Food Schmood!!! – The When, What, Why and How of Baby Food In The Modern World

SAM_2509     So the big topic around our neck of the woods lately has been about introducing solid foods to Mr. Sweetie. You know, the when, what, where and how stuff.

It has been a while since I faced this same topic when Mami was a baby and I don’t remember all the details. I have been realizing that the internet is such a blessing and curse all at the same time, on any topic, including this one.

Certainly, I know that there have been updates in research, experiences and opinions since she was a baby, but when you research the topic there are so many different opinions about the whole thing that it can be both beneficial and overwhelming. Back when I had babies, I had to rely on my own instincts, the library and other mothers. This may sound a bit like the stone age to many mothers now, but in some ways it seems simpler.

I was not raised in any kind of healthy, holistic, hippie or alternative type of way. We were rural American meat and potatoes folks – with extra meat and cow milk. My three brothers and I drank milk like people today drink soft drinks or energy drinks. Between the 4 of us, we went through 6 gallons of whole milk per week. My mom went straight to a dairy and picked it up every few days. But sometime around age 20 I started getting curious about things like yoga, meditation, healthy eating and exercise. My dad thought I was totally weird and the people in my medium-sized city referred to me as a “health nut”. Needless to say, many of the things that are common today, only fringe people such as myself were into back then.

For this reason, I had to rely on the few sources available to find my way about all these choices (birthing options, diet, breastfeeding, parenting styles, family bed, immunizations, homeschooling, etc.) and then tuning into myself to decide what felt “right” for me. I will confess, it was a bit nerve racking at times because every parent simply wants the best for their children, so they REALLY want to make the best and right choices.

I kept deferring to what my guesses or projections were about how our ancestors did it. This was prompted by noticing how many things exist around us that are supposed “advancements” in any area of our life and world, and yet do not always seem to be the optimal creations. Basically, I went slow and simple. I do not remember specifically ever buying any pre-made or bottbabybaby food. I had a manual baby food grinder and remember starting with things like avocado, banana and apple. With what I have learned more recently, I would have replaced the fruit with other veggies and probably included some meat and bone broth, but skipped the grains altogether – at least for quite sometime. Then I would definitely lean toward gluten-free and low sugar intake.

I have come to all of this because I have been learning more and more the last couple years about the large increase in auto-immune diseases in our society (like diabetes, lupus, Graves Disease and Hashimotos (both thyroid afflictions), psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis, to name a few). Auto-immune diseases are said to be in the top 10 causes of death for women up to age 65. They are brought on by our immune system being over active and attacking our bodies. This immune response is caused by systemic inflammation and the interaction of our environment (ie, exposure to heavy metals, toxins, etc) and our genetics. This includes food sensitivities. Apparently, when we have a more permeable gut (which is how we are born – it closes over time but is supposed to be this way to allow for optimal absorption of nutrients when we are infants), our bodies mistake certain food proteins, that are similar to tissues in our bodies, for those body parts and think they are foreign invaders and attack them. An overly permeable gut (known as Leaky Gut) can also occur due to infections, toxins, stress and age (9 Signs You Have A Leaky Gut).

In my recent research on this topic to help Mami sort through the information while still applying the system I did when she was a babe (“it feels right to me”), I found a couple books and articles or websites that seem to have some beneficial viewpoints and guidelines on the topic combining both current scientific backing and age-old wisdoms.

There were at least a couple places I read references to watching the signs your baby gives you to determine if they are ready to start being an eater in training and also include some guidance about the “what” to feed them as well as going into further depth in discussing the permeability and functioning of the baby’s gut. You can check them out here and see what you think for you and your baby – 5 Signs Your Baby Is Ready For Solid Food and When Should My Baby Start Solids.

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You can also read further about autoimmune health and introducing solid foods in the book “Super Nutrition For Babies: The Right Way to Feed Your Baby for Optimal Health” by Katherine Erlich and Kelly Genzlinger. I did not read this entire book, but was able to read excerpts of it on Google (here) and found it very interesting and containing some easy to understand very beneficial information. As well as “Raising Healthy Families in Unhealthy Times” by Kate Golle, again, I read excerpts on Google (here).

I also was introduced to Chris Kresser’s work and he has a program called the Healthy Baby Code, which looks fairly comprehensive in educating you about topics before, during and after pregnancy, including the introduction of solid foods. I liked the rest of what I read by him and if I were pregnant at this time would very possibly invest in it to learn the whole system. Unfortunately, I was not able to locate anything in depth about the details of his recommendations, but found some reasonably detailed references to it here as well as an interview with him here, where he has some very interesting info about the effects of diet on breastfeeding, autoimmunity in babies, etc (scroll down to the Breast Milk Nutrition section).

What are your experiences with introducing food to your wee ones?  Do you have any personal stories to share with other readers that may shed some light on special situations like certain health conditions and food introduction or specific diet preferences (ie, vegan or paleo) and food introduction?

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do, it makes a better world one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

 

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1 Response

  1. August 24, 2015

    […] back to some of the basics of introducing food to babies I brought up in my post, “Food Schmood,” I was delighted to find that one of my favorite reference docs, Mark Hyman, M.D., actually […]

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