More specifically the adventures of newly wed life in Africa. Apologies to those who have stumbled across this expecting tales of trekking Mt Kili or exploring wild jungle to catch a glimpse of the elusive gorilla. There may be a post like that in the future but its a tale of love and the challenges of life in a foreign land.
Let's look at milk, first foods and that push to vaccinate....
YES, BREAST IS BEST…BUT WHAT ABOUT US UNFORTUNATE FEW
In a perfect world a baby will latch on shortly after birth and momma will produce enough milk to nurse baby at least 6 months exclusively. Then until baby’s 1st birthday with some solids for fun (soft ripe fruits and non starchy veggies and healthy cold pressed oils).
But alas, some of us don’t live in that perfect world. Take me for example. As you know, baby did not latch despite my best efforts for 3.5 months and I didn’t make enough milk to give her exclusively pumped milk. The last month my supply was so low, I was only getting out 15-20ml A DAY! No matter what I took or did to increase that teeny supply. I am grateful that I was able to give her some milk for her first 4 months. As a result of that situation, I have learned much regarding baby’s nutrition for the first year.
For you momma’s out there who also had to supplement with or solely give formula, this is for you (or us). Have you ever read the ingredients of formula? Yes, there are important things in there like the vitamin, mineral, protein, carb, etc. There are also some questionable things in there. I don’t say this to make you feel bad as I know the emotional heartaches of not being able to provide mother’s milk and having to turn to the commercial stuff…I mean, baby’s gotta eat! I say this more as education purposes so you can choose carefully to meet your baby’s needs. Some babies do fine on any garden variety of cow based formula but many have struggles.
*Did you know that if a calf was given the store bought version of milk, it would die in about 6 weeks! And cow milk was designed for a calf, so man has done something something to upset the original milk*
And then when you turn to the fancy formula, the lactose free hypo allergenic brand, you think it’s a wise choice…until you read and understand the ingredients. I got to say I was rather shocked at the first ingredient in the lactose free choice- corn syrup solids! There is NOTHING nutritional about corn syrup solids, quite the opposite in fact. I don’t have the time or energy to go into details of just how bad, and I mean really bad, corn syrup is so read this Dr Mercola report on corn syrup . And then you have a look at a hypo allergenic type and it lists maltodextrin as the first ingredient. Folks, maltodextrin is also derived from genetically modified corn! Um, hell no, will I give that to my sweet little one. So you think maybe soy based, but that tends to give a host of problems (ps, soy is also a genetically modified food) so steer clear of that one. So, we were stuck with the cow variety which is milk powder, whey, lactose, oils, vitamins, minerals, probiotic. It seriously constipates her, no matter what fruit or flaxseed oil or whatever, she is chronically constipated. When you understand the make up of cow milk, you’ll understand why a human baby cannot digest it well. So now what?
Goat’s milk is the closest to human milk. I’m not sure why goat milk isn’t the mainstream ingredient for commercial formula but it probably has to do with profit for the companies. I have found a goat milk formula but it has maltodextrin as the second ingredient. That made me quite mad. Why? Why! You are a product in the health shop, using organic ingredients and goat’s milk but then you ruin the whole thing with maltodextrin! Shame on you. So I had to find a recipe for goat’s milk formula. When she was 7 months, I gave this Goat Milk Formula Recipe it a try. She had good naps that day and had an easy proper bowel movement. She also grew quickly. AT FIRST, I never switched her 100% over to this recipe as I was a bit nervous about the proper vitamin/mineral ratio for her needs. Particularly the B vitamins, namely B12.
*B12 is a neat water soluble vitamin. It is the only water soluble one that can be stored in the liver for later use when stores are low. The body doesn’t need much but a deficiency can have serious irreversible damage.*
Goat’s milk is lacking in B vitamins and you have to add nutritional yeast to the formulation (along with a couple other things). But nutritional yeast does not have B12 unless it is fortified. I have yet to find a brand here that is. But I’ve finally found a product for kids, 6 months and up, that contains B vitamins including B12. I’ve also learned through my credible reading sources and some other mothers’ personal experiences that at 10 months, baby can have fresh/previously frozen goat’s milk as her main source of nutrition (like breast milk) instead of a formulation of it. Along with the Floradix KinderVital (B vitamins etc), I finally feel comfortable to say goodbye to part time use of commercial formula.
FRUIT SHOULD BE BABY’S FIRST FOOD
Not cereal as it is pushed as first food. "Raising Healthy Kids" explains why. Babies digestive systems are very immature. Babies do not produce the enzyme ptyalin which is necessary to digest starches. Also, the breakdown process of starch begins in the mouth while chewing…with teeth, which babies do not have a full set of until about 2...and with the release of the enzyme in saliva. So if you really insist on cereal as babies first food, then you’d better pre chew it for him/her!
Solids under 1 are for fun and a learning experience, not a staple source of nutrition. Main nutrition should still be coming from their milk. That is why you give baby milk before feeding a sampling of fruit. If you really think about it, a baby can’t eat a large enough quantity of food anyways to get all the required vitamins, minerals, etc for their growing body hence why milk is the staple.
Fruit is the perfect first food. It is the easiest food for us to breakdown and assimilate the readily available nutrients. Please leave that nonsense of “fruit will cause a baby to love sugar” at the door, as that theory is incorrect. Babies are wired to prefer sweet from the word go as breast milk is naturally sweet. Have you tasted breast milk? It is sweet. And a sweet piece of fruit does not even slightly compare to a sweet piece of candy.
Personal experience, my baby doesn’t even like starches. Before I learned that babies can’t breakdown starches I did try to give her oatmeal a couple times and rice twice. She wasn’t having it and I did not push the subject…she knows what she likes and needs. I also delayed trying to give her some starch as my gut told me- fruit and non-starch veggies. Ladies, listen to your gut!
VACCINATION IS NOT IMMUNIZATION
Now, this is a pretty dang heated topic. I’m not sure where or why it has become such a hot sore spot for people who enter into a discussion which rarely lasts for more than a sentence as a discussion before erupting into a hot debate. Why is that? Is it because it is regarding the health of children? Other things regarding kids’ health can be discussed without tempers flaring so I don’t know if that is truly it. Let's try to take a look at some points without getting upset :)
The purpose of a vaccine is to introduce a dead (sometimes live) disease cell so the immune system can start to make antibodies against it so if the off chance you contract the true disease your body is immune to it. That’s fine and dandy.
I am not pro vaccine, not for babies at least. Babies are not even capable of creating antibodies until at least 6 months of age, yet they are heavily vaccinated well before that age! It is useless to give babies vaccines as they can’t even create antibodies. Also there are several questionable ingredients in vaccines. Mercury, aluminum, monkey DNA, aborted fetal tissue to name a few.
Dr Kurt Perkins does a lovely job of breaking down vaccines especially the diseases along with statistics to support his stance. Even if you are pro vaccine read his post. He informs readers of how vaccines are not tested on humans before release to market. He discusses each disease, the chance of contracting it and provides charts of each disease rate over several years. Vaccines typically come out once the disease has been well on the decline if not almost wiped out. And he shows that the true cause of disease is poor sanitation, poor hygiene and poor nutrition.
Bottom line- good sanitation, quality nutrition and good hygiene are key to health and wellness...this holds true for babies too :) All the best!