Baby’s First Foods (It’s Not Rice Cereal)

19 Nov
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  8 Comments

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.” 

Egg Yolk
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.

Owen enjoying an egg yolk

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 enjoying his fermented cod liver oil

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!

Bone Broth
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!

Naturally Yours,
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, CLC

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8 Responses to Baby’s First Foods (It’s Not Rice Cereal)

  1. Megan

    Hi Kristen,

    I’m sure glad I found your site today! Thank you for offering natural and healthy alternatives to first foods!

    I just got back from my son’s 6 month well-child check up and our pediatrician (mainstream) was a bit concerned we weren’t doing iron-fortified rice cereal or going to start it. I wanted to EBF our son until 6 months old which I’ve pretty much done – only in the past week and a half have I started some pureed chicken liver (he didn’t like! :) ) and butternut squash – we are possibly dealing with some one-sided weakness so I started solids a little early to see if his tongue could move to the left, too.

    I was wondering if you could give me some recommendations for how to get enough iron into my son’s stomach :) – I know they need 11g/day. – I am hesitant to start rice cereal because of all the things, like your post above, that I’ve read. I highly suspect he’s allergic to eggs – we are attempting the GAPS diet for his eczema, which had me eating a lot of eggs, but when I removed them, his eczema improved! I am open to lots of suggestions – would even like to start giving him meat broth since I’m doing it, too.

    Also, what probiotic did you have success with? I’d like to start our son on one to help with the eczema. Would there be risk for him getting too much if I am taking one with 20 billion CFUs in it per day and still breastfeeding? Any suggestions on how much for him to take, good brands, would be so helpful!

    Thank you! Blessings to you!

    • Kristen

      Hi Megan,
      I’m glad you found my site too! How did you find it by the way? I’m always curious to how ppl find me. :) Where are you from?
      About your pediatrician’s appt…do you have a more natural minded pediatrician in your area? I’m so blessed to have an amazing practice here in Nashville, TN where all the doctors and nurse practitioners are natural minded and very parents-choice on a lot of things. It would be great if you could find one that you felt more comfortable with. About iron and baby’s foods, I didn’t start solids with Owen (who is now 9.5 months) until 7 months old, and not even every day did he eat solids. He is 9.5 months old now and still barely eats very many solids. Babies get all they need from mama’s breast milk until the age of 1. The saying goes, “Food before 1 is just for fun.” So unless you were anemic during pregnancy or after you had your baby, your baby’s iron levels should be fine. Our pediatrician’s office doesn’t check iron levels until the 12 months appt, and I even asked our pediatrician the same question-will he be getting enough iron and vitamin D since he mostly just gets breast milk. Dr said the same thing, that as long as I wasn’t anemic then he should be getting all he needs. Now I do take Vitamin D everyday (5,000 IU), and I take iron off and on. Fruits and veggies have iron in them as well as meats that you could feed your son (100% grass-fed ground beef, boiled chicken, etc). I also decided I was only going to give Owen GAPS-approved foods, but honestly feel very limited to what he can eat since they didn’t recommend fibrous veggies like broccoli etc, that I’ve now just decided I’m not going to give Owen grains until the age of 2, but am going to give him fruits and veggies and meats as he pleases. Meat broth helps to heal a leaky gut so I highly recommend giving him a little when possible (everyday would be great). As far as probiotics go, I have given Owen Udo’s choice Infant probiotics since he was 1 month old. I give them to him every day pretty much. I have also always taken probiotics but recently starting eating fermented foods such as kefir water so I don’t take my probiotic anymore since 1 serving of fermented food has 100x more beneficial bacteria than a whole bottle of probiotics. Start slow w/ fermented foods and work your way up to a higher serving. Start out with a few tablespoons if you’re not used to it, then work your way up. I would start your son with 1/8 tsp for a few days, then 1/4 for a few weeks to see how he’s handling it (no GI distress), and then 1/2tsp in a couple of months. I give Owen 1/2 tsp daily. Hope that helps, Megan!! :)
      Kristen Pardue

  2. Megan

    Kristen, THANK YOU! It is a blessing to find like-minded people on the internet. I’m from Spokane, Washington – a long ways from Nashville! :) We don’t even have a Weston A. Price here! :) I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can about nutrition after struggling with a bout of hot flashes, hair falling out, fatigue, and poor immunity about four months postpartum. Pregnancy (this is our first, too!) was pretty hard on my body and I had a rough delivery, too – I was reading through your personal blog and I struggled with irritable uterus, too! – I’m pretty petite. I thought we ate pretty healthy before (I’m a nurse and even worked peds!) and our diet was definitely better than the SAD, but I have a lot to learn and am enjoying growing in my knowledge of GAPS, gluten-free, etc. This has been quite a journey for us and I’m finding more and more that mainstream medicine just doesn’t have the answers I’m looking for. I found your blog by googling iron needs for infants! :)

    Thank you for your knowledge! I have been feeling very pressured to make sure our son gets enough iron – we started out with some pureed organic chicken meat and chicken liver and moved to butternut squash and then bananas. I’m trying to do some homemade meat broth before a few feeds every day – he seems to like this best, and sips it off the spoon! :) We did try some cooked egg yolk but it flared up his eczema more and gave him an angry red diaper rash like I suspected it would. I just did some organic oatmeal mixed in with breast milk today. I honestly don’t feel like he’s quite ready for solids yet – feeling like I’m just cramming food down him. I suspect he has a leakier gut with the eczema (and my symptoms!). It is reassuring to me that Owen didn’t even get solids ’til 7 months! I’m still breastfeeding 5 times a day and really loving it. I’m also thinking about starting Cod Liver Oil for him . . .

    Thanks for the recommendations for probiotics! Helpful to know that fermented foods are stronger than probiotics and how to progress with them! I just ordered Baby Biotic a few days ago and am eager to start it with our son. I made some sauerkraut but I don’t think it’ll turn out – but I can definitely try fermented foods other ways, too!

    Many blessings to you!

  3. Kristen

    You’re doing wonderful things for your baby! I also try to give my baby meats, but Owen is not a huge fan of meat at the moment. He honestly doesn’t eat many solids at all and he’s almost 10 months. He’ll eat some and play around with it, but doesn’t get a ton in his mouth when he feeds himself. When we puree some things, he’ll eat some foods, but sometimes refuses foods like pureed broccoli. I’m trying to just go with the flow and not let it worry me as the saying goes, “Food Before One Is Just For Fun.”

  4. Daphne Crowder

    So, if my pediatrician says my breastfed daughter’s iron is “a smidge low” then I should be the one taking Floravital instead of my daughter?

    • Kristen

      You taking iron will definitely help. How old is your daughter? My baby is 10 months old and they don’t even test his iron until 1 year. When I asked the pediatrician about his iron levels, she also recommended I just take iron if I was concerned. Will your baby eat boiled egg yolk or any type of legumes (black beans, lentils, etc)?

      • Daphne Crowder

        My baby is also 10 months old. They tested her at 9 months. Her score was 10.8 on a scale where “normal” is 12 – 14. She does not like egg yolk (I keep putting it on the plate), but she does love lentils, meat and broccoli. With the way she eats, I was surprised to hear her iron was low.

  5. Jamie Harben Lampley

    How cool that I found this! I was googling some stuff regarding baby led weaning and why not to go with rice cereal as a first food and saw this. I was like, “Wait, that’s Kristen!” Great advice on here that I’ll be using, as Dagon is approaching six months now and watches us intently (and smacks his lips) when we eat or drink. I’ll probably wait a few more weeks and then try the egg yolks.

    Now I’m gonna have to peruse around on your site to see what else I can glean from you… :)


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