Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Low Carb Baby Diet

We just had this little girl's 15 month well-baby check-up. She is, blessedly, beautifully healthy. While my son has always been giant (seriously- on track to be close to 6'9" tall!) and my former micropreemie is, no surprise, petite (barely tipping the scales at 30 lb at 4 1/2 years old), this third baby is the one I always joke is "normal-sized". ;) At 30 1/2" tall and 21 lb 13 oz, she is in the 65th and 40th percentiles, respectively.

The pediatrician and I discussed all those typical well-baby things... milestones, sleeping, and- of course- diet. Did I have any concerns?

Well... not really. Except...

"She doesn't like carbs."

"You mean she doesn't like bread?"

"No, she really doesn't like most carbs... well, except for corn. She likes frozen corn. But she has no interest in cereal, oatmeal, bread, pasta, rice..."

"Good for her! No wonder she's so healthy."

And that was that.

Now... I'm not saying that carbs are bad for babies. I'm not saying that babies who eat carbs are not healthy babies. Not in the least.

But, from my discussion with the doctor and from my research into what baby diets tend to lack, it seems to me that most babies would do fine with a whole lot more fruits, veggies, and proteins and decidedly less carbs (think cereals, puffs, crackers, Cheerios, etc...)

My little G eats- no joke- close to ten pounds of fresh and frozen fruits and veggies EVERY WEEK. That seems like an extraordinary amount of food for her little 21 lb self... but it's so good for her! She also loves cubed hard cheeses (think Swiss and sharp cheddar) and also chicken, ham, eggs, beans, and fish. She still nurses 2-3 times a day. She will eat small amounts of whole grain carbs here and there and, for now, we're okay with that. Given the choice of fruit or a cookie, she will choose the fruit every time. Given the option of a french fry or a carrot, the carrot will win hands down.

The truth is that this wasn't a diet plan we set out to put in place- it's just the way she likes to eat. Happily, it's a healthy way to go... and we're going to enjoy it as long as it lasts!

What I find surprising, though, is how the baby food companies seem to encourage us to push carbs on our kids. Their recommended first food? Cereal. "It's easiest on their little systems!" they insist, while- in truth- many babies do better with banana or avocado to start. First finger food? Puffs. But why? Aren't soft-cooked veggies or ripe fruit bits just as safe? Toddler meal plan? Often filled with pasta.

I'm just trying to figure out why we're being encouraged to push all these refined carbohydrates on our children... all while continuing to feed my baby girl a low carb diet.

Because, well, it works for us. And it works for our doctors. And I think it would work for lots of families... I just wish the big "baby expert" food companies out there would share that too.

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