My baby is 10 months old and over the past few weeks, I have introduced fish, chicken & beef into her diet (free range, no hormones or antibiotics). And just like that my little vegetarian is a carnivore now. As a Naturopathic Doctor I often advise my patients on appropriate feeding schedules for their babes. However, when it came to feeding my baby, especially with all of this recent peanut allergy research, I just didn’t know what exactly I was going to do. So, I did what felt right – it’s always good to follow your intuition. On her 6 month birthday, for her first solid food, I gave her kale, which she seemed to like. She really didn’t know what to do with the beautiful green puree, since it was her first time eating solid food, but she eventually figured it out. I gradually introduced a variety of fruit & veggies over the next 3 months, always looking for allergic type reactions. The reason that I waited until 6 months of age to introduce solid food is because she is exclusively breast-fed and gaining more than an adequate amount of weight. I am a firm believer that as long as your baby is satisfied and gaining weight – it is best to wait until 6 months to introduce solids. A new born’s digestive tract is immature and introducing food too early can potentially cause problems like food allergies & eczema. People were constantly telling me to give her ‘baby cereal’ – even when she was a couple of months old and I was struggling with my milk production. I never did give her store-bought ‘baby cereal’ as she didn’t need food before 6 months and I don’t want her to have refined carbohydrates & sugar. I did however start giving her oatmeal & rice in the past few weeks, but I cooked it myself. I wasn’t sure when I would introduce grains & meat, but she made the decision for me. At about 9 months, she started spitting her food in my face. Now to be clear, she has always been a ‘spitter’ and often spits food at me; this is her way of saying she’s had enough (she’s a very funny girl). The nine month spitting was different though, it was constant thru the entire meal and came as a big bold spray all over my face. It was obvious that she was not interested in vegetables anymore, some fruit was OK, but that was ‘hit and miss’ too. Alas, she was really BORED with her fruit & veggie diet. So, when I stopped calling her ‘my little fruitarian’ and finally figured out that she needed more variety & textures, I began expanding her repertoire of delicious delights.  And I am pleased to say the spitting has mostly sputtered out, and we have not looked back. I had planned on giving her legumes such as lentils before animal protein, but it just worked out that I gave her what my husband & I were eating and she liked it. Apparently, according to recent peanut research, I should be giving her peanuts often to decrease the potential for developing a future peanut allergy. Well, she has tasted peanut butter once and loved it, but I will not be starting her on nuts any day soon. I love nuts and know they are super nutritious (high in healthy fats, proteins & other nutrients), but I’m following my gut on this too and holding off on the nuts. Peanuts unlike tree nuts, are grown in the ground and often have a fungus that grows on them that produces aflotoxin, which is a carcinogenic toxin.  I also have not yet given her diary as it can be quite allergenic, it is very mucus forming and early introduction of milk is associated with Juneville diabetes. I often see babies and children with eczema & multiple food allergies who have had food introduced before 6 months and/or have had dairy and other allergenic foods such as citrus & soy introduced before a year.

So, my main recommendations for feeding babies are:

  • Hold off on solids before 6 months if baby is satisfied & gaining weight.

  • Try to avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar found in foods like boxed baby cereals, baby cookies, baby num-nums & baby snacks – these aren’t nutritious for adults or babies.

  • Try to make your own food if you can – the Baby Bullet is great

  • Try to buy organic when you can

  • Incorporate foods high in iron like kale, prunes & apricots.

  • Feed baby a healthy whole food diet – no processed meats, snacks, sweets, chocolate, ice cream, cookies

  • The rest of it is specific to your baby’s particular needs and situation and your intuition.

I recommend consulting a Naturopathic Doctor for help in determining your infant’s nutritional needs and health status – this is true ‘preventative medicine’ and what Naturopathic Medicine is all about. Enjoy the new and wonderful world of baby food introduction & exploration.