Minus some excessive clingyness last night, we had a productive and enjoyable spring weekend. Jack was happy to be out and about while we ran our usual errands and picked up various babyproofing and baby food accoutrements.

With the little happy face in mind, I wanted to mention HappyBellies, the latest Mama Likey, or should I say, Jacky Likey product in our house.

HappyBelliesRight at the 5 month mark, I mentioned that we started to introduce rice cereal. Because of the severe food and environmental allergies that run in my family, I did even more obsessive research to thwart the same destiny upon our kid. Since his eating habits began with me, we made the choice to go as organic as possible leading up to his introduction of solids.

Even before we began to Green our family, Jeff and I knew we wanted to make our own baby food. But at the same time, I’m not opposed to the commercially packaged stuff, either. Before I did my research on the homemade stuff and was introduced to Super Baby Food by a friend (thanks, Brett!), I went to pick up baby rice cereal. There were various choices, but none that really stood out to me. I think I was at Target and noticed that my store only had 2 brand choices for rice cereal– one was conventional, the other organic. I picked up the mainstream organic brand and considered myself good to go. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, I thought. It’s just freaking cereal.

When I went home to do research and follow up on the brand, I was a bit mystified to see this report and this one too . Obviously, the recalls occurred in the past. But still, they occurred. A lot of times these recalls are voluntary, but to me, still a bit bothersome.

While I was somewhat ok with starting out with the one brand I’d chosen, I felt like there had to be something else I could try.

With the many resources around us, I was convinced that there had to be an alternative. Enter HappyBellies by Happy Baby.
I first saw the HappyBellies cereal as one of my recommended purchases on Amazon. Pretty green canister, happy babies on the label… it looks good. So, when I saw it in person at the Whole Foods in the City last month, I was elated. You’d think I was the one who would be eating it! I picked up the brown rice cereal and heeded our pediatrician’s advice and prepared a small serving mixed with breastmilk.

To start, I made it a little more watery since we were introducing an entirely new texture.

Even before I could finish stirring cereal, Jack had his mouth wide open. The entire process went well, aside from my inability to keep up with his voracious appetite. Brown rice cereal was a hit and a great precursor to our adventures in solid foods.

Happy Bellies made this baby’s belly very happy.

ghblogo.gifSo what makes Happy Bellies different? Well to start, it’s organic and includes probiotics. They are, as they state, the only organic immunity boosting probiotic dry cereals on the market.

Pro-who?

Probiotics. The “good bacteria.”
Probiotics are small molecules that help maintain the natural balance of organisms, also referred to as microflora, in the intestines.
According to Happy Baby,

Probiotics are “friendly bacteria” that live in our intestines and help the immune system by discouraging the growth of harmful disease-causing bacteria.

What’s the benefit?
The immune system boost provided by probiotics can actually prevent health problems and treat a variety of ailments. Strains of these healthy bacteria have been shown to:

1. Reduce colic in infants
2. Prevent eczema and allergies–> this is a big one for us, considering our family history
3. Reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome–> and uh, this one too.
4. Help manage lactose intolerance
5. Promote bowel regularity, and
6. Prevent infections in the intestines and elsewhere in the body including bronchitis and pneumonia.

In addition, it’s reassuring to know that a revered pediatrician worked with the Happy Baby team to develop healthy meals.

Dr. Sears says,

Happy Bellies cereals easily and conveniently provide the necessary probiotics to achieve solid early development.

Happy Baby also offers frozen organic food, too. And more recently, they introduced HappyBites and Secret Sauce

We haven’t tried it yet, but in theory, their frozen organic food is reminiscent to the homemade baby food cubes popularized by the Super Baby Food phenomenon. It’s a great model (and one that I plan to follow.)

cerealBut for those moms who don’t have the desire or time to make their own organic food, Happy Baby provides a great alternative.

Having enjoyed the brown rice cereal and the oatmeal, Jack gives his (open mouth) stamp of approval.

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