Tag Archives: Baby’s First Foods

Resources for Baby’s First Solid Foods

Egg YolkYou may be surprised to read that we don’t recommend rice cereal as baby’s first food!

What, then, if not rice cereal?

We have covered this topic fairly extensively, and so have others in our community in articles and in books.  As such, we will simply link to various resources rather than replicate the information here. We recommend the free online reference Baby’s First Foods Chart created by Annika Rockwell, Certified Nutritionist, for an an overview.

Additional resources are these articles and books:

What was your baby’s first foods?

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Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.

 

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What I learned from mothers about baby’s first foods.

My perspective about life is that it is a classroom and every day we are presented with curriculum on the art of being human.

While I have firsthand knowledge of the dietary principles we recommend, having integregrated them into how I live day to day since 2004, I am not a mother.  I haven’t given birth, breastfed, or nourished a child through the years.

Yesterday, I learned a fair amount from what appeared to be mainly mothers who commented in the aftermath of my post on Baby’s First Foods – When and What, in addition to Ann Marie Michaels post  When to Feed Baby: Why Start Solids at 4 to 6 Months published on her  Cheeseslave blog.

While I interpreted some of the feedback directed at Ann Marie as harsh and challenging for me to read, I took away the following I wanted to share:

Cereal.  While cereal is the most often recommended early weaning food, no one seemed to protest that we recommended egg yolk, liver and cod liver oil instead.  The debate seemed to be centered on when.

Development vs. Calendar.  One mother commented, “I would really like to stress that one should watch the baby, not the calendar.” From the feedback I read on Facebook and in the comments on the two posts, it is clear to me that some babies are ready for solids as early as 4 months and some are not really in earnest until one year.  They simply aren’t interested or physically prepared.  Some vomited the recommend pastured egg yolks they were given time and again, and only in their own time were ready to receive them … and even ask for them as they grew!  So perhaps it would beehove us to recommend that parents be aware that babies may be ready as early as 4 months, but that for some the recommendation to introduce solids 6 months is simply not apropos because baby isn’t ready or willing.  I like the notion of recommending that babies be introduced to solids such as egg yolk, liver and cod liver oil by 6 months but, if they aren’t ready, they aren’t ready.  Just honor that and try again in a week or two …  or more, for some it was months.  All along, mothers are encouraged to follow this Recommended Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers.

These comments by Terese in response to the post published by Cheeseslave  resonated with me.

I’m just going to chime in here and say that there is no way that one way of doing things is going to fit all children. So there is no way that everyone is going to agree with this post. This method of feeding does work, just perhaps not for all children. This is why it’s is utterly important to know your child and watch and see if they are giving you cues that they need more in their diet or if they are content and growing happily with breast milk. Breast milk quality is not the same for everyone, so no one can claim that all children would be fine with breast milk only. Both of my children showed very strong desires to want to eat solids by 4 months of age. My daughter would even try to feed herself by 6 months. I nursed them and then gave them an egg yolk as well (and cod liver oil I believe around 6 months). They were both more content, slept better and even put on more weight, which is something that they needed. I eat a very healthy, whole foods, from scratch diet, but nursing has been hard. I didn’t want to supplement with homemade formula because I wanted to keep my own supply up as high as possible. The little bit of extra calories and nutrients they received from the egg yolk made a big different in them both.

Avocado photoAvocado.  In a question I posed on Facebook, avocado proved to be the most popular first food, followed by our recommended egg yolk.  So, I looked it up as a baby food and found this:

Dr. William Sears (1988) notes that avocado is “one of the first fresh fruits a baby can enjoy.” It is a time-saver, served raw. “Low in sodium and cholesterol-free, avocados contain [many] valuable nutrients “. For example, “Ounce for ounce, avocados contain more potassium than 45 other fruits, juices or vegetables… and they are one of the only fruits or vegetables which contain monounsaturated fats, essential for baby’s development.”

In an interview with the California Grower (October, 1989), Dr. Sears stated, “When you think about it, …avocados are an ideal first food for infants. Avocados have a delicate flavor and a smooth, creamy consistency which makes them a perfect food for babies. …Avocados provide infants with more vitamin B1 B2 niacin, folacin, potassium and magnesium per 1 5 gram serving than any of the other frequently recommended fruits and vegetables [and are second to the highest in several other vitamins and minerals.]”  Source

Knowing that animal foods are the most nutrient dense, my instinct is to continue to recommend egg yolks first and foremost.  Here is an article that Caitlin Weeks of Grass Fed Girl sent to me yesterday: 10 Reasons to Eat Your Yolk  However, if baby rejects egg yolks initially, with or without the grated liver as suggested by Jen Allbritton, a Certified Nutritionist in her article on Nourishing a Growing Baby, perhaps avocado is a viable alternative as a first food to introduce, at least initially.  It appears that many parents re-introduced egg yolks over time and baby eventually accepted them.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding.

Lastly, as a point of clarification, I would like to address what I perceived as an accusation:  Sally Fallon Morell, the Weston A. Price Foundation, and our own educational initiative by extension, is not against breastfeeding.  Sally’s homemade baby formulas were created for those who don’t have enough milk, or don’t have it as long as they hoped … or have adopted a child.  I have heard from a fair number of women who report that their babies thrived on these formulas.   Sally did breastfeed herself and you can read about her own experience here:  A Breastfeeding Saga

Also, we know that the quality of a cow’s milk is greatly impacted by her diet and lifestyle.   Whether a cow is on pasture eating green grass as she is designed to or in confinement eating grains such as corn and soy, which is an unnatural diet for a cow, will impact the nutrient density of her milk. Vitamins A and D will not be in the butter, cream and organ meats unless these animals are on pasture in the sunlight and eating green grass. As soon as animals are put in confinement, and given hay and dry feed, vitamins A and D disappear from the butterfat, and the levels begin to decline in the organ meats.  The quality of a woman’s milk is similarly impacted by her diet, so we recommend that women consume a nutrient dense diet, as outlined here:  Recommended Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers

Update December 16, 2011 – This is a wonderful follow up article: When Should Baby Start With Solids by Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus.

I highly recommend reading these books by Sally Fallon: Nourishing Traditions and Nourishing Traditions Book for Baby and Child Care. You can buy these via our Amazon affiliation.

What were your babies’ first foods? Please share in the comments below!

Disclosure
Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.

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Baby’s First Foods – When and What?!

What has proven to be one of the most controversial issues within our Nourishing Our Children community is the recommendation that children be introduced to solids by 6 months, and for some mature babies as early as 4 months.  Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A. Price Foundation and author of Nourishing Traditions, talks about the fact that traditional societies all started to introduce solids by 6 months, and she stresses the importance of it.

Once again, no primitive culture does exclusive breastfeeding past six months. … The problem with delaying solids is lack of iron, and probably choline, both needed for baby’s developing brain.  A lot depends on the maturity of the baby, of course, but if baby gets good quality breastmilk or the homemade formula, he or she will be ready by six months, sometimes sooner.  Of course you need to introduce food carefully … and no grains until at least one year, and even better two years.

Of course, if mother is herself well nourished, she is certainly encouraged to continue to breastfeed. Here is the recommended diet for pregnant and nursing mothers.

What is recommended as baby’s first foods?

Egg Yolks

Egg Yolk – 4 months +

Boil an egg for three to four minutes (longer at higher altitudes), peel away the shell, discard the white and mash up yolk with a little unrefined sea salt. (The yolk should be soft and warm, not runny.) Small amounts of grated, raw organic liver (which has been frozen 14 days) may be added to the egg yolk after 6 months. Some mothers report their babies actually prefer the yolk with the liver, as stated in the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon Morell.   Jen Allbritton, a Certified Nutritionist and the author of the article on Nourishing a Growing Baby  writes:

Egg yolks, rich in choline, cholesterol and other brain-nourishing substances, can be added to your baby’s diet as early as four months, (1) as long as baby takes it easily. (If baby reacts poorly to egg yolk at that age, discontinue and try again one month later.) Cholesterol is vital for the insulation of the nerves in the brain and the entire central nervous system. It helps with fat digestion by increasing the formation of bile acids and is necessary for the production of many hormones. Since the brain is so dependent on cholesterol, it is especially vital during this time when brain growth is in hyper-speed. (25)  Choline is another critical nutrient for brain development. The traditional practice of feeding egg yolks early is confirmed by current research. A study published in the June 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the nutritional effects of feeding weaning infants 6-12 months of age regular egg yolks, enriched egg yolks, and an otherwise normal diet. The researchers found that both breastfed and formula-fed infants who consumed the egg yolks had improved iron levels when compared with the infants who did not. In addition, those infants who got the egg yolks enriched with extra fatty acids had 30 percent to 40 percent greater DHA levels than those fed regular egg yolks. No significant effect on blood cholesterol levels was seen. (26)

Thus, the best choice for baby is yolks from pasture-fed hens raised on flax meal, fish meal, or insects since they will contain higher levels of DHA. Why just the yolk? The white is the portion that most often causes allergic reactions, so wait to give egg whites until after your child turns one. (1,11)

Don’t neglect to put a pinch of salt on the egg yolk. While many books warn against giving salt to babies, salt is actually critical for digestion as well as for brain development. Use unrefined salt to supply a variety of trace minerals.

Around four months is a good time to start offering cod liver oil, which is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (also important for brain develoment) as well as vitamins A and D. Start with a 1/4 teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil or 1/2 teaspoon regular dose cod liver oil, doubling the amount at 8 months. (12)  Use an eye dropper at first; later baby can take cod liver oil mixed with a little water or [a little] fresh orange juice.

If baby is very mature and seems hungry, he may be given mashed banana during this period. Ripe banana is a great food for babies because it contains amylase enzymes to digest carbohydrates. (1)

Please see the article Nourishing a Growing Baby for references.

Monica Corrado of Simply Being Well who recently created a real-foods chart on introducing solids to babies  wrote the following on Facebook last week:

I guess I took for granted (don’t ever do that, I know) that people would know that nursing a child is the best nutrition for that child, as long as the mother is well nourished. However, from personal experience, as both a mom who breastfed her 10.25 pound son from birth to almost age 3, and a holistic nutrition counselor, that some children are just plain hungry earlier than others. And breast milk doesn’t do it. For those children, I included the 4-6 month column.

Update December 16, 2011: There are two new related posts I recommend you read that may be of interest to you:  What I Learned From Mothers About Baby’s First Foods that I wrote and  When Should Baby Start With Solids by Heather Dessinger of Mommypotamus.

I also highly recommend the book Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon. You can buy this via our Amazon affiliation.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  What were your baby’s first foods and when did you introduce them? 

Disclosure
Please note that we serve as an affiliate for Amazon, in addition to allied organizations and individuals whose products and/or serves we recommend. In some cases, we receive referral bonuses or commissions for our promotional efforts. This enables us to sustain our educational efforts.

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