My little girl is now 6 1/2 months old. Where does the time go?! The transition to solid food has been easier than I imagined for her – she loves it! It’s amazing what foods get mixed together that I never thought I would try. Spinach & carrots, applesauce & eggs, pear & avocado, etc. Of course anything mixed with banana pretty much tastes like banana.
If you read my previous post on feeding the primal baby, you know that I decided not to give my daughter the quickly recommended rice cereal or oatmeal and decided to make most of her food (however, having a few jars of organic baby food isn’t a bad idea in a pinch). Rice cereal or oatmeal just isn’t necessary an infant’s diet and as I’ve found with my daughter, she prefers thicker, chunkier mashed up food. She wants to eat what we are eating. So far at 6 months of age, she has had: Avocado, banana, broccoli, carrots, kale (although I would recommend holding off on this until baby isn’t spitting up as much. Kale spit up smells absolutely horrible – learned that the hard way.), spinach, pears, apples, blackberries, blueberries, rasperries, and our newest one – eggs. I add applesauce, avocado, or banana to the eggs to help it go down a little better, since they are a little dry, and she loves it! A few bites of the protein powerhouse, avocado and egg, goes a long way!
We did have to introduce a little formula into her diet as my milk supply has been decreasing. I did not want to do this and stressed over it for weeks (could have been one of the reasons my milk supply went down), but realized that all she really needed was a few ounces a day in addition to the breast milk. Although, now that she is usually eating 3 meals of solid food a day, she can go 4 hours between feedings and my body is able to produce the milk she needs!
I wanted to make her formula, but decided that the small amount she was drinking and the time it takes to make it was not feasible for our family. The Weston A. Price Foundation has some great information and video tutorials here if you are interested.
When we started looking at a formula to supplement with, we saw there was actually a lot to consider. First you have organic versus non-organic. After reading almost everything I could find on the topic I decided that because of baby’s smaller body, chemicals, pesticides and all other added ingredients can have a more damaging effect. So we went with Earth’s Best Organic formula. Then, we quickly realized there was another decision to make: milk-based or soy based? In my research over the past couple of years I have read a lot about the overuse of soy products, especially in the American diet, and the ill effects they can actually have on our bodies. Some parents choose soy based formula because they are afraid of or their baby has an allergic reaction to cow’s milk. Others may choose it because they simply think it is the healthier option.
(Disclaimer: I realize that there are some babies that have specific needs and soy-based formula may be the best option. As with everything on my blog, I am an advocate of doing research on your own and coming up with the best option for your family.)
Some child-advocacy groups claim that consuming soy-based formula could accelerate puberty and cause developmental and reproductive abnormalities and thyroid disorders later in life. – USDA
“Soy-based formula has been commercially available since the sixties,” Wiggins says, “but few studies have examined the long-term consequences of exposure to high concentrations of estrogenic compounds during infancy. No one consumes more soy per kilogram of body weight than infants who are fed soy-based formula. Infants should consume about 115 calories per kilogram to maintain normal growth.” – USDA
There is no doubt that breast milk is the best thing hands down for your baby and I would encourage every mom to persevere through the hard times! I received invaluable help from lactation consultants and talking with friends going through similar struggles. However, as a breast feeding mom, I understand it can be extremely taxing on your body, emotional state, and sometimes it just simply doesn’t work. These are the times I am thankful for modern technology. But, it doesn’t mean that we should just concede to conventional wisdom or the next new fad tells us. As hypoallergenic formulas have become more common, medical advice regarding soy formulas have been highly scrutinized over the past few years. You deserve to know why.
4 concerns with soy based formula (The information below comes from Mark Sisson’s site here.)
1. Most of the worry with soy based formula involves its estrogenic effects. There has been concern that soy products could be a result of the increasing early onset of puberty in girls.
2. Concern over high aluminum levels. In 2006 the Royal College of Australian Physicians put out a very strong warning against soy formulas.
3. Questions regarding the legitimacy of the nutrition equivalency of soy based formula and the traditional cow’s milk formula. In particular the absorption of minerals, the importance of the lactose from the cow’s milk colonizing the intestines with good bacteria, and the essential intake of the complete family of amino acids.
4. The extremely high levels of manganese in soy based formula is a cause for concern, as it is 80 times more than human breast milk. Manganese is an essential nutrient, but can be toxic at high levels.
The studies on soy based formulas are not extensive and little is conclusive about the effects of soy in the later years of life. For instance I was fed soy based formula, as were many of my generation Y friends (80’s babies) and I am now a healthy adult. However, everyone who smokes does not get lung cancer, just food for thought.
So, I would encourage you to research, ask questions, and trust your decision knowing that ultimately YOU are the thing your baby needs the most!