Monday, February 16, 2009

organic food fight

Every parent wants the best for their babies. Based on my own research from books, magazines, pamphlets and the web, I breastfed my first-born until he was one, strapped him into a carseat with the best safety rating and put him in unbleached cloth diapers. At 4-weeks-old, he was the youngest participant in the Music and Movement sessions at the Early Years Centre. I signed up for Infant Massage class and made a ritual of massaging him after bath. Well before he was ready to eat solids, I had already made up my mind to make homemade baby food and was scouting grocery stores for organic or locally-grown produce.

I was determined to give my baby the best start possible. So I was a little put off to have been the subject of criticism, at a Make Your Own Baby Food class, when I admitted that I intended to feed my baby organic food. I think I said something like, "I'm planning on buying organic..." One mom cut me off immediately, "Not all veggies are available organic. I want to expose my baby to everything!" What? To pesticides, too, I thought. The instructor then added, "Oh, you don't need to buy organic. Stuff doesn't go through breastmilk anyway." I don't intend to feed organic apples to my babe through my breast. I plan to use a spoon and put it in his mouth, directly.

The truth is that certain produce have such low levels of pesticides that you don't have to buy it organic if it isn't available. But I said nothing. I felt weary and just couldn't be bothered. For those reading this and want to know more, a wallet-size guide is available at

I don't want to appear smug. I've certainly made many wrong choices as a mom. When my own mother questioned whether it was safe to use plastic bottles and sippy cups, I didn't even give it a thought. Now, the BPA issue is all too real. Also, these days, convenience has become a major factor in my choices. I stopped using cloth diapers when I was pregnant with my 2nd child and we were in the midst of selling our bungalow. I simply found it difficult to hide the smell or presence of dirty cloth diapers from potential buyers and, later, managing it with 2 babies in a two-storey house seemed overwhelming.

Today, you can find organic goods everywhere. I shop regulary at Zehrs, Sobeys, and even Shoppers Drug Mart. "Organic" living has become popular and that's great! I truly believe every parent wants the best for their babies. Make goods easily accessible and affordable, and the debate about 'what is best' becomes a little less muddy, and we begin to embrace previously marginal or 'alternative' choices. Today, my greatest dilemma is how to get my babies back into cloth diapers.

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