In a recent consultation with a young mom, I had an enlightening conversation regarding what babies innately know. Her baby is 7 months old, energetic, happy, eating well. Well, almost eating well. She would eat anything, liked her veggies, was an all around healthy baby. But no matter what this mom tried, her baby just couldn’t keep down any porridges or cereal. With a slightly embarrassed tone, she even stated, “You know…how spit-up is different from vomiting? I think she’s actually throwing up. It’s …different.” Not surprisingly, we came to the conclusion that perhaps her baby was having some sort of reaction to one of the ingredients or results from chemically processed instant cereal.
While there are many options of infant cereal/porridges on the market, most lack nutritional value. Sure, they’ll fill up a growing baby’s tummy, perhaps allow mom and dad an extra hour of sleep (I, however, do not buy into this), and yes, the organic brands are better at leaving out the sugar and chemical flavouring. But what exactly is in that mystery box of light flakes? We cook rice for 25+, we cook pasta for 10-15 minutes, yet these fluffy flakes need no cooking at all; just add hot water or formula to them and viola’: instant meal. “Vitamin fortified” instant meal. (note: These cereals must be vitamin fortified because in processing them, they are stripped of all their nutrients. Vitamins must then be added to meet regulations, however these vitamins are not easily absorbed by the body, hence little nutrition actually reaching the baby.)
As I preach in almost everything I write, it’s time to start reading labels. Look for mysterious word such as “flavoring” and “spray dried” and “modified” (modifying your food is NOT a good thing). And if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, then do not eat it.
I was shocked as I read one popular and affordable baby porridge ingredient list: Maize flour, Sugar, Spray dried bananas, Vitamin and minerals, Banana Flavouring. Did you catch that second ingredient? SUGAR? We all know that ingredients are listed in order of amount, thus the 2nd leading ingredient in this porridge is SUGAR. I have no idea what is in the “spray” that dries bananas, but can only imagine it’s not healthy. And finally, be warned—heavily warned—about the infamous word “flavouring” as this is a completely ungoverned area in food manufacturing. You see, as long as a company keeps certain chemicals below a specified amount, it doesn’t need to list them as separate ingredients. Thus “flavouring” can consist of such chemicals as formaldehyde, arsenic, and coal tar. No way around it, these are poisons; and while some people (and babies) can handle the amount that the FDA somehow has deemed “safe” there are quite a few of us who cannot. Thus some babies break out in eczema, some develop ear infections and respiratory issues, some suffer from concentration and hyperactivity as they grow and develop, and some just throw up in hopes that mommy will feed her something different.
Back to my mom and baby: I got to work on an order specific to this little girl, one that emphasized the inclusion of grains hand-ground from whole, organic food sources to see if she was able to digest them better. While I strongly stand behind my recommendation that babies start with organic oats and millet as their first grains, I was still a bit hesitant with this baby, wondering if there wasn’t more to her sudden sickness after eating cereals.
Two days after receiving her customized order of fresh baby food, I received a wonderful message: “She’s loving her new food, especially the oats!” Happily, we decided this baby was a genius! She innately knew what was best for her body.
A sigh of relief may reflect that I just really want my customers to be happy. After all, I strongly believe in my product, from nutritional value to varying tastes and textures to environmentally friendly packaging …and on and on. But when I sat and thought about this for a while, it became clear: When babies tell us what’s best, we must listen.
For a free consultation or to order your own fresh baby food, email Greta at NurtureNaturallyPE@gmail.com