I don’t know about you but I find it very difficult to stick to my resolution to lose weight. I’m sure that I make a similar resolution every year and somehow (mainly through food!) I never manage it. I always end up at around about the same weight regardless of how much I eat or exercise, I even didn’t gain or lose any weight by being pregnant and giving birth, I feel that I am in the eternal struggle of the weight loss cycle.
But food has got me thinking. Malachi is nearing the age when he can start to eat proper food and I’m not sure about what to do. I want to make sure that he has good food with no nasties in, so whilst I was pregnant I reinstated our fruit and veg delivery from Riverford. Each week I get a delivery of good organic, pesticide free fruit and vegetables and they are brilliant, even if I do have to think creatively about how I use them (fussy husband!). I have for a number of years only had free range meat, which tends to be more organic, but now I also get my meat through Riverford too, ensuring that the meat I eat is also organic.
So I am stocked with good food, but what do I give him to eat. He is five and a half months old and many other parents I know have or had already started weaning by this age, but we are trying to wait until he is six months because of the Department for Health guidelines, which were based on recommendations by UNICEF and the World Health Organisation from research they had done with babies from all over the world. Before a baby is six months old, their digestive systems and kidneys are not mature enough to process the food and so it can lead to an increased risk of infections and the possibility of developing allergies. So in my head it seems like a good idea to wait. Not only that, but weaning information states that if you start earlier than six months, there are certain foods that you mustn’t give your baby, like wheat, meat and anything made with cow’s milk; so again, why not wait until they are old enough to have a mixed variety of foods.
So we are going to go with baby led weaning, where essentially you give them what you are having to eat, in chunks that they can pick up, hold, chew and munch. This is great for finger foods and my research has told me that cucumber, apples and pears are good to eat raw and carrots, sweet potato and parsnip are good to eat lightly steamed. But to be honest, we don’t normally these things just lightly steamed. In fact we tend to use these veg in stews, soups and of course curries. So I had to find out if it were possible to give him these things too…and it is!! It sort of stands to reason that Malachi should like spicy food, since when I was pregnant and breastfeeding I didn’t stop eating these things. So when we start giving him food, we are most certainly going to give him curry, we may not get the jalfrezi or madras out just yet, but we hope that the milder curries like a korma should be just fine.
I know that I am in a privileged position that I am able to choose these good things for my child and other parents do not always have the same options available to them. The Oxfam tv advert has recently made an impact on me, you can watch it here: Jodie’s Film It’s the film where twins are being given flour and water at one month old because their mother doesn’t have enough milk to feed them properly. It makes me sad that the guidelines from the World Health Organisation are not being able to be followed because of poverty.
I have been visiting Chennai for the last 12 years, I have seen first hand what a difference clean water and good food can give. One of my memories from an early trip was visiting the boys town before they got up for the day, seeing their morning routine. Part of this was them having breakfast, which that day was a kind of rice porridge, made in a huge pan. It looked awful, like what the gruel looked like in the film Oliver, in fact it made me think very much of Oliver, and his question ‘Please Sir, can I have some more?’. That was a defining moment for me and I decided that I wanted to make a difference to the lives of these children. Since then I have seen changes to give them a better diet, clean water and better living conditions.
So it really can make a difference just a few pounds a month to the lives of people who don’t have the same choices as us. Please make a choice to help them and visit Oxfam to donate to them or help us at Chennai Challenge
- Baby Led Weaning (moderntwinmom.com)
- I Only Eat Happy Chickens. (sitdownatatypewriterandbleed.wordpress.com)
- To Purée or Not to Purée (missymousebabyblog.wordpress.com)