The Right Wat to Feed Babies

Lauralee - posted on 07/15/2010 ( 23 moms have responded )

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If there is anything that our modern culture gets totally wrong, it's how to introduce solid food to babies. Pediatricians, dieticians, and other "experts" are quick to recommend that the perfect first food for babies at about the age of 4-6 months is rice cereal. Not only is this advice completely misguided, it is also extremely harmful to the long term health of the child, contributing greatly to the epidemic of fat toddlers and the worrisome childhood obesity problem in general

Rice cereal is not a healthy first food for babies. Not only is it an extremely high glycemic food (spikes the blood sugar) but it also contains ample amounts of double sugar (disaccharide) molecules, which are extremely hard for such an immature digestive system to digest. The small intestine of a baby mostly produces only one carbohydrate enzyme, lactase, for digestion of the lactose in milk. It produces little to no amylase, the enzyme needed for grain digestion.

What happens when a baby's digestive system doesn't properly digest a food? It rots, yes ROTS (my eleven year old asked me to emphasize this point - he said it was so gross that people would pay more attention) in the gut feeding all manner of pathogenic bacteria and fungi ushering the child quickly down the path to allergies, asthma, eczema, and other autoimmune disorders. I have nicknamed this syndrome "Garbage Gut". Over time, the pathogens and their toxins create holes in the gut wall allowing the toxins to spill directly into the blood creating an unpredictable mix of neurological symptoms. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD's book Gut and Psychology Syndrome examines in detail the link between an imbalanced, pathogen dominated gut environment and abnormal behavior and/or autoimmune disorders in children.

Interestingly, avoidance of allergies is one of the reasons cited by pediatricians for using rice cereal as the first food! While rice may be gluten free, it is by no means disaccharide free and can contribute to the development of allergies and other autoimmune disorders just the same as a gluten containing cereal such as wheat or spelt. This is why going "gluten free" does not solve digestive ailments in the majority of children with auto immune issues linked to grain allergies. This approach may reduce symptoms somewhat, but it does not solve the problem entirely as the disaccharide molecule is still present in high amounts in non gluten containing grains and a similarly hard to digest starch molecule is present in grain substitutes such as potato flour, arrowroot, bean flours, etc.

Why then, is rice cereal so very popular as a baby's first food? One reason is that it is so readily accepted by the baby (who wouldn't like a food that spikes the blood sugar? It is a bit of a "high" after all) and it fills them up like a lead brick leading to longer and more frequent periods of sleeping and more passive behavior in general. Be aware that there are still some misinformed doctors that advise mothers of babies that do not sleep well to introduce rice cereal as early as 3 months old - sometimes right into the baby bottle if the tongue thrust reflex hasn't yet disappeared preventing the baby from taking food off a spoon! This is a recipe for childhood weight problems if I've ever heard one.

If your baby zonks out right after eating on a frequent basis, this is a major clue that what the child has just eaten was not easily digested (this goes for breastfeeding too .. a poor diet that is not digested well by the breastfeeding Mother will result in toxins in her breastmilk which will have an opiate like effect on the child). Dr. McBride's book mentioned above discusses this huge issue of toxins from undigested food and gut pathogens in the breastmilk as well. The same goes for adults, by the way. If you get sleepy after eating, it's because what you just ate isn't getting handled very well by your gut. The body is basically compensating for the brick in your stomach by putting you to sleep so that a sufficient amount of energy can be diverted to digestion.

So What is the Right First Food for Babies?
read more at

http://thehealthyhomeeconomist.blogspot....

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Angie - posted on 07/15/2010

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You had me all the way up until the same part quoted by Oliva. We do not do rice cereal for many reasons but my girls certainly do zonk out right after nursing (or generally while nursing). I eat a very good and well balanced diet. Even the most malnourished or poorly nourished mothers produce liquid gold.

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23 Comments

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Dora - posted on 07/18/2010

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I have to disagree about the comment on obesity and rice cereal. Obesity in children is caused by their parents. Parents need to take more responsibility when it comes to being a parent. If you decide to feed your child junk food or give hem a ridiculous amount of food then it is your fault as the parent, not the child's fault or anyone elses. Instead of giving your child chips or cookies whatever happened to a piece of fruit. Instead of fruit juices or soda what about water or a low fat milk. Healthy eating habits should be introduced to children at he very beginning NOT hen your child is considered to be obese. This is not fair to the child.

Francesca - posted on 07/18/2010

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I understand where you are coming from, however your passion far exceeds your misguided cry of warning.



Falling asleep after a meal is totally normal. For adults too. Not because of rotting food in their tummies. But, after a meal, more blood goes to the hepatic portal vein bringing more oxygen to the organs to aid in digestion, leaving less for the rest of your body.



Food does not *rot* Since it takes about 24 hours to go from mouth to diaper...if that was the case, wouldn't milk curtle in their tummy, causing all sorts of discomfort and ailment as well?



I didn't start my baby on rice. Her first food was mashed avocado (which mine and several other doctors suggested). When I introduced rice cereal, it was poorly received. So we skipped it altogether. But by no means did we skip it because it is evil. For many working moms, its exactly what we need. And its what we are taught to trust.



If you want to know sometime more offending than rice for sugar, why don't you look at juice? I am sure all you mom's still fill kids sippy's with this tooth rotting offender. And rationalize it that its low sugar, or natural. (When its in juice from, there really isn't any benefit....it lacks the fiber eating a real fruit would have provided. Sure it contains vitamin C, but so does everything else!)

Andrea - posted on 07/17/2010

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I'm confused - I get Earth's Best Organic, whole-grain rice cereal, and the only ingredients are: organic whole grain brown rice, tocopherols (Vitamin E), and electrolytic Iron. I do not see any disaccharide - is that just part of the brown rice?

I'm not trying to debate, but am actually curious - if this is so bad, why have not more children had bad reactions to it - to the "rotting gut"?

Lydia - posted on 07/16/2010

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Interesting, in Germany everybody recommends steamed carrots as first food for like 1-2 weeks, and than to give a mix of potatoe, carrot and some meat, veggies can be exchanged of course, one month later to introduce fruits, than everything else basically as you want to.... they do say to introduce all kinds of grain within the first year (6-12mo) in small amounts, that's supposed to lower risk for allergies.

Lauralee - posted on 07/16/2010

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I totally agree with you that mom's know best. We are growing up in a society that people believe everything the doctors say just based on the fact that they are a doctor and they would never tell you something that isn't incorrect. People just need to do their own research on things and find out for themselves. Most doctors after they graduate only receive education from drug reps who only have the interest in selling their drugs.

As far as the germs and anit-bacterial craze I believe that it does kill your immune system. Your body needs the "friendly bacteria" to fight off sickness and we are killing our own defense system by being so paranoid about germs.
This article is great about if sickness is caused by germs or a poor immune system.

http://integrativeheathcaresolutions.blo...

Amber - posted on 07/16/2010

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Oh ya i have no doubt that happens when you give your child the food before their bodies can handle it!! but then again i think as mothers we know our children best and we're the best ones to know when our children are ready to start those types for foods. And with sugar if your not giving these kids more then they can handle then it shouldn’t be a problem....I’m sure your parent feed you the same food and you did fine right??? I know that their a lot of chemicals and by-products put into our food but we really cant over think these things, research has even shown that by keeps "germs" or other things of that nature away (with all good means) your exposing them to more risk because of getting sick or developing allergies, but that’s a whole other topic lol. personally I think it comes down to knowing your child and im sure many of you lovely lady might disagree with me, but they're going to be the best indicators of when they are ready to move on to move advanced foods.

Lauralee - posted on 07/16/2010

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Amber, did you read the part in the article about not being able to digest the rice cereal properly and it rotting in their stomach?
As far as the sugar goes. There is plenty of sugar in fruits and veggies to give your kids ample energy. No need to add more to their diet. I'm not saying my 2 year old never has sugar things, I wish we were that healthy but I do try to minimize it and we make our own popsicles for summer treats so I control what goes in them.

Have you tried the rice cereal? It tastes awful!

Lauralee - posted on 07/16/2010

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The whole wheat bread isn't necessarily a bad thing but in moderation. My dad calls me the carbo queen cuz I love bread :) There are better ways of getting the same nutrients but read your ingredients. Same goes too all other foods. They are adding so many chemicals to food to make them cheaper but it isn't good for our bodies.
This is a great video that explains about why we shouldn't eat lots of grains on youtube.


This is the link to my dad's blog. http://integrativeheathcaresolutions.blo...

Amanda - posted on 07/16/2010

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I agree that rice cereal is not a good food for babies. Of course I'm the mom that according to my friends and family "doesn't give my babies "real food" for too long" LOL. I believe that breast is best (on demand) until the child shows interest in food. My oldest was pretty laid back and didn't even attempt anything but the boob until she was 8 months and then we skipped all the baby food and gave avocados first followed by whatever she grabbed off of our plates. My second was more of a go getter and was reaching food off my plate by 6 months so we did the same with him. Both of my kids mostly just played with their food and some of it made it in. I still did on demand nursing (still do for my 2 year old) and both eat anything I put in front of them and have never had reactions to food. The WHO suggests food as supplement for the first 1-2 years and I agree. Until I recently got pregnant again I would say that my 2 year old still nursed 5-6 times during the day and would only eat here and there. Now that my milk supply has dropped his appetite has taken off. The childhood obesity epidemic is in my opinion directly related to introducing foods early and overfeeding with formula and suggestions from ill informed pediatricians to supplement breastmilk with formula because mom can't make enough milk instead of trying to help mom invest the time and effort to make it work. I was blessed with a pediatrician who told me my baby was hungry and sent me straight to an LC not a bottle of formula.

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I wasn't surprised by the egg yolk. I had read that, but not until my daughter was 12 months. I wish I had known that earlier. They tell you not do do eggs, but it's the egg whites that have a harder to tolerate protein in them. When we started my daughter on eggs we did yolk first. I will probably do egg yolk earlier with the next baby.

Amber - posted on 07/16/2010

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its not giving the rice cereal is bad its that it fills them faster and a lot of people just keep feeding and feeding long after the child has reached their full point teaching the child’s body to keep going. what the cereal does is expands in the stomach taking up more space with less food. so for an over weight child to eat the cereal is really good idea if you do it right!! as far as the sugar I don’t really see a problem considering your body turns it into energy need to run the everyday boy functions. it all has to do with moderation, even if your baby keep showing that they want more wait a few moments and let the food expand!!!!

Olivia - posted on 07/16/2010

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I have a question for your dad Lauralee, the article says something about bread, now I understand and was told by my midwife that french bread, white bread, all those kinds of bread are not good but she said that wheat bread doesn't fall into that category and I mean it isn't pack full of nutrients but is it bad?

Heather - posted on 07/16/2010

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Actually, the reason you get sleepy after eating a big meal is because extra blood is sent to your digestive system to help break down the meal, regardless of what that meal consists of. You can eat a huge meal of whole grains, lean protein, and vegetables and you will still want a nap if you eat too much.

If anyone would like to read a great book about feeding your baby, read "Super Baby Food" by Ruth Yarin. I personally like books that have an opinion, but down cram it down your throat, have a realistic outlook and show that one answer isn't written in stone for every baby everywhere.

Lauralee - posted on 07/15/2010

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It makes since though especially if you get free range farm fresh eggs. Lots of nutrients in one food for your baby. I get my eggs from a local farm. My youngest is only one month but when I introduce solids this is how I will do it.this is how I will do it.

Lauralee - posted on 07/15/2010

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My kids fall asleep nursing too so I'm not sure about that. My dad is a nutritionist and sent me the article. I'll ask him about it and let you guys know. I actually didn't catch that the first time I read the article. I was sharing it because of the rice cereal and introducing egg yoke as the first food instead of the rice.

Olivia - posted on 07/15/2010

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I am sorry I didn't mean to come off wrong, I read the whole article and I wasn't saying that this was bad as I said thanks for posting this and now I most defiantly will not give my daughter rice cereal. I was just taken wrong by this part of the article "this goes for breastfeeding too .. a poor diet that is not digested well by the breastfeeding Mother will result in toxins in her breastmilk which will have an opiate like effect on the child". But then I don't eat a poor diet so I guess I shouldn't worry about that.
Sorry if I offended I am thankful you posted this it is very good information.

Lauralee - posted on 07/15/2010

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It is not saying that breastfeeding is wrong or bad so why is it a problem to post this on a breastfeeding board is not wrong. I am all about breast feeding. I nursed my first baby until he is 20 months old. This is just to share a good way of introducing solid foods to your baby. Did you read the rest of the article?

Olivia - posted on 07/15/2010

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Thank you for this, I new instinctively that rice cereal was not a good idea but now I have reason other then instinct. But I will say I eat healthy natural well balanced cooked food. Low in salt ad sugar and lots of water. Just because my daughter is lulled to sleep by me breastfeeding doesn't mean she is trying to digest toxins I think that part is a misconception. Yes some people don't eat right and their are a lot of toxins in this world today. But to say on a breastfeeding board that because your child goes to sleep from breastfeeding is just like giving them rice cereal is not right.

Jennifer - posted on 07/15/2010

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thank you for posting this. another thing is doctors that recommend adding rice cereal to a babies diet when the doctor thinks the baby is eating "too much", or weighs too much. if an adult is overweight, the last thing we would recommend is adding to our diet a simple carbohydrate which just turns to sugar in the blood.

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