oh baby baby food

Many of you have requested my thoughts on baby food {again and again and again}. So I thought I would share this post on baby food I wrote 2 years ago. {with some slight editing of additional information}

As most of you know I have a deep love for healthy eating... so you can imagine I can be a little particular about baby food. {grin}

It should come as no surprise to hear that I swim against the current of common baby food. I exclusively breast feed our babies for most of their 1st year -- only adding small amounts of baby food as their bodies show me they are ready.

How do I know they are ready? Their teeth will tell you!

Teeth usually come in pairs. The bottom front two teeth typically show up first, followed by the top ones -- when the 1st pair have made their grand entrance it is time to start with a fruit or veggie. Not before 6 months however. We like to start with Avocado -- which is a fruit by definition.

Avocados are one of natures perfect foods -- filled with vitamins, minerals and super rich in good fats! They are perfect served right from their peel. Roll your ripe avocado around on the counter -- slice in half -- whack your knife into the pit to remove -- and start mashing!

Once the 2nd pair have worked their way through it's time to add more fruits and veggies. We have started the girls on mango and raspberries so far.

Contrary to what some believe, giving babies fruits before veggies will not cause them to have an overly active sweet tooth. If you are breastfeeding your babies is already getting some of the sweetest food on the planet! {grin} What can cause a baby to desire only sweet foods is... serving them all or mostly sweet foods.


Right now the girls {9 months old} eat 1/2 an avocado during dinner time -- but after I have nursed them. They do not eat baby food everyday yet. A couple times a week we will give them the fruit in the mornings. We will be adding sweet potatoes next -- followed by our dinner veggie when they are a bit older.

I try to make sure to only use organic -- if needed -- for babies. Since berries are a must buy organic and they can become quite pricey, I like to buy frozen organic berries and puree them with my stick mixer. I do use berries very sparingly.

You CAN mix in large batches and freeze but I tend to not do this -- why you ask? Since we eat fresh fruits and veggies everyday it is very easy for me to mash or puree whatever fruit or veggies we are eating for our babies.

In a pinch I have been known to slightly chew up a veggie or fruit and then feed it to our babies on my clean finger. Finger feeding can be an excellent way to start feeding your baby -- much easier than the foreign silver spoon sometimes. {grin}

I also tend to not mix up foods -- I like my babies to learn to love and enjoy each unique flavor before mixing and changing. I don't like to eat bananas and squash mixed together so why would I think my babes would?

I couple big no-no's -- no cereal, grains, meats or diary. Their bodies are not ready to process any of these and could cause intestinal and digestion issues. It is best to wait until close to 2 years old before introducing these. It is a shame that baby cereal is aimed towards such young babies.

And no water -- they do not need any other hydration other than moms milk. Letting them have water will lower their electrolytes and dehydrate them.

Back to the teeth leading the way....

So we have 4 teeth through and now the side front teeth (lateral incisors) fill in -- usually around 1 year. These pearly white teeth tell us they are ready for protein -- such as garbanzo beans or eggs. You can also start adding in organic meats, grass fed beef, hormone free chicken & deep sea fish.

Garbanzo beans {chickpeas} are a very easy bean to mash without becoming a puree. Quinoa is also a great first protein. By this age I like to start letting them have chunkier foods too. Mashed hard boiled eggs or scrambled eggs are another great 1st protein.

If you have any history of egg sensitivity you should start your baby on the yolk only -- easiest way is to hard boil the eggs and remove the yolk to mash.

Now the molars and then the canines, which are the pointy teeth next to the front teeth. The back molars erupt last. Filling in the rest of these teeth indicate your baby is ready for grains -- around 20-28 months.

I'm sure many of you are wondering why teeth show food readiness. The eruption of teeth produces saliva with contains digestive enzymes and this generally happen along the same time line as digestion and intestinal development of necessary enzymes. If you are feeding your baby grains before they have the necessary enzymes to digest the grains properly your babies body will not digest or only partial digest the grains leading to intestinal trouble and possible allergies.

I am a firm believer in baby led feeding -- they, along with their teeth, will show you when they are ready and how much they want to eat. Remember that breast milk is their main source of nutrition still.

Fruits and Veggies also make phenomenal teethers. Freeze the pip of a fresh mango, cold carrot and cucumber sticks, unsulfered and unsweetened dried mango, pineapple, apples and peaches. I like to put big chunks of frozen fruit in a safe feeder too -- it can be messy but they LOVE it!

some additional articles to read

So now you know how we do baby food! Glad you asked!?!

20 comments:

Katy said...

Thank you for all of this information! Unfortunately I will not be breastfeeding because I take medicine for rheumatoid arthritis that is not good for babies, but hopefully I can take all of these other tips and have a very healthy baby :)

Sharonah said...

Hi, I have been reading for a while (can't remember how I found your blog) but never commented before. I really enjoyed what you wrote here and have a few questions for you. My son (who will be 4 in June) did not get any teeth until he was 14 months old. If that was your child would you have waited to give any food until then? My daughter who is almost 11 months also still has no teeth. I have been giving her food for a while but am just wondering what you would have done in these situations. Also - what if someone wasn't breastfeeding (or wasn't exclusively breastfeeding) - would you then think that they should start their children on some foods earlier? If any of my questions seem accusatory or negative, it is not meant that way at all, I am really just curious. I hope to have more children and would not be against doing things differently in the future.

Guest said...

Like Sharonah, two of my three children were VERY late teethers -- my first child (son) had no teeth until 13 months, and my 3rd child (daughter) had no teeth until 14 months. They were atypically late, but I am curious how you would handle that -- not everyone teethes in the 4-7 month range!!

Mbbowman said...

My son was also very late to get teeth. We waited until he was six months old to start fruits and veggies, and he never looked back. The only food today, at age 2.5, that he still refuses isthe first food I ever gave him: avocado! We also never pureed anything - just mashed or diced. Rather than letting his teeth guide him...we let HIM guide himself. I remember him eating small pieces of steak long before he had any teeth with which to chew (he didn't get molars until he was almost two). To this day he is a great eater and will eat pretty much anything you give him enthusiastically.

Except avocado lol!

At 2.5 (actually, by now 2.75) he is 31lbs and about 40 or 41in tall. He is solid muscle, very strong, and probably eats more than I do some days. Must be a boy thing.

Mrsstethoscope said...

This is great! We are just starting baby foods right now, we did rice but now we dont do it all... she had so much gastro discomfort from it. I do mix some fruits and veggies but only ones that compliment each others flavors like banana & strawberry, or apple and butternut squash.

Thanks for all the great info

melissa martin said...

My twin girls are 11 weeks old. I have wondering and looking towards the future on how to introduce food. Thanks for this great post!

Laciecj said...

I really enjoy reading your blog and find it very interesting and always learn alot. I know you said you were not raised eating the way you do now, so I was wondering if your kids have all been raised since their birth eating this way or if you made the change later on? You have a beautiful family, thanks for sharing!

Sarah said...

Really liked reading this post regarding baby food again. I have 8 month old twin girls (born 2 months premature) I have been exclusively breast-feeding them, but we are thinking about food because they now have 4 teeth and are actually showing interest in food. It's great to hear that other people with similar ideas. I'd love to hear how long you were able to tandem feed your girls... Thanks for sharing!!

Guest said...

I too enjoyed reading this. My first thought when considering baby food was similar to what you posted until a friend introduced me to 'baby-led weaning'. I think you'd appreciate the concept of introducing foods in this way as it is very natural and you are encouraged to do so once they are showing signs of readiness, which you described quite well! Have you heard of this concept? The book I read said that parents with larger families tend to do baby-led weaning just out of necessity and often they don't know it even has a name.
I've introduced similar foods, but in their natural state, without pureeing, and it's amazing what my daughter is able to enjoy. I've never had to make or buy baby food and she is an incredible eater. We've never put a spoon in her mouth, but she now feeds herself with a spoon and fork at 11 months. I also love the idea of not mixing foods as we want our little ones to recognize and appreciate each unique flavor that a food has to offer.
Thanks for all of your wonderful posts. I'm repeatedly inspired!!

Mikeandkatie1 said...

I'm confused by your statements here. You said no meat until 2 and then said it's okay to try meat when they have four teeth. I'm pretty blown away by the concept of waiting to introduce grains until age two.

I couple big no-no's -- no cereal, grains, meats or diary. Their bodies are not ready to process any of these and could cause intestinal and digestion issues. It is best to wait until close to 2 years old before introducing these


Read more: http://www.4littlemenandgirlytwins.com/2011/03/oh-baby-baby-food.html#ixzz1HTIQRdAB


So we have 4 teeth through and now the side front teeth (lateral incisors) fill in -- usually around 1 year. These pearly white teeth tell us they are ready for protein -- such as garbanzo beans or eggs. You can also start adding in organic meats, grass fed beef, hormone free chicken & deep sea fish.


Read more: http://www.4littlemenandgirlytwins.com/2011/03/oh-baby-baby-food.html#ixzz1HTIcCklY

Gretchen said...

Babies and toddlers can be all over the map regarding teeth. I wish they were a better indication of when to introduce foods. It would all be so beautifully simple.

With my 8 kiddos, I've had first teeth come anywhere from 3 months (baby #4!) to 12 months.

Also, some of my kids have food allergies & sensitivities, some don't. I do not see any connection regarded when I introduced solids and the presence of allergies and sensitivities. Additionally, I've observed no connection between length of nursing time and their health. My child who nursed the longest so far (14 months, on demand, never had a bottle) is the one on daily meds for asthma. He's also confirmed lactose intolerant.

I think it's awesome to feed babies carefully and with great consideration. Our 7 month old only eats organic fruits and veggies and is breastfed. I do my best, but I don't do it thinking we'll glean superbaby powers. I do it because he loves the taste and texture over traditional store-bought baby foods. He's tried those and refused to finish them. He's a junior foodie, I suppose.

Gia said...

You are right when you say no cereal until they are 2, but that´s because some children can have genetic disorders that can cause a bad digestion, It´s a way to prevent. About meat, it has no sense what you say! It´s just your opinion

lshinkey said...

I am a young first time mom. I have an eight month old daughter who LOVES to eat food! I give her lots of fruits and veggies, all home cooked. I exclusively breastfed until 6 months when my daughter was throwing fits when we would eat.. My question is How do you give them larger pieces of food? I am so afraid to give her large chunks of food because of choking. I want to move away from purees because she is definitely ready to start munching. I am just curious about this. I really enjoyed reading how you start solids with your babies. Did you also do this with your older children as I know you were a young mother like I am. Thank you so much for posting this!! :)

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BMS2827 said...

 I hope no one takes your advice seriously.  Some of the commentators have raised very valid points which you have not addressed.

Kehatt said...

 Your post is inspiring. I stumbled upon your blog this morning. I do however disagree with you. My son is now 14 months and he has all of his teeth including his molars and he has for a couple of months now. He has teethed really early. He isnt at all a fussy eater and I have followed his lead and he eats homemade baby food that is made from organic veggies etc. He will eat organic chicken and he loves to have finger foods that he can eat by himself. I believe that you should follow your instincts as a Mom and that youu should let your baby lead you, introduce food slowly and if you can breast feed do so for as long as possible!

cribs for twins said...

 You have some interesting thoughts! Perhaps we should contemplate about attempting this myself.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying what you've written is wrong but I believe every child is different and your opinions and beliefs are not for my children.... some of what you wrote was interesting and other parts were a little bit weird. children teeth at different times. both of my children started solids at four months with no teeth and they have no problem with digestion... This is the very first time I've heard of starting solids when their first teeth come through. children need more then milk to survive especially after six months, they are eing denied of the nutrition they need...