Absolutely the best first baby food is breast milk. Breast milk is nature's perfect food for babies. Research and clinical use have proved this for centuries. “Breast milk contains special substances that give the growing baby immunity to infection and disease. Breastfeeding bonds a mother to her baby, stimulates important hormonal activities in her body, helps her lose weight after pregnancy and protects her against future breast cancer and osteoporosis.” (Source) Breast milk is full of the perfect proteins, fatty acids, antibodies, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and is a truly a complete food for babies. While a formula can provide basic food if a mother is unable to nurse, it is no match for a mother’s milk, which can adapt to all the babies nutritional needs. Here is the homemade recipe for the formula that I recommend if you are unable to breast feed and here is the WAPF baby formula kit all bundled up for you, super easy!
Bricks & Mortar and the Body
Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation likes to use the analogy of bricks and mortar,
If we compare the body to a house built of bricks and mortar, think of the minerals as the bricks and fat-soluble activators as the mortar. In other words, we can consume a certain diet of fantastically nutrient-dense foods, but the value of such a diet comes down to what is actually absorbed. Without fat-soluble activator nutrients— namely vitamins A, D3, and K2—our efforts to consume the “right” foods will be futile.
Get Sally Fallon-Morell's book The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care here.
Baby's First Food.
Well, my Pediatrician said…Bad advice from the “experts”.
While breast milk is the perfect first food, baby will need to start eating solid foods at some point. Our modern culture “experts”, pediatricians and dietitians will quickly advise Mom to start feeding baby rice cereal or oatmeal at about 4-6 months of age. This is not only bad and misguided advice, but doing this sets up long term gut, autoimmune and inflammatory issues.
Rice cereal and oatmeal spikes blood sugar due to the high carbohydrate load, contain high amounts of disaccharide molecules that can contribute to obesity and blood sugar issues as well as the fact that these cereals are processed, pressed, milled, sealed and shelf-stable for years to come. In addition, the small intestine of a baby produces little to no amylase, the enzyme needed for grain digestion. What this means for baby, is that the cereal just sits and ferments and rots in the digestive tract. Leading to a plethera of digestive issues, even if they do not appear initially.
You might ask why rice cereal so very popular as a baby’s first food? Grain cereal is readily accepted by the baby because it's virtually like a high carbohydrate treat, it fills them up and makes them sleepy, or as I call it a “carb coma”. Also, be aware that some misinformed doctors advise mothers of babies who do not sleep well, to introduce rice cereal as early as 3 months old, many times to do so right into the baby bottle to help the baby sleep and allow them to get their “nutrition”. Gasp! This is more bad advice. So with all this new found knowledge…
Here are the top ten foods I recommend to nourish your baby starting at 6 months of age when beginning solids.
Baby foods don’t even need to be pureed. Once baby is approximately 6 months old, the earliest you should introduce solids anyway when baby is ready, you can just cook vegetables until soft, add grass fed butter, cut into small pieces and place in front of baby. He or she will eat when hungry. Use grass fed meats and organic produce whenever you can. Even small amounts of pesticides and chemicals can have a damaging effect on little bodies!
- Bone Broth. Bone broth is an immune boosting, brain supporting and digestive elixir that helps the lining of a baby’s digestive tract to mature and strengthen, preparing baby’s tummy to digest more complicated foods down the road. Here is my easy peasy bone broth tutorial to make your own. You simply warm the broth to feed it to your baby on a spoon or offer sips from a cup. A great source for grass-fed meats and bone to make bone broth.
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- Egg Yolk. Whether breast fed or bottle fed—an egg yolk per day, beginning at four months will greatly support baby's brain, immune system, nervous system and cognition. 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 implement the practice of feeding egg yolk to baby will most likely 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. (Source) See recipe below on how to prepare.
- Liver. Liver is recognized the world over as a superfood. After six months, you can begin adding small amounts of grated raw liver to the top of your baby’s egg yolk. Liver from grass fed cows is extremely high in vitamin A, D, and K2 as well. All liver is rich in iron and other minerals, choline, and B vitamins, especially all-important B6 and B12, all nutrients important in your baby’s overall development. (source) To prepare the liver, freeze it raw for at least 14 days to destroy any harmful microbes. Then using a fine plane grater, sprinkle about 1 teaspoon over your baby’s egg yolk, and serve. Even if you find this unappealing, chances are good that your baby will love it! See recipe below on how to prepare.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO). FCLO is nutrient dense superfood. Because the oils of FCLO are extracted without heat and preserved through a slow lacto-fermentation, the naturally occurring vitamins and goodness are retained. This is evident by the deep rich color of FCLO as opposed to the pale yellow of conventional cod liver oil or other fish oils. Store bought fish oil does not hold a candle to FCLO. You want to be sure you purchase the highest quality of cod liver oil since most store bought brands use chemical solvents to extract the oil and they tamper with the vitamin A content for fear of toxicity. The only brand I recommend is made by Green Pastures. They make several different varieties in liquid or capsules. You can find it here. The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends the following dosages: Children age 3 months to 12 years: ½ teaspoon (approximately 1500 IU vitamin D) of high-vitamin Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil. (Source) Note: Do not use plain store bought fish oil as a substitute as it is a highly industrialized product (processed at detrimentally high temperatures) and contains no natural vitamin A or D whatsoever. Also, do not use krill oil as a substitute for cod liver oil as the krill oil manufacturers do not reveal how much vitamin A/D is in their product.
- Avocado. This is a wonderful food, loaded with monounsaturated fats, vitamins, and enzymes. You can carry a ripe avocado and a spoon in the diaper bag. If baby gets hungry, just peel a little of the skin off, scoop out avocado and feed him/her. Any extra can be stored in a ziploc or other travel container until you get home. No bowl needed!
- Sweet Potato. They are a complex carb, so it fills up their tummy and is slightly sweet which babies love. Loaded with Vit A (beta carotene), Vit C, B6, Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin E.
- Beets. Beets support liver function and digestion and help clean the blood and they are naturally sweet which baby will love.
- Spinach. Spinach is packed with Vitamin A to helps to boost the immune system, eye sight, heart and all organs of your developing baby.
- Bananas. An electrolyte dream, filled with calcium, magnesium, potassium, and on and on. It’s also really easy to serve. Just peel, mash it up with a fork, and serve. It’s a great treat for your baby and really easy to digest.
- Carrots. These are a great first vegetable for baby. If you steam them, they’re really easy to digest, easier than greens and other vegetables. They’re also sweet, which babies like. And they’re loaded with vitamin A, beta-carotene, and other wonderful vitamins and minerals.
While these may not be in the top 10, these are also very beneficial
- Broccoli. Loaded with Vitamins, A, K, Calcium, Potassium and Folate.
- Cauliflower. Loaded with Folate, Potassium and Vitamin C.
- Squashes. Squashes are monosaccharides and easy for babies to digest, as opposed to the more complex polysaccharides found in those other foods. They’re a great source of carbohydrates as well as loads of vitamins.
- Pears. Pears are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and copper, they are one of the least acidic fruits and they are just plain delicious.
After your baby is consuming some of the more traditional and nutrient dense foods such as cod liver oil, liver and egg yolks you can try introducing the following foods as baby begins to show interest and readiness:
- Healthy fats – grass-fed cream, butter, tallow, lard and coconut oil
- Naturally fermented foods – kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles (fermented in salt and/or whey, not made with vinegar and not store bought)
- Grass-fed meats – ground up or pureed
- Cooked fruits and vegetables – should always be cooked in and/or served with good fats, such as grass fed butter or ghee.
How to Prepare Egg Yolk and Liver For Baby
- 1 egg (preferably pastured/free range)
- 1/2 tsp grated raw organic liver (frozen for 14 days to ensure safety) liver is optional. Here is my article on how to sneak liver into food.
- *A reliable sourced desiccated liver may be substituted for the raw grated liver if a clean, local source of organ meats is not available.
- Boil the egg for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Crack open the egg, no need to peel, and carefully place the soft egg yolk into a bowl. Use the egg white for additional non-baby recipes and discard the shell or use for other recipes.
- Stir in the optional liver (grated while still frozen is the easiest method).
- Serve a just a taste or two to your baby, while building slowly over days and weeks as he/she tolerates and gets used to the taste.
Egg yolks also may be added to hot broth to cook, then cooled, then offered to baby.
Foods to Avoid
Baby foods that come in a jar, processed foods, soy, grains, honey, nuts and seeds – wait until baby is over a year, and then always soak and/or sprout, small foods that pose a choking hazard such as grapes.
It is best to introduce foods one at a time, waiting at least a few days to a week in between new foods.
Additional Reading and Resources:
Highly Recommended Books:
- Nourishing Traditions
- The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care
- The Vaccine Book
- Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia
- Deep Nutrition
- How to Cure Tooth Decay
Photo credit victoria anne photography
What did you or do you feed your baby? Anything not on the list that you would add? Please let me know below!