Food Before One Is Just For Fun
Nice Cliche Title Nicole
Its true so don’t stress okay? Baby’s main source of nutrients before the age of one is breast milk or formula. So if your baby doesn’t eat right away or seem interested do not worry. The important thing is that they play with it and get used to the different textures and temperatures of the food. Let them squish it around their tray and throw it on the floor for the dogs. This should be fun for the both of you as your baby is having a new experience and you get to watch your baby enjoy a new milestone right before your eyes. Did you see that I wrote enjoy? I mean it, enjoy it, don’t get pissed off that you spent the morning cooking and your kid did nothing but barely lick the food and paint your kitchen floor.
So why do you have to wait until six months; your best friends kid has been eating oatmeal and having cereal in his bottle since 3 months (I gasped in horror writing that by the way). Feeding your child before they are physically capable of properly digesting and absorbing nutrients will not in any way shape or form advance them but it will set them up for a life of gastrointestinal issues. The newborn gut is essentially sterile until labor begins, as the membranes rupture and your baby passes down the birth canal and out of your vagina, he/she will be colonized by a ton of good bacteria (see being yucky is a good thing). This trip down the birth canal is actually essential to the babies gut health; therefore setting her up for having a strong immune system. This is why you may have heard that C-section babies are having their mouths swabbed with their mother’s vaginal secretions after they have been surgically born.
Now you begin to breast feed your baby and magical things continue to happen. From this point on, breast milk essentially closes holes in the gut as your baby’s large intestine matures and does this on its own. Antibodies literally stand guard at these microscopic gaps and protect your child from illnesses (pretty amazing huh). Kelly Mom explains this really easily and very well:
The old school thought was that delaying solids until after 6 months would create food aversions, allergies, eczema, and cause iron deficiency in breastfed babies. All of these past reasons were based on speculation; the science just isn’t there at all. The new school thought and scientific evidence actually show that feeding solids before 6 months will cause gastrointestinal issues such as celiac disease, asthma, eczema, and allergies. The newer scientific studies are also showing that even the introduction of one single bottle of formula will forever change the gut flora in a negative way, leaving the gut open and damaged. It can take years to repair this damage to the gut. Unfortunately I have personal experience with this. When Harper was born I had a very low-grade fever. She was taken away to the NICU because she never cried and was having slight issues breathing. After 7 x-rays in a week’s time, several doses of antibiotics (for the both of us even though there was never evidence of an infection), and formula pushed on us by the nurses; my poor babe’s gut was just demolished. We are still working on repairing the damage four years later; hence those lovely allergic shiners under her eyes and numerous skin issues (did you know eczema is one of the ways the body is trying to communicate with you to let you know there’s an internal issue?). But I digress…
So happy six-month birthday to your little love! Does this mean they will be ready for food? No not always, some other signs of readiness are sitting up unassisted, and excellent head control. What should you begin with? The best first foods are warm, very well cooked root vegetables. Some of my kid’s first foods were sweet potato, parsnips, and squashes. I either bake these or throw them in a crock-pot with some breast milk. These are the easiest foods for them to digest, you want to ease them into food, not shock their system. Be prepared that these foods may cause your baby to have a runnier than normal poop and may even back them up. If this is the case then you need to ease into this process slowly. Many people begin with avocado, while I don’t think that is a terrible choice in terms of its physical appearance, it is in terms of digestion. Avocado is cold and fatty. The body must work a lot harder to digest this (and fruits) than it would have to work to digest a warm root vegetable. So 6 months I offer warm root veggies once every few days because I am lazy and my kids never took to food right away. If your little one is very interested and able to eat some of the food you can offer once a day if you choose. After my chicks began to actually eat the food, I waited a week to see how they were able to digest everything. You never want to stop your kid up so badly that they have issues going to the bathroom; this process should be slow and painless. Gunnar was not ready at 6 months. He was still trying to push the food forward out of his mouth when we offered. I waited until seven months to try again; same thing. By 8 months he was definitely ready. He was able to move the food appropriately in his mouth in order to properly swallow. We then moved into fruits and legumes. After that came meats and boy did my kids love this part! Apparently my kids are serious carnivores. After the 10-month mark we did grains. Grains are difficult to digest and generally do not have that much nutritional value compared to fresh vegetables and fruits.
I didn’t feed my kids purees at first. I would make them baby food for pouches on the go that they could suck down in the car or in their strollers but that wasn’t until later on. When we first introduced foods we did mostly baby lead weaning. I attribute my kid’s love for a wide variety of foods, textures, and flavors to baby lead weaning and preparing diverse home-cooked foods for them. Packaged baby food contains an insane amount of sugar and fruit. This conditions your child to enjoy only sweet foods and carbohydrates. Make your own if you can, if not, I have found Ella’s kitchen to have the least amount of sugar and have some veggies as their first ingredients. Most of the Plum Organics, Happy Family, and Earths best foods contain fruit such as apples, as their first ingredient even though the label says “sweet potato and parsnips.” I find this extremely misleading and frankly it pisses me off that they are able to get away with this. The best thing to do is prepare food for your child from scratch. Introduce spices, new flavors, and cook the same food differently each time.
Do my kids take vitamins and supplements? When they were breastfed, the only thing I gave Harper and Gunnar was vitamin D/K2 and Probiotics. We use Thorne research Vitamin D/K2. I will let Dr. Mercola explain to you why these two are important, and why they need to be given together:
Now that they are older I give them the Nordic Naturals “Nordic Berries,” the Nordic Omega 3 gummies, their probiotic, and the Vitamin D/K2 since its now winter time. I don’t give this or take it myself in the summer because we literally spend everyday outside in the sun for at least 4 hours or so. Jaggy-Do just gets the Vitamin D/K2.