Perhaps one of the biggest and most frightening crimes against young infants by pediatricians, food marketers, and parents everywhere is the recommendation that young infants should be eating rice cereals or other grains.
Ages ago, when I had my first child, I enrolled in the government program for Women, Infants and Children (commonly known as WIC).
In my first (and only) appointment with the government-provided nutritionist, I learned two things. One, I was anemic. And two, I should start feeding my yet-to-be-born son rice cereal at the age of 4 months. This is a very common assertion backed up with absolutely no science or tradition and perpetuated by food marketers intent on creating a market for industrially-produced infant foods.
What’s wrong with infant cereal?
So glad you asked!
1. It’s not traditional.
In my nutritional philosophy, tradition has weight. After all, we’ve survived anywhere from 7,000 to 77,000 generations on this planet (depending on whose science you believe). If we didn’t know how to adequately nourish our children all that time, how did we even get here?
And guess what? Traditional cultures didn’t (and don’t) feed their young babies infant cereal. Among the few cultures who fed their babies a gruel of grains, their practice radically differed from what we do today. First, they only introduced the gruel after the baby was more than a year old. And second, they ensured that the gruel was mildly fermented by soaking the grains for 24 hours or more. Finally, they almost always served it with a more nutrient dense food like tuna or fish roe (1).
2. Babies can’t digest it.
In order to digest grains, your body needs to make use of an enzyme called amylase. Amylase is the enzyme responsible for splitting starches. And, guess what? Babies don’t make amylase in large enough quantities to digest grains until after they are a year old at the earliest. Sometimes it can take up to two years.
You see, newborns don’t produce amylase at all.(2) Salivary amylase makes a small appearance at about 6 months old,(3) but pancreatic amylase (what you need to actually digest grains) is not produced until molar teeth are fully developed!(4,5) First molars usually don’t show up until 13-19 months old, on average.
Undigested grains wreak havoc on your baby’s intestinal lining. It can throw off the balance of bacteria in their gut and lead to lots of complications as they age including: food allergies, behavioral problems, mood issues, and more.(6)
What does this mean? Don’t feed your baby grains (or even highly starchy foods), until all of their first molars have emerged. This means no rice cereals, no Cheerios, no Goldfish, no oatmeal, no infant crackers. It means that when you sit down with them at a restaurant, you shouldn’t placate them with the free rolls.
3. Feeding your baby grains displaces other, more important nutrients.
If you feed your baby cereal or other grains, you’re doing more than simply sticking them with an indigestible food. You’re feeding them an indigestible food in place of something more nutrient-dense. You’re feeding them something their body can’t really use and starving them of the nutrients they need to grow a healthy brain, nervous system, and bone structure.
What can you feed your baby instead?
It’s the million dollar question, and the answer isn’t all that hard. It’s based on a few key principles.
First, babies need fat.
More than 50% of the calories in mother’s milk comes from saturated fat. That’s for a good reason. Babies need fat in order to grow their brains, nervous system, and cell membranes. The remaining calories come from protein, and carbohydrates in the form of lactose. (And guess what? Newborns actually make lactase, the enzyme necessary to digest lactose. Plus, lactase is also common in raw milk. So, whatever deficiency in lactase production your baby might have is made up for by the raw mother’s milk you provide them while breastfeeding.) In traditional cultures, it’s common to breastfeed children at least two years and generally well into toddler-hood. So, don’t fret the saturated fat. In fact, you should embrace it!
Second, babies need lots of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, & K.
These vitamins are essential for your baby to grow a strong, sturdy bone structure. They also dramatically affect how your baby’s face forms. If you’re wondering why it matters if your baby has a wide face with high cheekbones versus a narrow face, check out the downloadable handout/workbook in this post.
Traditional baby foods work.
Again, I trust the wisdom of generation after generation of mothers more than I trust marketers trying to sell me an industrial-waste-product-turned-baby-food. We’ve got a long history of nourishing our infants well, pre-industrial revolution (the only exceptions being times of famine or poverty).
Baby foods I recommend.
When it’s time to introduce solids (when your baby’s 6-10 months old and expressing an interest in feeding themselves), don’t buy into the ploy of baby food marketers intent on making a buck. Rather than opting for convenience, opt for nutrient-density. Give your baby foods that are rich in the kinds of fats and vitamins they need for optimal development.
Homemade bone broth is calcium and mineral rich. It’s a more nutrient-dense option than water, and not sugar-laden like fruit juice. It also soothes digestion and helps promote an intestinal environment that’s hospitable to the “good” kinds of bacteria and yeast that ought to populate our gut. It’s a great drink to give to babies when you’re feeding them solid foods, and will not cause any adverse reactions like cow’s milk or soy milk.
2. Egg yolks
Around the world, through the centuries, almost universally, the first solid food we’ve ever introduced to babies were egg yolks. I recommend the egg yolks from pastured hens.
Egg yolk supplies cholesterol needed for mental development as well as important sulphur-containing amino acids. Egg yolks from pasture-fed hens or hens raised on flax meal, fish meal or insects are also rich in the omega-3 long-chain fatty acids found in mother’s milk but which may be lacking in cow’s milk. These fatty acids are essential for the development of the brain. Parents who institute the practice of feeding egg yolk to baby will be rewarded with children who speak and take directions at an early age. The white, which contains difficult-to-digest proteins, should not be given before the age of one year. (source)
You can start introducing egg yolks as soon as your baby shows an interest in eating solid foods. For us, our rule has been that we introduce solids when our babies have been old enough to pick the food up and put it in their own mouth. This usually happens somewhere between 6 to 8 months. I’ve known mothers who spoon-fed egg yolks to babies at an earlier age (around 4 months). While that’s a generally safe practice, it’s also work! I like the babies-feeding-themselves model because it’s easy.
(Where to find eggs from pastured hens)
Preferably, this is raw, organic liver from grass-fed cows, but even cooked liver has its benefits. You can grate liver that has been frozen for at least 14 days (to kill any pathogens) and mash it into egg yolks to spoon feed it to baby. As soon as my babies demonstrated an interest in spooning their own foods (usually around 10-15 months), I set them loose with soft liver patés and braunsweiger.
Small amounts of grated, raw organic liver may be added occasionally to the egg yolk after six months. This imitates the practice of African mothers who chew liver before giving it to their infants as their first food. Liver is rich in iron, the one mineral that tends to be low in mother’s milk possibly because iron competes with zinc for absorption. (source)
What about liver from industrially raised cattle? While grass-fed is best, followed by certified organic, liver is so nutrient-dense that I don’t hesitate to occasionally feed my baby liver from an industrial source. This, of course ignores the ethical issues of feeding ourselves industrially produced animal foods. The truth is that sometimes organic or grass-fed organ meats are hard to come by or afford. So, if you must compromise, you should at least stick to foods that are as nutrient dense as possible. Because of industrial processing methods, I wouldn’t want to feed my baby raw industrial liver products. But I think that if the liver is cooked, eating it is generally preferable to not feeding them liver at all.
If you’re worried about industrial toxins being stored in the liver, then I say “Aren’t you smart?” Because, of course, that’s why you’d prefer organic liver over the alternatives. But, if you’re otherwise doing right by your child’s gut (feeding them probiotic rich foods and avoiding sugars & grains), their guts can (generally speaking) handle the elimination of the toxins.
(Where to find liver from grass-fed cows)
Again, I’d stick to raw butter from grass-fed cows, but any real butter will do in a pinch. Butter is an easy-to-come-by animal fat, and you should try to stick to feeding your infant foods rich in animal fats as much as possible. You can mash butter into cooked vegetables like potatoes, carrots, or turnips. Or, you can simply do what I do and feed it to your baby straight.
Yep, you read right. When we’re at a restaurant, instead of placating my little ones with the free rolls, we placate them with the free butter that comes with the rolls! (I violate my own no-spoon-feeding rule here because it’s easier than having an impatient baby on my hands.)
(Where to find butter from grass-fed cows)
5. Kefir, Yogurt, and Buttermilk
These soured milk products are probiotic and help build up a balance of good bacteria in your baby’s gut, thus ensuring that they properly digest all their foods. Plus, introducing your baby to the sour taste early can help their palate enjoy more of these nutrient-rich foods later. I’d start by introducing them to just a spoonful or so at a time, as soon as the baby expresses an interest in solid foods (no earlier than 6 months old). As they get older, you can give them more of these foods, generally in proportion to their interest in eating them.
(Where to find starter cultures for yogurt, kefir, and buttermilk)
Bananas are one of the few carbohydrate rich foods that are also rich in amylase. So, they come with the enzyme your baby needs to digest them already built-in. You can start feeding your baby bananas when they start making salivary amylase and expressing an interest in eating solid foods (no younger than 6 months old).
High in quality fats, mild in flavor, and with a smooth texture, many babies enjoy avocados early on.
8. Fish Roe
Tangy, salty, crunchy and juicy, these fabulous first foods are a cornucopia of texture, color, and flavor that almost always delights babies. Plus, they’re packed with nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamin D, and choline — all absolutely essential for a growing brain! My kids went bonkers over these when they were babies and toddlers, and two of the three still love roe sprinkled on their sushi now that they’re older. I typically found fish roe in my local supermarket.
(Where to find wild-caught, sustainable fish-roe)
9. Cooked Veggies & Meats
Last, but not least, you can start feeding your baby cooked vegetables and meats when they’re old enough to express an interest in these foods (no younger than 10 months) and self-feed. It goes without saying that these should be incredibly tender if not totally mashed to provide for your baby’s lack of teeth. I’ve always enjoyed putting on a small crock pot of a bone-broth based stew featuring meat and veggies and feeding my baby the super-tender foods that come from it over the course of a few days. It’s easy. It’s not messy. And it ensures that the veggies are eaten with lots of the animal fats necessary for your baby to digest the vitamins in the vegetables.
Want to know more?
Check out the Beautiful Babies Online Course. It’s a 12-lesson, multimedia e-course covering nutrition for fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and baby’s first foods.
Also, this post is excerpted and adapted from my book Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, & Baby’s First Foods. For more on when to start introducing which foods to your baby, be sure to check it out!
- Brodie, Michelle. “Cultural Aspects of Starting Solids.” New Beginnings 18.2 (2001): 64-65. Print.
- Zoppi G, Andreotti F, Pajno-Ferrara F, Njai DM, Gaburro D. “Exocrine pancrease function in premature and full term neonates.” Pediatric Research. 6 (1972): 880-6.
- Gillard BK, Simbala JA, Goodglick L. “Freference intervals for amylase isoenzymes in serum and plasma of infants and children.” Clinical Chemistry. 29 (1983):119-23.
- Tye, J. G., R. C. Karn, and A. D. Merrit. “Differential Expression of Salivary (Amy1) and Pancreatic (Amy2) Human Amylase Loci in Prenatal and Postnatal Development.” Journal of Medical Genetics 13.2 (1976): 96-102. Print.
- Otuski, Makoto. Hosai Yuu, Susumu Saeki, and Shigeaki Baba. “The Characteristics of Amylase Activity and the Isoamylase Pattern in Serum and Urine of Infants and Children.” European Journal of Pediatrics 125.3 (1977): 175080. Print.
- Campbell-McBride, Natasha. Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia. Cambridge, U.K., Medinform Pub., 2010. Print.
Bethany W says
Thanks for the info – very helpful! A question about the egg yolks … do you serve them raw? Hardboiled and pop out the yolk? Someone recommend using soft-boiled yolks, but I have NO clue what that is. Or how to do it. 🙂
Also – will classes from the baby course be available individually? I’m really only interested in lesson 10 and 11.
Bethany — Raw egg yolks are good mixed into other things, otherwise they’re so runny! A soft boiled egg is more like a poached egg in consistency than a hard boiled egg. The nice thing about soft boiled yolks is that the baby can use her pincer grasp to feed herself! Way less messy and time-consuming that way.
And, no, I don’t offer the individual classes. My site’s backend isn’t set up to do that casually without some significant development I’m not willing to do right now. Sorry. 🙁
If you want to risk giving your precious baby salmonella and severe food poisoning from raw meat and eggs then this is a great plan! Or wait…maybe you are peddling extremely dangerous advice acting like it has scientific backing when it doesn’t! The “sources” you cited are other bullshit sites such as yours. I’m a pediatric ER nurse and seeing kids come in with E.Coli and/or kidney failure from food poisoning is heartbreaking.
The evidence is based upon thousands of years of use. The origin of the dietary suggestions comes from early times when there was no “science” and foods were simply tried out. If the result was good then it was considered safe and it became part of the diet, if it was found to be bad, it was simply discarded. These diets have fed all our ancestors and are still feeding many native peoples around the world today. These foods are used and recommended because they have been shown to be tried and true
Also the eggs from pastured hens raised on a healthy diet, will not contain salmonella, unlike the cheap eggs from intensively farmed caged hens.
Rachel B says
Do you eat your fried or poached eggs with hard yolks? People eat raw warmed egg yolks all the time and salmonella is not an issue. She said not the white.
There is a low risk of salmonella from pastured eggs, especially if you buy them unwashed. While chickens carry salmonella in their gut, there is a protective coating when the egg passes. This is stripped off in mass produced eggs. Local, small producers will sometimes leave the eggs unwashed. It depends entirely on the clientele and how knowledgeable they are about their food sources. Those that do chemically wash their eggs, will be glad to withhold it in some cases, if you ask them to. As a nurse, I am sure you are well aware that the most dangerous strains of E.Coli are not found in organic, pastured beef but in corn fed, factory farmed beef.
To the author:
The only real issue I have with the article, is that I notice much of it is based on the recommendations of The Weston A Price Foundation and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. It is remiss to recommend pasteurized butter and dairy “in a pinch” under those recommendations. Lactase, the enzyme that breaks lactose down into 2 more easily digestible sugars is absent in pasteurized dairy and is the at least somewhat responsible for the myth of lactose intolerance being as widespread as it is. For more on the topic, visit the Human Micro-Biome project at the NIH and Weston. A Price.
Stephanie h says
You want all of our children to miss out on great healthy food that has worked for generations?! Sounds like you can’t find a man willing to give you a baby and you are just taking it out on our children you monster.
Primal Toad says
Add egg yolks to smoothies! Smoothies are solid foods but in liquid form. I could be wrong, but feeding your baby high fat smoothies that contain raw egg yolks seems very healthy to me!
Banana, egg yolk, coconut oil… yum!
I just want to share my experience with feeding baby egg yolk. My first child was fine with it.
When my second came along I fed it to him a couple of times around 6.5 months, just small tastes, and then the third time he threw up about five times after a couple of spoonfuls of soft boiled yolk.
I’d recommend 1) waiting till baby is a little older, 2) cooking it to more than soft boiled.
I had the same experience! My second baby was just fine with the warmed egg yolks. My third baby broke out in a total face rash. I wasn’t sure why, but suspected the eggs. Then after giving him the eggs the third or fourth time, he vomited for an hour. It was scary. So not sure why he reacted so negatively but I hope I haven’t ruined his ability to eat eggs in the future. Just FYI for anyone giving eggs to infants. On another note, I feed my first son homemade cereals as an infant. My second daughter I fed the traditional route of eggs, liver, coconut oil, meats, etc. To this day, she prefers meats and he prefers starches. She is also generally much healthier. I know there are a lot of other factors that I haven’t listed but it is interesting nonetheless.
I had the same experience. Every time my baby ate egg yolks he vomitted until bile started coming out, then had horrible smelling diarrhea a few hours later. The last time he ate them he started wheezing heavily and cried inconsolably. This last event was so scary for me I decided no more eggs until after we do the GAPS diet.
vaccines are often cultured in egg yolks and that is a problem because being injected into the blood stream too early for the baby’s immune system . the body identifies it as an allergy and is there after . . or until grown out of . . voila . . egg allergy
It took you that many times giving your kid raw eggs to figure out he shouldn’t have them…and even continued trying it after he vommited for hours? Why would you do that to your baby? : (
Many people are actually alergic to eggs and go their whole life not knowing. My grandpa and father in law are perfect examples of that. I wouldnt do eggs.
Question: One of the benefits of breastfeeding is that it passes along certain digestive enzymes from mother to baby, including amylase, lipase, diastase, protease and more. These aid infants in the digestion of many of their foods and make it possible for them to digest starches. How does this fit into your idea of no starch before 12 months?
It’s true that breastfeeding passes these digestive enzymes to the baby, but usually only in quantities adequate for digesting breastmilk (and certainly not something as complex as grains). As I said in the post, babies have salivary amylase showing up at around 6 months, but given that they don’t actually chew their food before it goes down, that’s not particularly helpful when it comes to digesting large quantities of starches.
So, before I see those first molars, I’d stick to the only starchy solid food I feed being ripe bananas (since it’s the amylase in bananas that ripen them).
Hope that helps!
Also, as I wrote in my post, traditional cultures just don’t feed these highly starchy foods to infants until they’re older than a year old. And, when they do, they mildly ferment them. That even goes for tubers like sweet potatoes and taro.
The mild fermentation/sprouting that happens in the tubers & grains before they boil them in water to form baby food/gruel actually INCREASES the amylase content of those foods. So, essentially, the traditional preparation process for these grains pre-digests the starches so that baby can eat them without ill effect. This doesn’t happen without the mild fermentation!
I absolutely appreciate your information and your emphasis on healthy eating. A friend and I were convo’ing about this and this is what I wrote her:
“I think the idea that our industrialized culture as a whole eats too much processed starch is good. Targeting infants only, seems like a bit of an under reach. I think infants should be fed what the family is eating (within reason), including healthy starches. I completely disagree that they don’t chew their foods before the swallow it. Well, I should say that this is true if they are fed runny cereal and purees but not if they are started with table foods, like we did. My boys spent more time gumming their foods, working it around in their mouths, playing with it, experiencing the textures than actually swallowing it. I’m still convinced the enzymes in breast milk and the salivary amylase are adequate for consuming starches as part of a healthy, whole diet. Why do they start producing salivary amylase at 6 months if not to help digest starch?”
I was not aware of the idea of “baby led weaning” when my babies were that age, although that is the way we introduced solids. I think it’s more important to emphasize starting babies with healthy whole foods from the family table than scaring them about starches. I say this with complete respect, though, and appreciate your input!
Starches are sugars. There isn’t anything implicitly healthy about a sugar; it is fuel and nothing more. (I’m not sure why carbohydrates are referred to as nutrients. This implies they provide something the body needs but can’t make for itself, which is patently untrue.) Most of the tissues of the body, though, actually prefer fatty acids and ketones as fuel rather than glucose.
I didn’t know about all this stuff with either of my kids but if I were to have a baby now, the table foods I’d be sharing with that baby would be much heavier on the fats and much, much lighter on the starches. As far as I’m concerned the *only* reason to ever feed a child starch is because well-meaning outsiders will at some point feed them something carby and if their bodies aren’t used to it, it could really make them sick. But there is no *requirement* for starches per se. There are only a few tissues and cell types in the body that NEED glucose due to lack of mitochondria (certain nerve cells) or a nucleus (mature red blood cells). But your body can make its own glucose. That’s why you wake up with a fasting blood sugar level rather than waking up dead.
Baby tummies are small. They don’t have room for extraneous stuff. There’s plenty of time for them to be introduced to stuff they don’t need later. I wish someone had explained *that* to me, too.
Please tell me where you’re getting your information from, I’d really like to know. Glucose is the primary energy source for the human body. Although the body can synthesize glucose, yes it is a nutrient because eventually glycogen stores will get depleted so an exogenous source will be needed for survival.
An inadequate intake of carbohydrates will effect developmental processes and any action which requires mental effort. If glucose is not available, ketosis will develop and this is incredibly dangerous if it goes on for a prolonged time. No, the body does not prefer ketones over glucose.
To maintain normal brain function, adults and children need 130 grams of carbohydrates a day. If you are not consuming carbohydrates, after a few days this requirement will not be met and so the body will use ketones as their energy source. This will lead to ketosis in the brain which is life threatening.
BTW, I’m talking about adults and children here, not the requirements of infants and toddlers.
Amen Lana, just coming to say the same thing about ketones, these are dangerous and definitely not a preferred substance. Some starches are needed and required. Otherwise Diabetics would do fine and dandy with no carb which is of course not the caese if you’ve ever heard of DKA.
please don’t confuse ketosis with ketogenesis. They are very different. The body can make all the glucose it needs.
Ketoacidosis * not ketogenesis
Following a low carb diet for a prolonged amount of time leads to ketoacidosis.
The body obviously makes glucose, but no, its not all the glucose that it needs. You cannot survive just on glucose made through gluconeogenesis; a source of glucose is needed in the diet.
Eating low carb causes KETOSIS not ketoacidosis. There is a HUGE difference! Ketones are not dangerous except in the case of lack of insulin in a type 1 diabetic (with excessively high blood sugar). Ketones are a great source of fuel and the brain runs great on them. You will not run out of glycogen. Protein from meat and glucose from non starchy veggies are plenty for glycogen storage. Diabetics are fine with low carb. Actually, all diabetics SHOULD eat low carb. Many type 2’s are able to wean off drugs and insulin (as well as losing weight)eating low carb. I am a type 1 and have been eating this way almost 3 years. DKA is caused by high blood sugar, not eating low carb. I routinely have ketones, but with normal blood sugars these are not dangerous.
How would than people survive, if ketosis is life-threating, when there was NO cereals 20 000 years ago?! 😀 they were in ketosis all the time and glucose they needed was from vegetable and maybe some fruits.. and were perfectly healthy..so healthy that became perfect thinking homo sapiens. Ketones are just perfect fuel for a human body, thats ,,deafult metabolism settings”
Dr. Stan De Loach says
I wish I could HIRE Dana to work for me in my practice for educating those who have DM1 or DM2 here in Mexico City…she is absolutely clear and correct in understanding carbohydrate (CHO) metabolism.
The old myth about 130 grams of CHO a day or you will drop dead or end up brain dead has got to go if we are ever going to make a dent in the obesity epidemic of children and adults. How did the human race survive without Corn Flakes and bananas 10,000 years ago? Beats me.
Infants of DM mothers usually get plenty and excessive glucose (a CHO) from their mothers…not really useful unless one wants to prime the infant for later overweight or obesity. All the mother’s “sharing” of glucose is the principal cause of macrosomia (infants born with a weight over 4.5 kgs or about 9 pounds).
Great article and information. Thanks!
Dr. Stan De Loach
Rachel R. says
Starches are not sugars. They do break down into sugars, yes, but they aren’t sugars.
And they’re much more efficient fuel for the body than fat or protein alone.
There isn’t any dietary requirement for starch, and babies have small tummies, so it is better not to feed them things they don’t need, whether or not they’re making amylase. Children have the rest of their lives to be introduced to foods they don’t need. It’s better to give them what they do need.
Enzymes, by the way, are proteins, and breastmilk enzymes are animal proteins, meaning they will not survive the stomach intact, but instead be broken down into amino acids. Pancreatic enzymes empty into the small intestine, not into the stomach. The enzymes in breastmilk might help the infant process the *milk*, but once that’s all in the stomach, it’s not going to do much good for any other food that comes along.
so u think “disgestives enzymes for babies won’t work?
A few thoughts:
I’m on WIC and exclusively breastfed babies don’t get anything till 6 mo.
My baby is 5 1/2 mo and is BEGGING for food. He is still breastfeeding, but if we are eating, he wants some. He gets small bits of whatever we are eating, nothing much, and not enough to satisfy by a long shot. But it seems to be wisest to go by your baby’s interest, not by months.
Our friends from India and Chinese were encouraging us to feed him rice cooked with extra water. And even a bit of curry (spicy stuff the way they make it). They watched him begging and said that’s they way to do it. A very traditional culture, starting with rice.
I agree that weaning and interest in solid foods should be baby led. That’s another reason why I’m a proponent of NOT spoon-feeding and instead letting babies feed themselves. If they can’t do it, then they’re not ready for it.
I do have one caveat since I grew up in a China Town and having the majority of my friends being Asian. It’s easy to romanticize Chinese culture and think that it’s traditional. In may respects (i.e. in regards to family & social relations) they are still quite traditional. BUT in relation to food and agriculture, they are VERY INDUSTRIALIZED.
In the same way that we’ve had industrial food replace our traditional foods (think about the dead sauerkraut, pastramis, and cheeses we serve as examples), they’ve also had industrial food replace their traditional foods. And just like here, people still think of these new industrial foods as good food, just like Grandma made it. (BUT IT ISN’T!) A few examples from modern Chinese food culture, off the top of my head: pastuerized soy sauce instead of naturally fermented raw soy sauce; refrigerated fresh tofu instead of fermented, stinky tofu; the ever-popular but overly-sugared Yakult beverage made from powdered milk instead of naturally-fermented and sour cultured milk drinks. You get the drift.
So while traditional Asian cultures did feed babies rice, it was after a year old AND the rice was the naturally-fermented kind.
So if they can’t spoon feed themselves they aren’t ready?
Well SH*T my FIVE year old has motor issues & STILL can’t spoon feed. Guess it’s back to formula, huh?
Stupid comment. Seriously idiotic.
Heart disease and pancreatic cancer are very common in Asia, just so you know. Not all traditions are good for the people following them. Seconded what Kristen said about Asians being very industrialized. We have several Asian groceries in my town, and these serve large immigrant populations, so they aren’t watered down for American tastes. In the Indian groceries you can find “vegetable ghee” which is basically ethnic Crisco. In the Chinese and Japanese and pan-Asian groceries every other thing is sweetened with sugar. Even the sushi. Fermented or not, I would not feed a baby rice at this point, knowing what I know, just because an Asian told me to do it.
By the way, in light of my other comments on this post about starch not being a necessary food, the act of fermenting a starch food eliminates much of the starch. One wonders, then, what the point is of feeding a fermented grain for the purposes of introducing starch. You could say it’s good for introducing healthy bacteria, but you can do that with yogurt or kefir or even fermented veggies. It’s not necessary to do it with grain.
My husband and I are starting the adoption process. Aside from buying breast milk and formula what are some healthy alternatives for us?
Check out the video & information here on alternatives to breastmilk.
Ashley Gallagher says
Check out Human Milk 4 Human Babies on Facebook or Eats on Fears. Both are breast milk sharing/ donating!
Lea H says
Great post! Don’t forget the Cod Liver Oil!
Did you know some brands sell CLO with ZERO Vitamin D? http://www.naturalfamilyawareness.com/health/index.php/2011/10/27/cod-liver-oil-brand-comparison-guide-and-cost-analysis/
Wow…wish I had known. What about avacados? Natural, fatty, and smooshy…seems like it would be a good fit.
Avocados are a good first finger food.
Everything I’ve read (this article is a good source: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/718175_2) states that lactose levels are almost always higher than protein levels in breast milk. That article cites 5.5-6 grams/dL of lactose and 0.9 grams/dL of protein as normal for mature breast milk. I don’t think that necessarily hurts your argument, but I think it’s good to keep in mind that mother’s milk has plenty of carbohydrates and only a little protein!
Yeah, I guess I could have phrased that better. I didn’t mean that breast milk has fewer carbohydrates than proteins or fats (measured by weight it has more!). It’s not about the volume of the nutrients, but the energy density of them. The majority of calories in breast milk come from fat, and the carbohydrates are in the form of easily digestible lactose!
Jill B says
Thanks so much for this article, Kristen! I learned so much! We recently adopted a little boy (15 mo old now) with Down syndrome. He’s been home about 3 1/2 months, but because he was force/spoon fed at the orphanage, his cognitive delays (evaluated at about the 6 mo level when he was 12 mo) and sensory issues with his hands/mouth, he has absolutely no interest in self-feeding. He also has really dislikes texture in his food. He won’t even eat homemade baby food because it’s not smooth enough. 🙁 He’s getting better but still has a long way to go.
Anyway, my question is this…any ideas on how to make the egg yolk “smoother” so he would eat it? Something to add to it? I wonder if butter would work. We drink raw milk and am ordering the cuts on our side of grass-fed beef this week. I was going to give the liver away, but I’ll keep it now! Great timing. Thanks so much!
I’d try mashing in butter or liver to help make it smoother, and I’d use a raw egg yolk from a pastured hen to up the moisture content.
My daughter doesn’t eat any cereal because it made her very constipated. So at 8 months she takes in formula (medical complications kept me from breast feeding, I should have tried harder but ended up going back to the hospital numerous times inpatient while baby stayed home with daddy so I could heal) and she also eats purees. The only grain she really takes in is so miniscule compared to eating cereal that I wonder if it would be ok for her digestion. Once in a while she will gnaw on an animal cracker, she doesn’t even finish the whole thing. We’ve tried bread at a restaurant but she only licks it a few times and then throws it down. Do you think this tiny amount of grain will give her digestion trouble?
If your baby isn’t eating it, then I wouldn’t worry about it. Mostly it sounds like your baby is using these things like chew toys. If I were you, I’d opt for something different to give her to gnaw on — like a chew toy or a cold vegetable stick.
Talia B says
We were on WiC and I felt it was wrong, and I was only using the fruit and vegetable voucher. We did baby led weaning and held off gluten containing grains until a year, but I guess we will do all grains next time.
A question about liver. I have never eaten or seen beef liver, only chicken. Is chicken liver not a good source of these vitamins?
Chicken liver’s nutritious but watch it. You would probably source the pastured livers anyway, given that you read blogs like this one, but industrial chicken livers tend to contain small amounts of arsenic from the feed. Why anyone ever felt the need to add arsenic to chicken feed is beyond my comprehension, but they do. 🙁
Chicken liver isn’t as nutrient dense as beef liver, but it’s still a better source of the fat soluble vitamins and necessary minerals like iron than muscle meat. So, I’d enjoy it, but like Dana said, be careful of the source.
David (dad of two) says
I agree with the tone of the article, but there are some irresposible errors:
Feeding a baby a raw organ from a cow could expose them to CJD, commonly called mad cow disease. A grass fed cow is less likely to have mad cow disease, since they eat grass, not grain mixed with cow remains, but this still poses an unacceptable risk – if you feed your baby liver, or if you eat liver, cook it first.
The article talks about egg yolks, which are a great food for newborns, but feeding a baby raw egg yolk might expose them to salmonella. You can easily soft boil an egg: just put it in a pot of cold water, bring the water to a rapid boil, then remove the pot from heat, cover, and let sit for 4-5 minutes.
The article says, “Mother’s milk is more than 50% saturated fat.” That’s a misleading statement. Human milk is about 9% fat. Perhap the intent was to say, “Fat from mother’s milk is more than 50% saturated fat.” Of course, breast milk is ideal for your baby.
This comment references this article:
David — We obviously have different food philosophies. Suffice it to say that your child has a far greater risk of dying in a car crash than of exposing themselves to mad cow disease or salmonella from letting them eat raw animal products from pastured cows or chickens. Does this mean you’re going to stop driving them places? No. That’s because the benefit of getting from point A to point B outweighs the risks. In the same way, I feel comfortable that the benefit of raw egg yolks from pastured hens and raw liver from grass-fed cows far outweighs the potential risks involved.
I also clarified the comment about saturated fat in one of the comments: More than 50% of the CALORIES in breastmilk come from saturated fat. It’s like when I say that 55-65% of my diet is fat. I don’t mean that by VOLUME, but by CALORIES. (So really I’m just using full-fat cream in my tea, spreading butter & mayo on thick, and cooking in fat instead of non-stick cooking spray. The actual bulk of my diet is made up of vegetables.)
P.S. See https://www.foodrenegade.com/why-im-not-afraid-of-salmonella/ for more.
So, I just re-wrote those couple of sentences about the composition of mother’s milk since they obviously weren’t clear enough. Hopefully the way they are now won’t lead to further confusion!
Mother of 2. says
I agree with you, David. Eating fresh is best, but having an infant consume raw meat and eggs is VERY irresponsible. The CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans (48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of food borne illnesses. Only and estimated 1.6 million people end up in a car crash each year. Terrible comparison.
Also, let me add that human bodies are not designed to digest animal fats, such as milk. Over half the worlds population is lactose intolerant by adulthood because our bodies are unable to digest it properly. The percentage of people who can successfully digest dairy have mutated genetically. Look it up. There are pages if literature on the subject.
Out of all of the mentioned above, breast milk, grains, fruits, and vegetables are best for baby.
Jess T says
Many cases of food borne illnesses have come from the food already being contaminated. Not sure how true this is, but I’ve read that things like salmonella don’t cook out of food. Botulism sure doesn’t. Also after reading about a lot of industrialized food and all the food recalls that have happened in the past 20 years, I would contribute those illnesses more to their production/ preparation method than the food being undercooked.
However, raw egg/meat does make me nervous, mostly because infants have much weaker immune systems than adults. I suppose it’s just something that each parent has to decide for themselves!
Lactose is not a fat.
This article is a dream come true as I have a 4 month old ad I’m just beginning to wonder how and when I shouldbegin to feed him. What I’m wondering is if there is any sort of chart or resource that states what and when to feed my little one. Are there any books you recommend that supports this philosophy of eating?
What I love most about this philosophy is how beautifully “right” it feels! Thanks so much for this wisdom.
Yes! There is a beautiful chart (currently being printed) by Monica Corrado, the lady who did the Grain & Bean Chart. It’ll be available for sale soon.
As for books, please check out my list of Must Reads.
Another great resource is at the WAPF website, under the Health Topics tab: Children’s Health. My favorite article is #37, “Nourishing a Growing Baby.” It has a really in-depth timeline, along with several good recipes, like grain-free, yolks-only custards, pates, etc. That has been my go-to resource for both of my kids so far, and I’m thinking about printing it out for my next baby.
I would really like to know how to implement these foods into my babies diet, when do we start the eggs, how do we cook them, etc. I am a FTM and so confused about feeding solids as it is, a step-by-step guide would be wonderful!
I was SO with you on everything until I read “It goes without saying that these should be incredibly tender if not totally mashed to provide for your baby’s lack of teeth.” Babies without teeth are able to practice baby led weaning/baby led solids with whole pieces of almost any meat or veggie.
I’m all for baby led weaning, and I gave my own children solids from our own plates (as in, I didn’t make them baby food). That said, I do think that the younger they are (say, pre-molars), the more tender the meat should be to aid in the meat’s digestibility.
I never gave my son cereal. Once he was reaching for food, I tried him on all sorts of things: cooked carrots, refried beans, egg yolk, meat, avocado, cheese, yogurt, and sweet potato. Then I’d watch carefully to see how he tolerated them.
Almost all vegetables — except for avocado — went straight through him and ended up whole in his diaper. Sweet potato gave him a rash. Dairy of any kind left his bottom bleeding until about ten months, when he suddenly began tolerating it fine.
The best food? Meat. Crumbled ground beef is easy to pick up, not too chokable, and easily digested. It clearly was actually nourishing him, and it never showed up in his diaper. I know that’s not at all what anyone recommends — especially pediatricians — but it’s what worked for him.
Jess T says
This actually reminds me of my oldest sister, and her experience with her daughter (my niece, of course). Her nurse actually threatened to call social services because she was giving my niece soy milk.
The reason? My little niece was severely chollicky (spelling??) until my sister figured out that my niece was, like her mother, very lactose intolerant. She started her on soy milk and my niece finally started to thrive.
Everybody’s different lol
Be carefull of soymilk, my neice also easily consumed it but when she was 8 she started her period. Her twin sister did not need soy and she didnt start till 12 or 13. So your neice is fine and growing now but you wont know ntil later how soy has truly affected her development and her healtg.
Excellent blog post. Thank you so much for sharing. I am always amazed at the number of Moms who think “baby food” and “baby cereal” is better for baby than breast milk or even formula and real foods once they are old enough for real foods. We start solids late on purpose. Real foods, what a concept. 🙂
Thanks or all the great information. I do have some questions though…I’m not due until April, but I’m trying to get as prepared as possible. I do plan on breastfeeding for at least the first year, if not longer depending how baby responds & as long as everything works out. I’m a vegetarian and I plan on raising my baby this way also and I just want to make sure that he/she will be getting every nutrient necessary. I’m not sure if you are familiar with raising a vegetarian child so this may be a pointless question, but what are some foods that I can give baby when they start on solids. I eat lots of tofu, tempeh, and satan; are any of these suitable for an infant to eat, and what are some other alternatives that will provide adequate nutrition?
Hello Kristen, interesting reading…
Like Antonia I have questions about feeding infants/toddlers who do not eat meat – I am bringing up my sons vegan, and I know that you are coming from an omniverous point of view so may not feel that meat/dairy/egg alternatives provide the nourishment you explain comes from your suggestions, but if you were to follow a vegan diet with an infant or toddler, do you have any suggestions to provide these needed fats, proteins, vitamins and so on?
I felt fairly sure that I was providing my older son, now 2.5 years, with a balanced (BLW) diet, (he used to love avocado actually) but with my younger one, now 13 months, he doesn’t eat half as ‘well’ as his brother did at the same age (solids introduced between 6 and 7 months) and we have given him far more on a spoon than we did with the older one. They had adult type porridge (with oat milk) every morning which seems to be completely against your philosophy and has made me think again about the amount of cereals and breads they consume. If you have any alternatives that I may not have come across I’d be very interested as I’m aware that the standard protein alternatives to the meat and egg ideas you suggest really aren’t as powerful in brain-developing terms…
(Antonia, my niece, now 10 months, eats all the soy/wheat protein products you mentioned and has done since solids were introduced a couple of months ago. My sons are also given these. My main concern with these is that most vegan products (sausages made of tofu and seitan, fillets etc) are made for the adult palate and include salt, so unless you buy just plain packs and make absolutely everything from scratch, which isn’t always easy, you will be giving a fair bit of salt to your child.)
Interesting article. Definitely very much opposed to what we’re taught in the industrial world. But even very different from what I’ve ever heard as a mom who exclusively breastfeeds, doesn’t start solids until 7-8 months, avoids rice cereal like the plague, and continues nursing past 1 year.
Which is why some substantiation would be nice. Where are some sources? I’m not doubting your sincerity in anyway, but lots of people believe lots of things.
You say there’s not enough amylase until after 1 year, another source says 6 months. How do I know you’re right? How do you know that the pancreatic levels before 1 year are insufficient? How do you know that the salivary enzyme is insufficient? You say traditional cultures don’t start with grains. Again, substantiation, please?
Where have you gotten your information so I can check it out for myself? I don’t vaccinate. I am expecting baby #7. I have homebirths. I am willing to be different. But, I want to be able to go to the sources myself and see what they say.
I see that elsewhere you recommend Nourishing Traditions, and I found an excerpt about feeding babies with mention of amylase at the Weston A. Price website. But, again no sources or references. In the full book, does that information have a reference given for it?
Hilarious that you act as if you’ll listen to real sources, but don’t vaccinate. I hope when the whooping cough or measles goes through your seven kids that it stays confined to them and they don’t spread it to others who are too young to be vaccinated or whose vaccination wasn’t perfect.
LT, what an absolutely terrible thing to say. I hope that your children aren’t a bully like you.
Hilarious that you think you have a clue about vaccines, and believe they can prevent things like whooping cough. Perhaps you need to do a little more research from *real sources* before making rude comments.
And what a horrible thing to say regardless of your opinion of vaccines.
This is a great article and very timely for me as I will be having a baby Friday! I actually linked to this post on my blog because I thought it was so good.
Thanks for the information.
Alice Callahan (@scienceofmom) says
Interesting article. I agree in principle about moving away from processed foods for baby and sticking to whole foods. It is ridiculous that so many parents think they have to buy baby and even toddler food! I am curious about your statements about amylase activity in infants, however. Do you have a source from primary literature that you can cite for that? I’d be interested in learning more. My 11-month-old baby does eat grains (and of course loves them), and I would think that if she was unable to digest the amylase, she would have awful diarrhea. But her poops are perfectly formed, healthy turds (yes, I am way too interested in her poops), so I don’t really believe that she is having a hard time with digestion.
I also feel that iron-fortified cereals play a very important part in the iron nutrition of our babies at the population level, although I have used very little of them for my own baby (she hates them) and I absolutely hate the plain white rice cereal. Iron deficiency is a serious problem in older infants and causes motor delays and cognitive deficiencies. If parents follow your advice to feed lots of eggs and liver, then their babies will get enough iron, but many parents will not. It takes a lot of effort to get enough iron into the diet of a rapidly-growing baby, and I’m glad that we have fortified cereals for the babies whose parents aren’t educated about getting their baby iron through “whole foods.” And while I applaud the push towards more traditional ways of feeding our babies, I think it is dangerous to assume that our ancestors got everything right. They obviously survived to reproduce, but that doesn’t mean that they always had optimal health. You might be interested in the article I wrote from an evolutionary standpoint about why breast milk is low in iron.
Thanks again for all the food for thought:)
Wish I had read this 50 years ago when my children were born. This information makes so much sense. I’m going to copy and save it for when I eventually have great-grandchildren and offer it as inspiration for my granddaughters/sons to be smart when they are planning the diets of their little ones.
Hi Callie, in response to your question about books for feeding babies, the best one I have come across (even more so than Nourishing Traditions, because this book really explains things in depth) is Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck. I have given out close to 20 books now that all of my friends have had babies. It’s exactly what this blog is all about and shows you how easy it actually is to nourish an infant.
Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama says
My first baby I didn’t know any better and we did rice cereal. Blah. And, later, GAPS.
My second baby gnawed on veggie sticks starting around 6 months, but didn’t eat them. He tried soft-cooked veggies in stock around 7 – 8 months but wasn’t ready for those. Around 8 months he started plain yogurt, eggs, and grass-fed ground beef. He loved those and did well with them. He’s 2 now and LOVES butter, so we still use that to placate him in restaurants! He’ll sit with a spoon and just eat it. Guacamole with corn chips is also a favorite now. When we went out to eat when he was little we’d just order him the guacamole as his meal!
My third baby is about 3 months, so still exclusively breastfed. We’ll wait until he’s 8 – 10 months and start him out with plain yogurt, avocado, eggs, and ground meats, too.
I tried to print this out using the “print friendly” feature and it did not work. It only printed one page and it was the pic of the baby w/ the titile running over the pic. Odd. Anyone else experience same?
I wonder if feeding your baby to many grains before they are a year old could encourage them to become autistic. I know there is a lot of research and opinions on vaccination, but most doctors also recommend babies cereal at 4 to 5 months old. Maybe diet should be looked at as well?
I’d also recommend foods that aid digestion because there’s bound to be some constipation after all that iron-rich protein.
Kristen, what are your thoughts on babies eating white potato? What is the difference between the starch in veggies and the starch in grains from an amylase and digestive enzyme standpoint? My son has had serious vomiting secondary to gluten-containing grains introduced at 6 months, but has also had the same issue with white potato. He is fine with all other veggies and gluten-free grains. I am educating myself about a more baby-friendly diet and he has been thriving without gluten-containing grains and white potato. Don’t know, however, if we’re dealing with gluten intolerance or lack of enzymes needed to break down starch? May also be an immune response causing histamine to be released into the gut leading to vomiting – more of an allergic response to the proteins in these culprit foods – but without skin or respiratory responses. If you can link me to anything you know based on your research, I’d be interested. The medical community has been of NO HELP. Surprise, surprise. Tks.
In trying to sort out aforementioned issues, we had some skin tests done and he was allergic to peanut, egg, and fish. He will probably grow out of these and of course, I’d never know it if we hadn’t done the skin tests. I’ve been told that egg can be a common allergen in babies, though it’s the egg white rather than the yolk which is the culprit. Since these skin tests have such a high rate of false positives (and negatives), especially before 18 months, I hate to not feed him eggs if he’s not truly allergic. There are so many yummy things he could be eating with eggs, and he’d be getting vit D and iron. I’m concerned that even if I give him the yolks only, there will be enough white attached to cause a reaction. Any experience talking to other moms with babies presumed to have egg allergy? Thanks.
What about Iron? Does a baby need to start having lots of iron added into their diet as soon as they are six months old as is commonly thought?
I agree with David!!
Don’t do anything you read online without checking with your doctor first or doing more research!
Raw egg yolk and liver does not sound appropriate for a 4 month old baby to me
You cite one source… where’s the scientific evidence to back up your article? If I turned in a paper like this in college with one source, I’d have failed that paper. Not to mention it’s makes you much less credible.
Hi I am just wondering if you have any medical or nutritional training, A lot of women are following your post from my mothers group but it contradicts what my doctor is telling me
sara wright says
Thanks for the information and great blog. I didn’t feed baby #1 more than a couple spoons of rice cereal and realized it was dumb! Baby #2 is approaching the 6 month mark and I’m starting to research a different approach with food. Not sure I can start with raw egg yolk and meat though, although it does make sense. I’m just still not sure…
Anywho, what about the argument of if you wait too long to expose children to grain, they will develop a sensitivity to it? I’ve seen some literature lately on this and wondering what your POV is?
Thanks again for all the info.
Thank you for this article!
However, there is a focus on breastfed babies. I was not able to nurse and did not know about milk banks at the time. I have a 4 month old on formula but will be making our own baby food when the time comes. Do you have any recommendations for the needs of formula fed babies?
Clancy Cash Harrison MS, RD, LDN says
First, I want you to know I come with passion and eagerness to learn. A couple weeks ago, my blog was unprofessionally attacked in the below link in which you where mentioned and quoted as well.
I found it to be eye opening as I put a lot of time and research into the science of feeding carbohydrates and non-gluten grains to infants under the age of one. I have spent 2 weeks researching and gathering data for this article. I think you would find it interesting. The only reason I am giving this to you to read is because I would love your opinion on the science and if you have any other science to offer?
I am a very open minded person and ONLY want to provide the best information I can to my family and readers. If this needs to be changed based on something you may have in addition that is science based I would love to hear about it.
Best to you and your blog!
Clancy Cash Harrison MS, RD, LDN
Thank you for going against the corrupt politically correct nutrition that is plaguing our nation at the moment 🙂 I have a question about liver. First, I read that chicken liver has more iron in it than beef liver. I also keep reading about so many cautions of vit A and iron toxicity if you feed your child liver. I dont do iron fortified cereals or anything like that (I mean what the heck did the thousands of generations before us do when there was no such thing as processed cereal boxes????!!!) I just want to make sure I am giving my son enough iron though. Can you give me some guidelines off how many ounces of liver/week I should give my son?
North of 49 says
I had been arguing against feeding solids before a year for almost two decades now, especially in families with food allergies. “Tastes” are fine – where the child tastes the food that the parents are eating. But a diet of solid foods before a year? Not really, especially not eggs. I kept those away from my children for as long as possible.
However, I did feed my kids uncooked raw but peeled or washed vegetables, especially when they were teething. They gnawed on broccoli stalks, whole carrots and celery. Now, as older children, I can’t keep those foods in my house!
I am curious about your discussion on avoiding dairy for the first year, but encouraging kefir. Is it ok because it is fermented? How does fermenting change the chemical structure of the milk proteins so baby can digest it?
I cannot believe you are suggesting parents to feed their infants egg yolk! That is against what any Dr. or medically trained professional would suggest. In fact they suggest the exact opposite! If a child does not have the enzymes to break down starch then they certainly should not be eating something filled with bacteria and harmful substances. This is the most inaccurate website I have read. There is not one piece of scientific proof to back up any of these claims.
Um what harmful substances? If you properly source you foods neither of those should be a problem. Doctors are not always right, if id known that id still have my gallbladder. Your comment is the most inaccurate thing i have ever read. Shes looked at the research, she is more trustworthy that doctors to interpret the info she has and share it with us free of charge.
I agree with the general idea of the article about being careful with what we feed our infants given that their digestive system may not be mature enough to process. I took my 10-month-old baby to the doctor last night because he is severly constipated and the doctor advised me not to feed him any starches and to avoid bananas, which is already contradicting your article to give babies bananas. Maybe I should have questioned the doctor more about it. Bananas aside, I noticed your article contradicts itself…I just read through the article and every single comment on the board hoping someone would have mentioned it but no. You recommend giving our infants butter and spreading it on potatoes, but potatoes are starch which babies have no amylase to digest it with?
And personally I would not feed my baby raw meat or eggs, I don’t think cooking it alters the nutrition content and I’d feel more comfortable. But I think it’s a matter of personal preference.
I will tell you the story of my daughter… She had horrible colic. 12+ hours of the day worth. Had mucous and blood in stool for the first 4 months of life. After many (many) specialist I began a strict diet as I was nursing. No corn, soy, dairy, beef, eggs, nuts, pretty much everything. After a month the stools got better and the colic subsided. Then it was time to start solids… Rice cereal… rice cereal would cause 3 days of painful constipation so I stopped it immediately. After lots of a research I began trying to introduce foods back into my diet. None of them worked. Then I started a 100% organic diet with no processed foods. This worked! I could have milk, eggs, beef, everything again! As long as none of the food I ate had any gmos she was fine. I played with a lot of solids… When I home cook her food,she is fine. She still can’t have grains or meat yet (except egg yolks). But I believe that babies know best and lately her diet (at 10 months) is 80% breastmilk, organic greek yogurt, egg yolks, a few different fresh fruits and avacado. none of these items cause constipation or tummy aches and she is growing great. This article is great, when I began my research I discovered all the HORRIBLE things we put in our bodies and what we put into our children’s bodies. Learning about food is so important and one day when I have more kids I am going to do SO MUCH differently. I will not start solids as early as I did and I will choose the right ones and of course, keep up my organic diet so that my breastmilk can be digested.
Hi Kristen, I have an 11month old who is breastfed and not really on solids yet, he has banana here n there. My main reasons for waiting is i believe its beneficial for so many reason and also because im crazily researching what the best and also easiest diet for him would be. Im not really a fan of all the animal products but not knocking them either. What do i know! I think that i will stick to a lot of fruit veg and meat here n there…but am so confused about grain and starches! on one hand i think we were never supposed to eat these things and on the other hand i think well then what!? back to the animal products i guess…anyhow you mentioned not starting starches til after 1, closer to 2 when child has molars and therefore amylase, but you also mention giving cooked veg after 10 months…what type of veg would you suggest? only non-starch veg? this rules out many i think….your advice is much appreciated as i keep going round in circles!
Also, was explaining all this to someone today and they said “so wouldnt the amylase in the bananas help in digesting starch foods?” i guess maybe if eaten in the same meal….you could follow potatoes with banana or other amylase containing food…does that make any sense? although seems like too much thinking in each meal!
I find it funny that there is no science to back up feeding starches to infants, but you list no sources for why not to. (from the babies can’t digest it section)
Just wanted to say what an interesting site.
As a budding nutrition student and vegan, I agree with not bothering with the infant cereals and agree with the infants need for fat.
The popular case for the infant cereals are because of an infants need for supplemental iron after six months of age and the baby’s need for fat to help with brain and CNS development.
With that said, with the increased likely hood of food allergies being greater for those under three years of age, I would recommend babies NOT be introduced to egg yolks at such a very young age, as some posters have already shared that their babies have shown allergic reactions.
As for the sources of choice fats, healthy fats found in avocados, coconut, etc. should have been included in the list as well for those on special diets and also to round out baby palate to develope their taste buds to vegetables and fruits as well. This would ensure baby will also get adequate nutrients and fat soluable vitamins along with good healthy fats and vit.c for absorbing non-hemino iron.
Finally, as for feeding Baby rice cereal and other grains, I can see the thought behind it, but some back up source would help with those that would like to do some research. The theory behind the first molars coming in inorder for babies to chew (carbohydrates begin digestion in the mouth) is well understood, but for personal reasons (industrializing baby food, non-gmo corn, soy, etc.) I would not recommend the rice cereals and wait at least until two years old to introduce wheat and other grains because they too top the common allergen list.
Leslie B says
Great info! Only thing I would add is plenty of home made bone stocks… babies don’t really need much water, especially if nursing, so stocks that are nutrient rich are a great use of sippy cups.
How do you start feeding yogurt if cows milk isn’t recommended?
My 8 month old would eat anything, in addition to breastfeeding. Bananas, avocados, liver, squash, potatoes, egg yolk, apples, yogurt. I often mix those with cooked grains. He loves couscous, buckwheat, rice, polenta. So far he’s happy and supper healthy (not even a cold in 8 month).
I don’t feed him commercially prepared foods, but cook myself, buying organic.
Would be nice to see some links to research backing up the negatives effects of feeding grain to young children.
I fed my baby just the way you did, those same grains too, plus quinoa. She’d eat anything. But I started earlier than you at 4 months like the baby book said (wish I never read that book!) and she was never sick, not even a cold for the first 2 years of her life. No vaccinations. Then she had one slight runny nose, and that’s it. Healthy, happy vibrant, no allergies, she may have had 1 or 2 colds before she turned 6. THEN she was diagnosed type 1 diabetic! I nursed her till she was one. She never had any sugar, nothing microwaved, mostly organic foods, I was very strict about what she ate and everyone knew it, and thought i was crazy. So… you can imagine the shock I had when she was diagnosed. Then followed was the most painful years of my life searching and searching for a way to end her suffering. I have learned just recently that feeding your baby grains before 1 year of age GREATLY increases the chances that the baby will come down with an autoimmune disease, whether celiac, diabetes, or something else. I did this to my baby! And I’m living with the guilt of it. PLEASE PEOPLE RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH before feeding your babies. DON’T just assume your doctor knows best. Don’t just assume that because “so and so” fed their baby this way and they were fine, that you can. And don’t just read one article and run with it! With any new baby I have ( I now have 6 and all the rest autoimmune free) I won’t feed grains of any kind until over FIVE years old. NOT worth the risk at all.
I recently came across this blog and was excited to possibly have found a site that digs into the truths behind food recommendation.
This post makes me suspect that what I found is another source for misleading, poorly researched information instead.
A quick glance through the NCBI archives (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc), livestrong.com articles that cite medical studies, and a nursing reference called Maternal, Fetal, & Neonatal Physiology: A Clinical Perspective by Susan Tucker Blackburn showed that infants generally produce enough amylase for digestion.
So, what sources said infants don’t?
The idea that babies don’t produce adequate amounts of pancreatic amylase until their molars come in is quite old. When industrially refined grains started being fed to infants around the turn of the last century, doctors wrote prolifically on why we shouldn’t feed these complex starches to infants. First of all, we had never done so. Traditional cultures that feed grains (like rice) or tubers (like sweet potatoes or taro) to their infants 1) waited until the kids were at least a year old, and 2) pre-chewed the food before feeding it to the baby (which injected it with the parents’ own salivary amylase and pre-digested it). But the doctors who wrote about feeding starches to infants between the 1890s and the 1930s also argued against it because when they measured the presence of ptyalin (the name of the amylase enzyme) in children, they found that it didn’t really show up in adult levels until infants had full dentition (their molars had come in). Most of these books can still be found in medical libraries, and one of them is even available online (written by Dr. Shelton in 1933).
Modern science hasn’t contradicted this. Here’s a study that measured salivary and pancreatic amylase in infants and found that pancreatic amylase didn’t reach adult levels until an average age of 16 months. There is one British study that was published that showed that babies produce adult levels of amylase by 8 months, but it’s specifically referring to salivary amylase. The study referred to pancreatic amylase as “iso-amylase” and found that iso-amylase production increased as the baby aged, topping off at about 2 years old. In a lot of online forums, I’ve read moms pointing to this study to prove that there are adequate amounts of amylase present at as young as 8 months. But, as I’ve pointed out, they’ve misread the study by confusing the terms.
But the fact that infants don’t produce the same levels as adults doesn’t mean they don’t produce enough to digest some starch.
You’re so knowledgeable, but you were on WIC? That’s an oxymoron! Especially when you claim to know more than an MD. When did you earn your degree?
Wow, I have a masters degree and am eligible for WIC. Not all those receiving government assistance are idiots.
Rachel R. says
Why is that an oxymoron? Do you know what WIC is? Because it sounds to me as if you’re misinformed about its primary purpose.
And ask any doctor you know how many class hours they spent on nutrition. Most will tell you it was only a couple, tops – out of all the years of medical training. It doesn’t take much to be better-informed than most doctors about something they didn’t study.
I just wanted to say that my son eats grains in his breads and his cereal and digests it just fine. And he always has. He was eating all that stuff after 6 months and he’s super healthy and happy and no mood swings other than normal ones that happen with toddler stages with frustration. I would like to know where you are getting your information? My son is 15 months old, eats almost anything including granola bars and other snack type foods and is completely fine. I think it just depends on the baby and how well their bodies are accustomed to breaking down certain foods. So, in my case with my son I’m more than certain he produces enough amylase….but hey, thats just me.
I realize i missed this post by 2 years, but i have 2 questions. 1) what do you think about sprouted grain cereals that contain small bits of the enzyme from germination? 2)What do you think about adding a tiny bit of enzyme in supplement form to the sweet potatoes or whatever form of starch you would like to offer?
Thank you so much for this my twins have a lot of issues gaining and keeping weight on. I use to feed my son all this and they were so healthy. When I asked my doctor about eggs and meats she denied my twins saying it’s not good for them! I still did it behind her back and they gained 2 pound! They are 12 and 13 pounds at 8 mths and when I told the doctor she schooled me like a child saying it wasn’t the best thing I did. I stopped again and they no again have weight issues this makes me want to do it again I hate the baby cereal seems so unnatural. Sad part my wic won’t let me buy organic and my girls only like it now i have to buy horrible walmart foods
Kelly Ebejer says
Are sweet potatoes and white potatoes a good choice for babies 6m to a year?
Yes, carbs are good for babies! They just need to be the RIGHT carbs in the right amounts. Ripe bananas, raw UNSWEETENED yogurt, raw goat’s milk, kefir, buttermilk, ripe avocados all have healthy carbs in them. It’s all the type of food you feed. Processed ANYTHING should be out, if at all possible. Teach babies to eat REAL foods from the beginning. You have the ability to teach babies/small children to prefer fresh, fermented foods and drinks, unsweetened foods, etc.
Hi! I really appreciated this article as I am currently “unlearning” all the old myths about baby feeding. I have a (wonderful) almost 7 month old baby. I have been practicing some baby led weaning. He eats avocados, melon, blueberries, banana and apples (he gnaws at them, and really enjoys it. Only one of these foods is listed on your list 🙁
I consulted a natropath and her recommendation was to get him on pureed meats. He is NOT liking them!
I have a couple of questions:
– I understand that it is about iron at this age. Would he get adequate iron from the foods listed above (e.g. yolk, liver, kefir, butter, buttermilk and yogourt)?
– I feel like I should give up on the meats. You say not before 10 months. Good idea?
– I always thought that we shouldn’t give our babies dairy until past 1 year… ?
– Should I stop feeding him the fruits and veggies I mentioned above (minus banana?)?
I should also mention that he takes HMF brand probiotics daily and is exclusively breastfed and is a happy, healthy boy. I am being extra cautious with his digestive track since his older brother (my step son)has autism.
THANK YOU! I really want to do the right thing but there is so much information out there…
I was wondering if you have any citations for this information you’ve provided, that I may read.
Anyone who is reading this article needs to go check out http://www.westonaprice.org because ALL the info presented here is taken directly from the Weston A. Price Foundation and is available FOR FREE on their site. Don’t pay for stolen info repackaged to make a profit!
This information is presented here for free as well, so I’m confused.
Also, if you’re referring to the Beautiful Babies e-course mentioned at the end of the post, please note that it was created with the blessing of the Weston A Price Foundation and that 5% of all sales goes to the WAPF as an annual donation. The class was even promoted in both the WAPF’s email newsletter and in the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s newsletter when it was first created.
Very interesting information! We have an 8 month old son who is breastfed and fed solids also. He never had a problem with constipation until recently with his solids. My husband and I are going to stop the grains and see if the problem stops. I know this is off topic but I’m curious Kristin what is your take on vaccinations? Do you agree with all of the recommended vaccines and at such a young age? Thank you.
Ashley Gallagher says
This is all great info! I have read the same recommendations in a boom called super nutrition for babies. However, my 6 month old is also vomiting the soft boiled egg yolks I started him on. I also let him share my grass-fed organic yogurt ( which he loved) but I recently had him muscle tested using Nutritional Response Testing through my practitioner and she found that his gallbladder was weakened by all dairy and eggs… allergy? Sensitivity? Not sure but the vomiting was scarey enough not to try it for a while. I ordered liver for him, but it came as pastured, organic fed chicken livers ( local farm). Should I use these…I thawed them in the fridge today. How should I prepare them now that they are no longer frozen? Super nutrition says you can cook in broth. But my marrow bones didn’t come with my order either. I have organic boxed stock ( but I know its not the same).
So I guess my question is if dairy and eggs are out…what else should I do? Or should I just continue to EBF? He wants to eat badly…so I’ve been giving banana, avocado, sweet potato, pears that I cooked in ghee( can’t give those anymore) and yesterday I made organic blueberries with org. Kale and breast milk in the vitamix. Not much he does not like.
It sounds like you’re doing well. I would have done the exact same thing in your shoes. I see no reason to keep feeding a food to a baby if he/she isn’t ready for it.
Regarding the liver, I’d probably make a pate. Cook the livers with salt & herbs & a smidgen of garlic & onion, then blend with a blender until a tasty paste is formed. Your family can eat it spread on bread or crackers, and your baby can eat it with a spoon.
As for the veggies like sweet potatoes & avocado, those are great! If it were me, I’d serve them up with coconut milk somehow. It’s high in the best kinds of fat, including lauric acid — a key component of breastmilk.
Wishing you the best!
I have to be honest… I was totally grossed out by the store bought “rice cereal.” I tried it and it tasted horrible…. So I made my own … Organic brown rice (soaked in water and a smidge of lemon/yogurt) for 24 hours)… Once cooked…we add Flaxseed oil, applesauce, and kale(yes kale) we make a porridge by using the food processor… My son started eating this at 9 mths old and he still eats it every morning for breakfast and he is 4.
Not all humans produce salivary amylase, it’s one of those genetic things such as having hair on the digits of your fingers. Thus then some babies would never be able to eat some of the foods you listed. It is a very common high school science experiment for everyone to not eat sugar all day, and then fill a test tube with saliva, add cornstarch to the saliva and wait 10 min, and then add a few drops of iodine. If iodine comes in contact with sugar it will turn the mixture green. If it stays red, there were no starches broken into sugars, thus no amylase in that person’s saliva. You should try it, I definitely saw for myself that not everyone has it.
janelle k says
Any thoughts on quinoa? Would that be a protein or grain?
Breanna Jones says
Is organic Brown rice cereal good for babies and what abot earth best baby food?
Question: if baby is only eating liver and egg yolk until 10 months how would they be getting enough iron? One TB of liver has 1.8 mg of iron and one egg yolk has 0.38 mg of iron. My baby is breastfed so she is at best getting 0.5 mg of iron through that. Please advise! Babies 7-12 months need a whopping 11 mg of iron per day. I just finished Super Nutrition for Babies, recommend by Sally Fallon. This book recommends meats as early at 7 months.
Rachel R. says
Bethany, the KIND of iron we eat makes a big difference. There’s a type of iron called “heme iron” that’s ONLY found in animal foods. It’s assimilated much, MUCH more efficiently than plant-based iron. So, yeah, a baby probably needs a “ton” of iron if he’s getting it from fortified cereals. (The fact that it isn’t well-used by the body is one major reason baby cereals often cause constipation.) But baby doesn’t need to take in as much if he’s getting his iron from meat and eggs.
I know I’m a latecomer to this discussion, but I had a quick question. I clicked the link suggestion for pastured egg source and couldn’t find any eggs on their site, am I just missing them somewhere?
I was hoping to use eggs from a recomended site while we search out a local source. Hopefully we can get some chicks of our own in the spring, but I was looking for a source to tide us over until then.
Thank you for all the work you have put into your blog! I would love to see some posts with recipes for little guys for those of us who aren’t really good in the kitchen. Like the first commenter, I’m on board for changing the way I feed my babies, but kind of at a loss as to how that looks in the kitchen 🙂
Could you please give some sources for the following statements made in your post?
1. Babies don’t make amylase in large enough quantities to digest grains until after they are a year old at the earliest. Sometimes it can take up to two years.
2. pancreatic amylase (what you need to actually digest grains) is not produced until molar teeth are fully developed! First molars usually don’t show up until 13-19 months old, on average.
Mom of science says
The world is 7,000 years old?? Lol. What? And feeding humans raw eggs is the most eye popping thing I’ve read in a long long time. You can kill your child; haven’t you heard of salmonella or e. coli???
Not years: generations. Salmonella and e.coli are very unlikely to be found in healthy, pasture raised chicken eggs. Soft boil or poach them and you’re good to go.
My almost 3 yr old daughter is allergic to eggs… we were always told to hold off on dairy and eggs, etc until after she turned 1. Which we did. And of course, found out she has an egg allergy. Now my 2nd daughter is 11 months old and we are nervous to have her try any of those things “too soon”… but you’re saying it is OK? I REALLY want to do the best for my kids and kick the iron-fortified (Earth’s Best) cereal… but I am so nervous that we will be making a trip to the ER!! I also would like to note that my older daughter also seems to have asthmatic tendencies and seasonal allergies as well as unexplained hives. Could this be food related? This is all so confusing! 🙁
Maritza Nasseri Acosta via Facebook says
Monalisa Perez Berwing
Nicole Mendenhall Balmos via Facebook says
Weston A. Price Foundation infant formula and baby’s first foods.
Kimber Thompson via Facebook says
I dont feed any cereal or grain. I feed food like butter, coconut oil, veggies, meats, fruits, coconut milk (mostly breastmilk though)
Michelle Rollins via Facebook says
My munchkin is 5 months, so still just breastmilk. When he’s ready for other foods, I’ll introduce with egg yolk, bone marrow, and avocado. No grains until >12 months, and only gluten-free and “properly prepared” at that time. Also no gluten until >18 months (preferably 24), and only “properly prepared” einkorn introduced alongside breastmilk. I’m gluten intolerant myself, and I see no inherent value in gluten itself, but if my son is gluten intolerant, I want to know, and if he isn’t, I want to gently get his system accustomed to it so I don’t have to freak out if someone gives him a goldfish cracker.
Karen Adelberg de Montiel via Facebook says
Whole, organic foods, avocado, yogurt, any fruit we are eating, egg yolk, no grains yet at 9 months, will see how long I can hold off (he has 3 older brothers who eat grains).
Do you think coconut oil might eb a good first food for babies?
Great article, thank you! I have some questions, though. Truth be known, I probably should do the GAPS diet. 15 years ago I tested positive for food allergies (by blood, IgE, IgG?) for eggs, gluten, milk. I didn’t have true allergic reactions, just headaches, fatigue, etc.). I attempted a rotation diet but failed because I lost too much wait (got down to 100 pounds). So that is background. I now have my 4th baby who is 11 months old. As with my other babies, I cannot have dairy while breast feeding – spitting up all the time and tummy issues, diaper rash). I am feeding her egg yolks, avocados, veggies, meats, but haven’t given her any dairy of course. I was wondering if babies who can’t tolerate dairy from nursing mom can tolerate things like yogurt. My older kids drink raw milk (I do not) so I also have raw milk in the house so I could make yogurt and butter. Also, do you think it’s my inability to digest dairy that is causing baby to have issues? I hope this makes some sense! Thank you for your thoughts:)
Pamela Thompson Buettner via Facebook says
My 11 month old is just starting to eat – avocados, egg yolk, meat, veggies. Still nursing majority of the time but I am unable to eat dairy because it gives her tummy issues. Is yogurt out of the question? I can make it using raw milk.
Anastacia Schiele via Facebook says
Me either. I used to give Madilyn egg yolk.
Walter Jeffries via Facebook says
Funny thing is with three kids we never did get around to buying baby formula, infant cereals or other baby foods. All of our kids nursed for six years. Around six months they started tasting stuff off of our plates, gradually more so that by a year or so they wanted their own plate. They ate all the things we’re warned against like white rice, yogurt, honey, meat, dirt and yet they’ve grown well and fine. What they didn’t get was pesticides, herbicides and all that junk. There are certain advantages of living on a small farm – healthy, high quality food is one.
Melissa Erin Johnson via Facebook says
Rachel Moser-Wanderski great post with all the info I was trying to pass on 🙂
Lv McGraw via Facebook says
I broke all the rules here and my 40+ year old kids (now adults) are doing just fine. I wouldn’t change a thing I did.
With every generation it seems that babies health deteriorate more and more. I’m 40 and I was fed with all the no no’s as well, and I’m fine, and so are all my siblings. But when I went and fed my child the same…. she WASN’T fine. We never heard of celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity, back then. Why? Maybe its that generations are just getting sicker and sicker b/c of what our parents fed us. Just b/c we were fine doesn’t mean the future generations can handle it. It’s VERY dangerous to feed your young children grains now-days. the grains themselves are not the same either. Mostly all GMO! Did we ever hear of GMO when we were little? I think not. Things change, this world is changing, its toxic, and our children are suffering b/c of it!
Grayse Aoide Oyéresu via Facebook says
I follow the raw foodist path with my child and it’s been marvelous. Raw goat’s milk and fruit for the first couple of years, slowly introducing non-starchy vegetables, then starchier ones (around age 4), then sprouted grains and soaked or fresh nuts/seeds around ages 5-6.
Pamela Prettynose via Facebook says
I am so glad I am not feeding a baby today, most of what we have is toxic, so it the least of the worst, I breastfed as long as I was able and supplemented with real veges and baby foods that I made myself. It is so easy to do. And you can do it slowly and pay attention to the babies reaction with each introduction. If I had access to raw goats milk we both would have been drinking it!! Delicious and healthy!! Sooo healthy!!
Lauren Gendler via Facebook says
Rosealee Graham Teresa Nino Very interesting read! Even from a WIC employee’s p.o.v. 😉 not all government issued nutritionists share the same opinion…!
Lisa Anne Baum via Facebook says
My sister starts her babies with raw (fresh from her own chickens) egg yolks and broth.
Robin Rachael via Facebook says
Haha nope. My boy loves fresh stuff.
Ann Miller via Facebook says
I know he does!!! I remember our convo about the cereal issue.
Launa Virgo via Facebook says
Don’t remember feeding her cereal. Her first solid food was a back yard carrot mashed up with breast milk. I made all her food.
Victoria Coghill via Facebook says
never. not ever baby food from the store either. pointless, gross and a waste of money.
Mary Light via Facebook says
direct link to mucus build up, which attracts allergens and pathogens, clocks sinuses including ear passages- making millions for pediatricians.
Jeff-Leah Decker via Facebook says
I did but not until about 9months with my 1st child I was just following what I was told :/ but we didn’t have any problems. I have learn a lot about nutrition since then. If we have another I will not give them cereal.
Brandilyn Slayton via Facebook says
Nope. They don’t need them! It’s a manufactured product that is sold to serve an invented purpose.
I would like to say if your not supposed to give your baby infant cerial and saying its bad then how is giving a child under 1 eggs, milk, and stuff like that ok? there body cannot digest milk other than breast milk either so your saying oh don’t use infant cerial then saying oh here ya go give your baby milk dumbest thing I have heard
I would also like to say why would you give a small infant liver raw when there not even supposed to have fish raw or cooked do to they could have an allergy to that same as peanuts
I find the comments more interesting then the post itself. I think the author should not mention tradition without actually researching it. I am from middle Europe, our tradition, which I don’t follow, they feed babies whith cream of wheat very early in life. In the hospital nurses feed them tea with sugar so they don’t cry, and mothers continue the routin, because they believe that will cleanse the baby’s inside. I know this is wrong, but that has been the tradition for hundreds of years, especially the cream of wheat feeding in middle Europe. And I just don’t believe in feeding babies raw meat or eggs. I wouldn’t feed them anything that I wouldn’t eat. Every Mom knows her baby and baby’s needs, I think we all do a great job, we just do it differently. But we all want what is best for them.
I forgot to add that if someone cannot breastfeed, the healthiest formula on the market is Holle from Germany!! It is worth it to do a research on formulas, you will learn a lot about them.
Rachel R. says
Adults, too, ate raw eggs pretty regularly before battery farming of chickens. I would personally not feed a child (or anyone else, for that matter) conventional eggs from the supermarket raw, but small-farmed chickens should be quite safe.
I just can’t agree with the practice of giving an infant raw eggs! We cook eggs for a reason. You’re taking a risk as an adult if you eat them, a risk that’s unfair to pass onto your child. And I agree with the previous poster that it’s unfair to generalize about what other countries do. Many countries give babies sweetened soft cereals, sugar water, and worse. They have for years. We may not agree with the practice, but it’s been done for eons.
I was curious about your opinion of making a homemade quinoa cereal to introduce to a baby 4-6 months; since technically quinoa isn’t a grain.
Hi! Is there a way that I can share your article on ditching baby cereals on Facebook?? I’ve been getting a lot of heat for choosing not to and I love your article!
Mandy Graybeal via Facebook says
We did that GAPS protocol, so lots of quality veggies with a bit of grassfed meats and broth. Fermented veggie juice first and actual veggie as chewing abilities improve.
Kimberly Roberts Nettles via Facebook says
I so wish I knew this when my kids were little
Treasa Crawford via Facebook says
Food Renegade via Facebook says
Thanks, Treasa Crawford!
Annette Rehayem via Facebook says
Fiona Nguyen you might be interested in this!
Marissa Smith via Facebook says
Cereal is recommend so the kids sleep through the night as they try to digest things (re: carb coma)… Not because it’s a good transition to big people food.
Catharina Dumaresq via Facebook says
I felt huge pressure to feed my babies rice cereal specifically. I was told without doing that they would become anaemic and not thrive, terrifying words for a new mother. So after about a quarter of a teaspoon of what looked and behaved like glue it took about a week to reengage their healthy bowel movement. We stayed with breastmilk and fruit/vegeswith much kinder results. My boy was 41/2 months my daughter wasn’t interested until 8 months. Thank goodness I have a sensible GP who reminded me I am intelligent with good instincts and we went from there.
Rachel R. says
That is brilliant about the butter packets! I never thought of that.
I’m wondering if you happen to have a reference for the correlation between amylase and molar development? I’ve read it in a number of places (including in an old, doctor-authored book), but I haven’t ever seen a reference for it (to a study or something).
Rachel R. says
Never mind. I found your earlier comment with the links.
I know some people have questioned the lack of “evidence” of babies struggling with digestion of starches, specifically mentioned a lack of diarrhea. I wonder, though, if the constipating effect of added iron disguises this, by “balancing” it out.
Thirty five years ago, out then pediatrician told me not to feed my son cereals; that they were starchy, empty calories that encouraged fat cells to grow. I listened. The mothers of my grandchildren wouldn’t listen to me. I have, however, posted this on FaceBook, hoping they will see it. What is it about this new generation of parents who don’t think we know anything about anything? They insist upon learning things the hard way. I asked my mum questions all the time. And appreciated her wisdom, experience, and guidance.
Please read this science based article. http://scienceofmom.com/2013/11/08/amylase-in-infancy-can-babies-digest-starch/
Here is some science based information on why babies can digest starch and do produce amylase. It used to be the belief that they didn’t make it, but they do. Before you delete my comment because it doesn’t agree with what you believe, please take 5 minutes to read the article and think about it a bit. Opening your mind and changing what you believe can be a difficult path, but the best minds can do it.
I am wondering, and maybe someone already asked this, but what about sprouted grains? I use sprouted whole wheat flour for most of my baking. Would this be an exception since it digests as a vegetable?
Tom Hughes says
In Hawaii we use poi as the first “solid” food while weening the child. It’s hypoallergenic and packed with nutrition, as well as easily digested. Perhaps you could add it to your list?
This article is all hearsay based on no documented, referenced facts about amylase and lipase levels. Prove to me with a reputable source about the inadequate levels of these digestive enzymes. Maybe then this could be taken seriously.
Please email with an opinion!!!!!!! I need help!!! My son is just 2 mths old. He was diagnosed with milk protein allergy, and acid reflux, he’s been switched to elecare formula after 2 tries. The gastroenterologist has told me put 1tsp of baby cereal per oz. my son is always crying!! Is this because of the cereal. What do you recommend? Ive tried rice and oatmeal.
Can you post a link with the science that says babies don’t digest grains until a year? I want to bring it with me to a ped appointment.
I don’t want to feed my child cereal, but I am not sure what to give her for iron. She is 6 months old and so I wouldn’t want to give her meat or egg yolk just yet. Could you please advise? Thank you very much
Kimberly Harrison Bass via Facebook says
Candy Granados-Gaspar via Facebook says
Lizzette Armendariz, thought of you 🙂
Marnie Bishop Hess via Facebook says
Makes perfect sense. If we don’t eat processed foods, why should our babies? Oscar and Ellis’ first food was avocado!
Janet Chamberlain via Facebook says
Leesha D. Chamberlain Elizabeth A. Miller
Patti Benefiel Gilbert via Facebook says
Heather Gilbert Dunn
Roslyn Betts via Facebook says
Naomi Ehsman this is interesting
Michelle Paul via Facebook says
Rigo Emma Vernon
Ash Bingham via Facebook says
Allison Bingham Flickinger
Colleen Cate Etheridge via Facebook says
And I hope nothing negative ever comes out about puffs
Becky Foster via Facebook says
Michelle Aiken- food for thought!
Becky Cobb French via Facebook says
Rebekah as u get ready for “food”
Allison Boston Sparks via Facebook says
Interesting as entire generations had rice put in their formula bottles way earlier than 4 months.
Mary Elizabeth via Facebook says
Katie Rose, might be something of interest.
Stefanie Kennedy via Facebook says
Tried at 6 months. Seven years later, my son still doesn’t really like cereal, which is FINE by me 🙂
Olia Guevara via Facebook says
Russians dont start cereal until almost a year old, we do veggies&fruit starting at 4 months ))
Crystal Mazey via Facebook says
Our pediatrician is awesome. She specifically told me not to give my daughter those “filler” cereals, telling me there is no nutritional value to them. Then she recommended baby led weaning. Best advise ever. My 11 month old can and will eat almost anything we eat.
Shari Brown Nightingale via Facebook says
Erica Ferrill Brettell
Melissa Yancer via Facebook says
Jan Helf Curtin via Facebook says
Amazing how thinking changes over the years! 48 years ago when my oldest son was born, breast feeding was not envouraged, cereal was started at 10 days, fruits at 2 weeks and veggies shortly thereafter! I had happy, healthy babies who slept well and developed normally! And now everyone says that was wrong!!! I’m surprised they survived those horrible things we did to them!!
Emily Lubcke via Facebook says
We just started food with our 6mo. Sweet potato, pear, banana, plums, yogurt, and carrots so far. Some purees some blw… so far he loves it all!
Sarah Lee Marmino via Facebook says
Danna Lee White came across this when Sam was a baby. ♥
MrsKimberly Jimenez via Facebook says
Melissa Melissa Vanessa Neidy Isabel Lydia Jenny
Sarah Muma via Facebook says
I followed Weston A. Price Foundation suggestions with my youngest. When you know better, you do better 🙂
Sarah Godwin via Facebook says
You might find this interesting Samantha Rocheck Brewster x
Carol Tillyer via Facebook says
Samantha Luckhurst interesting read
Justine Ife via Facebook says
Kristen are you saying babies under 10 months should not have cooked veg & meat?
Loyda Pacheco Coulombe via Facebook says
Jessica Woodward. Brianna Coulombe
Liz Knapp via Facebook says
Mary Light via Facebook says
Instant recipe for starting the profitable Ear Infections industry for allopathy. And suffering for the child.
Melissa Matamoros via Facebook says
Katie Brach via Facebook says
Matthew Brach we were just talking about this..
Patricia Sosnowski via Facebook says
Clara Morgaine via Facebook says
Just yesterday I was in our co-op with my babies and a nice lady stopped me, while holding two different types of infant rice/wheat cereal and asked me which she should get for her grand-baby. I told her neither! And explained basically this whole article to her.
My first started on egg yolks and avocado and other savory foods. He is the least picky toddler eater I know!
Tonya Ornduff via Facebook says
Ann Marie Emsley via Facebook says
My boys were little fatties and wanted food. I gave them avocado mixed with breast milk for their first food. Then at 6 months mixed in grain cereals.
Kristin L. Rousom via Facebook says
I refused to ever start solids at 4 months. Starting with my 2nd child (when I learned about it), I did Baby Led Weening. As long as their older sister isn’t around or at least doesn’t say anything, my 2 middle kids will try almost anything.
Lauran Clark Robinson via Facebook says
First foods were sweet potato, banana and avacado..
Melinda Todd via Facebook says
We started solids late and we gave them real food, not cereals or premade baby food. I just smashed up what ever veggie was on my plate while we were eating. We way over complicate feeding our babies.
Sue James via Facebook says
Mine survived all in their thirties now
Cassie Cline via Facebook says
Baby led weaning for the win here!! No baby food at all – after 6 months my babes get to start playing and experimenting with whatever food we are eating – not mashed up but just as it is. Way better and a whole lot more fun!
Leslie Gribble via Facebook says
Hmmm…some good points, but not sure about all of this. Bananas are highly constipating to babies, and I would be scared to give my baby raw liver! I would suggest better fats like coconut oil or avocados. Meat seems so hard for infants to digest.
Linda Lewis via Facebook says
pureed fruit n veg first
K. Ann Seeton via Facebook says
when they clearly want what I am eating i mince it into a soft paste and share. Easy.
Erin Richardson via Facebook says
Sweet potato, avocado, and the teensiest bit of whipped cream at six months…and yogurt a little later. My kiddo would eat most anything we offered until he turned two, but I could never get him to eat any sort of baby cereal or food from jars.
Any advice for a 12 month old who’s in the 10th percentile? She’s always been small, we’ve been keeping with the nutrient dense good and meat and veggies are her main staples. She dislikes eggs and bananas, going to try hiding them in food soon. Anyways our doctor is aware that we are not doing grains but she is worried about our daughters carb intake and is scaring us with saying her body is eating Into her muscle mass and that she is in a state of not growin because of it. She typically eats a diet of meat, veggies and sweet potatoes. Doctor isn’t quite on board with their being enough carbs in her veggies and is suggesting grains. Any food ideas to help bulk up baby and not rely on grains? Does she need more fats?
Sarah Oslin says
I love this article. But I am also quite disappointed that you didn’t bring up Baby Led Weaning. Babies can eat all types of food without having any teeth so the lack of teeth shouldn’t affect that at all.
Good tips. I never would have thought about adding butter to my baby’s food, but that’s a really great idea. Thank you!
I was very surprised of your recommendation to not introduce cooked veggies and meats until at least 10 months. I was wondering if you could share the reasons why you think it’s not an appropriate first food for the baby (6-7 months of age). Any scientific expiation/backing is much appreciated.
I look forward to your response.
Kristen Michaelis says
It has to do with a baby’s ability to self-feed. Of course, if your infant is able to self-feed at a younger age, then I’d say go-for -it. But if your baby is the typical average, then 10 months seems to be the average age at which they can self-feed cooked veggies & meats. This is all part-and parcel with the philosophy that you should breastfeed your baby as long as possible and transition them into other foods according to their age and actual digestive ability.
As for “scientific explanation”, there isn’t much. This is just going off what women have traditionally done, and valuing the collective wisdom/insight of mothers gone before us.
Karen Sanders says
Could you please share your source for the amylase information? I find it interesting and would like to learn more but can’t find any articles online. Thank you
These are all animal products.
Thank you for your advice
I am using solids to help my baby gain weight
She loves nursing primarily
I would like to be able to give her meat she loves my home
Made chicken stock
But you say 10 months she is 5 months
Your thoughts would be appreciated
Do you recommend cooked egg yolk or raw?
Quinta and chia are seeds not grains. Does this means that baby’s can digest them?
What about peanut butter? Coconut oil?
Hello Mrs. Michaelis,
I´d like to ask, is it really so, that babies dont have amylase to age 13-19 months until molar theets appear? I mean, is it somehow scientific proved? Because in our land (not in our, but everywhere) are the recommendations from Pediatrics, WHO etc. to gently start with grain/cereal feeding (mash) from 4/6 Months, to avoid Celiac desease and to acommodate baby to grains. Almost EVERY mother do it so.. wouldnt there be every baby sick than ? Some are, yes, bot not so many.. Couldn´t that be, that by ages an organism (baby´s) changed someway, accomodatet better to digust grains?? I would like to do it like on you site written is, but I´m frightened horribly if it is really correct… is it somehow proved that its the right way, how to feed baby?? Did you do blood-test to your children, or something? Because the babies that eat grains usually have normal blood tests… Im really confused.. When i told it to my husband, he said, babies need to eat everything, they need an energy from cereal… I dont know what to do, I believe this teory (no grains) but what if I will somehow damage the health of my 1 year daughter when I´ll stop to feed her cereal at all (but she eats it a little), will than she have no problem – gluten-allergy or something like that later?? Id be very grateful for an answer..
Thank you very much, Ann
I wanted to ask you about avocado, as it’s not mentioned. Avo is a good source of fat and it is a super food, so is it as good as feeding my 6 month old egg yolk? Thanks!
Rose Jennings says
That’s interesting about the grains. I am taking a course on this and reading a lot and of course they say to feed rice porridge as a first food. Do you have a recipe for the meat & veggie stew? I would like to start doing that for my baby.
You say no younger than 6 months for things like bananas. What is the science/reasoning behind a certain age for things other than cereal?
Felicia torres says
Hi! Thank you for sharing ! I was windering if you have recipe ideas for my baby of 10 months. I wish i breastfed but i am not. Any advice or example recipes for me?
Rachel H. says
This is so helpful and way better than other ‘don’t use baby cereal’ articles I’ve read. Mainly because of the recommendations and explanations. Thank you! Do you think soaked grain or sourdough would be okay for babies? That is the kind I make since it helps with digestion… And also that’s how bread was traditionally prepared!
So what I give for my 9 months baby
Really? You want babies first foods to be Foods from other animals? I don’t get how you think this is more natural than grains.
This clarified a lot!