... when your baby starts the journey to solid food. Here are a few timely suggestions on how to help your child to a wholesome, safe beginning to a lifetime of natural, healthy food. Baby foods in the first years are the most important and additives and preservatives can negatively lead to addictions to some chemically loaded products especially those containing sugars and salts (sodium) and may possibly cause allergies and asthma and other health concerns.
Additives in Baby Food
In researching food additives for several years I am always suspicious of anything that ends in “ate” or “ite” such as sulphites, phosphates, nitrites, etc on food labels. They are usually always artificial / synthetic and used to replace a natural vitamin / mineral that was removed from products during processing.
Obviously, the less a food product is processed, and the less ingredients (especially additives) a product has, the more likely the product is going to be more wholesome and safe for your child.
The most easily digestible baby foods when transitioning to solids are ~ banana, apples, oats, pears, rice, butternut squash, carrots, mango, sweet potatoes, zucchini, yams, broccoli. There are some excellent book resources available including "Sprout Right" by Lianne Phillipson-Webb, Penguin Canada 2010. This book is an excellent resource with age appropriate diet suggestions and lots of other related information.
Quote from "Buying Organic" on Baby Food
"According to the 2003 Total Diet Study, the conventional baby foods tested contained trace amounts of various pesticides . . . . those including meat had slightly higher residues of the DDT breakdown product DDE"
How to make Oatmeal Cereal
Yes, you can make your own wholesome, non commercial food for baby at home. Here is a simple recipe from scratch to make for your baby before or while preparing your own meals:
Oatmeal Cereal Ingredients:
- ¼ cup of ground oats (do not use instant or Quick Cook), ground in blender or food processor
- ¾ cup - 1 cup water
- Bring liquid to boil in saucepan. Add the oatmeal powder while stirring constantly.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, whisking constantly until cooked.
- Mix in formula or breast milk and fruits if desired and serve warm.
This recipe available at Wholesome Baby Food site.
- This recipe is similar to one used for our own children when they were babies. As in other recipes on CAP, quick or instant rice or oat products which have been processed are not used in any recipes.
- Keep uncooked cereals and rice in cool dry place. I store small quantities in large preserving jars – and always check for freshness, etc before using. For babies own use, buy smaller quantities of grains and replenish often.
- Remember: your baby does not know the difference between sweet, salty, bland, etc and although a food may not taste like what you are used to – your homemade cereals will be the best for him / her
- It is so simple to puree fruit and vegetables. Take two cups of washed, peeled, chopped organic broccoli for example and boil until cooked (about 10 or 15 minutes) in one cup of water. Strain, but retain juice. Puree with the cooking water (adding a little at a time) until the correct consistency for your baby
- Fruit and vegetables (after cooking) can be added to the cereal.
This article was written for our beautiful grandchild
who has become the light of our world
- During the first few years of our own childrens' lives the most indispensable item in our home was our food blender and it is well worth the expense
- Is MSG addictive – this debate has been going on for decades. Some say yes, or at least it makes food taste good (especially fast food) so you keep going back for more! Keep out of your children's diet as well as your own especially during pregnancy. "Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) has been linked to causing obesity and according to a recent report it could contribute to the onset of Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children."
- Part of our family change of lifestyle the past few years has been to switch to 100% certified organically grown whole wheat, spelt and oat flours and pasta products - great for baby also but nutritionists suggest to wait until after the first year to add wheat products to your child's diet
- From my perspective, absolutely always feed your baby certified organic produce whenever possible
- Freezing baby food for the short term is great so you are not caught out
- Here is a list of fruit and vegetables which retain pesticides and it's always a good idea to buy them certified organic or grow your own ~ Peaches, Wintersquash, Apples, Pears, Spinach, Grapes, Celery, Green beans
- Even though we do not live a vegetarian lifestyle, I would highly recommend that no meat products (organic or otherwise) be fed to your baby for at least their first year, or even the second year of life. There are many healthy, nutritious alternatives and baby's development can be checked by your family doctor during their regular check ups if you are concerned.
- It goes without saying that if you are ever unsure of a food for your baby for any reason; smell, taste, texture, content ~ make another meal
- Perhaps today it is not politically correct, or fashionable, to make baby food from scratch, for whatever reason ~ but it is what I know and seems to have worked pretty well in the long run for our own children
- If buying commercial baby food it is very important to buy baby food in glass jars because of BPA in tinned food and concerns of BPA 's negative effects on fetal and infant brain development and behavior
Links & References
- January 2012 CFIA Organic Baby Food cereal national recall
- "A Field Guide to Buying Organic" by L. Perry and D. Schultz, Bantam Books, 2007
- Comment on commercial baby food, additives, and nutrition
Some manufacturers add sugar, salt and corn syrup to the food. Additives not only help with production costs, but help mask off-flavors and give taste to otherwise bland, lifeless food. A jar of banana baby food may contain as little as 30% fruit by weight.
Ingredients on commercial Baby Cereal label
An example for your information:
1. Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice
This is a good basis for a baby cereal as rice is easy to digest and rice has less allergic reactions than say wheat. The product should be pure and simple, preferably organically grown with no soy (MSG) or other additives.
2. Tricalcium Phosphate
Can be a natural or synthetic mineral made from calcium and phosphate. See Wikipedia Tricalcium Phosphate
It is an anti caking agent and used to increase calcium in food such as yoghurt
Known side affects: Generally safe but there are side affects when taken as a calcium supplement
3. Electrolytic Iron
This "iron" is added back into the baby cereal after processing and may not be easily digestible by a "new" tummy.
4. Niacinamide and riboflavin
Niacinamide is a B3 Vitamin and usually found with riboflavin
5. Thiamine Mononitrate
Thiamine is a naturally occuring vitamin in grain aka Vitamin B1. Thiamine mononitrate is synthetic. Natural Thiamine is important for your babys development, both mental and physical and is naturally found primarily in grains
This ingredient is used to replace nutrients taken from food in processing (in the outer layers of grain). In the US it is required to be added by law
Known side affects : Deficiences and interacting with other chemicals – see degrading by sulphites in Wikipedia on Thiamine. Side affects of Thiamine mononitrate