I found myself feeling quite stressed out this morning as I fed Freya her cereal. This time it wasn’t her painfully slow eating pace or the carnage she’d already caused with her toys on the living room floor… It was the news. Scientists at Bristol University have studied thousands of children and they now believe there could be a direct link between the food fed to babies under 3 and their IQ. Apparently eating fats, sugars and processed food could affect their intelligence. And the bit which really struck me with fear was that it’s possible that any future improvements in the child’s diet won’t help. The damage will be done!
Now, as it happens I pride myself on feeding Freya lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and four out of five of her meals are home cooked from scratch…with organic baby pots reserved for a weekend treat. She doesn’t very often turn my food down and she’s never eaten junk food. But I work from home and, because she is my only baby, I have plenty of time to cook for her.
I hadn’t doubted her diet before but as I looked to the future I suddenly felt heavy with the responsibility I have to bring Freya up in the right way. The way I look after her will directly reflect who she becomes in the future…And I want my baby to get a Masters over a McDonalds! What if I’m getting her diet all wrong and my efforts in the kitchen are failing her? Once again a piece of research had left me doubting my parenting skills…
Then I sat back and watched as she ate banana slices in front of me and I started to see things in perspective. Us mums are always under so much pressure to be perfect – with such apparently dramatic consequences. It might well be that if I have more children in the future, or if my hours at work increase, that I won’t be able to provide home cooked elaborate meals every night. In the future she may well become less keen on eating my healthy meals as she discovers the alternatives. I am sure I will give Freya the odd packet of crisps or sweet when she’s older, as a treat! But that doesn’t mean all my good work will be automatically undone.
I’ve decided to take the news with a pinch of…something healthier than salt. While I will always endeavour to make sure my baby is well-fed with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables – I’m determined not to spend too much time stressing about it! What do you think?