Babies are Built from Food

Babies Are Built from Food

When a brand-new baby opens her eyes and, for the first time, settles her gaze on her parents with a spark of recognition, something very complex has taken place. The light in the room has focused through a tiny living lens to project an image on the canvas of tightly packed nerve cells in the back of her eyes. The postage-stamp- of tissue that we call the retina contains miraculous little rods or “black-and-white” receptors that photograph the ever-changing patterns of light and darkness before her eyes. They transform images from across the room into coherent neural signals that race along the optic nerve, through the optic chiasm, separating and rejoining until they reach the occipital lobe of her brain, a processing system of daunting speed, power, and complexity.

And all of this intricate, invisible complexity in her first glance has been built out of food.

The realization that babies are built from food is both liberating and inspiring. With a new baby, you have the ability to “get in on the ground floor” when you invest in your child by making healthy food choices.

During pregnancy, and in the months before, each healthy food choice has a bigger payoff than at any other time of life. Even a little change in the right direction can have big rewards. It can help you become even better soil in which your child grows.

As we’ll see, a mother’s body is designed-with its special cravings and aversions, with its changing sense of taste and smell-to help choose the best foods for her baby. And her baby is designed to make the best use of those foods, to learn from her mother about what foods to eat, how much to eat, and how to use those calories. It starts even before she is born.

Published on: July 31, 2009
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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