‘Wait until they are 6 months before starting solids.’
‘Start at 4 months.. the sooner the better for the palate.’
‘Start them on rice milk right away to get them to sleep through the night.’
‘Food is for fun before year one.’
‘Don’t feed your baby until he can feed himself.’
‘Only start with pureed food.’
‘Baby led weaning is the way to go.’
‘Keep it simple, one food at a time every 4 days.’
AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! Who do I listen to? What advice do I take? Why does everyone seem to contradict each other when it comes to feeding your baby solids? I QUIT! Listening to everyone else that is… Mommy knows best. And that is advice you can take to the bank. EVERY baby is different and no one knows your kid like you do. So I decided to throw all the food advice to the pigs and listen to my mommy gut to determine when and how to feed my little one.
I do have a little bit of an advantage though… Working on my doctorate in nutrition allows me a lot more insight into the world of food. So some foods I move a bit quicker on and some I’ll watch a little bit more closely. But one thing is for sure, my kid will have a palate! If its weird, potent, different, or just flavorful in any way, I’ll be feeding it to little Bassil. My mommy slogan… ‘My kid will not eat yellow foods!’ unless they’re in the vegetable variety.
Why do baby foods have to be gross and boring? Have you ever tried the jars of first foods? Yuck! I decided I won’t feed Bassil anything I wouldn’t eat myself. So here’s how I am approaching the baby food saga –
- Egg Yolks: pasture raised and organic a must! High in choline which is important for brain development. High in omega 3 fatty acids and a nutrient superstar. Research has shown egg allergies in children occurring from the egg whites. I’ll wait to introduce egg whites until he is a year, for now its the yolk. Adult egg yolk allergies occur from conventionally farmed eggs. What the chicken eats matters! There is poor nutrition in conventional eggs.
- Chicken liver: pasture raised so that the livers are healthy. There is no better natural multivitamin!
- Organic (always!) This is a must. Study after study has shown pesticide residues occurring in babies and children urine when consuming conventional foods.
- Primarily Pureed: We go back and forth between pureed and mashed foods, but all you need to do in order to tell what they digest best is to look at their poop. Chunks of food tend to come out in their same form for a young baby. Babies have an extremely immature digestive system for the first year. Just like many animals initially chew and spit out their food for their babes, pureeing food allows us to do the same without actually having to spit anything up.
- Herbs & Spices: Why not? If I want little Bassil to develop a palate, I need to give him the opportunity to do so. I think it’s interesting how we have been programmed to feed our babies bland, unseasoned foods and then wonder why they’re so picky and scoff at flavorful foods when their toddlers. Why do we as a society choose to avoid spices and herbs and full flavorings? Look at most cultures around the world… full flavored foods with spices, peppers, fats and more are included in their baby food.
- Mix it up: As adults (at least most adults) we eat a variety of foods at each meal. Although I will serve the same thing a couple days in a row to build up his acceptance of the food, I make sure to mix it up. I always offer him several items and from various food groups. Pretty much I look at how I eat and try to mimic to some degree the same for him.
Slow Foods & Some I Avoid
The following foods have potential to cause allergic reactions in babies. These foods I will offer in the morning so that if there is an immediate negative impact, we are not scrambling at nighttime or I will simply avoid them altogether until Bassil is a bit older. The ones I do offer I will offer several days before moving onto the next food. With that being said, if a food does not fall in this category and I consider it safe, I will not wait the four days to offer a new food. I do only offer one new food a day so if there is any sort of reaction I will have an idea where it came from.
- Nightshades: Eggplant, Tomatoes, Potatoes (not sweet potatoes or yams), Peppers, Gogi Berries – They can cause pain in adults with digestive disorder or chronic pain. Although there is little information about nightshades and babies, I’ll still take it slow with these foods.
- Allium Family: Leeks, garlic, onion, chives, shallots – These are foods that are often avoided as first foods but some I will definitely be including. I’m not worried about allergies with these foods at all, just gas. Gas can cause a lot of pain in infants because lets face it, they don’t know how to fart yet, so if the gas gets caught, a newborn can suffer until it works its way out. As a newborn transforms into a baby and onto a toddler, as we all know, they get much more efficient at learning how to let it rip. So I’ll be aware of these foods if they cause gas and that gas causes pain, but if my little guy is an efficient farter I’ll continue to charge forward.
- Brassica Family: Kale, Collard Greens, Turnips, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Mustard Greens, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts (see Allium Family – same thought process applies)
- Animal foods: Fish, Poultry, Beef, etc. Not so much that these foods are of allergy concern as they can be challenging for little ones to digest so I will just take it slow with he meat.
- Dairy: I’ll hold off on dairy until he’s over age 1. Except possibly with the exception of raw yogurt. Ya I said raw. I’m sure I’ll get chastised for that one. I could write a whole article about the benefits of raw dairy and the bureaucracy and politics behind the FDA and USDA keeping raw dairy at bay, but I’ll save you from the details… For now. Yogurt is good for the gut and raw yogurt has a tone of enzymes and bacteria that keep a gut and body healthy. Conventional dairy is hard on the system and causes allergic reactions so for that reason and many more I’ll avoid dairy.
- Wheat: Wheat doesn’t offer him any benefit at the moment so this is something I will avoid until he’s older. When he does get introduced to wheat it will be sprouted and/or fermented (think sourdough).
- Soy: For now there is no need for this to be a part of Bassils diet. When I do decide to introduce him to soy it will definitely be organic as the majority of US soy crops are genetically modified and highly sprayed which is what causes much of the allergy problems associated with soy.
Foods I Avoid Until After Age 1
- Egg Whites: A very well-known allergy in babies. One that kids seem to outgrow as they age.
- Nuts: Not only a potential allergen, they can get lodged in a little ones throat, even if pureed to a nut butter. Too many reasons for me to hold off on offering nuts. And there’s so many foods to offer so no rush on this one.
- Honey: Can contain bacteria spores that can germinate in a babies immature digestive system leading to botulism. Now… if you actually look at the rates of this occurring it is extremely low. But does my kiddo need honey right now? Nope. Not something he is going to gain a ton of benefits from at this age so I can wait.
Pureed yellow squash with roasted garlic and a touch of sea salt & mashed Japanese yams with coconut oil and cardamom.