Going to church has been a challenge for us since Griffin was born. He is a child who loves his schedule, and that schedule includes a nap from 10am-11am. Since church starts at 11, that leaves me driving separately and lugging baby to his Sunday school class almost an hour after the other children have arrived. Which means we haven’t gone that often.
When we do go, it seems there’s always some type of challenge, but the main problem I’ve been having is in terms of food. I know I’m in the teeny, tiny minority when it comes to feeding my baby. He doesn’t get sugar, grains, or anything inorganic. And although I used to allow the nursery volunteers to feed Griffin food I brought from home, I quickly stopped that after hearing one discussing another baby in the class.
“He seemed hungry after I fed him everything his mother brought, so I gave him some cheerios.”
After my moment of panic, I relaxed. I would just tell them not to feed him anything, and I could do it myself after church. Problem solved. I also wrote it down on the sign-in sheet and underlined it for good measure.
But even after all that, when Jeremy went to the nursery after church to pick Griffin up today, he asked the volunteer how he handled everything.
“Oh, he was fussy at the beginning, but I just gave him a few cheerios and he seemed better.”
This is the point in which my husband freaks out and eventually goes in search of the Children’s Ministry director. Luckily, the volunteer (frantically) assured him that she only offered a few Cheerios, and Griffin would only take the first one. After that, he wasn’t interested. That’s right, he knew it wasn’t real food and wanted no part of it! I was a proud momma.
Unfortunately, even though the director assured Jeremy that this wouldn’t happen again, I’m sure everyone involved was thinking that we were simply Nazi parents. They’re just Cheerios, after all. Practically a right of childhood.
But that’s where I want to sit them down and share my viewpoint. It’s not JUST a Cheerio. It’s a genetically modified, ultra-processed grain. My son has never had anything remotely like that in his life. Not only would he not know what to do with something that texture and could potentially choke on it, but he might have an allergic reaction. It’s my job as his mother to introduce new foods to him.
Why is it that parents follow certain “rules” to the letter? Whattoexpect.com gives a long list of foods to never give babies under 12 months. Can you imagine if some stranger offered your kid honey or peanuts? Wouldn’t you have a minor heart attack and be looking for signs of an allergic reaction the rest of the day?
This is how I feel about grains. And for good reason, although as I’ve already stated, I’m in the minority where this is concerned.
Babies are functionally grain intolerant – their small bodies aren’t ready to digest grains. This is because until about three years of age, they don’t have a complete set of carbohydrate enzymes that can break them down. Especially where GMO, processed foods are concerned, grains at that age can lead to allergies, asthma ADHD, and even autism. Experts from the National Institute of Environmental Health also report that even very low toxic exposure in early life is a factor in a variety of behavioral problems and autoimmune conditions.
From Super Nutrition for Babies:
Cereals (like Cheerios) are
Chemical – Due to the processing they endure, cereals are sources of toxins, created via a high-heat process called extrusion, which denatures proteins, turning them into neurotoxins. Whole grains are even worse, as they contain more protein. Due to high heat during processing, cereals also contain more than 500 times the safe limit of a class 2A toxin: acrylamides. This toxin causes cancer and has a variety of other toxic effects in human and animal studies.
- Hard to Digest – At this age, your baby is barely making starch-digesting enzymes. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, oats, and most cereals, is particularly hard to digest. Undigested proteins increase your child’s risk of developing gluten intolerance and allergies. (Considering I am gluten intolerant, this increases Griffin’s odds even more).
- Lead to Autoimmune Disease – Early gluten introduction has been shown to play a role in the development of Celiac disease, as well as other autoimmune disorders. As the incidence of Celiac disease (and other autoimmune disorders) is on a steep rise, some experts postulate that this increase might be directly related to early and excessive gluten-containing diets, including an increasing reliance on grain foods for babies.
Addictive – A special enzyme (called DPP-4) is needed to digest gluten. Since babies don’t yet have this gluten-busting enzyme, the gluten can get “stuck” in a partially digested form. Called gluteomorphin, this partially digested protein acts similar to other opiates – opium, morphine, and heroin – clouding and fogging the brain, hindering development and perception, and altering behavior. Since gluteomorphins are just as addicting as other opiate drugs, your baby can get physically hooked on cereal and wheat.
So, with all that said, do I think all these issues are going to happen to Griffin because of ONE Cheerio? No, of course not. He didn’t have a reaction to the tiny amount he had (and you can bet I was looking closely).
But I don’t know that I can trust that he won’t be given more in the future, either. And that’s a shame. In our culture, babies are given food for everything – celebrations, boredom, and in Griffin’s case, when they are upset. Kids usually get 2-3 snacks a day, not to mention constant grazing. But I don’t carry around snacks for him, and I don’t want strangers feeding him, either. It really makes me sad that as a parent, my requests aren’t listened to. Having childcare at church is a huge blessing, but if I don’t feel safe (or feel that my child is safe in any way), I have difficulty bringing him again and again.
What would you do in my situation? I’m really torn right now. Any comments at all are welcome!!