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Thread: opinion on nitrates?

  1. #1
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    Default opinion on nitrates?

    Hi everyone! Baby is 6 months and seems to love solids so far. I'm careful to bf before and after, and she doesn't get much when I'm with her. She gets most of her solids at daycare.

    We've tried applesauce, peaches, sweet potato, squash, oatmeal baby cereal, banana, and avocado. I had thought about doing baby led solids, but hubs and daycare seem more comfortable with purees, so that's the route we've gone.

    Her pediatrician gave us info on first foods but pretty much told us anything goes except honey as long as she's ready and we pay attention to her cues. We have dairy and wheat intolerances on my side of the family, so I'm planning on being careful with those, but otherwise I'm open to letting her try most foods without much restriction to see what she likes.

    We've bought some prepared baby foods but I've also made several purees and as long as I have a few minutes to make them, prefer doing that instead of purchasing commercial baby food. I'm getting a little frustrated, though, with some foods. I've read certain foods are high in nitrates and you shouldn't prepare them at home, but those same foods aren't necessarily easily found already prepared in the store except carrots. I decided to buy spinach today, cooked then pureed and froze, but now I'm questioning myself since that's one of the foods supposedly high in nitrates.

    Thoughts? Is this just one of those things to be aware of and not use cooking water in preparation, etc., or should I suck it up and use the spinach for our meals instead? I used filtered water to thin it instead of using the cooking water. I can't find good info to help me decide, so I'm interested in hearing how others have handled this.
    & working mom of one sweet baby girl

  2. #2
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    Default Re: opinion on nitrates?

    Sorry I cannot answer your question more specifically, I was never concerned about naturally occurring nitrates so this is not an area I am up on. I am not sure how much spinach a baby would have to eat for this to be a concern, but it is way more than my babies would eat of it which was none.

    I suggest that if feeding your baby foods with naturally occurring nitrates concerns you, you can simply avoid those foods. There is no evidence that a baby needs a super varied solids diet, as baby's nutritional needs are (presumably) still being met entirely with breastmilk. Solids are just for fun. So let them be fun and not so much work is my suggestion.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: opinion on nitrates?

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*maddieb View Post
    I am not sure how much spinach a baby would have to eat for this to be a concern, but it is way more than my babies would eat of it which was none.
    True, she may not even like it at all. I normally wouldn't be all that concerned and tend to be laid back about my food other than wanting it to be mostly fresh ingredients and prepared at home if possible. I guess I'm just getting confused by all the information out there about baby food, parenting, and whatever. Too many opinions to sort through when becoming a parent . . . it's overwhelming!

    I'm not even finding solids all that exciting . . .this transition to adult type poop is disconcerting to me already, and I have fed her a couple of times but am realizing I'd rather just nurse, which is partly why I'm giving hubs and daycare the control. I'm quick to say, "oh, she doesn't want it" after or even before the first bite. Clearly, I should not be in control of her food consumption as she does seem to want to eat and gets excited about it. Plus, they are careful to give her small amounts so it won't interfere with nursing.
    & working mom of one sweet baby girl

  4. #4
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    Default Re: opinion on nitrates?

    Nitrates (and nitrites) are found naturally occurring in some vegetables and fruits, dairy and meats, as well as added in processed meats. There is no evidence to show that nitrates are carcinogens, but we do know that processed meats are: we just don't know if they are because of the nitrates or because of all the other compounds (or a combo of them) they include. There is no limit to the amount of naturally occurring nitrates found in foods, because often these foods, like spinach, offer other benefits that outweigh the risk. I'll bet no one ever became unhealthy due to all the nitrates they got from eating too much spinach.

    I'll bet your LO won't eat so much spinach that it will be a problem, especially since you are varying her diet and mostly nursing.

    Also, I totally agree with you about solids not being all that exciting. My LO is 6 months old and I have been resistant and quick to say "I don't think he's ready yet." But I know I can't deter the start forever, so I think this weekend we will give solids a go. I am especially not excited about the poop changes, especially since we cloth diaper! Just another challenge to overcome!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: opinion on nitrates?

    I thought the issue was age. Like babies don't have what they need to actually process nitrates even if they are naturally occurring until somewhere between 6&9months? As I recall carrots stayed off the menu in our house until the year point because of this. Better safe than sorry.

    Way too lazy for formula

  6. #6
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    Feb 2015
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    Default Re: opinion on nitrates?

    djs.mom- yes, age is a factor. The AAP's stance - "It is recommended that foods with naturally occurring nitrates (e.g., green beans, carrots, spinach, squash, beets) be avoided before three months of age." Most reported cases in the US are from infant's whose formula is prepared using well-water. There is no evidence that nitrates transfer to breast milk, even if the mother's intake of nitrates is very high. BUT with all of that being said, better safe than sorry is a good motto for some. Plus, I'm sure your baby won't be too upset if you don't feed him/her spinach and carrots!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: opinion on nitrates?

    Interesting, thanks everyone. I am still thinking there is just too much information out there and no one really knows what to think, so maybe we should just be careful. We did try a small amount of spinach (rather, hubs did) and it was actually really amusing, as she literally spit it out and then kept sticking out her tongue. With everything else we've tried, she sort of spits it out at first but then will swallow, and will accept it much better the second or third time. That didn't seem to happen with spinach, although we only tried it once. She's actually tried almost all of the "first" foods and hubs wants to try yogurt with her soon. Not sure I'm ready for any of this! Poor baby seemed constipated yesterday from solids, I'm starting to worry about my pumping output at work, so I think I'm going to cut back on the amount of solids I'm letting hubs give her at night when I'm home. I am not ready to give up and wean from nursing just yet!
    & working mom of one sweet baby girl

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