Essential Nutrients for Babies & Toddlers
So, what sets Vivi & Tom apart from the other baby food companies out there?
You’ve seen the pouches and jars at the grocery store. The infant cereals, crackers and cookies. While those foods can certainly be handy in a pinch, they unfortunately don’t contain many of the most essential nutrients to support the incredible, rapid growth of our fascinating little babes. What we eat literally becomes a part of us - building and replenishing our cells and tissues, while providing fuel to power our brains, muscles and all other bodily processes.
At Vivi & Tom, we want to provide babies and toddlers with the absolute best quality fuel for this growth. By introducing nutrient-dense first-foods, you’re setting your baby up for optimal development and lasting health. Starting them off with whole, natural foods ensures they develop a taste for healthy food right from the get-go.
Remember, exposure = preference!
Local, Seasonal, Organic
We create our baby and toddler meals from a combination of one or more: local, seasonal and organic ingredients. Our Holistic Nutritionist has formulated these meals to be balanced and rich in essential nutrients for little ones - read on below for more information on this!
Using this blend of local, seasonal and organic allows us to give the best combination and quality to your babe. For instance, if an ingredient is not organic, it is seasonal and also may be local.
Our meats are always grass-fed/pasture-raised/free-range and organic. With the fluctuating seasonality of fruits and vegetables, we may not always be able to source them locally AND organically. For example, if we cannot source organic parsnips, we will obtain them from a reputable local source. This ensures Vivi & Tom is using the most nutrient-dense, properly raised ingredients available - that is our promise to you!
Iron & Zinc
Iron is essential for proper brain development, motor skills, energy and emotional health1. From birth until 6 months, breastmilk provides sufficient iron and zinc for your baby. But after 6 months, your baby’s iron stores naturally fall, as do zinc levels in breastmilk. There are many commercial first foods for babies that are iron-fortified - meaning synthetic iron is added to address this drop. However, it does not address the subsequent drop in zinc.
Zinc is needed for proper growth of the brain (learning and attention span), reproductive organs and immune system (prevents infections)3. Furthermore, synthetic iron, like that found in infant cereals, is not as bioavailable (how easily your body can absorb and use the nutrients) as natural iron found in meat and animal foods2. Grains and cereals, both commonly recommended first foods, also contain phytate, which binds to minerals, like iron and zinc, and blocks their absorption. So, while there is iron found in some plant foods (non-heme iron), iron from animal foods (heme iron) is much easier for the body to absorb and utilize. Animal foods are also an excellent source of zinc. Can you see why we love our organic, grass-fed, hormone-free, pasture-raised, local meats for babies?! Vitamin C also improves the absorption of iron, which is why we love to pair meat with veggies and fruits rich in this superhero vitamin.
Vivi & Tom love to get their iron and zinc from grass-fed red meats, including beef, lamb and liver!
Calcium is essential for developing strong bones and teeth, muscle contraction and proper nerve and hormone signalling.
Vivi & Tom love to get their calcium from wild salmon, liver, grass-fed yogurt and kefir! Please note dairy is not well-tolerated by some people/babies! Other sources of calcium include: dark leafy greens, chia seeds, sardines, almonds, amaranth and figs.
Vitamin A & D
Vitamin A is well known for influencing the health of your eyes, but it also plays a critical role in bone growth, protection from infections, and cell/tissue growth of the skin, hair and nails4. Now, while everyone is aware that carrots contain vitamin A, they (and many other orange veggies) also contain beta-carotene, which is the precursor (inactive form) of vitamin A. Beta-carotene has to be converted to the active form - retinol - in your body. This conversion doesn’t always happen very well, so it’s important to get active, highly useable vitamin A into the diet5.
Our favourite source of vitamin A is (drum-roll please)... liver, again! It truly is an excellent multivitamin; cod-liver oil is a great source as well.
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin, and most of us do not get enough! Even if we get our fill in the summer, it’s nearly impossible (without a couple tropical vacations) to obtain enough in the winter months. Regardless, you’re not going to be putting your newborn baby out in the direct sunlight for long periods of time! In our experience, all Canadian midwives provide new moms with vitamin D drops for baby right away. This vitamin is essential for so many bodily processes: brain and emotional health (very strong links between low D levels and depression), bone and tooth health, heart health and protection from infection and illnesses.
Our favourite sources are: salmon, egg yolks, liver and sunshine!
- Paediatrics & Child Health. (2007, April). Iron Needs of Babies and Children. Retrieved 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2528681/
- Krebs, N. (2000, February). Dietary zinc and iron sources, physical growth and cognitive development of breastfed infants. Retrieved 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10721906
- Zinc Helps Kids Grow. (2002, May 24). Retrieved 2018, from https://www.webmd.com/children/news/20020524/zinc-helps-kids-grow#1
- BabyCenter. (2018, October 09). Vitamin A in your child's diet. Retrieved 2018, from https://www.babycenter.com/0_vitamin-a-in-your-childs-diet_10324693.bc
- Kresser, M.S., L.Ac, C. (n.d.). Why you can't get vitamin A from eating vegetables. Retrieved 2018, from http://healthybabycode.com/why-you-cant-get-vitamin-a-from-eating-vegetables