Are you a parent that wants to win on weaning? Here’s all you should know about feeding your baby on organic food and why you should do it more often:
I thought getting a husband was a difficult job until I got a baby. Babies, especially when young, are gifts that keep taking. For a first-time mother, the whole issue of diet and nutrition may be overwhelming. The thing is there’s no secret of hacking into motherhood, at least not that I know of. It’s like the proverbial journey of a thousand miles. It starts with a single step and most likely that step will be made in the kitchen.
At a certain point in a child’s infancy, mother nature’s own breast milk ceases to be enough. Four to six months in and pediatricians advise that it’s time to step up the diet game. This mainly translates to exposing your baby to more solid foods, say organic baby cereal. There’s every biology to support this move. At this age, breastfeeding may not keep up with the rapid growth taking place within and without the body. To provide your baby with all the essential nutrients he/she needs for proper bone structure, muscle, and brain development, making a list of foods rich in these components is the best idea…
The food industry has a long portfolio of food products broadly classified as non-organic and organic. There are new recipes being developed every day and new technologies to go with them. This raises a few questions. Yes, the pool of choices may be wide but is every type of baby food out there labeled ‘healthy’ good for your baby? Do you believe that Nestlé’s best baby cereal will grant you the chubbiest kid on the block? And in this particular post, we narrow down to Just how ‘organic’ is organic food?
The raging debate on the viability of organic food against the conventionally-grown foods has been on for the longest time. Numerous blog posts have been written and warnings issued, all condemning organic foods. When I was growing up, missing a bowl of cereal in the morning before school was akin to missing breakfast altogether. But times have changed. For many years, baby organics were a fad that the American market had embraced, until recently. Thanks to too many skeptics and shallow research, what was once ‘fast food’ for babies in our days are now termed “zero-nutritional valued, over-processed and expensive”.
Word on the street portrays organic foods as the evil cousins of GMOs (Genetically Modified).There have been claims of some organic foods posing a major health risk to people of all ages by causing diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and forms of cancer such as lung and bladder cancer. Apart from this, another rumor doing rounds is that infants are not able to digest cereals. Is that really true?
In the face of these claims, it is only normal for any parent to be worried about the welfare of their kids as far as matters going organic count. The fact is that a baby’s immune system is not as developed as an adult’s, making them more vulnerable receptors to any toxic substances. When it comes to monitoring what your child consumes, no stone should be left unturned.
It is a cut-throat competition for the food industry out here; which makes the business of differentiating between facts from propagandist lies very challenging.
By definition, unlike most conventionally-grown foods, organic foods are grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers. The truly organic foods say oatmeal, contain only the main nutrients such as starch and a little of protein, natural fat, vitamin A, C, E, and minerals. There are no additives, no hormones, no preservatives or unnecessary sugars in them. What this means is that your baby is risk-free of diseases such as cancer which are majorly caused by the presence of toxic substances in foods.
Another factor to keep in mind is that most baby organics are fortified with iron which is critical for a strong immune system. After birth, the level of iron in a mother’s blood reduces considerably. If not well supplemented by both heme and non-heme sources of iron, a child is most likely to suffer an iron deficiency. This is not only detrimental to the child’s general health but it may also result in lasting cognitive and behavioral deficits. According to studies,2.5% only of kids who take iron-fortified cereal develop deficiency problems, compared to a 14% count of those who don’t.
About the child’s ability to digest cereal, a baby who’s about six months old has a digestive system that’s well up and running. With the right amount of fiber in the mix, enzyme amylase will sure do its magic!
THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS
While name-shaming is not the best strategic business move, I must admit that some of the allegations made against various organic food companies hold water. You might be buying your organic baby cereal from the best baby food brand on the land but do you know what their definition of ‘organic’ is?
The devil is in the detail.
In tests conducted by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA), only 47% of the cereal companies were producing products with the recommended 100 parts per billion of arsenic content (USDA standards). Rice cereal is particularly highlighted as one of the baby organics that carries a lot of arsenic and other heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. It is, therefore, critical for any dad or mom to understand the dynamics of baby organics and what exactly they are made of.
Categories of organic baby foods:
Any product that is labeled “100 percent organic”, according to law, does not contain any synthetic ingredients in it. It also means that the product’s process of manufacture meets universal standards of accreditation.
A product simply labeled “organic,” means that at least 95% of the ingredients are produced organically.
A product with a “Made with Organic Ingredients,” contains no less than 70 percent% of organic ingredients.
Any product whose ingredient list contains terms like soy lecithin, cornstarch or sugar concentrates e.g banana puree concentrate is most like genetically modified. Other similar ingredients are papaya, canola and sometimes cottonseeds.
Once you are able to tell a fake from real, that is where the fun begins. The taste is in the pudding, literally. The wide array of players in the market providing different baby food flavors will leave you at a loss when it comes to making a choice. Of course, the old rule of ‘balanced diet’ should apply and if possible include your pediatrician in creating a ‘to-eat’ list for your baby. You can make the kitchen your playground by trying out fruit and veggie blends such as apple/blueberry and the carrot/apple/mango or pear/spinach/prune combinations. Fruit and grain blends include the apple oatmeal raisin with cinnamon or a funkier blueberry banana oatmeal. When you’re taking sweet kiddo to the park, carry along his favorite apple kale quinoa puffs snack. For the ultimate fiber, package him a veggie and grain blend that can either be carrot sweet potato brown rice or mango oatmeal butternut squash, to name but a few. Add a whole-milk yogurt to your banana baby food to create an interesting flavor. The list goes on and on…
Some of the best baby food brands in the market to check out include:
- Hipp Food company
- Earth’s Best
- Plum Organics
- Peter Rabbit Organics
THE BENEFITS OF ORGANIC CEREAL
Your organic cereal is the easiest meal you can whip up for your baby without breaking any grocery shop. Most of the time all you’ll need is your kid’s favorite milk and a spoon. This easy-to-prepare factor makes baby organics very convenient.
Most organic cereals come in sizeable but portable jars with airtight lids to keep the content safe and free from moist for days. They are therefore stable to store and you’re free to reserve some space in your freezer just for baby’s organic baby cereal
Organics have fewer synthetic fertilizers/pesticides residues which make them healthier alternatives to the foods grown using artificial fertilizers. Most of the artificial fertilizers/pesticides dilute the nutrient content in crops making them less nutritional to the body upon consumption.
They are more environmentally-friendly because of the low toxic substances used in their planting and nurturing. In this age of chemical awareness and global warming, farming organically is definitely a huge plus!
At the end of the day, any caring parent wants to see their baby growing up healthy and with a smile on their face. For both of these to occur, you need to make sure that what goes on in your kid’s plate, tastes wonderful, looks goods as well and most of all, it is wholesome (has zero levels of synthetic pesticide/chemical contamination)
Organic baby foods, as long as manufactured to the USDA standards provide a great option to take care of the aforementioned factors. When it comes to cereal, try out the variety of baby food with different textures and explore different tastes for the little one.
Remember to check the ingredients list on every organic baby cereal package before buying. Better safe than sorry!