Parents, Beware: Heavy Metals Found in Popular Baby Foods ~ By Ally Cole, Pediatric Dietitian

There was a congressional investigation that came to light last week regarding the heavy metal levels in the foods we feed our babies.

It was found that there are high levels of arsenic and other toxic metals in many popular baby foods, including organic brands. High levels of Arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury levels are not ideal at this crucial developmental stage of the baby’s brain. It was found that some brands had more than 5 times the allowed levels of any and all of the above listed toxins. It is alarming and disappointing that at this point, we can no longer trust the labels and companies to provide our children the nutritious foods we believe we’re giving to them.

Yes, metals are found in all of our foods, especially those root vegetables. Like everything, the dose is the poison. The FDA needs to do better in regards to their standards. The key is to incorporate a variety of foods (if safely ready to chew) into your child’s diet alongside the purees.

Gerber, Beechnut, Earth’s Best Organic and the Happy Family (Happy Baby) were listed among the trusted baby food brands containing large quantities of metals. It should be noted that other brands refused to cooperate — the Walmart brands of Plum Organics, and Sprout Organics. This is so alarming! Research also found that the FDA does not have limits for heavy metals in baby foods, besides rice cereals. Better choices include brands such as Cerebelly found at Target (https://cerebelly.com/) and Yumi (https://helloyumi.com/) commercial baby foods.

Check back often for new, SAFE, recipes from purees – to – toddler age foods on our social media pages! Here is a soft “baby puff – esque” recipe that Ally, one of our dietitians, developed with her son, Harrison, as her tried and true taste tester!

Recipe:

1 medium size organic sweet potato

1 small organic banana

1.5 cups organic oats (pulverized)

2 tbsp olive oil

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350. Peel and coarsely chop the sweet potatoes and cover with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil and boil 10-15 minutes until soft enough to poke with a fork. While the sweet potatoes are boiling, pulverize the oats in the blender. Add them to a medium size mixing bowl. Add the banana & olive oil, mash the banana, mixing with the oats and oil. When the sweet potatoes are done cooking, blend until smooth. Add the sweet potatoes to the banana, oat mixture and mix until well combined. Roll the dough onto the parchment paper until flat. Score them so they’re ready to be cut when finished. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, cool. Store the rest in the fridge.

*Note: recipe alternative if your child is not crawling yet, and is on stage 2 purees, you can puree the sweet potato with the banana and give it to your child with a spoon!*

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An 8-week program for children age 3-5 with sensory processing differences

Children with sensory processing differences have difficulty with regulation, which sometimes makes it difficult for them to interact with the world around them. Our Sensory Explorers group targets regulation in order to build engagement! This group is led by pediatric occupational therapist Mackenzie Baldock and developmental therapist/PLAY Project Consultant Brenna Thompson, both of whom specialize in using developmentally appropriate strategies to support children so they can learn new skills. Group meets once/week for 60 minutes.

Wondering if this class is appropriate for your child? Some characteristics of kids who benefit: easily frustrated with play, repetitive play, difficulty sitting/keeping still to engage in play, refuses to allow others to engage in play, unable to be messy, overly busy, quickly overwhelmed in a busy environment, picky eater, difficulty tolerating grooming/dressing/diapering routines, struggles with transitions/following a group plan/routine. 

Goals of the group include:

  • Child participating in a variety of sensory play activities
  • Engaging socially with others in the group
  • Providing a non threatening environment where children can experience new sensations with the support of a pediatric Occupational Therapist and PLAY Project consultant
  • Providing personalized resources to caregivers, so they better understand the sensory system and learn strategies to assist their child with regulation outside of group
  • Opportunity to meet with other local families
 
 

Group begins with a 30 minute Open House on Tuesday October 4 for your child & caregiver/family to attend. This provides an opportunity to meet the therapists, acclimate your child to the space and provide some initial information about your child’s responses to a variety of sensory activities. 30 minute sessions will be offered from 12:30-4:30 on 10/4 with sign up sent with registration.

 

GROUP MEETS for 6 weeks October 11-November 15: Tuesdays 2:00-3:00 OR Tuesdays 3:30-4:30. ***We ask that families who are able remain flexible on the time slot so we can effectively pair your child with others that they will gain the maximum benefit from for social interactions!** Caregivers are encouraged to stay to support their child and learn helpful strategies, however other options will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Caregiver education is a key component of this program. Make-up date in case of class cancellation: 11/22/22

 

Group ends with a 15-30 minute Zoom wrap up session with caregiver(s) on November 29th. Every participant will receive a short, personalized Session Summary report complete with suggestions/recommendations for helpful sensory supports in the child’s home/classroom/community.