How to have a healthy baby in a GAPS family. What to do in pre-conception, during pregnancy and when the baby is born in order to prevent any health problems in infancy and the rest of your child’s life (such as autism and other learning disabilities, eczema, asthma, autoimmune illness, epilepsy, neuro-endocrine problems, mental illness, etc).
Please read the first GAPS book (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) to understand what a GAPS family is (chapter The Families). Part 4 in this book is dedicated to having a new baby starting from preconception and pregnancy.
For millennia people used to leave matters of preconception and pregnancy to Mother Nature. This still works in non-industrialised countries, where people live in a traditional way and in a clean natural environment. In the industrially developed world, however, it is no longer wise for parents to have their baby without proper preparation. The Western countries have growing epidemics of physical and mental problems in their children. Different researchers give different statistics, but generally more than 50% of our children are ill. One child in 5 has a neurodevelopmental disorder, 1 child in 35 has autism, 1 child in 10 has ADHD, 1 child in 10 suffers from asthma, 1 child in 20 suffers from epilepsy. Allergies, eczema and autoimmune illnesses are already very common amongst our babies and children and statistics are on the rise. In the Western world we are rapidly moving to a situation where there will be no healthy children at all!
Why is this happening? In the Western world people have changed their environment, food and life styles dramatically. People have removed themselves from Mother Nature, thinking that they can destroy and exploit her and, somehow, remain undamaged themselves. Yet, human body is part of Nature, it cannot thrive without clean water, clean air, natural unprocessed food and natural unpolluted environment.
In order to give yourself the best chance to produce a beautiful healthy baby it is important to start thinking about it before conception. If you are already expecting a baby, it is best to start making changes straight away. This is particularly imperative for GAPS people and, in my opinion, vast majority of prospective parents in Western countries are GAPS people.
The most important change to make before conceiving is in both the future parents’ diet. The nutritional status of prospective parents is one of the most important factors in producing healthy offspring. Once the pregnancy begins, the mother must continue with her healthy diet. The father does not have to, but if he does, he will be in a much better state (physical and mental) to support his wife though pregnancy and childbirth. To learn about the diet, please read the GAPS books.
Reduce general toxic load on your body and as a result on your baby. The mother’s body unloads toxins into the baby during pregnancy. Everything toxic a pregnant woman is exposed to gets into her foetus. In our polluted world majority of babies are born with a considerable toxic load, which undermines their constitution and makes them vulnerable physically and mentally. Avoiding common pitfalls will allow you to produce a baby with smaller toxic load and hence stronger constitution. The chapter Detoxification in the second GAPS book (Gut And Physiology Syndrome) will give you full details on how to produce a baby with a low toxic load.
It is essential to prepare your birth canal for the baby, which is something women used to do in traditional societies. In order to prepare the birth canal, you need to populate it with beneficial flora, which is described in detail in both GAPS books.
When the baby has arrived, I cannot emphasise strongly enough, how important it is to breastfeed your baby! Particularly in those first few days, when colostrum is produced. No commercial formula will ever get close to the quality of human breast milk! Commercial baby formulas provide poor quality nutrition and damage gut flora of the baby, predisposing this human being to life-time of health problems. Formula milk is fairly recent invention. How did people feed their babies before for millennia in cases where the mother could not breastfeed? People used wet nurses – healthy women from the local community who breastfed their babies. To be a wet nurse used to be a noble profession. These women looked after their health and their diet in order to produce best quality milk. It is imperative for the Western countries to bring this profession back to life! The chapter Wet Nursing (in A-Z) in the second GAPS book (Gut And Physiology Syndrome) will give you more details on the subject of wet nursing.
When the baby is ready, solids should be introduced in a very careful manner. Best quality food should be made at home to ensure your baby’s robust health and excellent development, both physical and mental. Part 4 in the first GAPS book (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) will give you a step-by-step programme on how to introduce solid foods for your baby.
Apart from good food your baby needs your loving attention, daily walks in the fresh air and good sleep. Nothing else! No vaccinations, no injections, no tests, no unnecessary visits to doctors and no man-made chemicals.
About vaccinations please read the relevant chapters in the GAPS books. Babies in GAPS families must not be vaccinated until they have developed strong immune systems and good physical and communication skills: this means no vaccines until the child is 4-5 years of age. Even then, if you have to vaccinate, make sure that your child is absolutely healthy and well at the time of the vaccination. Ask to see the ingredients list of the vaccine and demand that they are explained to you. Try to avoid combined vaccines, look for single alternatives.
Avoid all man-made chemicals in your baby’s care! No personal care products, even those that are claimed to be natural. Babies do not need to be washed with any soap or shampoo. Clean warm water is all they need. Soaps wash off protective oils from the baby’s skin and expose it to drying out and invasion by pathogens. Use coconut oil, olive oil and your homemade yoghurt and kefir on nappy area or any dry skin.
Make sure that your home is as chemical free as possible: use water and vinegar to clean your house, natural bio-degradable laundry detergents and wash your baby’s dishes by hand (rinsing the soap off thoroughly). In the first year of your baby’s life try not to re-decorate your house or buy new furniture, new kitchen, etc. These things bring a plethora of toxic chemicals into the house which may affect your baby’s development. Avoid taking your baby to toxic places, such as chlorinated swimming pools, shopping centres and hospitals. Do not allow anybody to smoke around your baby or use excessive amounts of perfume.
I am sure that many people will agree that having children is the biggest and the most wonderful thing we will ever do in our lives. Giving life to another human being, then gently guiding and teaching your child to survive in this world and make the best of it is an honour, a thrilling journey and a huge achievement! It is vital to start the whole process right, to lay solid healthy foundations. I hope that GAPS books will help you to do that and become successful, happy and proud parents!