For most mothers of young babies, the “mental load” - the weight of remembering, and usually also implementing, the myriad tasks required to keep a household ticking over – is somewhat overwhelming. And one of those tasks is not just feeding your children, but making sure you're giving them nutritious, healthy food. For many mothers, that now means choosing organic foods so we thought we'd delve a little deeper into the world of organic and not only explain what it means but how easy it is to access organic baby food...
A recent poll by Organic Australia showed that 6 in 10 Australians now buy Organic products each year. It’s an impressive statistic and shows just how much importance we place on what goes in our babies mouths. But what exactly does ‘organic’ mean and what are the main benefits of feeding your baby organic food? In short, organic food is food that’s natural, not genetically modified and doesn’t use pesticides in its farming or unhealthy artificial additives in production. You’ll also find that organic fruit and vegetables can taste better, simply because they’re picked when ripe and therefore fresher. In contrast, conventionally grown produce can contain pesticide residues. A recent USDA study found that over 75% of fruits and vegetables contain pesticide residues (this was after washing and peeling ). According to the American Academy of Paediatricians , exposure to high-pesticide-residue foods may induce chronic health complications in children, including neurodevelopmental issues.
According to Tasmanian Organic Apple Farmer Malcolm Francis, organic is “special and trusted. To be certified Organic, food producers must adhere to a set of strict and highly regulated laws that prohibit the use of synthetic chemicals or processes, to produce food the way nature intended”. Francis explains that it takes a minimum of three years to convert a conventional farm into a certified organic farm which is why only 1% of the world’s farmland is certified organic ’.
“I did my research and found that children are most susceptible to toxins and harmful chemicals early in life. So certified organic food, with no synthetic pesticides or fertilisers, was a must,” says health coach, author, TV Host and mother to Violet, 5, and Dominic, 2, Rachael Finch, who feeds her children Bellamy’s Organic, which is Australian made and owned and provides babies with a pure start to life.
Likewise, paediatric dietitian and mum of 2 ½ year old twins, Susie Burrell, believes in the nutritional benefits of organic milk, fruits and vegetables. “Organic cows are ‘free range’, which means they can roam freely on pastures, eating fresh organic grass and hay. This allows organic cows to produce milk with 40-60% more omega-3 fatty acids than conventional milk, including the important long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA, DPA and DHA [5,6]”, she Burrell. These promote brain development and reduce inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases like cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease and ADHD. “Only 6% of Australian children aged 2-16 are consuming the suggested dietary intake of long-chain omega-3s,” she says.
According to Burrell, organic fruits and vegetables can also have nutritional advantages over conventionally grown produce: one of the most robust studies to date found that organic fruits and vegetables have significantly higher concentrations of a range of antioxidants and half as much of the toxic heavy metal Cadmium . Antioxidants are nutrients that may help support a stronger immune system and can also help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases in later life .
So what are the best ways to feed your baby organic? Luckily, in Australia, sourcing organic fruits, vegetables and milk is getting much easier as supermarkets expand their organic food range. Burrell says an easy way to start feeding your baby organic is to look for baby food products that are certified organic (by organisations such as NASAA and ACO). For babies, Burrell recommends Bellamy’s Organic’s range of cereals and fruit pouches which are renowned for not compromising on their nutrition standards, are 100% certified organic, 100% Australian made, and only use the finest quality ingredients.
Their fantastic organic apple snacks, for example, come in convenient packaging which is BPA free, are made from 100% Australian Organic apples from Tasmania’s Esperance Bay, contain no artificial preservatives, colours or flavours, no synthetic pesticides and no GMO ingredients. They’re literally picked straight from the tree, freeze-dried and put into the pack. Bellamy’s organic custard is the first custard on the market with no added sugar. Flavours include cherry custard with cacao, vanilla and pear custard with chia seeds, banana custard with flaxseed – when did baby food get so delicious not to mention guilt free? Each pouch contains 1/3 cup of organic milk. Their range of baby rice contains GOS prebiotic to help boost immunity and promote gut health. There’s also a new pumpkin flavour. And then there are the puree pouches (we didn’t ever leave the house without a stash of these). They’ve just introduced some fun new flavours such as watermelon and guava in apple puree and cherry and pomegranate in pear puree (again, since when did baby food become so gourmet? These kids eat better than adults do).
We’ve tried and tested all these products – there’s nothing on The Grace Tales we don’t personally love or wouldn’t recommend to a friend. And for us, when feeding your kids organic is this easy, not to mention healthy, both mum and bub couldn’t be happier.
Go to www.bellamysorganic.com.au | In association with Bellamy’s Organic
Bellamy’s Organic pouches
Bellamy’s Organic Baby Rice
Bellamy’s Organic Custard
Bellamy’s Organic Apple Snacks
1 The World of Organic Agriculture, 2017 Yearbook, FiBL, IFOAM
2 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Data program, 2018
3 Pesticide Exposure in Children, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012
4 Nafferton Ecological Farming Group, University of Newcastle. “Higher PUFA and omega-3 PUFA, CLA, a-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic bovine milk: A systematic literature review and meta and redundancy analysis”. Srednicka-Tober et al. 2016. British Journal of Nutrition.
5 Organic Production Enhances Milk Nutritional Quality by Shifting Fatty Acid Composition: A United States-Wide, 18-Month Study. Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University. Published in PLOS in 2013
6 Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses, Branski 2014, published in British Journal of Nutrition
7 Baranski, M., Srednicka-Tober, D., Volakakis, N., Seal, C., Sanderson, R., Stewart, G.B., Benbrook, C., Biavati, B., Markellou, E., Giotis, C., Gromadzka-Ostrowska, J., Rembialkowska, E., Skwarlo-Sonta, K., Tahvonen, R., Janovska, D., Niggli, U., Nicot, P. & Leifert, C. (2014) Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. British Journal of Nutrition. 112, 794-811.