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The Hard Truth About What and When We Feed Our Kids

Posted by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM
  • 7 Replies

The Hard Truth About What & When We Feed Our Kids

Posted by Christie Haskell
on August 18, 2011 at 5:16 PM

baby brain

The nutrition a child receives during that crucial development period is so important that it can affect them for the rest of their entire lives. Recent studies, and many older ones, show that nutrition in the first 1,000 days of your child's life -- conception to the second birthday -- are some of the most important times during a child's development. A child's birth weight can dictate the likelihood of suffering from heart disease and heart attacks as a middle-aged adult.

We know diet is important during pregnancy -- without a decently balanced diet, the baby can have developmental issues, and mom's own body will suffer as well. But as soon as baby comes out, sometimes we shift to "it doesn't matter what baby is fed, as long as they're being fed." Honestly, we all know that's not quite true -- of course a child being fed is better than not, but what they eat when there are options matters a ton, too. And no, I don't just mean the choice to breastfeed or not.

These are "critical periods" in both a fetus and born and living baby's life, and certain brain connections have to be made in those windows for development. But they also need proper nutrition to fuel the amazing growth the brain makes in the first three years -- from 25 percent of adult size at birth, to 80 percent of adult size by their third birthday.

We often will say things like, "When they're teens, you'll never know who was breastfed, formula fed, started on solids with cereal at 2 weeks" and so on. But the thing is, we do know. Or scientists and doctors do, anyway. While the choice of what you ultimately feed your child is up to you as a parent, we need to stop kidding ourselves that it doesn't matter, because it does. Pretending it doesn't ends up creating generations that we have currently in middle age who were part of big "man-made is superior" movements that involved no breastfeeding and insanely early and often unhealthy solid food, who have astounding amounts of medical problems that we know are directly linked to diet and poor nutrition as a child.

According to the research as well, there's nothing our children can do to fix this either. When their body is making critical growth as a baby, if something gets damaged, no amount of veganism, biking, yoga, or healthy activity can fix that missed window.

I don't mean this as a guilt trip, I really don't, but as a wake-up call -- it does matter, and we can't afford to say it doesn't. We need to keep in mind that while starting solids can be fun, it's not worth the potential risks. Waiting a few months to allow your baby to get optimum nutrition from their breast milk or formula, and avoid medical problems decades down the road, is worth waiting just a couple more months to play airplane with a spoon.

Do you feel that nutrition during pregnancy and infancy sets the stage for the child's entire life? Or do you think it's a crock?

by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:29 PM
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Replies (1-7):
danie24
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:44 PM

I can't stand when people say "as long as they're being fed.."

It's ridiculous and heart breaking how people coddle each other and support each other as they continue to destroy their children's health. Parents just don't give a shit. They're more concerned about their own selfish wants than their children's health and well being.

People thought I was completely insane to exclusively breastfeed my son for almost 9 months and then slowly introduce organic solids only after he was nursed. And they thought I was crazy to continue nursing until after his 2nd birthday.

And unfortunately I was surrponded by uneducated fools would would ask things like, "does that milk still have any nutritional value after 6 months?" and "he's going to STARVE if you don't introduce solids at 3/4/5/6 months!" and "aren't you tired? You should just give him formula with some cereal!"

Ack.. people are so irritating.

Ataemommy
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:59 PM


Quoting danie24:

I can't stand when people say "as long as they're being fed.."

It's ridiculous and heart breaking how people coddle each other and support each other as they continue to destroy their children's health. Parents just don't give a shit. They're more concerned about their own selfish wants than their children's health and well being.

People thought I was completely insane to exclusively breastfeed my son for almost 9 months and then slowly introduce organic solids only after he was nursed. And they thought I was crazy to continue nursing until after his 2nd birthday.

And unfortunately I was surrponded by uneducated fools would would ask things like, "does that milk still have any nutritional value after 6 months?" and "he's going to STARVE if you don't introduce solids at 3/4/5/6 months!" and "aren't you tired? You should just give him formula with some cereal!"

Ack.. people are so irritating.

The other one that bothers me is "I did X and my kid is fine". If your kid is not grown into a 40-50 year old adult, then you have no way of telling what your choices in childhood did. My health is ABSOLUTELY affected as an adult by the choices my parents made during my infancy and toddlerhood. It's fucking ridiculous to state when your kid is 8 years old that your kid is fine -- you could truthfully say "so far", but it's stupid to assume there will be no problems down the road.

EireLass
by Ruby Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 2:16 PM

I feel as though there's a whole other part of this story left out. It's interesting and wish it were here.

I do believe that how you treat your body prior to and during pregnancy has a huge impact on delivery, infancy, etc. However, I also believe that at any point in life you can change your diet/lifestyle and make drastic changes to your body, inside and out. 

The statement about being able to tell at teen years who's been BF vs. FF....what are the signs?  

LntLckrsCmQut
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 2:16 PM

I think it plays a huge role.

EireLass
by Ruby Member on Aug. 19, 2011 at 3:31 PM

What did you do with your daughter? 

Quoting danie24:

I can't stand when people say "as long as they're being fed.."

It's ridiculous and heart breaking how people coddle each other and support each other as they continue to destroy their children's health. Parents just don't give a shit. They're more concerned about their own selfish wants than their children's health and well being.

People thought I was completely insane to exclusively breastfeed my son for almost 9 months and then slowly introduce organic solids only after he was nursed. And they thought I was crazy to continue nursing until after his 2nd birthday.

And unfortunately I was surrponded by uneducated fools would would ask things like, "does that milk still have any nutritional value after 6 months?" and "he's going to STARVE if you don't introduce solids at 3/4/5/6 months!" and "aren't you tired? You should just give him formula with some cereal!"

Ack.. people are so irritating.

 

jerzeetomato
by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 3:54 PM

 This is an absolute truth:

Do you feel that nutrition during pregnancy and infancy sets the stage for the child's entire life?

atlmom2
by Susie on Aug. 19, 2011 at 4:39 PM

I can't stand it when someone says kids are damaged if they are not breast fed.  What a crock of crap.  I can't stand it. 

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