Last week I went on yet another health lecture (I do a few a month). Last weeks lecture was about what to feed your baby after breast milk… A subject that may not be directly related to my life situation at the moment but since I am going to be an aunt in about a month and my friends are having babies like it is going out of style I felt that it would be interesting anyway… and I was right! I loved it, and I love that I am able to share it with you right here and now too! 🙂
I was surprised by how little I actually knew about the subject. When it comes to adults, then I am pretty darn good at telling what is good and bad for you and in what form. But when it comes to infants and babies.. I really had no clue… it turns out. So I am extra glad I went.
What did I learn??
Except for the obvious, that breast milk is the hands on, best option for your baby, I also learned that if you for some reason cannot feed your baby breast milk (it could be illness, medications, pain, or maybe even adoption) your best second option is natural GOATS MILK! And if you can’t get that… get unsweetened coconut milk. Far down on the list are all the horrible formulas… that not only is completely incomplete for your baby, it will also cost you a fortune (but we knew that already…)!
It takes about 4-6 hours from the time you (the mother) eats something until it gets into the breast milk, and after that a few more hours until it has gone through the baby’s digestive system. (something to think about in case your baby is reacting to something you probably ate). It is important to eat a mix of foods and spices while breast feeding so your baby will not get too picky with tastes later on in life. On the other hand, the mother must limit (or simply avoid) coffee, alcohol, and dairy products (except for butter). Dairy is very hard to digest and for a baby without the best digestive enzymes on hand, dairy should be avoided. Other foods to be careful with are: soy (never feed your baby soy it is ‘estrogenic’), eggs, wheat, corn syrup, and corn for the same reason as the dairy products.
DHA – a substance that is available in Omega-3 is something the body simply cannot make, we must eat it. That goes for everything except for when a mother makes breast milk. DHA is present in it! (Another excellent reason why breast milk beats all other options). DHA is important for brain function, central nervous system, vision, and “feel good” hormone productions (aka want a happy baby? – Breast feed!)
When is my baby ready to try some food?
A few guidelines you can go by when you want to start to introduce some solid foods in between the breast milk are:
- The baby is between 4-6 months
- Have doubled his/her birth weight
- Drinks more than 34 oz milk
- Can sit up without much assistance
- Looks away when he/she is done eating
- Puts things in his/her mouth
- Looks with great interest while you eat and leans in to and tries to grab your food
When introducing a new food, you should only introduce one new product every 3 days, not more often. This is to be able to tell if your baby will have an allergic reaction to the food or not.
The 7 BEST foods to give your baby first (mashed/pureed off course)
- Avocado (you can even mix it with your breast milk)
- Apple sauce (off course it is sugar free, we don’t want to make our babies into sugar-addicts)
- Sweat potatoes
(The 7 WORST foods you can give your baby before it is 1 years old are: Cows milk (even raw), wheat, corn, pork, egg, peanuts, and soy)
When your baby is 6 months (include the above 7 best)
- Peach, Nectarine, Plum
- Banana (it is really too much sugar in bananas so keep it to the minimal)
- Carrots, Peas, Parsnips
- Brown rice, Quinoa
- Olive oil, Flax oil, Sunflower oil
When the baby is 9 months, add
- Blueberries, Raspberries, Melons
- Kale, Asparagus, Celery, Beans, Eggplant, Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Potatoes
- Oats, Corn, Rye, Barley
- Almond butter and other butters made from seeds
- Maple syrup, and Molasses
- Yogurt and cheese from goats milk
Start introducing WATER for your baby when he or she is around 9 months (given that you are still feeding him or her breast milk) Babies should drink a 4th of it’s weight in lbs in oz. Ex – 20lbs = 5oz [weight (lbs) / 4 = volume (oz)]
(An adult should divide his/her weight with 2 to know how much water to consume per day [weight (lbs) / 2 = volume (oz)]) So, off and start drinking!!
When your baby is 12 months old add
- Strawberries, Grapes, Raisins
- Artichokes, Nori, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Onion
- Cashew butter
- Whole seeds
- Yoghurt and cheese made from cow’s milk
- Buckwheat, Spelt flower,
Wheat (but don’t go there)
- Egg, Fish, Beef
When your baby is 15 months old add
- Pineapple, Oranges, and other citrus fruits
- Peanut butter
The food lists comes from this adorable cookbook for your baby!
Now, to the most interesting part of this long post. When I was listening to this lecture and was looking at all of these lists of foods I kept wondering WHY? Why were babies not able to eat (for example) pineapple until they are 15 months old?
The answer really lies in the baby’s metabolism and digestion. Before the baby is 24 months old their system is not fully developed… A thought that took me to an even more important discussion – Immune system.
Your immune system starts in your stomach – adult or baby it does not matter! Let me try to explain how it works:
In our stomach we have digestive enzymes in the form of hydrochloric acid which has a very low pH level. It is this acid that helps us digest what we eat and can after that release the food to the intestines for nutrition absorption. So, if we eat something our (or our babies) cannot “stomach”, there is not enough acid, or the acid is not acidic enough (pH is higher than desired) the food will still be pushed out to the intestines when new food enters the stomach. In other words the food will be forced out. The forced out food that is not fully ready will damage the intestine walls and even break it causing needle size holes. These holes will let the food entering the blood system and the blood cells will attack – the immune system will take over. Histamine gets released causing sinus symptoms, mucus build up and then we might have bowel movements issues, rashes, trouble sleeping etc… (all that just because you ate something you couldn’t stomach)
It is really the body’s own wonderful process to get rid of the bad – it protects us through multiple outlets. To treat the symptoms, like using nose sprays or taking Robitussin and Mucinex will not fix it – taking care of your stomach will! Digestive enzymes are the key! We get these by eating wholesome, organic, natural, and seasonal fresh food.
So, if our babies (we are entering a subject very near and dear to my heart and it makes me really sad to even think about it) doesn’t have a fully developed digestive system until they are 2 YEARS OLD it literally means that our babies also do NOT have a fully developed immune system until they are 2 years old. So my question is: If a baby cannot have for example pineapples until they are 15 months old because their digestive and immune system cannot handle it, how on earth can we inject vaccinations filled with toxins and heavy metals into their system when they are only a few months old, maybe even days? It is so painful to even think about – it makes me want to cry. So, if you believe in vaccinations and are planning to give your baby them; please wait until they are at least 2 years old… Hepatitis B for example you can get two ways – through a jab or sex. Your baby do not need this injection in a WHILE if ever!
Back to the food…
When you read all the food lists above, then you realize, or at least I do, that your baby should eat what you should eat!! Let your baby smell your food when you eat it, let your baby smell on the individual ingredients when you are cooking to develop their own taste buds (this also takes two years to develop) Everything you really need to do is mash down your food into a consistency your baby is old enough to handle. You can store the food in ice cube trays or cup cake forms for proper portion sizes. Store it for 2-3 days in the refrigerator and up to 4 weeks in the freezer. Heat up the food but avoid using the microwave since it kills all the nutrition. If your baby wants to eat the food cold – go for it!
Thanks to: The Well of Life – Center for Natural Health for providing the lecture and continuous learning for me and their followers. And thanks to the authors of the book The Baby Cuisine Cookbook for the ideas and inspiring pictures.
Let me know your thoughts..