I wish I would have researched different ways to feed my babies before I started feeding them solid foods.
Now I want a do-over!
I think every expecting mama or new parent should read this book – Super Nutrition for Babies. It’s about how to feed your baby for optimal health, and was written by board certified pediatrician, Katherine Erlich, MD, and Kelly Genzlinger, CNC, CMTA.
Lierre Keither, author of The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice & Sustainability was one of the many to praise the book saying:
“You only get one chance to grow a child’s body, mind, and spirit, and with our traditional food cultures in shreds, parents have been out adrift in a sea of conflicting advice. Using clear commonsense and basic nutritional concepts, Katherin Erlich and Kelly Genzlinger have written a book that can be an anchor, and then a safe harbor, for parents and babies everywhere.”
When it comes to solid foods and babies, the majority of parents follow what we’re told by our mainstream pediatricians – resources delivered by conventional medicine.
Most pediatricians, media – including popular sites like Web MD, Parents, What to Expect and Baby Center – lead parents and babies down the Standard American Diet path which is lacking in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fatty acids.
We are almost always told to start our babies off with iron-fortified rice cereal or some other type of grain.
But doctor Erlich explains in her book that babies are functionally grain intolerant. They are not ready to digest grains because they have not yet developed the enzymes (called amylase) needed to break down carbohydrates.
Wellness Mama adds that rice cereal and oatmeal have lectins, which are water soluble proteins that have been linked to food allergies.
The Healthy Home Economist also explains it well. She says that incomplete digestion of rice cereal guarantees putrefaction in the gut leading to an imbalance of the flora and the potential for allergies, asthma, eczema and other autoimmune disorders to develop.
Rice cereal is not only harsh on a baby’s developing digestive system, it is also lacking in nutrients and is an extremely high glycemic food that spikes blood sugar.
Start Your Baby Off With Healthy Fats & Proteins
Healthy fats and proteins, on the other hand, provide nutrients that are critical to the brain, nervous system and digestive tract.
Doctor Erlich explains that grass-fed animal-sourced foods are complete proteins that provide babies with all eight essential amino acids and essential fatty acids critical for growth, hormone production, as well as muscle, brain and cognitive development.
Grass-based animal foods have micronutrients that you can’t get from plant foods alone. This includes unique, bioavailable nutrients like natural cholesterol, antioxidants, fat soluble vitamins A, D3 and K, as well as magnesium, zinc, iron and B-vitamins.
Plus, the first digestive enzymes a baby’s body makes are for digesting protein, fat and cholesterol.
Doctor Erlich says perhaps that’s why, historically, traditional baby foods have always been animal based.
Here is a helpful guide for baby’s first foods, put together by Arsy of Rubies & Radishes.
You could say this is the Weston A. Price style of introducing foods to babies.
Here are six homemade baby foods that are ideal for starting solids.
1. Soft Boiled Egg Yolk With Organic Liver
Keep in mind that egg whites have hard-to-digest proteins and should not be introduced to your child until much later. Egg yolks from pastured chickens, on the other hand, are easily digested and provide natural cholesterol, choline and omega-3s that babies need for brain and nervous system development.
Watch as Sarah, from The Healthy Home Economist walks you through how to prepare an organic, pastured egg yolk with raw, organic grated liver for your baby in the video below.
FYI – You’ll need to freeze the liver for 14 days first, or you could substitute a quality liver powder. You can also skip the liver and simply prepare the egg yolk.
2. Grass-Fed Bone Broth & Apple Cider Vinegar
We told you about many of the health benefits of bone broth in a Bone Broth Recipe Roundup a while back. This stuff is not only ideal for babies, it’s super healthy for adults too – and it’s extremely easy to make in a slow cooker.
You just need 3-4 lbs grass-fed bones, 10-12 cups distilled or reverse osmosis water and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Then, cook on low in your crockpot for 8-24 hours and finish by removing the bones, straining the broth, letting it cool and skimming the fat.
Most homemade bone broth recipes call for herbs, spices and veggie scraps. But for baby, Ansy’s recipe from Rubies & Radishes keeps it simple. That’s because as we introduce new foods to our babies, it’s important to do it one food at a time so we can pick up on any early signs of allergies.
Check out U.S. Wellness Meats Farms if you can’t find grass-fed bones from a local farmer. Also use a quality organic raw apple cider vinegar like this one from Bragg.
3. Lightly Browned Liver With Ghee & Bone Broth
If you don’t like the idea of adding organic (frozen) liver to an egg yolk, you can also serve your baby some lightly browned liver made with ghee and homemade bone broth.
This way, you don’t need to keep your liver frozen for 14 days in order to kill any pathogens.
Ghee is basically clarified sweet cream butter from grass-fed cows. You can read about it, and order it, here. You can also use organic butter.
First, you will have to puree the liver, brown it lightly using the ghee and add some bone broth to thin it out a little. Then you can even add a sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt for added minerals and flavor.
Visit Homemade Mommy for a chicken liver pate recipe and more info on why you should add pureed organ meats to your baby’s diet.
4. Avocado Puree & Cod Liver Oil
Avocados are rich in healthy fats and are also easy on the digestive system.
After you wash the outside of your avocado, use the “nick and peel” method to remove the skin. It’s basically the same way you’d peel a banana.
Many of the nutrients, like carotenoids, are located just under the skin in the dark green fleshy part of the fruit. Watch this quick how-to video below to see how the nick and peel method is done.
After you mash your avocado, add 1-4 ml of cod liver oil (depending on baby’s age) and a little bit of breast milk until it’s the consistency you like. Num Num!
5. Banana & Coconut Oil Puree
Bananas are a great first solid food for baby all by themselves. Unlike other carbohydrates, bananas naturally contain amylase, which is that digestive enzyme needed to break down carbs that babies don’t make yet.
Since the banana has the amylase enzymes in it, it’s easier for your baby to digest.
At about 7-8 months, you could start adding a teaspoon of organic, cold-pressed coconut oil in with the banana puree. Coconut oil has a plethora of amazing healthy benefits. Just check out this infographic.
You could also blend in some cod liver oil, or if you want to get even more creative, try mixing avocado and banana together!
6. Root Vegetable Puree
Root vegetables are also easy to digest, they are just a tad sweet by nature and are easily pureed after you steam them.
This particular puree is made with sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips. For even more nutrition, you could add some coconut oil, bone broth and or breast milk to the mix.
Anytime you’re eating veggies, you should include some sort of healthy fat because it helps you absorb the fat soluble vitamins much more effectively.
Other vegetables to try are squash, rutabagas, zucchini, green beans and spinach. Organic papayas and mangoes are also great first fruits since they’re loaded with natural enzymes to aid digestion.
Share Your Thoughts On First Baby Foods
What ideas do you have for starting solid foods? Do you agree or disagree with the suggestions given here?
Leave a comment and share your knowledge with us!
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