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The last time I wrote, I was rather melodramatic about the pitfalls of introducing N to the world of real food. Since then I’ve made progress on that decision and I’m sticking to my original plan. You see, as other parents will attest, I have only a small time frame where N’s food is completely in my hands and I want him to have the very best start.
Everything I’ve read about traditional societies and baby food says that babies have typically been on a high fat diet where 60 % of their calories come from fat. This makes sense because breast milk (which is the perfect food for baby) contains 50 to 60% of it’s calories from fat. In addition, the cholesterol in human milk supplies an infant with close to six times the amount most adults consume from food.
For the first 4 to 6 months of life, babies start producing functional enzymes for digesting proteins and fats (found in breast milk) and the only enzyme for digesting carbohydrates present is lactase for digesting lactose. In fact only when the baby is around 28 months of age is the digestive system properly geared for digesting grains (and some individuals never take to grains even through adulthood and may not even know it).
Amylase (the enzyme required for digesting grains) kicks into gear when the baby is past the one and a half year mark. Introducing grains too early (specially wheat, bread, cereals) could set the little one up for digestive troubles later on. A baby’s immature digestive system may let the particles of food reach the blood stream (leaky gut syndrome), which prompts the immune system to mount a response that leads to an allergic reaction.
Honestly even an average adult (those with bad skin, pcos, constipation problems) are probably reacting badly to grains. For a tiny little body it is a definite no no.
After the 4 to 6 month mark, the iron stores in the baby from the mom (while she resided in mom’s body) are depleted and breast milk does not provide the baby with enough iron. This is the reason cereals fortified with iron and packaged baby food became popular.
But what if you give baby foods that are naturally rich in iron? Like liver, egg yolk, and red meat? Studies have shown, that babies produce enzymes to digest animal fat much earlier than those required to produce grains.
Baby led weaning – I have been toying with the idea of baby led weaning for a while. Babies are fairly intuitive about what they want to eat. It’s only when we force feed that babies over eat and eventually stop listening to their bodies. So baby led weaning means you soft cook small pieces of food and out in front of baby and he decides whether he wants to play with the food or how much he wants to eat.
Well I tried it a couple of times. It takes a lot of patience, as initially maybe even for months baby won’t eat any of the food. I didn’t have much patience so I am doing the next best thing.
Spoon feeding without forcing. I let him come forward towards the spoon and when he doesn’t want anymore I don’t prompt. Sometimes he barely eats, and sometimes he wallops off the entire portion.
N will turn 7 months on the 4th of May, and I have been offering solids for almost a month now.
This is what he has eaten so far:
Egg yolk, chicken, apples, banana, avocado, pear, papaya, chickoo, musk melon, sweet potato, broccoli, cabbage, red cabbage, cauliflower, carrots.
I give him fruits like chickoo, papaya, and melon in little pieces and not mashed up.
This is what his meals looks like :
Wake up : 7 am – breast feed
10 am – soft boiled egg yolk with butter, and whatever fruit we have at breakfast that day.
11 am – breast feed
1:30 pm – full fat yoghurt
2:00 pm breast feed
5:00 pm breast feed
7:30 pm – A veggie (whichever one that’s being cooked for dinner) with steamed and pureed chicken in coconut oil or ghee. Sometimes I grate in cheese into the veggies instead of chicken.
8:30 pm – breast feed, bed
3:00 am – breast feed.
N absolutely adores his egg yolk with butter. That’s the highlight of his day and I may start including it for his dinner too because he doesn’t take to the veggies and chicken half as well.
But he is just a baby, why would you put him on a diet?
I’m not. I am giving him nutrient dense, fat rich, whole foods that will prime him for a lifetime of good health I believe. By giving baby ‘fillers’ or foods that are not rich in nutrients, a tiny tummy that does not have place for a whole lot, is ingesting food that just takes up place but does not reap benefits. More over grains and cereals are downright harmful let alone less nutritious than whole foods.
Try as you may, he is going to cave in to peer pressure, what will you do then?
I don’t expect him to turn down cakes, pizzas, and burgers. I want him to be off to the best possible start that’s all and then take it as it comes.
As a mom who has been eating real food for 2 years before N was conceived, throughout my pregnancy, and while nursing, I can be rest assured that he has already the foundations of good health and I am pretty sure he cannot be too badly off for that.
What will you do if he eats food of grand ma’s plate (chapatti and the likes)?
That’s fine as long as he has finished his own meal first.
Delaying grains and other hard to digest foods actually prevent food allergies later on, and introducing baby to varied real foods open him up to different tastes.
Thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to learn about your experiences with starting solids! Is your baby a primal baby?