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Baby Feeding - Only the Best Will Do


kamurj

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Excerpted from
Mommy Made and Daddy Too! Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby& Toddler
By Martha Kimmel, David Kimmel

We know it's crossed your mind: family time is so precious, so why fuss at home when cunning little jars of baby food of almost every conceivable flavor and for even-feeding stage are so inexpensively and widely available in the supermarket? The answer is simple. When it comes to the health and happiness of your children, only the best will do.

Why is fresh best? Most of us growing up in the fifties were raised on commercial baby food, and our hats are off to the canning and freezing industry-it liberated Mom from the stove. But is ease really what feeding our babies is all about? We don't think so.

Perhaps the most convincing argument for opting for fresh, homemade baby food is its superior flavor. Compare a fresh, juicy Bartlett pear to a jar of baby pear puree. If the pears don't convince you which tastes better, then try the carrots or even the jarred pureed meats with a shelf life of two years. No wonder we grew up hating our vegetables! Babies react happily to good smells and vibrant colors as much as they do to vibrant tastes.

Maybe you're willing to trade taste for convenience. But we know for your baby's sake you won't be happy trading ease for nutrients. Did you know that the high temperatures necessary to give canned foods their long shelf life kill many of the nutrients in the very foods they're preserving? (The percentages are alarming. For thiamine, important for steady nerves, it's 69 percent lost; for vitamin C, which builds a strong immune system, it's 64 percent lost.) Water and air are commonly whipped into commercially jarred baby foods to give them a fluffs', smooth-as-silk texture, further diluting their vitamin and mineral content. When you make it fresh, you can avoid sugar, salt, artificial colors, fillers, additives, and preservatives; all you get is the simple, pure taste of the food itself, its nutrients intact.

With your own fresh baby food, you can also be sure of the quality, source, and safety of your ingredients-a considerable concern in this age of widespread spraying of fruits and vegetables with pesticides, hormone-injected meats, and baby food tampering. And by preparing your own fresh food, you can offer your baby more variety.

Because of these concerns, as new parents armed with professional backgrounds in the food business and early childhood development, we started our first child, Teddi, on fresh, homemade baby food. It was our way of providing only the best for her. We didn't expect to change the way other babies ate-just our own.

Thirteen years ago we were hosting a Lamaze alumni party at our house. One of our guests (a real meat-and-potatoes guy) was totally floored when he saw us take a container of freshly prepared blueberry-pear puree out of our refrigerator and feed it to Teddi. With a hint of sarcasm, he asked us if we were obsessed with the idea of fresh food-of course we didn't know yet that we were. We started to explain our philosophy and then Martha had a better idea; she jumped up and grabbed some spoons, the jar of fresh puree, and a jar of the commercially prepared purees we kept on hand for emergencies. She then proceeded to put a taste of each into our guests' mouths. The taste test was a revelation-the fresh baby food was delicious-"like real food." Our guests were also amazed by the appealing look and wonderful aroma of the fresh puree compared to its drear,' commercial counterpart. And later that night (as we had warm blueberry-pear sauce on our vanilla ice cream), our guests convinced Martha to sign them up as the first students for her now regularly scheduled class in which she still conducts that convincing taste test.

The course we developed teaches proper food introduction, child nutrition, allergy detection, food preparation, storage and handling techniques, as well as purchasing information, suggestions for traveling with your baby, food presentation tips, and questions and answers to food-related parenting concerns.

As we taught more and more parents about freshly prepared baby food, more and more of them, particularly the working parents, kept asking us to prepare the food for them-they didn't always have time to do it themselves but wanted the benefits for their children. After hearing this request almost daily, we decided to do some serious homework. Our research showed a tremendous need for fresh baby food but it also told us that we had a long road ahead of us. To our already growing list of specialists we added the expertise of a Harvard food chemist, the guidance of the United States Department of Agriculture, the New York City Department of Health, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

We started producing on a very limited basis, using our own delivery system. For the first few months we grew by word of mouth only. Each week we would pick up a few new customers who heard about us in their mothers' group or from their pediatrician. (As part of our initial testing, we sent samples to many of the pediatricians in Manhattan.) Timing can be everything. When the movie Baby Boom was released we found Mommy Made and Daddy too! suddenly on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, in The New York Times, The Daily News, Vogue, Health, The Baltimore Sun, The Denver Post, The Christian Science Monitor; we appeared on FOX, NBC, CBS, Japanese TV, and on numerous radio stations across the country. We were off and running and what started as a local fresh baby food business, started to work its way toward national distribution.

We've seen firsthand the impact that food allergies and nutrition can have on learning and behavior, and once you have that experience it's difficult to continue thinking that it doesn't much matter what you feed your children.

At no other time in your child's life is nutrition more important than in the first years. In the first 12 months your baby will triple his weight and grow 10 to 12 inches. By age three he will have doubled his height. Throughout this period 20 teeth will emerge; your baby will learn to walk, talk, and feed himself; and brain growth will be unsurpassed at any other time in his life. It's the nutrients in his food that make all this possible. And in just three hours every two weeks, you can easily prepare all your baby's food from scratch.

This book has been laid out so that you can use it as a reference manual and access it by age as well as by specific issue. It follows the pattern of Martha's lectures in our cooking classes. We suggest you read and digest the whole book before you actually begin to use it Not enough can be said about planning ahead; pregnancy is the right time to begin thinking about how to feed your baby.

Chapter One addresses the first six months of life in which breast-feeding and formula are the focus. In Chapter Two, you will learn in detail about the systematic introduction of solid foods for allergy detection, as set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Chapter Three addresses the more practical side of feeding concerns, including serving that first meal, selecting the right high chair, conquering the cup, and games children play at the table. In essence these two chapters (two and three) cover your baby's feeding needs from six months through one year. Chapter Four will give you a real hands-on understanding about nutrition and appropriate serving size guidelines for your one-to-three year old. Chapter Five is a selection of the most frequently asked questions from the parents who have taken the class and from our baby food customers. The answers we supply come from our own experiences, the specialists and doctors we work with, and other parents. The last chapter provides you with a detailed inventory of the kitchen equipment you'll need in order to make home cooking for your baby a snap.

The recipes in this book have been developed to be basic enough for solid food introduction but with enough flexibility so that they can easily be upgraded for more sophisticated tastes. In addition we have included a number of easy recipes that will appeal to all ages, all with nutrition and great taste in mind.

If it's the best of even-thing you want for your baby and family, we promise to give it to you. The following pages contain the most up-to-the-minute information on infant and early childhood nutrition and feeding issues, as well as our most delicious Mommy Made recipes, so you too can provide your family with fresh foods from the start!

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