If there’s anything I’ve learned in nearly 3 1/2 years of parenting, it’s that everyone has an opinion on everything. What foods to feed your baby is no different.
No one–especially this humbled homemaker can tell YOU what you should feed your baby. I can summarize what others say and share with you our approach thus far, but, ultimately, this is a decision that only you–your child’s parent–can make.
I recommend that everyone research, pray and start feeding your baby with whatever food YOU feel comfortable!
What do others say?
That said, here are some leading schools of thought on starting your little one on solids:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics– Surprisingly, the AAP does not give any specific recommendations for which foods to start. Although the organization acknowledges that, traditionally, baby cereal has been given as a first food (and what many pediatricians still recommend), it states on its website: “There is no medical evidence that introducing solid foods in any particular order has an advantage for your baby.”
In fact, the AAP actually says–contrary to conventional thoughts preferring baby cereals–that, at least for breastfed babies, the nutrients in meat (zinc and iron) may actually be better absorbed than other foods.
- The World Health Organization– According to this fact sheet, WHO simply recommends that infants age 6 months and older receive a variety of nutrient-dense foods. The site says nothing of starting first with baby cereal. WHO also recommends continued breastfeeding for up to 2 years.
- Westen A. Price/Nourishing Traditions– WAP recommends giving babies an egg yolk per day (but NOT the white–which can be highly allergenic) starting at age 4 months. The foundation then recommends giving “small amounts of grated, raw organic liver…after six months.” (source) Though this may appear to contradict other modern thinking–did you notice that, really, the AAP says meat is a great food to start with–and WHO doesn’t give any specific recommendations beyond “nutrient-rich foods”?
WAP does go on to say that the practice of starting with infant cereal in most industrialized societies is “unfortunate…..Babies produce only small amounts of amylase, needed for the digestion of grains, and are not fully equipped to handle cereals, especially wheat, before the age of one year,” the WAP website says. “(Some experts prohibit all grains before the age of two.)”
WAP goes on to recommend the introduction of ripe, mashed banana at age 6 months and the introduction of other meats, vegetables and fruits at 10 months of age.
- Wholesome Baby Food/Super Baby Food– Wholesome Baby Food is a popular website full of recipes for homemade baby food, and Super Baby Food is a popular book that is very similar. Wholesome Baby Food recommends skipping baby cereal altogether and starting baby out with such nutrient-rich produce as avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes and pears. Although the author of Super Baby Food recommends making your own homemade cereals (with her recipes), she also focuses on slowly introducing foods such as those mentioned on the Wholesome Baby Food site, while adding in protein-rich animal foods, such as egg yolks, meats and cheeses.
Image by Brybs
Avocados, in my opinion, are a perfect first food.
Perhaps surprising for some of my readers, my method has fallen somewhere in between the Wholesome Baby Food and Super Baby Food methods.
I honestly hesitate stating how we’ve chosen to start solids with our girls–because I find my thoughts on this are constantly changing. And, I’ve already decided we will probably feed any future children a little differently than we’ve even fed Baby Girl, who just turned 1.
Like I said 2 weeks ago, we first started Little Girl with an organic brand of rice cereal. We weren’t–nor was she–very impressed. We quickly changed to avocado, banana and sweet potato.
I mainly followed the Super Baby Food outline of what foods to introduce month-by-month. (The author, Ruth Yaron, has an extremely well laid-out plan according to your baby’s age). However, even three years ago, I didn’t agree with the recommendations to give tofu or other soy products.
We were much more relaxed in our approach with Baby Girl. I didn’t follow Yaron’s schedule as much, but I still stuck with avocado, sweet potato and banana as her first foods. And we did give some grains (although not as much–but I did test some organic cereals on her for reviews).
After finding out Little Girl is majorly sensitive to gluten, I doubt we will give any future babies any grains the first year.
Now, why didn’t we start with the WAP recommendation of egg yolks or even meats? There are several reasons:
1) Around the time Baby Girl was first eating solids, we found out Little Girl’s number 1 food sensitivity is to eggs. I didn’t want to risk it with Baby Girl. Like I said, we may re-visit this the next time around.
2) We simply cannot afford the best quality eggs and meat for our whole family–at least right now. If I cannot give Baby Girl pastured eggs from organic chickens or organic meats, I don’t want to give them to her at all. We felt like organic and/or non-dirty dozen/clean 15 produce would be safest at this point. Our family typically eats hormone/antibiotic free/free-range/grass-fed meats–but not organic. We do not feel her tiny system should yet be exposed to non-organic animal products (at least not in heavy doses).
- The American Academy of Pediatrics
- The World Health Organization
- The Westin A. Price Foundation
- Wholesome Baby Food
- Super Baby Food
- “How to Feed A Real Food Baby” by Kitchen Stewardship
- “Countercultural First Foods”–a KS guest post by Emily of Live Renewed