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Q: I have an eight-month-old daughter that started eating solid foods two months ago. Is it best to feed her organic?
A: Feeding your little one her first foods can be quite stressful. Because the first introduction to various foods can impact an infant's future dietary likes and dislikes, it is important to make the right choices for your baby from the beginning.
As a general rule, parents determine the quality of what their child is eating, while babies dictate the quantity (never force feed your child!).
Due to an infant's small stature and an immature and developing immune system, I am a strong advocate of feeding your baby certified organic food.
What does certified organic mean? It is a classification that refers to crops or farms that have been free from synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, ripening agents and fungicides for a minimum of three years.
In order for farmers to receive the accreditation of certified organic, they must meet strict guidelines that are set up by government approved certifying associations.
Children are at a higher risk to the effects of herbicides and pesticides due to their smaller body size and faster metabolism.
In recent years, there has been a rise in childhood illnesses -- such as asthma and cancer -- that have been linked to the increased intake of herbicides and pesticides.
According to the Environmental Working Group, "More than 1 million children between the ages of 1 and 5 ingest at least 15 pesticides every day from fruits and vegetables."
In addition to reducing your baby's overall toxic exposure and protecting her against illness or disease, research has demonstrated that certified organic fruits and vegetables taste better and may even contain more nutrition in comparison to conventional fruits and vegetables.
According to Eryn Green and Tamar Wagman, co-founders of Sweetpea Baby Food, an organic frozen baby food line, "Feeding your baby organic provides them with a superior form of nutrition. Research has shown certain organic crops to be higher in vitamin C, magnesium and iron."
In a nutshell -- go organic! Organic farming is much healthier for you, your baby, the planet and for the prevention of illness and disease in future generations.
Dr. Joey Shulman D.C., RNCP, is author of Winning the Food Fight (Wiley 2003) and The Natural Makeover Diet (in stores Jan. 2006). For more information, visit