In our post Baby Led Weaning + Gut Health, we shared more about the problematic issues that undigested food particles have on a baby’s gut lining. Now, we want to take the time to expand on another problem with undigested food particles – nutritional deficiencies.
Poor Digestion = Poor Nutrient Absorption
We’ve all heard it said “You are what you eat.” Well, we actually might be more “what we digest.”
While intake is one component of nutrition, digestion and absorption are another equally important. If you have all this nutrient dense, clean food but couldn’t digest it well, what was the point? The assimilation of nutrients into our bloodstream for use by the body can only be done if the food is well digested.
Babies have such small abdominal cavities. They often cannot take in such large quantities of food, which makes optimal digestion of the utmost importance. Since babies also have such a great need of nutrients for growth and rapid brain development, they cannot afford to consume food that isn’t being digested. Basically, they need all the nutrients from the food they are eating!
Babies need so many nutrients for proper growth and rapid brain development. They cannot afford to consume food that isn’t being digested. Basically, they need ALL the nutrients from the food they are eating!
Undigested Food Particles + Nutrient Absorption
Undigested food particles in your baby’s stool is one of the easiest at home ways to identify that optimal digestion is not taking place. No labs needed, no stool study required, identifiable undigested food should not be a daily recurrence in your baby’s stool.
Now that being said, as babies transition from purees to chunkier veggies, moms may see a chunk of carrot or zucchini or a berry here and there. Here and there is okay.
Wondering how to cook your baby’s food to support optimal digestion? Let our course Starting Solids: A Gentle Approach to Introducing Real Food help! We tell you exactly what to introduce, when and how to cook it to support your baby’s gut health and nutrient absorption.
When babies consume whole food particles from the age of 6 months as BLW recommends, there is often a cascade of digestive and gut issues that result.
Imagine a baby who cannot chew well (because no teeth are present yet), hasn’t learned to gum food well yet (because you just started introducing food) and doesn’t have strong digestive enzymatic production (because of their age), but is fed whole foods and grains.
They will have stool that very clearly has whole food particles throughout. This is not beneficial for their gut lining as we discussed in the post Baby Led Weaning + Gut Health. And clearly, the baby wasn’t able to digest and assimilate any of the nutrients from the food. So, there was very little to no nutritional benefit of eating the food.
Do your baby well, give their gut a chance to thrive and follow an approach that emphasizes gut health, like what we share in our Starting Solids course!