David and I let the M&Ms play on the back porch and eat their snack and I brought my camera. This is the result:
Happy Friday! =)
David and I let the M&Ms play on the back porch and eat their snack and I brought my camera. This is the result:
Happy Friday! =)
When thinking through how you’ll begin feeding your baby, you may want to take a look at which produce is the “dirtiest.” The EWG has an excellent list of items ranging from the dirtiest to the cleanest. (If you’re unfamiliar with why organic is often super important, you may want to read my recent post documenting how our food has become a literal science experiment of nastiness!)
Once I knew what was in our food, I just couldn’t see how putting that into their bodies made any sense: chemicals, viruses, unknown DNA strands? Yeah, this is a recipe for disaster. A recipe spelling: ADHD, asthma, allergies, organ damage, autism, sterility, etc.
Of course, I can’t control everything about my children and certainly not every particle of their food, unless I grew it myself. So I simply did the best I could in making choices today that will affect their tomorrows. And I trust God to give me both wisdom and help me to walk in peace for decisions like these.
So there’s kinda a lot of food out there – what should I start with?
Glad you asked! Actually, I do hear this question a lot. There are so many contradicting voices, blogs, moms and books, aren’t there? Here is some of what I have learned:
Many pediatricians recommend rice cereal or some other type of grain. But recent research has been shown that this is not necessarily the way to go. Babies actually don’t have the ability to digest grains until after they turn two!
I know, right? I was shocked. I thought everybody fed their baby SOME type of cereal from the get-go. And baby formulas are chock-full of grains. The Weston A. Price Foundation (which I looooove!) explains why this shouldn’t be the case:
Babies have limited enzyme production, which is necessary for the digestion of foods. In fact, it takes up to 28 months, just around the time when molar teeth are fully developed, for the big-gun carbohydrate enzymes (namely amylase) to fully kick into gear. Foods like cereals, grains and breads are very challenging for little ones to digest. Thus, these foods should be some of the last to be introduced. (One carbohydrate enzyme a baby’s small intestine does produce is lactase, for the digestion of lactose in milk.)
Foods introduced too early can cause digestive troubles and increase the likelihood of allergies (particularly to those foods introduced). The baby’s immature digestive system allows large particles of food to be absorbed. If these particles reach the bloodstream, the immune system mounts a response that leads to an allergic reaction.
Can anyone say gluten-intolerant? Yup. This is often the result of feeding grains so early, albeit years down the road.
My babies got small amounts of formula during the months I was working to bring my supply up to breastfeed all three of them. And I’ve spent the past year protecting them from having to work overtime to digest something with which they don’t know what to do. And you know what? I don’t miss it! No need for goldfish crackers, Cheerios or toast! There are plenty of whole, real food options to feed babies, instead! Eventually I’ll start them on sprouted grains, but…that’s a topic for another time. =) Suffice it to say, grains are not only not necessary as first foods – they can be very harmful for babies!
The most allergenic properties lie in the egg white. However, it is very, very, very beneficial for babies to eat egg yolks. If your family has a history of egg allergies, it would be wise to hold off till at least a year in giving your baby the complete egg.
The recent dismissal of eggs as a super-food due to high cholesterol levels is easily explained away: cholesterol is vital for babies’ development. Seriously. Studies also show that babies who eat egg yolks also have higher levels of iron! So there should be no need for nasty, hard-to-digest and bottled iron supplements
But, please consider farm-fresh, pasture-raised eggs over store-bought eggs. The difference is really quite massive. Eggs from the store are laid by hormone-shocked, grain-fed chickens who spend all day in a tiny crate laying more eggs per day than they were intended to. Sounds yummy, right? Eat up, baby!
Our generation has been brain-washed to think that fats are bad. Well, this is partly true. The processed fats we typically consume on an, sometimes, hourly basis are bad. True. But there are several good fats that serve many purposes in a baby’s growth and development.
Coconut oil is one of these. It is personally my favorite because of its versatility (lotion, toothpaste ingredient, cooking oil, conditioner, etc.). It also is high in good fats and is a stable saturated fat. It is recommended to give small amounts to smaller babies to help them gain weight. And it helps with digestion, as well. If your baby is on formula it can be especially helpful. Add a ½ tsp of coconut oil to the bottle and you should soon see constipation disappear!
Salt is good for babies.
No, really! However, don’t reach for the salt shaker on the table to season your baby’s food. Most likely you and I grew up similarly – eating chemically processed and super-refined salt. And this is where it gets a bad rap. There are virtually no health benefits from this kind of salt. The unrefined salt, though, provides our babies with much needed nutrients for brain development.
If it still makes you nervous to salt your baby’s egg yolk, stick with me and I’ll show you how. =)
And as far as other spices and seasonings? Go for it! As long as there’s no MSG or other fake ingredients, sprinkle away! My babies got a whopping amount of hot and spicy foods while I was pregnant and nursing – why stop when they are the ones eating the food? Herbs? Yes, please! A little cayenne? Why not?
If it seems like everything you are reading here is new, it really isn’t. A generation or two ago, this was just a way of life! There were no baby cereals or Cheerios or mini hotdogs (gag) on shelves in the General Store. There was only real food. The kind we really do want to feed our babies – if we think about it.
In a word…hard.
What parent hasn’t felt desperate for help, answers, and wisdom in knowing how to raise their child(ren)?
Which of us hasn’t watched a screaming baby who’s been fed, changed, and burped and yet refuses to be calmed or cuddled…at 3am?
What parent hasn’t wondered what in the world to do with a toddler who refuses to go near the potty…and considered how bad it would be for him to actually go to college with Huggies?
Who hasn’t stared back at an 8 year old with an attitude the size of Texas and wondered how she got you to argue back with her for the past five minutes?
Which father hasn’t doubted his ability to lead his daughter through the murky waters of dating relationships?
And what mother hasn’t dreaded the learning curve of not overstepping her married son’s new role?
So since we’re all in the same boat, I thought I’d let you know about this two-day event coming up about which I am super excited:
Join Benny and Sheree Phillips, a pastor and wife with seven children, eleven grandchildren and authors of five books on parenting and related topics, as they host “Redemptive Parenting”, a free two-day event that will equip and envision parents of kids of all ages.
“I remember being a young parent and drawing on the wisdom and experience of other seasoned parents. Now that Sheree and I have grandchildren, we believe more than ever that parents need to make use of good counsel and effective resources to be successful. This seminar is designed to equip parents to embrace the task God has given them. We want to model and communicate the grace that God has shown us through the gospel to our children,” — Benny Phillips
The seminar will take place Friday night and Saturday morning, June 14-15 and will feature a session for women by Sheree Phillips, who homeschooled seven children, co-authored two books with Benny and wrote three books of her own on the topics of womanhood and motherhood. The schedule also allots time for an interactive period of questions and answers. The seminar promises an opportunity for interaction with seasoned parents who have experienced the full range of parental failures and successes.
About the Speakers: Benny Phillips has been a pastor for 33 years and married to Sheree for 40 years. Benny and Sheree co-authored Raising Kids Who Hunger for God and Walking With the Wise. Sheree also authored Mothers At the Heart of Life, A Royal Calling and The High Calling of Motherhood.
So pretty much this is an event for anyone who is a parent, right? No matter how you got your kids, when you got them, why you got them (ha!) or where…this is for you. And me. For us!
You can register here for this free event, hosted by Redeemer Church in Lake Nona.
Whether or not you’re local, this video will hopefully encourage you. Weary parents, take heart: there is grace for us and God is at work!
It’s no secret that I’m big on no-GMO foods over here. Even the triplets don’t like GMOs. It’s true! This was their reaction when I showed them some GM corn:
Ok, so really they had no idea what I was telling them. But I do and it’s my job to protect them however I can until they do understand and can make decisions for themselves. Amen?
GMO stands for “Genetically Modified Organisms” and you will find GMOs in just about every item on the shelf in your grocery store.
Basically, it’s like this. That tomato looks fresh and juicy and should hurry up and jump on your burger, right? Wrong. That tomato has been scientifically engineered in a lab. Way back when it was just a baby seed, it was genetically modified with genes from totally different plants, fungi, viruses or animals! What?! Why?!
To make rich people richer.
How? Well, scientists have modified seeds for many different crops to help them withstand many, many sprayings of pesticides, herbicides, etc. Essentially, the plant lives but the buggies die. This means a better crop for the farmer (or the company that “owns” the farm, but that’s a story for another day!).
Doesn’t sound that bad? Oh, just wait!
See, these seeds – the ones that were injected and cloned with DNA from foreign sources like animals, humans and viruses! – are grown in massive quantities and turned into food that is fed to animals. Corn, for instance, is highly GM and is a big source of food for beef cows, chickens, pigs, etc. These animals eat food they were never intended to live off of (including candy sometimes!!!) and basically their digestive systems can’t handle the new “DNA” strains. Those that seem well enough are passed through to slaughter…and arrive at your dinner table. Yum. Who knows how that meat has been affected and what it will do to your family’s health?
Or take the produce section of your fave grocery store. Most of that pretty produce (unless USDA-certified organic) is GM. Which means that your body literally has no idea what to do with much of it!
And if you’ve ever read a food label, chances are you’re seeing ingredients like: canola oil, soybean oil, cane syrup, corn flour, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, etc. Am I right? Quick – go check your pantry, fridge or freezer…I’ll wait for you.
You’re back? Ok! I’ll bet you anything there are GM ingredients in just about everything in your kitchen that is not in its original form. If it has to be packaged, and isn’t organic, you can bet there is something GM in it. Ugh!
Some of the highest GM food crops are corn, soybeans, canola, sugarbeets (from which HFCS is made). And lots of other foods are being tested – like a salmon that will grow four times faster than normal!
Ok, so we know that GM ingredients are bad and are found in produce, in conventional meats and in most packaged/processed food on shelves. So what does that mean for us? Our families? Well, since those GMOs aren’t recognized by our bodies, they create holes in our gut and leak food into our bloodstream. Yup. So gross. The result? We now have new diseases, and others that are skyrocketing each year, like celiac disease, infertility, food allergies and diabetes. What we eat is making us sick.
We have become a scientific experiment – unable to process the food correctly.
Who benefits? Companies like Monsanto. They benefit greatly. They hide behind labels like “all natural.” They develop and implement marketing ploys that tout saving the world with stronger, hardier crops. When asked, they refused to label their products with which ingredients are GM. …Of course, because who would buy them? (I hope not you and I!) And then they would lose money. Which would be bad. Of course.
And then Obama recently signed a bill that stops federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of GMO crops and seeds, no matter what health consequences from eating these products may come to light in the future. Gee, thanks, Pres.
So what do we do now? We march! On Saturday, May 25, you can join thousands of others around the world and fight to keep your food clean, real and in its natural state. And you can do so in your own city or from the comfort of your own home. (Click here to find info on where your city is marching; and click here to find out how to march online.)
Well, I heard the White House is serving a yummy special – all organic, of course. Maybe you should stop by? Kidding. =)
But seriously, it can most definitelydefinitelydefinitely be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start in overhauling this (and other!) areas of your life. You can read my Baby Steps to Natural Living for how to do so slowly and effectively.
Once upon a time, when the babies were two months old…
I began dreaming of the day when their nourishment was not dependent entirely upon me. This was mainly due to the immense challenges I faced with breastfeeding all three babies and supply issues (you can read our journey on breastfeeding here). I read somewhere that babies often begin cereal at four months old so I figured I’d better get on this if I’m going to do it right! …Right? I began doing some research and talked with my pediatrician who encouraged me to wait until around six months. I was disappointed but was willing to wait – what harm could there be in waiting?
And so I did more research. (Seriously, how do you do mommyhood and not do research? This mom thing is confusing!)
I discovered two major things:
We’ll discuss the second point next time. But the more I read, searched and asked questions, the more I realized that babies really will tell you when they want to start food – and it’s very rare for this to happen before six months (though we all tend to think our baby is the exception, right? =).
Maybe you’ve heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.” It’s really true! Babies get everything they need from breastmilk (even if the baby is on formula, the bulk of his nutrition is coming from the bottle). The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization even recommend that babies be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life (or bottle-fed for all my mommy friends who aren’t able to breastfeed <3).
So how, then, do you know when your baby is ready?! Great question! Here are the current recommendations:
All of the above should be in place prior to beginning solids. In some cases this will mean readiness before six months, but in most cases it will mean the baby is not ready till after their half-birthday. (I know a few one year olds who showed no interest in food!)
Some signs that do not (alone) indicate when babies are ready for solids include:
At this point in my research, I knew I did not want to start the babies on solids until they were exhibiting the signs of readiness above. They were about seven months old when I finally gave in and introduced solids. Little did I know what lay in store for me: babies eating solids = mess!
If you’re unfamiliar with baby-led weaning (BLW), it simply means “letting your child feed themselves from the very start of weaning.” (BabyLedWeaning.com) I would encourage you to check this method out to determine if it is for you and your baby.
I, however, chose to do mostly pureed foods with elements of baby-led weaning (which actually works gloriously, in my opinion! =). And there were several reasons that went into my decision to begin with pureed foods. Our schedule was such that we didn’t eat meals at the same time that the babies did so I would have ended up preparing food twice anyway. And we were in a season where David and I weren’t eating the way I prefer we eat because of…well, having three babies to care for! I wanted them to eat better than we were (no Kraft macaroni for them! =) And, because there were three, I wanted to know exactly what they were eating – to watch for any adverse reactions by spoon-feeding them. So for me it ended up being easier to puree foods for a while.
What I didn’t do was follow a recipe book. I took one look at them and decided that was not for me – no combining broccoli and apple to sneak the broccoli in. (More on this next time!) So I just usually “mushed up” something in bulk for the babies. The time spent preparing foods really wasn’t bad, either. I could make a serious amount of food in a very little amount of time. (I promise I’ll show you how!) And with none of this peeling stuff! Nope. If I could eat the peel, the babies could, too! (Of course I modified how the food arrived to them for safety, but that was way easier than peeling, say, an apple for applesauce!)
So, what did they eat? Well, stop on by next week and we’ll chat about that… ‘cause it’s a very long list!
Note: Always check with your pediatrician and do your own research to determine what is best for you and your baby.
Like you, I was hit by a tsunami of “I love my mother” posts on all the social media sites. It was precious seeing everyone’s baby pictures, all of the “you’re the best mother in the world” declarations, etc. And I loved seeing all the women honored – women who have sacrificed bodies, careers and unending hours of time to produce and care for and love their children.
However, I found myself tossed by different emotions and thoughts. It seems to me that Mother’s Day is actually very similar to every other day before it and after it! (Bear with me here – I have only celebrated a few Mother’s Days, ok? I’m new at this. =) I mean, right? Would you agree that Mother’s Day is:
wiping snotty noses.
taking a nap.
picking up sticky, spilling sippy cups out of a puddle of milk on the floor.
having lunch made for you.
breaking up a fight…again.
waking sleepy children from naptime.
giving consequences for disobedience.
planning meals for the day.
a sweet card.
a frozen ice-cream yumminess treat.
a day to worship with others.
a day to need grace, patience and mercy.
a reminder of blessings.
Mother’s Day isn’t just the pictures of flowers and coffee-retreats, the esteeming and adoring posts or the happy children racing to do our every beck and call. No, Mother’s Day is oftentimes just like any other day: a day to cherish the good, the bad and the ugly. A day to fulfill the calling given us by the One Who helps us each step of the way. A day to appropriate the much-needed grace and to enjoy the tidbits of a break or the sloppy kisses at the encouragement of a husband.
Mother’s Day is over. Until next year. But every day in between I have the opportunity to be encouraged, honored and loved. In a million different ways, if I’ll look for them.
If you haven’t been high-risk, an MFM stands for maternal-fetal medicine specialist (or neonatologist, or perinatologist). These men and women walk us through our pregnancies more closely than our OBs! We see them on a weekly basis sometimes. They make life-saving decisions about our babies and even us! They become much more than a white coat. They watch our babies grow, literally, weekly, and celebrate all the milestones with us – halfway for triplets, halfway for singleton pregnancy, viability, term for triplets, etc.
Dr. Al-malt is the man who (with my OB team) kept my babies safe and sound in their womb-home for nearly 33 weeks! He made the call on the need for the cerclage. He did more than a dozen ultrasounds on the four of us – tracking soooooooooo many things and watching for a thousand more. He never even breathed the word “reduction” to us. I whined and made promises to him that I’d be good and stay in bed at home so I didn’t need to go on bed-rest in the hospital. And he called it that my labor wouldn’t be stopped and that my babies would be born that day instead of the two weeks from then we were shooting for (read the birth story here).
And he’s like a proud Grandpa with the babies. =) This is Dr. AL-Malt.
He hadn’t seen us in almost a year and a half but knew exactly who we were. He pulled out his phone and asked his staff to take pictures. Ok, Dr. A, whatever you want….you’re the boss! <3