Should I Feed My Six-Month-Old Organic Baby Food?

Being responsible for another human being changes you. Parents, I know you’re out there nodding your heads. But what I’ve recently learned is it’s not only putting their needs before yours; adjusting your schedule to meet theirs; and summoning more patience from your already depleted stores. It’s knowing that if you mess up, you’re the only one to blame.

"Pesticide Use" sign at playgroundBreastfeeding carried less guilt. As the midwife constantly reminded me, baby will take what she needs from my body, so it’s me I need to worry about. Now that Popcorn is six months old, it’s time to start introducing solid food, and it’s not going to be easy. In fact, I’m pretty anxious about it.

Anxious about her liking it.

Anxious about choking hazards.

Anxious because it’s a huge step towards independence.

But mostly anxious that I put the “right” things into her little food bowl and that I don’t harm her inadvertently by feeding her the “wrong” things.

Researching how to make my own baby food has brought into sharper focus all of the food issues I am already concerned about. The number one questionable and offensive practise in our food system, in my opinion, is the rampant use of additives and preservatives, the health effects of which are largely unknown. But of course there are also issues with over-processing (white flour, white sugar), excess salt, erroneous label claims, and pesticide residues from non-organic produce.

For a few summers in my early 20’s I worked on farms and saw first-hand how pesticides are applied – generally by a fellow in a head-to-toe white suit, and generally onto the crops but also into the air and surrounding environment. I had to check spray records to make sure I didn’t enter the fields too soon after they were sprayed, because (duh!) pesticides are toxic.

Since then, I’ve tried to purchase organic foods when financially feasible (and I’m ashamed to say, when they look good). My mainstays are organic milk, yogurt, dried fruit, fresh bananas and fresh apples. I also learned that pesticide regulations differ in other countries, so I try to buy local. If the only grapes available are from Chile, I don’t buy them!

Fresh baby spinach leaves

I didn’t realize how scary the prospect of f

eeding pesticide residues to my baby actually is until I Googled “spinach baby food” to find out the best way to cook Popcorn’s next meal. It popped up on the Environmental Working Group’s list of the most pesticide-contaminated foods,  As adults, we eat non-organic foods all the time, but we’re grown-ups with big bodies and big detoxification systems. Plus we eat a varied diet, which (hopefully) balances out our exposure to any once source of residues. But little P, she’s still tiny and just getting started on her solid-food journey.

I want to do everything I can to help her body and brain grow and thrive. And for that reason, my husband and I decided that we would strive to make her fruits and vegetables organic. At very least, we will avoid the infamous “dirty dozen” of the most heavily contaminated crops.

Here’s the link to the Environmental Working Group’s famous “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” lists. I’m going to print them out and put them on my fridge next to my grocery list.

For reference, here are the Dirty Dozen:Dirty potatoes dug from the garden

  • Apples
  • Celery
  • Sweet bell peppers
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Nectarines
  • Grapes
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Blueberries
  • Potatoes

It will be more expensive. And not always feasible. And sometimes we will prioritize buying from local farmers over buying organic produce flown in from across the world. But we will try.

Do you have any other tips for making organic eating easier?

Resources and reading:

Comments

  1. Elaine Harris says:

    What about home grown vegetables? If I have planted young plants from a garden centre, is my produce contamination-free? I have baby spinach already and later I will have tomatoes and peppers. Is the (possible) pesticide inside the resultant produce?

    • Good question. I know non-organic seeds are often sprayed with fungicides (?) to stop the growth of mould while they’re in the package. But I would think the resultant produce would carry very little, if any, of those residues (and we don’t eat the seed/root). As for seedlings, I’m not so sure. I believe some products are absorbed by the plant. I’ll have to look into this!

      Either way I’d still think homegrown is a much better option if you don’t apply any sprays after the seedling stage. We have a garden-full of both organic and conventional produce, from seed and from seedling, that we plan to feed baby P.

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  1. […] This recipe came about because we barbequed some ginormous potatoes last week and didn’t end up eating them all. We also had a glut of fresh peas from the market in our fridge (some of which we steamed up for baby P…mmmm!). […]

  2. […] control what goes into it. Choose local or seasonal foods, if you want. Choose organic or not. It’s up to […]

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