportunities. For instance, I don't give my kids chicken skin because it's a little hard for them to chew. I love chicken skin. So, take that piece of chicken skin, wrap something up in it. Get your hands in there. Don't be shy. Nobody's watching, nobody's judging you. It's not like you're going to go on a national radio show and talk about this. Just go for it.

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