Are you confused about what to feed your baby? And when to start?
Because we are all about nutrition, and because we work with many babies and children who show signs of reactivity, this is a guideline to suit even the most sensitive of little people as they get ready to taste the flavours of the world.
This protocol is based on multiple sources and aims to minimise reactivity and food intolerance/allergy, while promoting optimal health and vitality in your baby.
Most babies are ready to start eating solids when they open their mouth for food and keep the food in their mouth (mostly!), which is generally at 4-6 months, but may be later. Starting at around 6 months ensures the digestive system is optimally mature and ready for digestion. 6 months is the age recommended by the World Health Organisation. In other words, don’t be in a hurry, but also watch your baby’s cues.
Begin with one small meal a day.
What Should I Be Careful Of?
When introducing a new food, it is best to use it for three days in a row and observe any reactions. After this, if it is definitely ‘safe’, still don’t use it every day, rotate foods and use it only one day in four. Many food reactions develop due to overexposure. Introduce one food at a time.
Signs of reactivity include ANY changes that you notice, these may be skin changes (eczema, rash, nappy rash), puffy eyes, irritability, runny nose, cough, sneezing, mucous, or digestive upsets beyond what may be expected (remember the digestive system has a lot to get used to, and changes are inevitable, but ongoing excessive discomfort or diarrhoea are not).
New foods can take up to ten tastes before they are accepted by your baby, some even say 16!
Never add salt, butter or sugar to your baby’s foods. Avoid artificial preservatives, colourings and flavourings. Train their little taste buds to enjoy the natural sweetness and flavours of vegetables and unadulterated whole foods!
Keep it simple! Don’t be too concerned with variety at first, your baby doesn’t know what its missing out on and has a lifetime to try all the foods in the world! Variety becomes more important once your baby is fully weaned.
Highly reactive/allergenic foods to be avoided until 10-12 months: wheat, dairy, citrus, kiwifruit, strawberries, fish, eggs, potato, tomato, chicken, gluten-grains, nuts.
A note on grains: wheat should be avoided until 9 months if not 1 year. Most sources say to introduce non-wheat, non-gluten grains from 6 months, while the sources more concerned with allergy say all grains should be avoided until 10-12 months of age.
Dairy: In any babies with a family history of allergy, dairy should be avoided until at least 12 months old. Goat’s milk is closer in make-up to human breast milk and has less lactose than Cow’s milk. Nut and seed milks are a great way to get extra minerals and protein into your baby, these should be made fresh at home, but aren’t a replacement for breastmilk or formula.
Baby Led Weaning: Is a different way of introducing your baby to food than the traditional puree. It encourages babies to pick up their own food and put it in their mouths from the get-go. It is actually an incredibly simple approach, and can involve much less fuss than purees, as your baby eats what you eat…kind of. Whether or not this suits you and your baby is very individual.
Many people do a mixture of baby-led and feeding.
To start: 4-6 months
- ripe non-acidic fruits, pear, avocado, melon, mango, pawpaw, stone fruit.
- kumara, pumpkin, carrot, yams.
- All food pureed totally smooth or follow Baby Led Weaning guidelines for finger foods
- apples (apples can be reactive, and should be avoided until later in sensitive babies. Cooked is best)
- berries, blueberries
- steamed/pureed veges; broccolli, spinach, silverbeet, courgette, beetroot, cauliflower.
- gluten-free grains: baby rice (eg Ceres brand brown rice cereal), amaranth, millet, quinoa, buckwheat.
- food can be more textured, mashed.
- meats; lamb, beef (start with the broth only and make sure meat is well cooked)
- The arrival of teeth changes things!
- gluten-grains: oats, barley flakes, rye.
- Nightshade family (start slow!): potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum.
- Egg yolks
- Crushed nuts and seeds, added to cereals or as butters, tahini, almond butter etc.
- Wheat may be introduced now.
- Legumes and beans, mashed chickpeas, lentils, etc
- Dried fruits (organic only, avoid preservative 220, sulphites)
- Milk/Dairy products
- Poached fish
- And any other healthy yummy thing you can think of!
Remember that this is a conservative guideline only. For more detailed information and guidance please see your natural health practitioner.