I’m being treated like a child abuser for not feeding my baby rice cereal.

ricecereal

You may think that the title of this post is an exaggeration, but I can assure you it’s not!

Well I went through a year and a half of school in order to get my holistic nutrition certification from a pretty awesome school. After that I continued in my own self studying and continuously learning and reading about nutrition and the body. When I became pregnant I got books, and learned more and more about feeding a baby. So… needless to say pretty much everyone knows that I went through schooling to learn more about health and foods than is common knowledge. But yet, this is all meaningless in the world of parenting for some reason.

So, after she was born I was excited about my new parently duties of feeding my baby foods for the first time. How amazing is it to watch someone try something for the first time- ever!? I actually looked forward to introducing foods to her when she was a newborn and I awaited the 6 month mark with anticipation. Little did I know it feeding solids would grow to become a big headache, free for all with criticism and unsolicited advice to downright accusal of malnourishment.

When she was about two months old she had had problems with my breastmilk and problems with dairy based formulas. Being a first time parent- I was halfway clueless how to help her but I took charge and started making her home made goat milk formula, trying to provide her with the very best, organic, non GMO milk I could possibly make alongside what sadly pathetic, tiny little amount of breastmilk I could also provide. I had researched every ingredient, sourced it properly, and counted the vitamins and nutrients she needed. I felt brave and in charge of what she was eating, much happier than giving her the organic sensitivity formula I’d been forced to try with her. I’ve been making her this formula every day since. Yes, our little cutie pie eats a lot. The first month it didn’t bother me too much – but I can tell you now, it is a chore. It’s another thing to do along a very long list of things I have to do, but I do it because her nutrition is one of the most important things to me. Okay. Along with the story.

I decided on a certain diet for my daughter:

4-6 months- Ripe bananas, avocados, dessicated beef liver, fermented cod liver oil and boiled egg yolks. Since she violently threw up more throw up than I’ve ever seen in a projectile fashion after egg yolk one morning I have sort of put that one on pause for a while. Then I brought on the mangoes. As for the dessicated liver I put a little bit into her banana every two days or so, I just feel weird grating a raw liver so the powder is just so much easier, I’ll admit. But since I don’t have a raw goat milk source I give her a clean sourced goat milk powder so I need to supplement some of her vitamins with liver. Fermented cod liver oil is easy to put in her milk or mashed along with banana.

6 months -Continuing along with what she’s already eating, next I would introduce cooked, pureed grassfed- ground beef with coconut oil every now and then. My husband feels weird about this, so I respect that and don’t feed it that often.

7 monthsThen I’ll introduce first mixtures of cooked- pureed peaches, pears and apples with or without raw cream and/or raw milk. Cooked- pureed carrots, zucchini and squash with bone broth, butter or coconut oil. Salmon eggs, cooked- pureed beef, chicken and fish with or without lard.

8 months -I will introduce creamed vegetable soups increasing lumpiness of foods. Pineapple. Meats cut small. Steamed veggies as finger foods, mild cheeses and salmon eggs.

9 months- Raw yogurt, sardines, Raw pureed fruits, olives. Cooked strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and gelatin jigglers.

10 months- Coconut water, filtered water, more herbs and spices, and steamed leafy greens like spinach.

11 months- Wild caught deep sea fish.

One year- I will introduce properly soaked oatmeal, leafy greens cooked with butter. Raw salad vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes. Organic oranges. Smoked salmon and salami. Whole eggs. Slowly introducing all the other foods! 🙂

This list is compiled through my research and I recommend The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon and Super Nutrition for Babies by Katherine Erlich M.D. and Kelly Genzlinger, C.N.C.

This list may seem like I’ve either got it all figured out or I’m crazy, depending on who you talk to. Truth is, some days she gets mashed banana three times a day. She loves banana. I don’t feel bad about it. She’s only six months old right now. Slowly but surely I will introduce more foods, and I’m actually proud that I have made everything she eats. I’ve given her nothing from a jar.

So here’s the thing. I was SO incredibly excited about feeding her, I still am. I’m up for the challenge. I’m learning and experimenting. I’m proud that I haven’t relied on baby food jars or anything yet, I’ve taken the time and effort to show her I love her and care through my well intentioned cooking for her. But then there’s the party poopers. The ones who give me anxiety about taking her over to anybody’s house in fear of them sneaking Cheerios, ice cream and cereal into her when I’m not looking. You know, the well intentioned family members or friends who treat you like your baby is starving. Yeah, STARVING.

First off, I love them all. That’s without question. Secondly, you’d be surprised how I’m treated about it though. Really. Which brings me to the title, I’m being treated like a child abuser for not feeding my baby rice cereal. I can count on more than two hands how many times I’ve been suggested and/or criticized and/or just purely shocked people that I haven’t fed her rice cereal. Also, I have to kind of skirt around it and be polite about it because I don’t want to give off the “Well, actually that’s a horrible and idiotic thing that you fed your kid rice cereal, I know better than to do that,” vibe. I was fed rice cereal. My mother was. My husband was. You get my point. It’s a fine parenting line that you don’t want to cross as in “Let me feed my own kid, and you can feed your kids rice cereal all day and night, stop criticizing my parenting choices.” I usually avoid why I’m not feeding rice cereal or saying I haven’t yet and I’m taking it slow with solids, as if I’m on the edge of a dangerous conversation such as the vaccine debate. But if you want to know the truth about rice cereal and grains for babies it is this:

Rice cereal and Cheerios are a refined, processed grain. Basically, to a baby’s digestion it’s sugar. Iron fortified cereal has only a 4% absorption rate. Rice cereal is devoid, nutritionally speaking. A baby’s digestion system is slowly developing, they have limited  production of enzymes. It takes at least sixteen months for the carbohydrate enzymes to fully develop. Foods introduced too early increase likelihood of allergies to those foods introduced. Baby’s earliest solid foods should include animal foods because his digestive system is better equipped to supply enzymes for digestion of proteins and fats than carbohydrates, especially grains. Grains are in the CRAP category. As in: Chemical Removes body’s nutrients Addictive and Processed.

Did you catch that part too… SIXTEEN MONTHS OLD is the age when baby’s digestive system can finally handle crappy Cheerios and crappy rice cereal. No, it’s not 10 days old shove a little rice cereal in the bottle so the baby will sleep more. Yeah, that’s advice from pediatrician’s a few decades ago. 🙂

Which brings me to my main criticizer. I debated whether to reveal the main criticizer or not. After all, I love her dearly. I respect her. She is from an old generation. I’m glad she’s still around. So, I’ve decided not to reveal WHO she is but rather focus on what she’s saying instead because I’m sure it relates to you guys in some ways.

My daughter is a tall baby. She is lean. She has no baby fat, or rolls, no chunky thighs. About the only fat part about her was her neck when she was born, which was obviously adorable. Now she is long and lean. But I can assure you she ISN’T STARVING. The way her head looks so big on her body is precious and I wantto squeeze her because she’s so damn cute. She’s strong and smart. I get defensive when it is implied that she is somehow starving and/or lacking in some way shape or form. She sits for a few minutes but doesn’t crawl yet. And NO, it’s not because she has no energy because she isn’t fed rice cereal for crying out loud. (Yes, that was actually said.) Here are some unsolicited comments I have been lucky to receive.

“But she’s SO skinny.”

“Her diapers are so full and wet and soiled all the time everything must be going right through her. She must not be getting anything.”

“She needs something that will fill her. She’s just got nothing that fills her. Rice cereal is what will fill her.”

“Try Quinoa, she needs some type of grains. Grains are good for people. She needs something filling.”

“Look at her ribs! She’s always hungry!”

“She acts like she’s starving all the time.”

“She needs something filling so that she can have the strength and energy to crawl.”

I am amazed that people are taught to think grains are so great for you when so many of us have an inflammatory response to eating grains.

Our next baby will probably grow to be a skinny little string bean as well. My husband is lanky. Not all babies need to be pudge-balls for them to be healthy. She has a full head of hair, she’s the 90th percentile for heigth and she’s pretty happy most of the time.

How about you let me feed my baby. . I am not abusing her because I don’t feed her certain things, I am not malnourishing her. I AM NOT STARVING HER. There’s nothing wrong with whatever way each parent decides to feed their child because it’s just that- parental CHOICE. The right to choose how to feed your child to the best of your knowledge and ability. Whether you make the baby food or buy it. I’m not going to bash what you do so don’t accuse me of child abuse for not feeding my baby grains.

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