Should Babies and Children Have Cultured Foods?
Bacteria and Birth
Having babies is a big event. For me, it was life-threatening and life-changing.
My third pregnancy was actually the catalyst for this blog, my website, and my books. My pregnancy was a scary event – things quickly went from bad to worse and they delivered my baby 7.5 weeks early to save my life and hers. Never did I expect something so painful and scary to teach me the things I know today. But I had to learn, somehow, someway, that I was more than the sickness that consumed me and my family. The pain was temporary, wellness was my birthright, and by golly, I was gonna find my way to wellness, no matter what. At the age of 41, I finally discovered who I was. It started with a better understanding of the birth process.
Bacteria and birth
When you were in your mother’s womb, you were in a sterile environment. But when you passed through the birth canal or entered the world through a Cesarean section, you were infused with bacteria from everyone and everywhere—your mother, the doctors, the nurses, the environment—pretty much anyone and anything you came in contact with affected the bacteria in your system. And this is important because it laid the foundation of your inner world. These bacteria are responsible for many of the biological processes that influence your life to this day. They supply us with necessary vitamins and protect us from disease-causing invaders. When you destroy this new foundation with antibiotics right at birth, the bacteria barely have time to get a foothold. The antibiotics wipe out much of the remaining good bacteria which were meant to protect and nurture you. The types of bacteria you received from your mother will determine how your immune system will thrive and grow.
Giving Kids Cultured Foods
I never understood these principles and I had very different experiences with my children because of it. My first two children didn't receive cultured foods until they were in their teens. They were what I thought of as "typical kids." Ear infections and sickness were the norm and to be expected. But when my third child was born almost 7.5 weeks early and with an immune system that was struggling, I knew I had to do something to help her. I found kefir and began giving her a tablespoon in every bottle and her life transformed (My story video). Kefir changed everything. She thrived and never had one ear infection, nor did she ever go to the doctor because of sickness - not once - and she is now seventeen. When she was born, the doctors told me she had a weak immune system and would probably always struggle with sickness, but I believe the cultured foods changed all that.
Stories of Kids and Cultured Foods
Let me share the story of two people who have experienced the benefits of cultured foods.
In January of 2012, I contracted with a company (Sound and Shadow) to help me shoot some videos and manage my website. I invited them to shoot a video on my boat in the summer and they all spent the weekend with my family and me. A few weeks later, two of these men told me their wives were expecting babies just a few days apart. Their wives had been consuming cultured foods for a few years. Their wives told me stories about their children. Each of them had at least one child prior to cultured foods and then another child after consuming cultured foods. And they both had another child on the way. The children who received cultured foods shortly after they were born were much healthier than the siblings who did not. They had very few doctors visits and they learned to use cultured foods to treat ailments in their kids. Stomach problems were solved with the juice from cultured veggies. Colds and flu were lessened or prevented by strengthening the immune system with daily doses of cultured foods. Their children were experiencing the same thing I had experienced. They were healthier because they started consuming cultured foods early in their lives! When anyone consumes cultured foods your immune system works better in general and this makes the processes in your body work better.
So What To Do?
So what to do? And how and when do you start giving children cultured foods? I will share my experience and what I have witnessed has had the most success. Remember, you are laying a foundation that will last a lifetime. Starting to consume cultured foods early, before you’re pregnant, is ideal. I believe it can even help you get pregnant by helping hormones begin to function in a better way. But if this is not the case, and you find yourself pregnant or with a newborn, then it is still a good place to start, but always start slowly and build up from there. This is just food, but this powerful food will change your inner world. Consume only small amounts in the beginning – a few spoonfuls will do.
I Started With Kefir
I started with milk kefir. You can do dairy or dairy-free kefir. They both worked great for my preemie and for me. I use goat milk kefir mostly and we saw a dramatic change in our health. Because kefir is so powerful with 50+ probiotics, I think this is the best-cultured food to begin consuming.
I gave my baby one tablespoon of milk kefir in her bottle or by spoon. I did this several times a day, and I watched as she started sleeping through the night. She stopped getting every little cold and virus, and she put on four pounds in a month, which is a lot for a preemie!
This was all I did in the beginning, and it made a huge difference. So simple, but adding 50 plus good bacteria to her little gut with kefir changed her from the inside out. If you're a nursing mom then the best way to give your baby kefir is for you to consume it and then they will naturally get this from you. My daughter was 10 months old when I started on cultured foods and had already quit nursing (much to my dismay).
Evidence shows that probiotics can play a role in improving colic,1 eczema,2,3 and intestinal problems in babies 4. But if you start them off early enough, you might never have these problems.
In the very beginning, I started making kefir with the Kefir Powder packages, and this is what I fed my daughter then later on started using the Kefir grains as well. She was a toddler when she had spoonfuls of cultured veggies and kombucha too or what I call "The Trilogy". Many people share with me how their kids love the Trilogy, and how they enjoy my recipes because it makes it easy to find things they like. I even have an eBook "Cultured Food for Kids" that I give to my Biotic Pro members once a year, that has 37 kid-friendly recipes.
Kids respond very fast to beneficial microbes in cultured foods. It can make all the difference to start them out young. Always follow your own instincts and let your body teach you what works the best. Our bodies are amazing and complex. If our bodies could talk I can imagine them saying, ” You be good to me and I will shine for you!”
Listen To My Podcast
Kids respond very fast to beneficial microbes in cultured foods. It can make all the difference to start them out young. Always follow your own instincts and let your body teach you what works the best. Our bodies are amazing and complex. Check out this week's podcast to learn more.
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