I read an article recently that at last said what I have been shouting from the roof tops for 50 years: “You can feed your baby solids before six months”. Yes, and the misguided nurses and baby clinics were wrong! I was pleased that at least I had been proved right. I decided in my innocence to do what felt right. I had no family close by, in fact most were 12,000 miles away, when I brought my first baby home; no close friends to pop in to ask, I was alone on a new housing estate outside of Auckland. In the days when communication was not very good, in fact mostly non-existent! I had to just learn the hard way. I did feed my baby myself, and at first it was a tough battle, but I learned.
So what would the experts have advocated? Nothing but breast milk for nine months? People followed this like sheep. Babies had just this bland diet for almost a year. Now we have a whole generation of children with no immunity and swag of allergies.
My method was more intuition and total desperation. I had hungry babies and for six months I managed to feed the first, and the next two for about six weeks. But I started feeding solids to supplement, small amounts of cereal at first, well diluted. I started when Kerry was about three or four months. I did the same with the others. I added vegetable and fruit puree, and later eggs and cheese even. Kerry was a poor feeder so she ran around with a hunk of cheese and a piece of apple. As long as she ate something I was happy. The minced chicken and pumpkin I often wore! When she decided she didn’t feel like it.
A photo of my adult children will show none of them are overweight, none of them have allergies. It seems we have forgotten that children are like small animals. They need basic things; varieties in their diet, warmth, love and shelter. If they were in the wild they would eat meat, seeds berries and all manner of cereals to stay alive. Yet we cut back and restrict them when they need variety to allow their bodies to get used to new things. Except for the really bad allergic reactions that result in severe trauma and are suffered by a small minority (especially those who have not had a varied diet from a few months old), most children if given tiny helping of new food will tolerate it.
I am really proud of the fact that all three of mine are able to run in marathons and keep fit and none of them smoke. Their weight is not an issue. Whatever I did and boy, I made some horrible mistakes sometimes, they are healthy. We just dealt with the usual childhood infections like chicken pox and mumps and the rough and tumble of a country childhood without serious problems, I feel I have been very lucky as I know some things that happen do so without any fault of the parents, some children are born with problems. Yet I still feel the slavishly adhering to stupid food fads and rigid diets is something we should question.
Does the person telling you to restrict your baby to just milk have children? Are those children healthy? Does the person telling you wheat and milk and cheese should not be allowed really have the knowledge and the expertise to advise you? It is too easy to be swayed by ‘popular’ opinion. Basic whole food, as close to natural as you can get, given in small amounts is still a common sense approach. Look back in the past, and remember we have all evolved and exist because our grandparents ate like that. To emulate their diet, grow or buy as much fresh food as you can. Keep away from the pre prepared gunk, or the fast food and follow your instinct not the “in’ crowd.