Tag Archives: Egg Yolks

Nourishing Babies and Toddlers

Nourishing Traditional Diet for Babies and Toddlers:
A Personal Testimony by Angie Hepp, RN

Disclaimer by Angie Hepp: Breastfeeding is always the best option for both mother and baby [if mother is herself well nourished according this recommend diet], and should be continued as long as possible unless medically contraindicated. When breastfeeding is not possible, the homemade formulas described in Nourishing Traditions and on the Weston A. Price Foundation website are the most nourishing alternatives available.

When the reality finally sunk in that I was unable to breastfeed my baby for medical reasons, I was heartbroken. Thankfully, however, I was already aware of Nourishing Traditions and the homemade baby formula. Although I never thought I would have a use for it, I had read through the recipe and was familiar with the ingredients and where to purchase them. I began supplementing with the homemade formula when my daughter was 2 weeks old, and little Fiona thrived on it! She has always had such vibrant health that many people have asked me what I feed her. “What’s her ordinary day’s menu like?” they would ask. “Can you write down everything she eats?” While I most likely won’t be able to recall everything she’s eaten, I will do my best to give you an idea of what her diet has been like through her first year and a half.

Fiona eats egg yolks

Fiona’s Menu: 4-6 months

“A wise supplement for all babies—whether breast fed or bottle fed—is an egg yolk per day, beginning at four months. Egg yolk supplies cholesterol needed for mental development as well as important sulphur-containing amino acids. Egg yolks from pasture-fed hens or hens raised on flax meal, fish meal or insects are also rich in the omega-3 long-chain fatty acids found in mother’s milk but which may be lacking in cow’s milk. These fatty acids are essential for the development of the brain. Parents who institute the practice of feeding egg yolk to baby will be rewarded with children who speak and take directions at an early age. The white, which contains difficult-to-digest proteins, should not be given before the age of one year. Small amounts of grated, raw organic liver may be added occasionally to the egg yolk after six months. This imitates the practice of African mothers who chew liver before giving it to their infants as their first food. Liver is rich in iron, the one mineral that tends to be low in mother’s milk possibly because iron competes with zinc for absorption.” – from Feeding Babies by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD

My daughter’s first food was lightly cooked pastured egg yolk from our own hens. I fed her the soft cooked yolk only, no white, with a drizzle of coconut oil and a sprinkle of Celtic sea salt or Real Salt. She was not too receptive at 4 months, so I tried again at 4.5 months. She still gagged a bit and spit most of it out at that point, but by 5 months she was ready and willing to eat. Besides her homemade formula, she ate only the egg yolk, coconut oil, and salt daily for a couple of months. Her daily fermented cod liver oil supplement was included in the formula. I gave her mashed banana a couple of times, but found that it constipated her, so I held off on that.

Fiona eating her first birthday cake

Regarding grains: Isn’t rice cereal the best “first food”?

“An unfortunate practice in industrial societies is the feeding of cereal grains to infants. Babies produce only small amounts of amylase, needed for the digestion of grains, and are not fully equipped to handle cereals, especially wheat, before the age of one year. (Some experts prohibit all grains before the age of two.) Baby’s small intestine mostly produces one enzyme for carbohydrates—lactase, for the digestion of lactose. (Raw milk also contains lactase.) Many doctors have warned that feeding cereal grains too early can lead to grain allergies later on. Baby’s earliest solid foods should be animal foods as his digestive system, although immature, is better equipped to supply enzymes for digestion of fats and proteins rather than carbohydrates.” – from Feeding Babies by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, PhD

“Babies have limited enzyme production, which is necessary for the digestion of foods. In fact, it takes up to 28 months, just around the time when molar teeth are fully developed, for the big-gun carbohydrate enzymes (namely amylase) to fully kick into gear. Foods like cereals, grains and breads are very challenging for little ones to digest. Thus, these foods should be some of the last to be introduced. (One carbohydrate enzyme a baby’s small intestine does produce is lactase, for the digestion of lactose in milk.)” – Sally Fallon in her book Nourishing Traditions.

We did not feed Fiona any grains until after she turned one year old. Ever her one year birthday cake was grain-free, sugar-free, and casein-free. Coconut flour was used, among other things, and the icing was colored with beet juice! (And, no, we did not let her eat the entire piece!)

Fiona’s Menu: 6-8 months

The next food I introduced in addition to the egg yolks, coconut oil, and salt, was raw liver. I know, it sounds gross, but actually, liver is a true superfood, one of the healthiest things we can eat. The myth about the liver being “the body’s filter where all the toxins are stored” is just that – a myth. Although the liver does indeed filter toxins from the body, it does not store them. It is not a septic tank full of old garbage. It simply removes the toxins from the blood and neutralizes them so they can then pass harmlessly out of the body by means of a very complicated 2-phase process known as Oxidation-Conjugation. Phase I converts the toxins to less harmful substances and Phase II makes the toxins water-soluble so that they may be safely excreted from the body (1). Didn’t mean to get off on a physiology lesson, but now you know the truth about liver!

Anyway, after freezing the organic, grass-fed liver for 14 days, I grated it (still frozen) and added about a teaspoon to her mashed egg yolk. She never noticed it was in there and ate it up like a champ! Since then I have added it to yogurt, applesauce, pureed vegetables, pretty much anything. At this time I also added to her diet:

  • Pureed chicken, beef, and fish
  • Bone broths (which she drank from a sippy cup with a pinch of sea salt)
  • Small amounts of full-fat, organic, unsweetened yogurt (sometimes with cod liver oil mixed in)
  • Lacto-fermented sweet potato and taro root (lacto-fermented to enhance digestion)
  • Mashed vegetables (cooked with generous amounts of butter, olive oil, or coconut oil)
  • Mashed fruits (fruits such as apples and peaches are high in pectin which is difficult to digest, so I steamed them first, then added butter or oil)
  • Very small amounts of raw veggies or fruits at this time, as they can be hard to digest.
  • Still avoiding citrus and tomato at this time, as they are common allergens.
  • Avocado was one of her favorite foods, and still is, although I have to limit it, as it tends to constipate her.

Fioan teething on chicken bones

Fiona’s Menu: 8-12 months

All of the above foods, except with more lumps and less smooth consistency. I introduced some finger foods such as lightly cooked egg, avocado, occasionally banana, soft cooked fruits and veggies. I made a custard from egg yolks and raw cream, which she loved. One of her favorites was raw cheese – small pieces were her absolute favorite finger food. “CHEE!!” she would squeal excitedly, as soon as she saw me pull it from the frig. Quartered grapes were another stand-by travel snack. So far she has never tasted a Cheerio, Goldfish cracker, animal cracker, fruit snack, or juice box. At this time, cod liver oil can be increased to ½ tsp high-vitamin, or 1 tsp regular, per day.

Photo above: Yep, those are chicken bones. They make great teethers!

Fiona drinking a smootie

Fiona’s Menu: 12-18 months

As an aside, at 15 months, Fiona had an approximately 200-word vocabulary. Wonder if diet has anything to do with that? *wink wink*

After Fiona turned one, I cautiously began to introduce some grains; only easily-digested grains such as rice and millet, and only after a long soaking in acidulated water in order to reduce phytic acid (read the whys and hows of soaking grains here.) I never offered them more than once a week at the most and always with plenty of good fats. They are still not a staple of her diet. They are probably more of a condiment!

At this point, or really as soon as your baby can chew, you can begin to offer lacto-fermented veggies and fruits. An easy beginners recipe is sauerkraut. Lacto-fermented condiments provide loads of beneficial bacteria to colonize the gut and aid digestion, help ease constipation, and ward off illness. Fiona eats sauerkraut or another lacto-fermented condiment nearly every day. I just pile a ¼ cup or so on her tray and she grabs handfuls of it and stuffs it in her mouth. She loves it!

At this time, cooked egg white can be added, since the more mature digestive system  should be able to better digest the protein. I also added:

  • Leafy greens, cooked with butter or oil. Collards, chard, kale, and spinach contain oxalic acid which is a goitrogen and is neutralized by cooking. They should not be given to babies under 1 year.
  • Citrus and tomato (watch for allergic symptoms)
  • Nut butters made with soaked and dehydrated nuts
  • Smoothies are one of her favorite treats. They’re a great way to pack in a lot of nutrients. Her smoothie typically contains: 2 raw egg yolks, raw goat milk, acerola powder, frozen organic fruit, avocado, cucumber, occasionally a bit of parsley, romaine lettuce, and a ½ tablespoon or so of coconut oil.

Fiona eating stew

A typical day’s menu: (15 months)

  • Breakfast: Bottle of raw goat milk with ½ tsp high vitamin fermented cod liver oil and ½ tsp virgin coconut oil. Poached egg with ghee or coconut oil and sea salt. Leftover cooked veggies from last night’s dinner or a gluten-free mini-muffin made with chia or flax meal. Sauerkraut. Filtered water with a splash of kombucha.
  • Lunch: Raw goat cheese; cut up grapes, pears, or other fruit; sweet potato with grated raw liver. Filtered water with a dash of sea salt.
  • Late afternoon snack: She usually asks for another bottle of “mee-mee” (milk). Raw goat milk, but this time I do not add the oils, and I dilute the milk with a bit of warm filtered water.
  • Dinner: Whatever Mommy and Daddy are eating. Since we eat gluten-free, we don’t need to worry about her consuming gluten. If we are having a dish that contains grains such as rice or pasta, she only gets a few bites of the grain, and eats mostly the meats and veggies. Typically beef, chicken, fish, or legumes, and roasted or raw veggies. She also eats whatever sauce happens to be on the menu, no matter how flavorful or spicy. She eats Japanese kimchi and Thai coconut curry with just as much relish as plain old applesauce.

She eats no desserts. Period. No juice or refined or processed foods. That’s about it! I hope this has been helpful. There is a wealth of information at The Weston A. Price Foundation’s website, so definitely check out that resource. Much of what I implemented here I gleaned from the Weston A. Price Foundation, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, and from Nourishing a Growing Baby by Jen Allbritton, Certified Nutritionist.

Blessings!

–– Angie Hepp

Notes from Sandrine

Thank you so much for this detailed testimonial, Angie!  It is inspirational to me to read how our recommendations are implemented.  I would also like to recommend the following books on the above healing protocols. They have a wealth of information, and you can buy these via our Amazon affiliation.

Please share your experiences of nourishing your babies and toddlers 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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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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