+ Well Nourished | Best Foods for Baby

The Well Nourished Baby – Setting foundations and introducing solids

Due to popular demand, another series begins!  We take a step back from our starting point, The Well Nourished Child series and we begin the Well Nourished Baby and Toddler.   Even though I am way past the baby stage, I remember it well and believe the choices I made way back then, have shaped the health and eating habits of my own two robust children.

It is exciting (and sometimes daunting) when the time comes to introduce your baby to the world of food.  So here is a little advice based on my own personal, as well as naturopathic experience, as always centred around my holistic food and health philosophy.

When to start introducing solids?
The best time to introduce solids is a point of contention amongst experts and the research is yet to reach a true consensus.  The best time to do this is something I’m not going to discuss other than to say that each baby is an individual and there is NO rush.  Some take solids earlier, others later.  As such, you will need to take cues from your own child.  If they are interested, get started.  If they are not interested don’t force the issue.  Wait a week and try again.  My two were around 6 months old, give or take a week or two and both showing a lot of interest in food.  The collage above is of my youngest having his first taste of food ever.  As you can see, he is very pleased with the process and to this day, he is mad for anything and everything that is edible (although he maintains his favourite food is chilli mussels).  If you are seeking more,  here and here you will find sound information on this topic.

What foods and when
Even at this crucial stage of nutritional development, there is also conflicting recommendations.  I believe first tastes should be pure and simple and I will discuss specifics over the next few posts (it’s a topic in itself).  However, whatever foods you decide to introduce, and when, please just make sure they are SLOW foods (Seasonal, Local, Organic, Whole).  Here’s why:

  • Seasonal – ensuring they are eating the freshest, most nutritious produce possible.  What is the point of feeding their tiny, nutrition-hungry bodies anything less than the best?
  • Local – will also ensure optimal nutrition and less chemical exposure.
  • Organic – food is critical for babies and toddlers as there is evidence that exposure to many pesticides and toxins found in foods, increases the risk of children developing many common and devastating health conditions.  When you think about it, this is not surprising as the ratio or dose of chemical to their tiny body weight is so much greater.  To add insult to injury, their developing organs are much less able to cope with ingested toxins.  I believe feeding babies organic produce is an essential consideration for ensuring baby thrives and reaches his or her full potential.
  • Whole – real foods, carefully prepared to retain their nutrition, are the only nourishing choice.  Packaged and process foods, even when ‘organic’, have none of the nutrition or life force found in freshly prepared foods.  In order to be preserved, processed baby foods are exposed to such high temperatures, that they become sterile, lifeless products.  As such, they need to be given only when absolutely necessary.

For more motivating information about SLOW foods, where to source them and why, read this post here.  It addresses affordable ways to source organics also.  If you’re still not convinced to feed your baby only organic produce after reading the study I quote in this post, then you are braver than I!

Lastly, a friend of mine once said, ‘start as you intend to continue.’  I was newly married and she was cautioning me to avoid ironing my husbands shirts or I’d be expected to do it forever and a day.  I have taken her advice (re the ironing) but also when it comes to feeding my children.  What I’m trying to say is that introducing baby to real, whole foods from the very beginning will set a foundation for good health and an appreciation of whole foods for the years to come.  What an amazing gift.

Questions?  I’d love to help in any way I can. You can post them below.

 

All of the content here at Well Nourished is FREE to assist you to be the healthiest you can be.  But you can help me to build a healthier world, please  Share this post with a friend Share this post with a friend.

You can also support my work by purchasing my ebook “Rise and Shine” – more details HERE or “The Well Nourished Lunchbox” – more details HERE.

Image

I rustled these pics from my archives.  My cute boy is very happy with his very first taste of tucker!  I’m feeling clucky all of a sudden!

  • Rose

    Really looking forward to this series. I’m totally on board with SLOW, but my question is to purée or not to purée? I’m asking this as if my little girl gives me a choice! She’s nine months and breastfed and point blank refuses to eat anything she can’t handle and explore with her fingers first. It’s a good instinct I reckon and one I want to encourage, but I worry that she doesn’t get the same amount of nutrients that you can load into purées and mash….

    • Hi Rose
      I think that if she is wanting to explore food it is just wonderful. It is a great advantage as many mums struggle with the transition from puree to more textured foods. You’ve crossed that hurdle already so well done! I think there is no difference at all nutritionally, just keep working on increasing her variety. You could even try making a dip like puree and let her dip pieces of food (or her hands into it). Sounds like you have a strong willed little girl on your hands (I have one just the same)! Good luck, G x

      • Rose

        Thanks Georgia. That’s very reassuring. Mum just needs to chill out I think!

  • Anita

    Hi Georgia, I would love to feed my children totally organic food for every meal, but what if you can’t afford to do that?

    • I was hoping I would be asked that. Firstly, for very small babies first foods, you are only buying a few small pieces and it adds very little to your weekly budget. When my first was a baby, I had a little section of the fridge with her organic carrots, apples etc and the other section was ours. Now I shop around for my organics and often happen to pay less than conventional. Personally, I try to source organic and often buy in bulk, but if it is too expensive, then we eat the next best thing.
      Buying farmers market, seasonal and local produce is definitely the next best thing. Always avoid the even more chemically laden imported or out of season produce in supermarkets.
      At the end of the day, you can only do the best you can. Feeding your baby whole foods is your number one priority. Three (seasonal, local, whole) out of four’s not bad! G x

  • Pingback: The Well Nourished Baby – Preparing foods and time saving tips | Well Nourished – Simple recipes, whole foods, inspired health()

  • Pingback: Babies First foods | Well Nourished – Simple recipes, whole foods, inspired health()

  • Liliana

    Thanks for these very helpful and encouraging posts. Am wondering what you think about milk for babies. My baby is 14 months now and I’ll stop breastfeeding soon (when I can be brave and bring myself to end this era!!) -he only feeds when he wakes up and before bed time (3x a day) and I wonder if I need to replace these feeds with anything? -coconut milk or water, almond milk.. am not sure x

    • Hi Liliana, you are very welcome. From my perspective as a Naturopath and mum of two fully breastfed babies (both self weaned just after 2yrs old, by which time they were just comfort feeding at bed time) – I don’t believe you need to supplement his diet with milk. By 14 mths he should be eating a good variety of whole foods which provides the best possible nutrition (if not keep working on it).
      I have seen many issues with little ones filling up their tiny tummies with lots of milk, leaving them with a poor appetite for other nutrient dense foods (many fussy eating habits and deficiencies begin here). I can’t tell you how many mothers have complained to me that their kids don’t eat well, but they are giving them large quantities of milk (so its no wonder really).
      Both of my kids only ever drank breast milk or water (milk of any kind was only ever part of a meal). If you do decide to offer milk of any kind, only do so after he has eaten well and keep the amount minimal so as to not disturb his appetite for nourishing whole foods. Hope this has helped. G x

  • Lauren

    I was wondering about constipation following introduction of solids? My little boy is almost 6 months old and I have been giving him solids for a few weeks now. We are doing a mixture of finger food from the food we are eating as well as purees. My son is breastfed and prior to solids was only having a bowel movement every 7 days sometimes longer. Since we have started solids he is having great difficulty passing a motion and his stools are really hard. I feel so bad for him and don’t want to use laxatives. I was wondering if it is a case of too much too soon and if you have any advice about what I could do to help? I have tried pears etc and even prunes in desperation but nothing is helping..

  • Hi Lauren, oh that’s no good. It does sound like his gut is struggling and you definitely need to get help for him. The digestive system is very responsive to natural therapies – have a read of my post on digestion, but there are many things a good Naturopath will be able to offer to fix him. Definitely probiotics are essential. Also include bone broth in his diet. Both of my kids had this from 6 months and it is so good for his digestion and immune system. Avoid grain at this stage too – focus on just vegetables and protein. Certainly no bread or pasta. This post is obviously written for adults but there are some crossovers for babies and kids http://wellnourished.com.au/you-are-what-you-absorb/ . All the very best Gx

Kind words…

“I downloaded your ebooks after hearing you speak at the Health and Wellness Summit in Melbourne. Love them, life changing… Don’t stop! Thank you for getting the whole food message out there, I certainly heard it.” Melanie

“I love your ebooks, I have all three of them now and they are now my only go to receipe books. They are simple, wholesome and taste great. THANK YOU!!! I have spent alot of money on courses about healthy eating and recipe books but your books have covered it all and my little man enjoys the snacks etc. Wish I would have found you earlier “. Brooke

“I just want to say a huge thank you for your amazing website and information. I’ve never liked cooking and never got excited by my ‘healthy’ cooking. My husband is even worse and if he could, he would just eat beacon and eggs every morning and steak every night. He hardly ate any veggies. Since I found your website I have gone through almost every recipe. My husband is loving every meal as well – even meat free Monday, and he’s taking left-overs to work for lunch (honestly, who thought that could be so hard?!)” Rose

“You have truly helped me and my family to lead a healthier lifestyle. I’ve been referring to your page every few days, very inspiring, so thank you!” Emily

“Thank you very much for your awesome website & facebook page posts, you have motivated & inspired me heaps!” Fiona

“Just discovered your site 3 weeks ago, its been a great help with kids lunches for back to school, thanks so much!” Ange

“What a fantastic blog filled with so many great recipes and information!” Carla

“I just wanted to let you know that you have absolutely inspired me to a better way of eating, I’ve been making my shopping lists based on recipes you’ve shared and am educating my kids with the reasons behind different foods and why they are good etc! This page has become my little bible hehe! Thank you so much for all the detail you give. It’s absolutely wonderful!” Sky

FREE Newsletter
chocolate-recipe-200X204

Register to receive:

  • FREE Chocolate Ebook
  • Weekly whole food recipes
  • Practical health and nutrition tips
  • Subscribers only special offers

Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required