This morning, Melody asked if she could feed Stryder some hard boiled egg with Siracha sauce. It prompted me to share a letter I wrote to a friend one time, when they asked me how I go about giving solids to my littles.
I am an avid researcher when I set my mind to something. One of my main aims in life is to honor God by taking the best possible care of my family member’s temples, just as we care for our minds and spiritual life. Caring for my first daughter’s health started me on a healthy living journey and childhood nutrition continues to be a passion of mine because of all that I have learned.
Feel free to ask questions, and absolutely don’t take my word for it. Research, research, research! I love sharing information because my goal isn’t to convert people to “MY” way, but to remind folks constantly that there are always alternatives to every area of health than what we’ve been trained to believe for the last 50 years, and it excites me to get people empowering themselves by researching.
I’m going to give you information that I’ve gathered together and gotten the best guidance from when it comes to starting babies on solid foods.
First, make sure your little one has the signs of readiness for eating. It really is important they are all there! I know its difficult to wait; we’ve been told breastmilk “isn’t enough” at the 6-month mark, but its simply not true. Whether you feed them before their guts are ready or after, I promise you’ll get lots of cute, messy pictures! Just because a babe is reaching for something doesn’t mean they need it. They’ll also reach for a pile of dog poo if its close enough! 😉 All the signs need to be there!
Here is more about the signs: http://www.theweaningtimes.com/about-baby-led-weaning/#readiness
Second, giving a baby rice cereal is a bad idea. The reason the human gut shouldn’t have rice before 18-24 months is because it is a grain. All grains are difficult/virtually impossible for humans to digest at this age, producing the effect of tearing at our little guts. What that means is no grains, even gluten free grains, until about 2 years old. That includes oats, sorghum, buckwheat, rye, barley, wheat, rice, and more.
There’s more about not doing infant cereals here: http://www.foodrenegade.com/why-ditch-infant-cereals/#
A decent list of grains: http://www.our-food-recipes.com/list-of-grains.html
Third, in “modern” America some doctors will say that the first foods to introduce to baby should be “low allergen” foods, foods which tend to be bland and not very nutrient dense, but the truth is, as long as you add in the high-allergen foods one at a time and watch for reactions in the following few days, there’s no reason to limit what they’re having aside from grains. In fact, a lot of babies that have a wide variety of foods offered early on (this means we need to be a good example and not be picky, too), are less likely to be picky later on! When Leela was out with us at about 9 months old, she loved a bit of spicy BBQ ribs when we went out. 🙂
More on nutrient dense food here: http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/nourishing-a-growing-baby
More on encouraging thankful (eating a variety of food) eaters here: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/9646449/ns/health-childrens_health/t/experts-seek-debunk-baby-food-myths/#.UUp0kByNNAt
I take a little bit from “baby led weaning” that makes scientific sense, a little bit from Nourishing Traditions that makes scientific sense, and a little bit of what I’ve found works for us outside of that. I’ll give you a typical meal in-house, and in parentheses I’ll note how that’s different from either method.
I waited to let Leela start on solids until all the signs of readiness were present (Nourishing Traditions gives an arbitrary age, but every baby is ready at a different age, and it does the gut damage to give solids before ready, even if puréed), and will do the same for Stryder. I try to time nursing babies before a meal so when they are eating solids, they can eat with us, but that doesn’t always happen. I nurse from both breasts for as long as they want. Then, we have a beeswax canvas that gets laid down on the livingroom floor, where we all eat, and they sit upright next to me in the middle of the beeswax canvas (in baby led weaning it is not recommended to let them eat outside of a high chair, but reading body alignment information, we try to sit on the floor or use exercise balls as much as possible – Katy Bowman of Aligned and Well has me convinced! http://www.alignedandwell.com/katysays/), with someone’s leg behind them for extra support in the beginning stages. Forced sitting is also not good for humans.
They eat off my plate, I make sure there are big hunks for them to gnaw on, and Leela was always content (because NT recommends starting solids so early, most everything is mashed/puréed according to their guides). Sometimes I had to chew food up for her, which is also okay. Chewing food beforehand actually aids your baby’s digestion AND gut flora, whereas using a baby blender doesn’t add the beneficial bacteria that your spit does (not mentioned in either BLW or NT that I can recall). What I usually chew is smaller bits of food like lacto-fermented sauerkraut. As humans begin eating solid foods, they need to continue to build good gut flora – through healthy bacteria, which is found in lacto-fermented foods and beverages. Such as sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, condiments that have been lacto-fermented (ketchup, jam, mayonnaise…), etc. This maintains and/or heals gut flora. I highly recommend lacto-fermented vegetables at every age of solid-food eating (including adulthood).
When she was done, I cleaned her up and then wiped off the beeswax canvas with some natural cleaner.
Prepare for the smelliest poop you’ve ever smelled in your life! 😉
Here’s a few more random sites about the topic of feeding baby solids.
I hope this starts you well on your researching journey!