As a first time mom of an 8 month old, I spend most of my days making sure my little one gets enough sleep, and enough to eat. In doing so, when Laila turned 6 months old (and she started eating “table food”, as her dad calls it), I checked for portion sizes in the “From Tiny Tot to Toddler” book written by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. This book is given to all moms-to-be, at the hospital, or by their midwife, in Quebec. This book is quite helpful, it addresses all issues from insect bites, to cradle cap as well as growth and feeding issues such as breastfeeding, suggestions on introducing solids and suggested daily serving sizes.
Now that Laila is 8 months old, I went back to the “From Tiny Tot to Toddler” book to see if I was feeding her something close to the suggested serving sizes. It is written that for a 7 to 9 month old baby, the daily serving of cereal should be between 8 and 12 tablespoons. Between 8 and 12 tablespoons!!! That’s a lot of cereal! First of all, I’ve looked everywhere to find a cereal that is as clean as possible (no soy, milk products, sugar, etc.), and I can’t find any. So my baby’s cereal contains soy lecithin, dicalcium phosphate and inulin. Second of all Laila REALLY doesn’t like to eat cereal, she’d rather eat my toast with almond butter. (which is what usually happens). She shares my toast, and I dip it in her cereal…
And lastly, why would the Quebec government suggest (promote) such a large daily portion of cereal that is filled with additives, when, at the same time, they promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of the baby’s life? This seems contradictory to me. The Quebec government (at CLSCs, the hospital, etc.) pushes breastfeeding due to its nutritional benefits (it’s a complete food), it’s natural. “…human milk is the only milk that meets all a human baby’s nutrional and immune system needs.”, “From Tiny Tot to Toddler” book written by the Institut national de santé publique du Québec. “We all know how breast milk protects babies from all kinds of diseases and that this protection may even last long after the breastfeeding has ceased. In fact research shows that breastfed babies have a reduced risk of many adult illnesses, including cancer.”http://www.amoils.com/health-blog/could-breast-milk-be-the-new-miracle-cure/ While ingredients found in baby cereal, such as soy, may CAUSE cancer.
So why does the same entity want my baby to eat 12 tablespoons of cereal (which is artificially manufactured, filled with soy products and other ingredients to make it a nutritionally whole food)? The only reason I could come up with is that since the general population has been so dumbed down, that in order to ensure that all babies get their daily value of vitamins and minerals, the government recommends that you stuff your baby with fortified cereal. We do it all the time in Urban Planning. Instead of taking the time to explain the impacts (advantages, disadvantages) of the action to the client, we just apply a formula that is one size fits all. The world would look a lot different if, in all fields, governmental and non-governmental entities and private firms and businesses would invest time and money in educating their clients. It is difficult to change a person’s mind. You have to first have an alternative solution and then you have to convince the person at the other end to change their perspective.
Is it really that hard to feed your little one a balanced diet? With a little creativity, your baby can get all the nutrition she needs from homemade, whole foods. Nature has provided us with a wide variety of great foods from which to choose. Preparing your baby’s food from scratch gives you control over what she puts in her body. It also gives you control over your environmental footprint, lets you be socially responsible by using your purchasing power (spending your money at organic or local businesses) and your whole family can eat one meal together.
So take the time to assemble your baby’s next meal with love, creativity and whole foods. This way you don’t have to poison her with artificially manufactured baby cereal. Below is a link to a website that has great baby food recipes.