As most of you know, I have a 7 month old baby boy whom I absolutely adore. Owen keeps me very busy as he is crawling and pulling up on everything now. This age is so much fun! We also just introduced solids at 7 months old. Many people are shocked to find out that Owen’s first food wasn’t rice cereal. I’ll tell you why in a little bit. Something we practice with Owen is Baby Led Weaning. In a nutshell, baby led weaning just means that instead of feeding baby pureed foods from a spoon, babies feed themselves. Baby led weaning experts state that babies have a hard time learning the swallowing/gag reflex if they are solely fed from a spoon. They also state that feeding from a spoon can pose a risk for overeating since the baby isn’t in control. Allowing babies to feed themselves lets them stop eating when they are full. A quote from the book states, “spoon feeding can encourage babies to eat more quickly than they would do naturally, interfering with the sensation that tells them when they have had enough. Eating too fast is another food behavior that has been linked with obesity in adults and children.”
I have been giving Owen infant probiotics since he was about 1 month old. Unfortunately, we had a rough labor/delivery, so my immune system was shot when we came home from the hospital. Owen and I battled candida/thrush for several months, which is why I started the probiotics early on. Other than breast milk and probiotics, Owen had his 1st solid at 7 months-boiled egg yolk. Why an egg yolk you may ask? The yolks are a great source of choline & other brain-nourishing nutrients. During infancy, babies’ brains are growing rapidly, so they need lots of healthy fats & foods that contain cholesterol (like egg yolk). The best eggs to buy are from pasture raised hens. It is best to avoid the whites of an egg until the baby turns 1 since the whites tend to cause more allergic reactions.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil
Owen’s 2nd “solid” was fermented cod liver oil. I started off with a very small amount (1/8 tsp). Cod liver oil is rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docasahexaenoic acid (DHA) and has been used for centuries as it’s rich in vitamin A and D. If there was only ONE supplement that families could afford, this is the one I highly recommend. You get the biggest bang for your buck with fermented cod liver oil. Make sure it’s from a reputable source! Some people recommend rubbing fermented cod liver oil on an infant’s bottom rather than giving it to them orally. Yes, you can absorb nutrients through your skin as well!
Owen’s 3rd solid was avocado. He actually preferred playing with it instead of eating it. I know this goes against our society’s way of thinking, but with Baby Led Weaning the saying goes, “Solid Food Before One Is Just For Fun.” So you don’t have to worry that your baby isn’t getting enough nutrition if he/she won’t eat a lot of solids. Your breast milk is all they truly need. So just continue offering nutrient-dense foods and let your baby decide when he/she is ready to eat them. Let them explore all the tastes & textures of food on their own and they’ll become more adventurous eaters as they grow!
Another great first food, which I’ll be giving Owen next is homemade bone broth. Again, this is another food that our ancestors have been eating for centuries. Dr. Campbell-McBride recommends it as a first food to help seal the leaky gut.
No Rice Cereal?
Why didn’t I start my baby off with rice cereal? One reason is because it’s highly processed. When flour is refined to make cereal, the most nutritious part of the grain is removed, so the flour essentially becomes a form of sugar. Another reason rice cereal isn’t a good first food is because it’s a grain and infants don’t begin producing the enzyme (pancreatic amylase) needed to digest grains until around 1 year. Babies don’t fully produce enough of this enzyme until their 2-year molars are in, so it’s best to limit grains until then. Grains are the hardest for a baby’s body to digest. Fats are the easiest to digest, which makes sense as breast milk is mostly fat. This is why baby’s first foods should be those rich in healthy fats.
I am a Weston A. Price Foundation mother and am so thankful for their nutrient-dense, whole foods based philosophy of eating; the way our great ancestors ate (natural & unprocessed). This may seem like a “new” way of eating for you, but it’s really not new; our society just needs to get back to eating the way God intended. I’m learning & transforming my family’s health right along with you. Join me on this journey!
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC