Wondering what to feed your baby and when? Do you want to make sure what they eat first is nutrient-dense?
Six years ago when my identical twin girls were around 5 months old my head started spinning with questions about baby food. Despite all of my questions and uncertainty, I was feeling pretty amazing at the time since I had both of them on a fantastic sleep schedule. They would sleep for at least 14 hours at night! I was Super Mommy. Doesn’t it seem like once you get the hang of one thing, they throw something else at you? “How and when to feed your baby nutrient dense baby food” is the first post of my new weekly series on homemade nutrient dense baby food based on the recommendations of the Weston A. Price Foundation.
What is the Weston A. Price Foundation?
The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price. Dr. Price’s research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats.
But I am a real food newbie!
Are you stressing about how you are going to provide your baby with the nutrient dense food she needs to be healthy AND find the time to sleep and maybe take a shower (at least every other day)? If you aren’t already living the organic, grass fed, kombucha dream you might be a little concerned about making your own nutrient dense baby food.
Don’t worry, I’ve been there.
When my girls were 5 months old I was still eating processed foods galore. I had no idea what organic was and why I should be eating grass fed meats.. I had never visited a farmer’s market or heard of kefir. A dinner consisting of Hamburger Helper with a Coke chaser followed by a few (ok, half a package) of Double Stuffed Oreos was pretty normal. For some reason when you have to feed your little babies that are completely dependent on you for survival, you think twice about what you are doing—or at least I did.
When should I start feeding my baby solid foods?
Breastfeeding for the first 6 months (and beyond) is one of the greatest gifts you can give your baby. Breast milk provides all the energy and nutrients needed for healthy growth, including antibodies and beneficial bacteria which help build their immune system. Breastfed babies have decreased rates of eczema, allergies and asthma. If you have been unable to breastfeed then you should consider making your own formula using the Weston A. Price Foundation’s recipe. Remember, introducing solid foods should be a fun exploration of food with your baby. Introduce foods patiently and slowly to check for any allergic reactions. Learn more about food introduction here.
Five physical signs your baby is ready for solid foods:
- Your baby should be able to sit up on her own,
- Your baby should show an interest in food,
- Your baby has developed her pincer grip (index and thumb),
- Your baby has lost her tongue-thrust reflex,
- Your baby may have teeth.
Which foods should I feed my baby and when?
Foods By Age (Based on the WAPF recommendations)
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- Minimal solid foods as tolerated by baby
- Egg yolk–if tolerated, preferably from pastured chickens, lightly boiled and salted
- Banana–mashed, for babies who are very mature and seem hungry
- Cod liver oil— 1/4 teaspoon high vitamin or 1/2 teaspoon regular, given with an eye dropper
- Organic liver–grated frozen and added to egg yolk
- Pureed meats–lamb, turkey, beef, chicken, liver and fish. (Use this to puree meats.)
- Soup broth–(chicken, beef, lamb, fish) added to pureed meats and vegetables, or offered as a drink
- Fermented foods–small amounts of yogurt, kefir, sweet potato, taro, if desired. Try experimenting with this list of kid friendly fermented foods.
- Raw mashed fruits–banana, melon, mangoes, papaya, avocado
- Cooked, pureed fruits–organic apricot, peaches, pears, apples, cherries, berries. (Use this to puree fruits.)
- Pureed vegetables–zucchini, squash, sweet potato, carrots, beets, with butter or coconut oil
- Continue to add variety and increase thickness and lumpiness of the foods already given from 4-8 months
- Creamed vegetable soups
- Homemade stews–all ingredients cut small or mashed
- Dairy—cottage cheese, mild harder raw cheese, cream, custards
- Finger foods–when baby can grab and adequately chew, such as lightly steamed veggie sticks, mild cheese, avocado chunks, pieces of banana
- Cod liver oil–increase to 1/2 teaspoon high vitamin or 1 teaspooon regular dose
Over 1 Year
- Grains and legumes–properly soaked and cooked
- Crispy nut butters–see recipes in Nourishing Traditions
- Leafy green vegetables–cooked, with butter
- Raw salad vegetables–cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.
- Citrus fruit–fresh, organic
- Whole egg—cooked
I learned from personal experience that the way you respond to healthy foods and the foods you prepare for your children early on set the tone for healthy eating later. Your children will acquire a taste for fruits and vegetables. I fed my children real food and at six years old they ask for salads and raw vegetables without dip. They’ve learned to love the true taste of real foods.
Next week I’ll begin explaining how you can save time and money and still make healthy, nutrient dense baby food!
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