Gabrielle Palmer’s groundbreaking book The Politics of Breastfeeding highlighted the controversies surrounding the aggressive promotion of breastmilk substitutes. She now turns her attention to complementary feeding – the first foods that a child eats besides milk.
For most of human existence, children went without industrially processed foods and branded food products. Can we applaud the progress of the way children are fed today? In our unequal world one billion people risk their health through overconsumption while two billion people are hungry. The health problems of both groups start in early childhood.
The power and influence of the food industry has increased dramatically in recent decades. Seductive and often unethical modern marketing methods have led to the promotion of unsuitable, unnecessary and sometimes harmful baby foods. Yet not all industrially processed foods are bad and not all ‘natural’ foods are good. Both poor and rich children may be inappropriately fed.
What lessons can we learn from history? How do cultural and religious beliefs influence the choice of food? Can government initiatives have any effect? How can we provide good nutrition for all infants? This brief, compassionate and thought-provoking new book will be of interest to anyone who is curious about the world, its children and their nutrition, and will stimulate discussion and debate as part of the campaign to create a world where health for all is a true goal.
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Posted by Amy Mason on 12th Jun 2012
This was a real eye opener to me as was The Politics of Breastfeeding. I was surprised how small this book was, but really there was no need for it to be any bigger it was packed full of information.
It covered the nutritional value of what babies need to complement breast milk compared with what they are often given. It is very important to research how you wish to feed your baby solid food instead of just being pressured by marketing!! It is a book which lets you make your own decisions about how and what you feed your child.
We did baby led weaning with my second and it was fantastic, it also made me think, why would you wean any other way, this to me was just “common sense’’ healthy eating.
I really recommend this book to anyone with children or working with children. Or just anyone interested in complementary feeding. I really enjoyed it!!
Posted by B Wells on 28th Apr 2012
This is a great book to read if you are interested in learning more about food and nutrition, particularly for babies and children. it states clearly in the introduction that this book is NOT a strict set of instructions on how to feed your baby or toddler, it is a book which lets you make your own decisions about how and what you feed your child. This is a brilliant follow-on book from 'The Politics of Breastfeeding' and it is a short book which leaves you wanting to read more about this fascinating subject.
Posted by Jil Manning on 6th Apr 2012
This book makes for a riveting, eye-opening read, whether you are the parent of a baby who is starting to be interested in solid food or not. If you’re lucky enough to have to have the ability to eat whatever takes your fancy, whenever you are hungry, you may never have had reason to imagine that the issues presented by this work might have a personal significance. The facts are that rich or poor, we are all at risk from inappropriate diets, and that two billion people remain hungry. Have you ever considered the fact that our ancestors’ toddlers obtained iron in their diet by scrabbling around in the earth and snacking on little creatures? Or that whilst cereals may be culturally and commercially acceptable as a ‘baby food’ they are in fact nutritionally hollow and not only that but children under two lack the appropriate enzymes for the digestion of starch, a major component of cereals? This book points out some astonishing truths about nutrition and provokes a complete re-think about why we buy and eat what we do, especially for little ones in our care who are just beginning their relationship with solid foods. The questions and answers the author presents around how and why most humans’ eating habits are no longer about simple availability of local edible plants and animals, are often astonishing. It seems so obvious when Palmer points out that for the vast majority of our history, we have fed our children successfully without the help of experts, or little jars of commercially prepared food, and yet we are happy to assume that food marketed at us is sold to us for our own good. The current epidemic of childhood and adult obesity frequently attracts comment in the media; this book certainly would enlighten those who wonder at its causes, as well as achieving its purpose which is to stimulate thought and debate, by moving beyond ‘the confinement of deference to the powerful, the expectations of those who hold the purse strings, political fashion and cultural inhibition.’
Posted by Jen Tonkin on 6th Apr 2012
Wow what an eye-opening book! It is only just over 100 pages long (including appendix) and is crammed with thought provoking information about the way that we eat, what we buy and make and how in general we feed our children/ourselves. The review section at the end of each of the 3 chapters helps to recap the key issues that the author is explaining in quick summaries. A fantastic book that leaves you wanting more!
Posted by Suzanne Gadilhe on 6th Apr 2012
For anyone who read and enjoyed 'The Politics of Breastfeeding', Gabrielle Palmer's 'Complimentary Feeding' is a must read. Quietly and simply she states the facts about what we eat, what we need to eat, and how we feed our children. It explores the manipulation of our society into certain beliefs and leaves you pondering the longevity of current global food culture. This is a little gem of a book.
Posted by Karen Hall on 6th Apr 2012
Complementary Feeding is a book in the style of The Politics of Breastfeeding, though sadly shorter. It looks at the historical and cultural perspective of how solid food is introduced to infants, and the consequences of food inequalities across the world, and makes some robust suggestions about changes that could improve our understanding of the wider effects of feeding children. I would recommend this for any health professional or volunteer working with parents of young children and interested in complementary feeding.
Posted by Lolita Landaeta on 6th Apr 2012
Excellent, this book is very interesting for fathers, mothers and to anyone who believes in the possibility of a better world.
Posted by Jo Powell on 6th Apr 2012
Excellent book for anyone interested in feeding and food for adults and children. By considering the food available for children, and the recent epidemic of obesity in both children and adults, this book definately makes you think about the commercial aspect of food.
Posted by Aisling Cartin on 6th Apr 2012
Written in the same style as 'The Politics of Breastfeeding' Gabrielle Palmer takes a controversial topic and unfolds it. Palmer reveals the influence of the food industry giants and governments on the food that we give to our children and the relation to the modern day obesity/undernourishment that many children suffer from despite living in a developed nation. She draws comparisons with the children in the developing world and invokes questions with regards to why in this day and age one may feel the need to seek out food gurus instead of going back to basics. A riveting read, Palmer does it again!
Posted by Alison Blenkinsop on 6th Apr 2012
This is such a clear picture of the problems the world is facing. Everyone needs to read it! However, in my opinion there is one omission which I'd like to see included in the next edition. There appears to be no mention of the West's common use of the worst ingredients for children's food (eg mechanically recovered and processed meat). This includes most restaurant/cafe children's menu items. Instead of smaller portions of adult meals with appropriate modifications (which could also be useful for the elderly and infirm), they are usually confined to the above highly processed stuff, eg chicken nuggets, sausages, chips).
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