When you’re expecting your first baby, there are endless decisions to be made. Do you find out the baby’s gender in advance or save the surprise for the delivery room? Do you pick a favorite family name or choose something more original? Should you nurse or bottle-feed? Do you use cloth diapers or disposable? When is the best time for your baby to start on solid foods? Do you feed your baby conventional foods or try to give her as many organic foods as possible?
The Harmful Effects of Pesticides
One of the biggest reasons for choosing organic foods is that they are significantly less likely to contain pesticides than their conventional counterparts. An original scientific study published in “Environmental Health Perspectives” shows you can immediately and dramatically reduce the pesticide content in your child's body by switching to organic foods.
There are many ways to avoid pesticides in your baby's diet; here are just a few worth mentioning.
The Dirty Dozen
One of the easiest ways to begin the process of removing pesticides from your baby’s diet is to familiarize yourself with the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen. If you have the time and money to shop for organic produce, the following is a list of what should be on your radar, because EWG’s analysis has shown that these are the fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues.
- Sweet bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers
Organic proteins, including chicken, beef, lamb, cage-free eggs and dairy are also an important part of eating a clean diet. Antibiotics and hormones are frequently used in standard farming. Most conventionally raised beef is subject to this and should be purchased organically, if possible.
Conventionally- farmed cows are typically fed pesticide-laden grains and treated with antibiotics for disease and mastitis, while organic cows must be fed organic material, no antibiotics or growth hormones can be used, and at least 30 percent of their “dry matter intake” (which works out to about half of what they eat) must be grazed at pasture.
While the above changes are great, don’t feel like you have to make all of them at once. Baby steps are okay! And while I encourage you to buy as much organic food as your budget allows, eating conventionally-grown produce is better than not eating fruits and veggies at all.
Much of your baby’s well-being depends on decisions you make early in his life. Providing him with as many organic foods as your budget allows should be one decision that’s easy to make.
Jan Scott is a food writer, blogger and party planner. She is the food editor for SavvyMom Media and the creative behind Family Bites, a blog inspired by the simple recipes and party ideas she’s put to the test on her family.