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Starter Foods For Your Baby
The best food for babies is breastmilk! It is perfect nutrition and is key in building a healthy gut flora and immune system. If breastmilk is not an option see my bog please don’t give your baby formula for the best options of what to give babies. There is not a perfect time to start giving babies solid foods but don’t rush it. Wait for them to be interested. Then start slowly with well-chosen foods.
When to Start Solid Foods
Often around 6 months of age babies will start to show interest in other foods, but it may not be until close to a year. Wait for them to tell you they want something more. Most babies don’t need anything besides breast milk until they are at least 6 months old. If a baby is bottle fed they might be interested in eating a little earlier than this. Cues that babies are ready for solid food are they are sitting up and putting everything in their mouths. This may be more curiosity then hunger though. This is a good time to offer them some food they can grab themselves and see if they want it. Dr. Joel Robbins notes in his book Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Children’s Diets that, “The presence of teeth is nature’s way of saying it is time to begin adding solids… It is not until a baby has teeth that his body begins to manufacture the digestive enzyme ptyalin, which is the digestive enzyme used for breaking down starches and carbohydrates, including fruit, cereal, and other starches.” Don’t make the mistake of giving babies cereal super young. Their bodies are not prepared for it.
La Leche League recommends nursing babies first to take the edge off hunger and then sitting them in a chair or on your lap and offering them something to experiment with the tastes and texture. Eating right now is not about filling the stomach as much as learning experience. Start with one food once a day and slowly increase.
First Foods recommended by Dr. Natasha McBride for healthy immune systems and guts.
1. Meat stock (includes fish, chicken, and beef).
2. Fresh vegetable juice- start with carrot.
3. Probiotic foods added to the stock such as sauerkraut and fermented vegetables
4. Homemade kefir or homemade yogurt. Easy kefir instructions (note Body Ecology) If you don’t have time to make it you can get it at the health food store.
5. Vegetable soup or puree made in the meat stock from non starch vegetables. Starting adding vegetables, possibly in this order: carrots, squashes (summerand winter), cauliflower, onions, broccoli, garlic. Cook the vegetables until very soft and then cool and puree them. Add in some good fat, either coconut oil, cold-pressed olive oil, 5 drops of cod liver oil, a teaspoon of butter or ghee. Rotate the fats you give your baby.
Babies are individuals with individual needs and timetables.
New foods should be introduced one at a time so you can watch the baby’s reaction. Questions to ask are:
Do I see any undigested food in the baby’s stool?
Did they get a diaper rash soon after the new food was introduced?
Did they get diarrhea, colic, constipation soon after the new food?
Did they have any mucus membrane, skin, or other type reactions?
If you have any of the above consider that the baby’s digestive system has not “woken up” to that food yet. In this case try cutting back on the amount or removing the food and introducing it at another time. If a baby is having consistent reactions to new foods it is a clue that the gut is not in a good shape. Add in probiotics and go very slowly on adding new foods.
Starting your baby off this way will prevent allergies and gut issues down the road, along with building a healthy immune system. Please see part two of this blog Weaning Your Baby.
If you need more guidance or have a sickly baby with weight-gain issues or failure to thrive I am a Licensed Midwife and Certified GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Consultant and love helping families to find solutions to health issues for all ages. Please schedule an appointment with me.
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