Saturday, May 14, 2005

Organics for your baby

When your baby starts to eat solid food, you will think a lot about what she is consuming. You will watch to see what she might be allergic to, and to see which foods she enjoys. You will want her to eat a well-balanced diet, and you will gradually introduce more foods to familiarize her with a variety of healthful options. But, do you feed your baby organic food?

Organic foods are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers. This reduces not only the chemicals that get on the food we eat, but also the contaminants in the soil that can leach into our water supply. Pesticides can have an adverse effect on not only humans, but also on the fish and animals in our environment.

Pesticides and fertilizers on the market have been tested for safety. However, it takes years to learn the long term effects of exposure to some chemicals. In addition, they are tested for safe exposure amounts for adults. Your tiny baby has a much smaller weight, so exposure to even a small amount of a chemical can have a large impact. In addition, her nervous system is still developing and is sensitive to anything around it.

Feeding your baby organic foods helps ensure that her exposure to potentially hazardous food additives and chemicals is reduced dramatically. While there are always dangers in our environment, the more you can shelter your baby during these critical developmental times, the better.

Organic does not mean you have to make your own baby food, although that is certainly an option. Several brands now offer tasty, well-balanced packaged baby foods that are one hundred percent organic. They are mainstream enough to be available at most major grocery store chains. They may cost a few cents more a jar, but isn't it worth that to invest in your child's long term health? In addition, if you watch for coupons and sales and stock up when prices are low, you can pay prices comparable to the non-organic brands. Of course most health food stores will carry several options in organic baby food, and may have a wider assortment of flavors or brands. Organics are available in dried baby cereal, jar and frozen baby food, milk, juice and even in snacks such as cookies and crackers.

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