I joined a few BLW Facebook sites, I watch the conversations going on and comment sometimes and let things go other times. On the whole these groups are really great, informative, supportive but there are the odd few comments that really concern me. Namely concerns surrounding information on feeding baby grain and whether its OK to give them to baby at 6 months. Chinese whispers ensue and the next thing we know, parents are saying that its a “new “thing… its official, babies cant have whole grains from 6 months. I believe this to be totally untrue and partially unfounded. There is research available that states babies cannot produce a certain enzyme at 6 months but the research also doesn’t say “do not give babies grains”. I found this report for info around the world.
I have given Izzy porridge from 6 months as I believe Oats to be one of the healthiest foods you can give a human being. Izzy has also eaten Quinoa, Wheat Cereal (Although she doesn’t much like it), Bran Flakes, although I don’t give her too many as I still believe that too much fibre at this tender age can lead to too firm a poop and might hurt Izzy.
Here in the UK we are not told of the “dangers” of grains for babies and one blog site suggests that they would “kill” our wee ones. Now I’m not here to bash anyone else’s blog or to create any negativity but I am a strong believer in ensuring that you get your facts completely right. As I am bringing Izzy up on my own, when she was 6 months old, I was tired, weepy and all over the place as much of us are at some points, that would potentially leave me impressionable so I feel that baby bloggers have a duty of care. Anyone writing a blog to help to support other parents regarding feeding or teaching or anything really, should really have info backed up by fact.
I have seen websites talking about Amylase and the fact that the right kind isn’t present in the gut at 6 months, now I’m not a scientist so I wont go into that too much. HERE is a really great “science of mom” article which I think explains is really really well. Its well worth a read and you can make your own minds up.
I have also witnessed the following statements from mothers on Baby Led Weaning Support group sites- “I believe ALL grains are bad for people for ALL ages, and there’s lots of sound science on this” and “I’m skipping grains and going straight to veggies and fruits when my LO turns 6 months. There’s nothing nutritious in grains except iron”
I find them to be factually incorrect and there were a few mums asking where these ladies got their info from. This spurred me on to write this article.
As far as research tells me, Porridge oats are one of the healthiest foods you can give a baby. Izzy has eaten Porridge and Quinoa and things with flour in it since 6 months. She has never has a problem with digestion and I have never seen whole porridge oats in her nappy, this would suggest to me that she can digest it.
Whole grains, including oats have been scientifically proven to do the following –
- Reduce Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
- Prevent Heart Failure with a Whole Grains Breakfast
- Enhance Immune Response to Infection
- Stabilise Blood Sugar
- Oats and Other Whole Grains Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk
- Fibre from Whole Grains and Fruit Protective against Breast Cancer
- Health-Promoting Activity Equal to or Even Higher than that of Vegetables and Fruits
- Whole Grains and Fish Highly Protective against Childhood Asthma
- Lignans (Plant protein found in whole grains) Protect against Heart Disease
In fact, studies show that childhood asthma can be made worse by not eating grains “In children with a low intake of fish and whole grains, the prevalence of wheezing was almost 20%, but was only 4.2% in children with a high intake of both foods. Low intake of fish and whole grains also correlated with a much higher incidence of current asthma (16.7%). compared to only a 2.8% incidence of current asthma among children with a high intake of both foods.” with a conclusion of “Our findings suggest that a high intake of whole grain products and fish may have a protective effect against asthma in children.” Although this is for older children, I still think laying a healthy foundation is such a good thing.
There is no evidence currently (article written in March 2015) that states that babies should not be given whole grains from 6 months. There is research and more questions are answered and more raised.
So in conclusion, I believe that giving Izzy Porridge 4 out of 7 mornings will truly elongate her life, help her to fight disease and set her up to be as healthy as possible in the future. Quinoa and Bran are thrown in there too. The general rule of thumb with us is a little of anything isn’t going to harm too much (Alcohol and other nasties not included obviously) but porridge is a good staple here. I truly think you should feed baby grain.
I wanted to write this article so all of the information I pulled is all stitched together and you can make your own minds up. Izzy loves breakfast and I believe it to be the most important meal of the day as its the meal that sets you up for the day, I think by giving Izzy porridge that it is also setting her up for life.