Throw Out Those Jars of Baby Food

By Cynthia Lair, reprinted with permission from Cookus Interruptus, ©

Real baby food is your foodFor many years, I was a guest speaker for the Evergreen Hospital postnatal mom and baby support groups.  I would haul a butane burner, pan, some toasted brown rice, a little grinder, and tiny cups to serve samples in up the escalator to the meeting room — I needed luggage with wheels.  The room was chock full of moms and babies and toys and blankets, so I had to use my big voice. What I was yelling, while stirring freshly ground rice and water into cereal, was that if I could make this cereal in this room while talking to them, I was sure they could do it at home.

I also brought in some boxed baby cereal, which sort of looks and smells like shredded plastic, and let them decide with their eyes, noses, and taste buds which might be better to eat. The choice was obvious.

Cheered on by the Evergreen’s wonderful Molly Pessl, RN, childbirth educator, and IBCLC, I reminded moms that nowhere is it written or proven that it is detrimental to give babies food with flavor. Why train the baby to prefer bland, tasteless food? If you do, you will end up with a three-year old who will demand plain macaroni for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They simply want the empty carbs with no flavor, what they are used to.

Molly says, “What’s wrong with giving baby spicy food?” Amen Molly.

Years later, pediatricians came out with the same conclusion. Subsequently, we saw the birth of “cultural” jarred baby food. Hmm. Why buy curry in a jar when you could make it fresh for everyone and just give baby part of it?

This fire-in-the-belly I have about feeding babies and children better food has been kicking my hind end down the path toward writing, teaching, and now video-blogging for a couple of decades. I rant about it if only slightly prompted.

We can do better for our children. It doesn’t take that much effort. Don’t feed baby curry in a jar while you eat take-out curry from the whole foods deli. Save money. Make a simple curry dish. Eat together. Eat the same food together. It’s a big strand in the tie that binds.

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