Why Grains are Bad for Baby

Typically, a baby’s first food is some sort of grain, usually rice cereal. Unfortunately, grains might be too difficult for baby to digest and can cause a variety of digestive trouble that will keep you both up at night. Amylase, the enzyme needed to properly digest grains, is found only in very small amounts in babies under the age of 16 months.

That isn’t to say that they can’t digest grains at all, but it might be a good idea to avoid them since foods

Why Grains are Bad for Baby

introduced too early can cause digestive distress and increase the likelihood of allergies. Signs of food intolerance include redness around the mouth, bloating, irritability, fussiness, constipation, vomiting and frequent regurgitation of food. According to the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, feeding rice cereal too early can cause grain allergies and may even lead to behavioral problems, mood issues and other food allergies.

Besides being difficult to digest, grains are also not a nutrient-dense food. Feeding a baby too many grains can make them full without providing the nutrients they need to grow a healthy brain, bones and nervous system. The easiest thing to do is keep grains to an absolute minimum. When you do opt for grains, avoid pre-made baby cereals and make them at home instead.

Cooking your baby’s grains at home gives you the ability to help make them more digestible. Grains contain something called phytic acid, which inhibits enzymes needed for digestion-–making them difficult to digest. Soaking grains overnight before cooking them helps make reduce the amount of phytic acid in them, which helps their digestibility. Rice and oatmeal are both grains that can be soaked overnight and made into a baby cereal that’s much easier for your baby to digest.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.

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