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The best complementary food for baby
Baby’s need good nutrition, to grow up big and strong.
Breast milk helps junior get off to a good start.
But, around the six month mark, baby’s needs exceed what Mom can provide. It is at this point that solids are introduced.
The “quality” of those solids MATTER.
For many little ones, the nutritional quality is just not good enough.
Leaving the little one’s development compromised.
The condition is referred to as stunting. It’s tragic. These little brains and bodies fail to reach their full potential. Their lives are changed FOREVER.
Why does it happen ?
The primary reason is poverty.
Communities most impacted by stunting are poor communities
But, it is also ignorance.
Mom’s just don’t know what foods are best…..
Fortified baby cereal
Unable to afford these special fortified baby foods, Moms opt to feed their little ones, on ordinary porridge.
Where I live, in South Africa, the porridge of choice is mielie meal (maize meal). It fills baby’s belly, but leaves baby short changed in key nutrients.
What about eggs ?
Eggs are a super food.
Everything that is needed to grow a baby bird, from a single cell, to a fluffy fledging, is neatly packaged in the egg “container”. The nutrients that sustain a baby chicken, are the same nutrients needed to sustain a baby human.
Eggs are affordable. Simple to store. Easy to prepare.
The Lulen (Egg) Project
In the rural indigenous communities of the Ecuadorian highlands, 42.3 % of children under the age of 5 years have stunting. Motivated to find a solution for the babies growing up in the Ecuadorian highlands, the Lulen (Egg) project was born.
The mission of the Lulen project was test, whether an egg a day, could make a difference.
Heading for the hills
The team of researchers behind the project, scoured 5 rural parishes in the Cotopaxi Province for healthy babies, 6 to 9 months old.
163 babies signed up.
Okay, the babies didn’t sign up, their caregivers did. 138 of the caregivers were Moms, the remaining 25 where a mix of grannies, aunties, dads and big sisters.
Since this was a clinical trial, not all babies got the box of eggs.
- 80 did
- 83 didn’t
Assignment to the two groups was a random process.
The researchers checked in with all the families once a week. For those assigned to eat an egg a day, the weekly visit coincided with their egg delivery.
6 months later
The babies were weighed and measured.
Among the variables assessed was length-4-age (LAZ). When this number is less than -2, the baby is considered to have stunting. At the start of the study, 32 (26 %) of the little ones in the control group and 47 (37 %) in the egg group, had stunting.
By the end of the study, there had been a small increase in the level of stunting in the control group. 40 children had a LAZ score of less than -2. The story was quite different in the egg group.
Things had improved significantly.
26 of the children had shifted from being stunted, to being normal. This translates to a 47 % reduction in stunting.
Change in LAZ distribution at baseline (dashed) and at end point (solid). A, Control group. B, Egg group.
What about egg allergies ?
It was a worry.
This is one of the reasons, the team visited the families each week, they were on the look out for signs of an egg allergy.
It never happened.
Probably because the eggs were introduced early into the children’s diets. And living in rural communities, these little ones are likely to have diverse microbiomes.
Eggs not just for the poor
Eggs are a complete food, safely packaged and arguably more accessible in resource-poor populations than other complementary foods, specifically fortified foods.
But, you don’t have to be “poor” to benefit.
Every Mom, rich or poor, wants to provide her little one with the best start possible.
An egg a day, will give your baby a great start.
So spread the word.
Peanuts, come designed with a particularly glaring antigenic anomaly, which attracts attention, but when immune cells see this regularly, it becomes normal.
Human babies consuming raw cow’s milk, suffer from a lot less runny noses, fevers, ear aches, coughs and up set tummies than babies drinking boxed milk.
The aim of the game, to feed your toothless wonder, mushed up food on a spoon. Spooning it in – ensures your little one grows up BIG, real BIG.