Real Food for Mother and Baby
While I’m not yet at that point in my life where I’m settling down and getting married and having babies, I really enjoyed reading through Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods by Nina Planck. It’s loaded with information about food and nutrition while maintaining an easy-to-read style, and perhaps best of all, it doesn’t preach. Planck tells you what she knows – which is, admittedly, a lot, and she brings in the experts to verify what she’s saying, so you don’t have to take only her word on it – and she relates stories about her own pregnancy, but then she leaves it up to you to decide what’s best for your body and your baby.
The book is broken down into five sections, beginning with the chapter entitled ‘What is Real Food?’ that starts with a basic explanation of, you guessed it, what the author calls ‘real food’: the old and the traditional. Foods that were eaten long before food became part of an industry, foods that aren’t processed within an inch of their life, and foods that haven’t been enhanced and added-to before they’re sold are the staples of the ‘real food’ diet. Planck then moves on to chapters covering ‘The Fertility Diet’ [what to eat when you’re trying to conceive, and what foods best prepare your body for the rigors of pregnancy], ‘Forty Weeks’ [how the foods you eat can influence your baby’s development], ‘Nursing Your Baby’ [championing the benefits of breastfeeding over formula use], and ‘First Foods’ [introducing your child to something a little more solid]. The back of the book also provides a list of resources for further reading on a range of topics, from postnatal depression to autism and allergies and various birthing techniques.
Overall, this is a stellar book. Like I said, I’m nowhere near ready for the baby-specific information, but I read this book cover to cover, and it’s now full of post-it flags for easier future reference. I’ve found myself returning to the first chapter on foods basics more than once. A lot of what Planck presents just makes sense, and with so much information and misinformation floating around in the media – eggs are bad! no, wait, eggs are good! – it’s great to have something to fall back on when everything gets confusing. I’ve even broken it out when having baby-related discussions with friends and plan on presenting a copy or two as gifts to friends in the future. And, yeah, maybe I do look forward to using the information for my own personal use some day.