Wednesday, October 19, 2011
A comment I posted on Mothering.com
(The question was, How often and what to feed a 10 month old. My reply also addressed some of the other replies on that website.)
1) I don't understand the taboo on mushy foods. Our foremothers certainly chewed up foods for their babies. Maybe that's the origin of kissing. Maybe that's why babies have an instinct to dig into our mouths with their little fingers. Chewed up food probably also helped the babies' digestion, since the mother's saliva is full of enzymes. Traveling in Africa, I shared a calabash of beer whose making involved the village women chewing starchy roots and spitting out the mush, adding water and allowing to ferment! And this is drunk by the whole village. So chewing for your own baby? natch.
2) Given what we know about sugar, I wouldn't give babies cereals. When digested, starches turn into sugar! Would you be feeding spoonful after spoonful of sugar to your baby? Rice, wheat, oats, bread, pasta, etc. all turn into sugars in the digestive system. When digested. Some can't be digested, and they feed the bad bacteria and yeasts (Candida, C. difficile, etc) that have been identified by some researchers as co-factors for autism, Crohn's disease, IBS, asthma, and a host of other diseases.
As the mother of a special needs DD now grown up and severely schizophrenic, who now has a 16-month-old (my DGD) and another on the way, I wish I had known when she was small what is now known about sugar, cereals, gut dysbiosis, and their horrific effects on the immune system, the brain, and development. I remember DD had a "sensitive stomach" as a child. I remember how she always craved sweets. It didn't seem that important then. We were pretty health-conscious for our time but the knowledge about the sugar/starch/dysbiosis just wasn't there and she had sugar every day. Plus rice, bread, potatoes, etc. I can't turn back the clock, but our household is now following the SCD/GAPS diet (easy to search online). It's a huge effort, but we're hoping this will bring some improvement to her condition and PREVENT her children from following the same path. Conventional medicine gives the offspring of schizophrenics a tenfold chance of being sz compared to the rest of the population. They think it's a genetic predisposition - maybe it's (also?) a learned food preference, compounded by the passing on of the wrong gut bacteria from mother to baby at birth.
BOTTOM LINE? Emphasize fruits, veggies, nut butters and milks (esp. coconut milk), homemade yogurt (one survey discovered that 2 out of 10 brands chosen randomly on supermarket shelves contained NO live bacteria, and another significant number only had 10% of what was stated on the labels), broths, fish, etc. both for your consumption (some of the toxins created by the "bad" bacteria pass into breast milk, which explains why autism can start very early, even in a breastfed baby) and the baby's, and you won't need to worry about the other co-factors like antibiotics and immunizations. For more details, look at the SCD and GAPS diet. You don't have to follow it 100% like we now do - which is not easy - but being aware will help you make the right food choices for the whole family, to prevent autism, allergies, and many other chronic inflammatory diseases.