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Nourishing a Growing Baby PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jen Allbritton, CN   
Wednesday, 19 October 2005 20:44

Read this article in: German

A Growing Wise Kids Column

Food is what nourishes the body and makes us healthy and strong--especially when one's weight hovers around 20 pounds! Infant nutrition is critical for ensuring proper development, maximizing learning capacities and preventing illness. At no other time in life is nutrition so important. But which foods are best? The research clearly points in the direction of Weston A. Price Foundation principles.

Breast or Bottle

Numerous studies support the benefits of breastfeeding. For example, breastfed babies tend to be more robust, intelligent and free of allergies and other complaints like intestinal difficulties.1 Other studies have shown that breastfed infants have reduced rates of respiratory illnesses and ear infections.2,3 Some researchers believe breastfed infants have greater academic potential than formula-fed infants, which is thought to be due to the fatty acid DHA found in mother's milk and not in most US formulas.4

However, other studies show the opposite. In 2001, a study found breastfed children had more asthma than bottle-fed.5 A Swedish study found that breastfed infants were just as likely to develop childhood ear infections6 and childhood cancer as formula-fed babies.7

So, what is best for baby? It comes down to nutrition! Hands down, healthy breast milk is perfectly designed for baby's physical and mental development, but this is only true when mom supplies her body with the right nutrients.

The typical modern diet is filled with products based on sugar, white flour, additives and commercial fats and oils, which do not nourish and build. The proper nutrients are necessary to create breast milk that will provide all a growing baby needs. These include good quality proteins from foods such as grass-fed meats and organ meats, good quality fats from butter, coconut oil, olive oil, cod liver oil and egg yolks, as well as complex carbohydrate-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains and legumes--think whole food, natural and seasonal, with a big emphasis on healthy fat.

Bottom line, in a perfect world, with perfect nutrition, every woman would breastfeed. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. What about low milk supply, an unwell mother or adoption? Luckily, it is possible to make a wholesome whole food baby formula. (See FAQs on Homemade Baby Formula.)

After (or With) the Breast or Bottle

Ideally, breastfeeding should be maintained for a year, with a goal of six months for working mothers. The first year of life requires a full spectrum of nutrients, including fats, protein, cholesterol, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Once breast milk is no longer the sole source of these nutrients, where should one go?

There are three concepts to keep in mind. First, make your little one a "whole foods baby"! Avoid processed and refined foods as much as possible, including many brands of baby food; they are usually devoid of nutrients and have added "undesirables." It is always best to make your own baby food from organic, whole foods. (You can freeze it in one-serving sizes for later use.) Better-quality, additive-free, prepared brands of baby food, like Earth's Best, do exist, but it is still better to make your own baby food to be assured of the quality--plus making baby food puts mom on the right track for home food preparation for the years to come.

Second, go slowly and be observant; every baby will have an individual response to different foods. Introduce new foods one at a time and continue to feed that same food for at least four days to rule out the possibility of a negative reaction. Signs of intolerance include redness around the mouth; abdominal bloating, gas and distention; irritability, fussiness, over-activity and awaking throughout the night; constipation and diarrhea; frequent regurgitation of foods; nasal and/or chest congestion; and red, chapped or inflamed eczema-like skin rash.8

Finally, respect the tiny, still-developing digestive system of your infant. Babies have limited enzyme production, which is necessary for the digestion of foods. In fact, it takes up to 28 months, just around the time when molar teeth are fully developed, for the big-gun carbohydrate enzymes (namely amylase) to fully kick into gear. Foods like cereals, grains and breads are very challenging for little ones to digest. Thus, these foods should be some of the last to be introduced. (One carbohydrate enzyme a baby's small intestine does produce is lactase, for the digestion of lactose in milk.1)

Foods introduced too early can cause digestive troubles and increase the likelihood of allergies (particularly to those foods introduced). The baby's immature digestive system allows large particles of food to be absorbed. If these particles reach the bloodstream, the immune system mounts a response that leads to an allergic reaction. Six months is the typical age when solids should be introduced,9,10,11 however, there are a few exceptions.

Babies do produce functional enzymes (pepsin and proteolytic enzymes) and digestive juices (hydrochloric acid in the stomach) that work on proteins and fats.12 This makes perfect sense since the milk from a healthy mother has 50-60 percent of its energy as fat, which is critical for growth, energy and development.13 In addition, the cholesterol in human milk supplies an infant with close to six times the amount most adults consume from food.13 In some cultures, a new mother is encouraged to eat six to ten eggs a day and almost ten ounces of chicken and pork for at least a month after birth. This fat-rich diet ensures her breast milk will contain adequate healthy fats.14

Thus, a baby's earliest solid foods should be mostly animal foods since his digestive system, although immature, is better equipped to supply enzymes for digestion of fats and proteins rather than carbohydrates.1 This explains why current research is pointing to meat (including nutrient-dense organ meat) as being a nourishing early weaning food.

Is Cereal the Best First Food?

Remember, the amount of breast milk and/or formula decreases when solid foods are introduced. This decrease may open the door for insufficiencies in a number of nutrients critical for baby's normal growth and development. The nutrients that are often in short supply when weaning begins include protein, zinc, iron and B-vitamins. One food group that has these nutrients in ample amounts is meat.

Unfortunately, cereal is the most often recommended early weaning food. A recent Swedish study suggests that when infants are given substantial amounts of cereal, they may suffer from low concentrations of zinc and reduced calcium absorption.15

In the US, Dr. Nancy Krebs headed up a large infant growth study that found breastfed infants who received puréed or strained meat as a primary weaning food beginning at four to five months grew at a slightly faster rate. Kreb's study suggests that inadequate protein or zinc from common first foods may limit the growth of some breastfed infants during the weaning period. More importantly, both protein and zinc levels were consistently higher in the diets of the infants who received meat.16 Thus, the custom of providing large amounts of cereals and excluding meats before seven months of age may short-change the nutritional requirements of the infant.17

Meat is also an excellent source of iron. Heme iron (the form of iron found in meat) is better absorbed than iron from plant sources (non-heme). Additionally, the protein in meat helps the baby more easily absorb iron from other foods.18 Two recent studies19,20 have examined iron status in breastfed infants who received meat earlier in the weaning period. While researchers found no measurable change in breastfed babies' iron stores when they received an increased amount of meat, the levels of hemoglobin (iron-containing cells) circulating in the bloodstream did increase. Meat also contains a much greater amount of zinc than cereals, which means more is absorbed.21 These studies confirm the practices of traditional peoples, who gave meat--usually liver--as the first weaning food. Furthermore, the incidence of allergic reactions to meat is minimal and lower still when puréed varieties are used.17,22,23,24

Don't Fear Fats!

Pediatric clinicians have known for some time that children fed low-fat and low-cholesterol diets fail to grow properly. After all, a majority of mother's milk is fat, much of it saturated fat. Children need high levels of fat throughout growth and development. Milk and animal fats give energy and also help children build muscle and bone.1 In addition, the animal fats provide vitamins A and D necessary for protein and mineral assimilation, normal growth and hormone production.27

Choose a variety of foods so your child gets a range of fats, but emphasize stable saturated fats, found in butter, meat and coconut oil, and monounsaturated fats, found in avocados and olive oil.

Foods to Introduce

Egg yolks, rich in choline, cholesterol and other brain-nourishing substances, can be added to your baby's diet as early as four months,1 as long as baby takes it easily. (If baby reacts poorly to egg yolk at that age, discontinue and try again one month later.) Cholesterol is vital for the insulation of the nerves in the brain and the entire central nervous system. It helps with fat digestion by increasing the formation of bile acids and is necessary for the production of many hormones. Since the brain is so dependent on cholesterol, it is especially vital during this time when brain growth is in hyper-speed.25 Choline is another critical nutrient for brain development. The traditional practice of feeding egg yolks early is confirmed by current research. A study published in the June 2002 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition compared the nutritional effects of feeding weaning infants 6-12 months of age regular egg yolks, enriched egg yolks, and an otherwise normal diet. The researchers found that both breastfed and formula-fed infants who consumed the egg yolks had improved iron levels when compared with the infants who did not. In addition, those infants who got the egg yolks enriched with extra fatty acids had 30 percent to 40 percent greater DHA levels than those fed regular egg yolks. No significant effect on blood cholesterol levels was seen.26

Thus, the best choice for baby is yolks from pasture-fed hens raised on flax meal, fish meal, or insects since they will contain higher levels of DHA. Why just the yolk? The white is the portion that most often causes allergic reactions, so wait to give egg whites until after your child turns one.1,11

Don't neglect to put a pinch of salt on the egg yolk. While many books warn against giving salt to babies, salt is actually critical for digestion as well as for brain development. Use unrefined salt to supply a variety of trace minerals.

Around four months is a good time to start offering cod liver oil, which is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (also important for brain develoment) as well as vitamins A and D. Start with a 1/4 teaspoon of high-vitamin cod liver oil or 1/2 teaspoon regular dose cod liver oil, doubling the amount at 8 months.12 Use an eye dropper at first; later baby can take cod liver oil mixed with a little water or fresh orange juice.

If baby is very mature and seems hungry, he may be given mashed banana during this period. Ripe banana is a great food for babies because it contains amylase enzymes to digest carbohydrates.1

At Six Months

Puréed meats can be given at six months (or even earlier if baby is very mature). Meats will help ensure adequate intake of iron, zinc, and protein with the decrease in breast milk and formula.17

A variety of fruits can be introduced at this time. Avocado, melon, mangoes and papaya can be mashed and given raw. High-pectin fruits such as peaches, apricots, apples, pears, cherries and berries should be cooked to break down the pectin, which can be very irritating to the digestive tract.

As time goes by, move up in complexity with food and texture. At about six to eight months, vegetables may be introduced, one at a time so that any adverse reactions may be observed. Carrots, sweet potatoes and beets are excellent first choices. All vegetables should be cooked (steamed preferably), mashed and mixed with a liberal amount of fat, such as butter or coconut oil, to provide nutrients to aid in digestion.

Early introduction to different tastes is always a good plan to prevent finickiness. Feed your little one a touch of buttermilk, yogurt or kefir from time to time to familiarize them with the sour taste. Lacto-fermented roots, like sweet potato or taro, are another excellent food for babies to add at this time.1

At Eight Months

Baby can now consume a variety of foods including creamed vegetable soups, homemade stews and dairy foods such as cottage cheese, mild harder raw cheese, cream and custards. Hold off on grains until one year, with the possible exception of soaked and thoroughly cooked brown rice, which can be served earlier to babies who are very mature.

At One Year

Grains, nuts and seeds should be the last food given to babies. This food category has the most potential for causing digestive disturbances or allergies. Babies do not produce the needed enzymes to handle cereals, especially gluten-containing grains like wheat, before the age of one year. Even then, it is a common traditional practice to soak grains in water and a little yogurt or buttermilk for up to 24 hours. This process jump-starts the enzymatic activity in the food and begins breaking down some of the harder-to-digest components.1 The easiest grains to digest are those without gluten like brown rice. When grains are introduced, they should be soaked for at least 24 hours and cooked with plenty of water for a long time. This will make a slightly sour, very thin porridge that can be mixed with other foods.29

After one year, babies can be given nut butters made with crispy nuts (recipe in Nourishing Traditions), cooked leafy green vegetables, raw salad vegetables, citrus fruit and whole egg.

Extra Feeding Baby Tid-Bits

  • How do you know when it's time to add solids? Observe your baby's signs. When infants are ready for solids they start leaning forward at the sight of food and opening their mouths in a preparatory way. In addition, babies should be able to sit up and coordinate breathing with swallowing. Finally, infants will stop pushing their tongue out when a spoon or bit of food is placed in their mouth--a reflex common in infants that disappears at around four months of age.30
  • Keep in mind, all babies are different and will not enjoy or tolerate the same foods or textures. Experiment by offering different foods with various textures. Remember, just because your baby doesn't like a food the first time it is introduced does not mean he will not like it the second time. Continue to offer the food, but never force.
  • Baby's food should be lightly seasoned with unrefined salt, but there is no need to add additional seasonings, such as herbs and spices in the beginning. However by 10-12 months, your baby may enjoy a variety of natural seasonings.
  • To increase variety, take a small portion of the same food you are preparing for the rest of the grown-up family (before seasoning), or leftovers, and purée it for baby (thin or thicken accordingly).
  • To gradually make food lumpier, purée half of the food, roughly mash the other half and combine the two.
  • Frozen finger foods are a great way to soothe a baby's teething pain
  • Keep a selection of plain yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, fresh fruit, and fresh or frozen vegetables handy to prepare almost instant natural baby food any time--even when vacationing or traveling.
  • Organic foods have minimal toxicity, thus placing a smaller chemical burden on the body. This is particularly a benefit for our youngsters. They are more vulnerable to pesticide exposure because their organs and body systems are not fully developed and, in relation to body weight, they eat and drink more than adults. Furthermore, the presence of these chemicals in the environment leads to further contamination of our air, waterways and fields.
  • There are different ideas concerning when to offer babies water. Many resources suggest giving water about the same time solids are introduced. This is often in combination with cup drinking or sippy-cup training. Keep in mind, breast milk and formula are providing the majority of nutrients in the first 6-9 months, so it is important not to allow a baby to get too full on water. When solids become a larger part of the diet, more liquid may be needed for hydration and digestion. Also, extreme heat, dehydration, vomiting, and fever may also indicate a need for extra water. Bottom line: follow your baby's cues. Always serve filtered water to your baby. You can add a pinch of unrefined salt to the water for minerals.
  • Let baby eat with a silver spoon--the small amount of silver he will get from this really does help fight infection!

Just Say No

One important warning: do not give your child juice, which contains too much simple sugar and may ruin a child's appetite for the more nourishing food choices. Soy foods, margarine and shortening, and commercial dairy products (especially ultra-pasteurized) should also be avoided, as well as any products that are reduced-fat or low-fat.

By the way, baby fat is a good thing; babies need those extra folds for all the miraculous development their bodies are experiencing. Chubby babies grow up into slim, muscular adults.

Common sense prevails when looking at foods that best nourish infant's. A breastfeeding mother naturally produces the needed nutrition when she consumes the necessary nutrients. The composition of healthy breast milk gives us a blueprint for an infants needs from there on out. Finally, be an example. Although you won't be able to control what goes into your child's mouth forever, you can set the example by your own excellent food choices and vibrant health.

Egg Yolk (4 months +)

Boil an egg for three to four minutes (longer at higher altitudes), peel away the shell, discard the white and mash up yolk with a little unrefined sea salt. (The yolk should be soft and warm, not runny.) Small amounts of grated, raw organic liver (which has been frozen 14 days) may be added to the egg yolk after 6 months. Some mothers report their babies actually prefer the yolk with the liver. From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Pureed Meats (6 months +)

Cook meat gently in filtered water or homemade stock until completely tender, or use meat from stews, etc., that you have made for your family. Make sure the cooked meat is cold and is in no bigger than 1-2 inch chunks when you puree. Grind up the meat first until it's almost like a clumpy powder. Then add water, formula or breast milk, or the natural cooking juices as the liquid.

Baby Pate (6 months +)

Place 1/4 pound organic chicken livers and 1/4 cup broth or filtered water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for eight minutes. Pour into a blender (liver and liquid) with 1-2 teaspoons butter and a pinch of seasalt and blend to desired consistency.

Vegetable Puree (6 months +)

Use squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabagas, carrots or beets. Cut vegetables in half, scoop out seeds from squash and bake in a 400 degree oven for about an hour, or steam them (in the case of carrots and beets) for 20 to 25 minutes. Mix in butter when puréeing. You can cook these vegetables for your own dinner and purée a small portion in a blender or food mill for your baby. From Natural Baby Care by Mindy Pennybacker.

Fruit Sauce (6 months +)

Use fresh or frozen peaches, nectarines, apples, blueberries, cherries, pears, berries or a combination. Note: Whenever possible, use organic fruit, and peel the fruit if it is not organic. Cut fruit and put in a saucepan with 1 cup filtered water for every 1/2 cup of fruit. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer about 15 minutes or until the fruit is cooked. Purée the mixture in a blender or food mill and strain if necessary. Don't add sugar or spices but you can stir in a little butter or cream. From Natural Baby Care by Mindy Pennybacker.

Dried Apricot Puree (6 months +)

Bring 2 cups filtered water to a boil with 1 pound unsulphured dried apricots and simmer for 15 minutes. Reserve any leftover liquid to use for the puree. Puree, adding the reserved liquid as necessary to achieve a smooth, thin puree. May be blended with some butter.

Fermented Sweet Potato (6 months +)

Poke a few holes in 2 pounds sweet potatoes and bake in an oven at 300 degrees for about 2 hours or until soft. Peel and mash with 1 teaspoon seasalt and 4 tablespoons whey. Place in a bowl, cover, and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Baby Custard (6 months +)

Mix 1 cup raw milk or whole coconut milk, 1 cup raw cream, 6 egg yolks, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and a pinch of stevia powder. Pour into buttered ramekin dishes. Place ramekins into a Pyrex dish filled part-way with water. Preheat oven to 310 degrees and cook for about 1 hour.

Smoothie for Baby(8 months +)

Blend 1 cup whole yoghurt with 1/2 banana or 1/2 cup puréed fruit, 1 raw egg yolk (from an organic or pastured chicken) and a pinch of stevia.

Coconut Fish Pate (8 months +)

Place 1 cup leftover cooked fish, 1/4 teaspoon seasalt, 1/4 teaspoon fresh lime juice in a food processor and process with a few pulses. Add 1/2-1 cup coconut cream or whole coconut milk to obtain desired consistency.

Cereal Gruel for Baby (1 year +)

Mix 1/2 cup freshly ground organic flour of spelt, Kamut® , rye, barley or oats with 2 cups warm filtered water mixture plus 2 tablespoons yoghurt, kefir or buttermilk. Cover and leave at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly and serve with cream or butter and small amount of a natural sweetener, such as raw honey. From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Salmon and Rice Mousse (1 year +)

Heat 2 cups chicken broth to a slow boil and add 1/4 cup soaked brown rice. Lower the heat, cover tightly, and let cook for 30 minutes or until it is almost done. Wash 3 ounces salmon thoroughly and remove all bones carefully. Add the salmon to the rice, cover, and let it poach for 10 minutes or until done all the way through. Allow the salmon and rice to cool enough that it can be puréed safely in the blender or food processor. If it is too thick, add just enough water to obtain the consistency you want. Season with a little seasalt.Serve with a puréed vegetable. From The Crazy Makers by Carol Simontacchi.

Crispy Nut Butter (1 year +)

Purée equal amounts of crispy nuts, raw honey and coconut oil. Add salt to taste. Serve at room temperature. From Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.


Foods By Age

4-6 Months

Minimal solid foods as tolerated by baby

Egg yolk--if tolerated, preferably from pastured chickens, lightly boiled and salted

Banana--mashed, for babies who are very mature and seem hungry

Cod liver oil-- 1/4 teaspoon high vitamin or 1/2 teaspoon regular, given with an eye dropper

6-8 months

Organic liver--grated frozen and added to egg yolk

Pureed meats--lamb, turkey, beef, chicken, liver and fish

Soup broth--(chicken, beef, lamb, fish) added to pureed meats and vegetables, or offered as a drink

Fermented foods--small amounts of yoghurt, kefir, sweet potato, taro, if desired

Raw mashed fruits--banana, melon, mangoes, papaya, avocado

Cooked, pureed fruits--organic apricot, peaches, pears, apples, cherries, berries

Cooked vegetables--zucchini, squash, sweet potato, carrots, beets, with butter or coconut oil

8-12 months

Continue to add variety and increase thickness and lumpiness of the foods already given from 4-8 months

Creamed vegetable soups

Homemade stews--all ingredinets cut small or mashed

Dairy--cottage cheese, mild harder raw cheese, cream, custards

Finger foods--when baby can grab and adequately chew, such as lightly steamed veggie sticks, mild cheese, avocado chunks, pieces of banana

Cod liver oil--increase to 1/2 teaspoon high vitamin or 1 teaspooon regular dose

Over 1 Year

Grains and legumes--properly soaked and cooked

Crispy nut butters--see recipes in Nourishing Traditions

Leafy green vegetables--cooked, with butter

Raw salad vegetables--cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.

Citrus fruit--fresh, organic

Whole egg--cooked

Foods to avoid28

Up to 6 months: Certain foods, such as spinach, celery, lettuce, radishes, beets, turnips and collard greens, may contain excessive nitrate, which can be converted into nitrite (an undesirable substance) in the stomach. Leafy green vegetables are best avoided until 1 year. When cooking vegetables that may contain these substances, do not use the water they were cooked in to purée.

Up to 9 months: Citrus and tomato, which are common allergens.

Up to 1 year: Because infants do not produce strong enough stomach acid to deactivate potential spores, infants should refrain from eating honey.1 Use blackstrap molasses, which is high in iron and calcium. Egg whites should also be avoided up to one year due to their high allergenic potential.

ALWAYS: Commercial dairy products (especially ultra-pasteurized), modern soy foods, margarines and shortening, fruit juices, reduced-fat or low-fat foods, extruded grains and all processed foods.

Making Homemade Baby Food

Making homemade baby food may not be as easy as opening a can, but once you have organized a cook-and-freeze routine, it is a snap. This gives you the control over food choices and cooking methods, and allows you to avoid synthetic preservatives. With careful preparation, you will maximize the nutrient and enzyme content of your baby's food. This will make for easier digestion and better overall nutrition. One timesaving method is to cook and purée a selection of fruits, vegetables, and meats in adult quantities, and freeze them in glass custard dishes or porcelain ramekins, or just clumps on a baking sheet. These cubes can be placed in freezer bags, labeled and sealed, available for quick thawing and reheating. Thawing in the refrigerator is the most nutrient-saving method. Simply place a covered dish containing food cubes in the fridge; they will thaw in three to four hours. It only takes one to two hours at room temperature. When on the go, put the cubes in a glass container and add hot water or place the container in hot water to thaw.

Little attention is necessary to seasoning baby foods, but texture is important. Besides the basic taste, the smoothness or thickness of a food concerns baby most. To thin purées, use milk or formula. Puréed potatoes, winter squash, bananas, carrots, yogurt, nut or seed paste, and peas make great thickeners.

The only special equipment you need is a food processor, blender or a baby food mill and a simple metal collapsible steamer basket. Don't forget the unbreakable bowls, baby spoons, and bibs. Two-handed weighted cups for drinking lessons are also a must.

How much at each meal?

With the rough outline below, one food portion is equal to approximately one tablespoon, depending on the type of ice cube or other food trays you may be using for freezing baby food. Start out slowly. Prepare a teaspoon-sized portion of whatever food you have chosen to begin with. Your baby will most likely only eat half of that small portion for the first few attempts with solids. Ultimately, baby will tell you how much he should eat. Your main concern should be making what he does eat as nutritious as possible. As your baby becomes accustomed to eating solids, you can gradually increase the portion size. Once you have ruled out sensitivities/allergies to different foods, be sure to rotate the acceptable foods in the diet--meaning, try to avoid having the same food day in and day out. The following are guidelines for 6-8 months:

  • Breakfast: Breast milk or formula, 1 egg yolk, 1 cube meat, 1-2 tablespoons cottage cheese or smoothie
  • Lunch: Breast milk or formula, mashed banana or 1 cube fruit or vegetable
  • Snack/Dinner: Breast milk or formula and 1 cube of meat, 1-2 tablespoons fermented taro or sweet potato

Portions increase for 8-10 months:

  • Breakfast: Breast milk or formula, 1 egg yolk, 1-2 cubes fruit or vegetable, and 1 cube meat
  • Lunch: Breast milk or formula, 1-2 cubes meat, 1-3 cubes vegetable, optional dairy such as yogurt or cheese
  • Dinner: Breast milk or formula, 2 cubes meat, 1-3 cubes fruit and vegetables, yogurt or cheese
  • Snacks: Finger foods or smoothie

Remember, not all babies will be eating the same amounts or foods. This portion outline is just an example. Some infants are not ready to eat 3 "meals" per day until well into the 9-10 month range. You should use the above information as a guide only and keep to your infant's development and eating habits as well as your pediatrician's advice.30

Not a Good Idea for Babies! (Or Their Parents or Brothers and Sisters Either!)

Almond Breeze Vanilla (Almond Milk): Purified water, evaporated cane juice, almonds, tricalcium phosphate, natural vanilla flavor and other natural flavors, sea salt, potassium citrate, carrageenan, soy lecithin, d-alpha tocopherol (natural vitamin E), vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2

Rice Dream "Heartwise" Rice Drink Original: Filtered water, brown rice (partially milled) gum arabic, expeller pressed high oleic safflower oil, tricalcium phosphate, CorowiseTM phytosterol esters, sea salt, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12

365 Organic Rice Milk Vanilla: Filtered water, partially milled organic rice, organic expeller pressed canola oil, tricalcium phosphate, natural vanilla flavor with other natural flavors, sea salt, carrageenan, vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D.


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  27. Enig, Mary. Ph.D. Dietary Recommendations for Children – A Recipe for Future Heart Disease? Accessed August 17, 2004.
  28. Pennybacker, Mindy and Ikramuddin, Aisha. Natural Baby Care. Mothers and Others for a Livable Planet. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. 1999.
  29. Cowan, Tom M.D. Feeding Our Children. Found at on January 12, 2005.
  30. Information found at on December 29, 2004.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2005.

About the Author



Comments (42)Add Comment
Severe eczema
written by Bonnie , Mar 04 2014
My son is 5 months and has been solely on breast milk, he has had severe eczema and food sensitivities from my milk. I would like to start him on the GAPS diet but wondering is it best for me to follow the GAPS diet or nourishing traditions while breast feeding him??? Any advice would be very appreciated.

Being the nanny of a vegan baby
written by annonimous, Oct 07 2013
i dont know if raising a vegan baby should be illegal or not, but for sure if they came up with the idea of making it illegal i would vote one million times for a yes... i see how the baby i take care of is suffering the parents decision in making the baby eat this horrible diet for a young child, i see how starves and how he doesnt really like the food i should feed him cause im just the nanny, they dont want anything for his baby that is normal for many other babies, he is 20 months now, and not growing at a normal rate according with what his pediatrician said, and to his parents height, the baby is very small, and skinny, i sometimes feed him pure peanut butter in order to give him some protein, cause i know that is his only source of protein, it kills me to think that these people find issues in everything, soy has issues, this has issues everything has issues, and in my point of view the biggest issue here is the lack of good food for this growing human being who is not growing as he should be due to this obssesion to protect animals, im not against protecting animals, but ill never let my kids starve just that animals will not die to provide food, i wish i could at least give him, fish, eggs and milk, but no, that is against the vegan's diet, what to do, im just the nanny but i adore this baby, i have been with him since he was 3 months. any ideas on what i could do? please help me, thanks
Breastfeeding Limits
written by Julie, Aug 28 2013
Can you explain why you recommend breastfeeding (bf) to only 1 year and only 6 months for working mothers? Even WHO recommends longer than this! Traditional peoples (and most people around the world today) bf much longer than that. My understanding is that children's immune systems are not mature until they are 6 or 7, hence bf until children are this age - milk teeth fall out and they can no longer latch on and the children self-wean.
Baby breaking out in hives
written by Jennifer, May 29 2013
My family has been on the GAPS diet for over a year now (we started right after I found out I was pregnant with my 4th). My 6 month old is exclusively breastfed, but has been breaking out in hives since 3 1/2 months old. I have been off dairy (even raw milk), since he was a few days old due to gassiness (in the baby). Eliminating nuts in my diet made no difference in the hives. I suspect he may have an egg allergy, since the hives seemed to worsen when I placed a drop of raw egg yolk on his skin, so now I'm avoiding eggs as well as dairy. smilies/sad.gif Since I couldn't feed him egg yolk as a first food, I decided to go with avocado. He's finally figuring out the whole spoon thing with his tongue, but he still is only interested for a few bites. Twice when I tried to introduce pureed chicken, he seemed to inhale each bite and want more, but then started fussing and rubbing his face. Both times were followed by him breaking out in hives all over his face. He seems to be reacting to all proteins. I want so badly to put eggs and raw milk back into my diet, but am confused to what is causing the hives. I think I'm going to go back to just trying him on avocado for now. I've been giving him FCLO for about the past month or so, and I take it as well. I try to eat as much meat as I can, but am still concerned that my breast milk is not as optimal as it could be without eggs and dairy. My oldest two boys have food and environmental allergies (the reason for GAPS), but my third has no allergies. Any thoughts on what's going on? Thanks in advance!
written by Kimberly, Apr 01 2013
After my breastfed son had some shots he got terrible eczema. I refused to believe it was my diet cause he'd previously been fine so changed detergent and soap and kept it cool in the house and even homeopathy. But it wasn't until I stopped dairy, nuts and eggs that it really went away. Now he's 14 months and still no dairy, nuts and eggs. Sister-in-law thought raw milk might "fix" this. What do you think? I've been giving him a Lil egg whites recently hoping the exposure in small doses might get his body use to them.
Worried about Bananas and Egg Yolks for all babies...
written by Kelly, Mar 22 2013
First - I totally appreciate the wisdom and knowledge you are sharing. It has helped me in my pregnancy and in nourishing my seven month old baby.

I just wanted suggest to both the authors and other parents to read Bob Flaws material on nourishing babies. He has an article "Food, Phlegm, and Pediatric Disease" and a book "Keeping your Child Healthy with Chinese Medicine". He is a Doctor of Oriental Medicine who has written many books is a health leader in his field.

Mainly, he says that if there is any digestive stagnation, this leads to dampness in the body, which can lead to many symptoms (such as childhood ear infections, vomiting, etc). I am writing this because some babies may not be able to handle egg yolks as their first food (which may be why there is such a high incidence of vomiting). Also, bananas for babies are especially problematic as they are very likely to cause dampness. I think that egg yolks may be wonderfully nourishing for a baby, but they may be too much (which is why I like your suggestion Sally in your new book to start with half a teaspoon).

I just wanted to suggest these as reading materials as they may help explain different children's symptoms and reactions to food. And also to see your insight into his recommendations Sally or other authors.

Thank you again for all of your work - it is so appreciated. This comment was only added to inspire, as I know we all just want what is best for our babes smilies/smiley.gif
Question on baby taking cod liver oil
written by Michelle P, Feb 27 2013
I am trying to figure out if I should start supplementing by 5 month old with high vitamin fermented cod liver oil, or the combo oil that also includes fermented butter. I can't seem to find anything anywhere about that, even though everyone seems to write about the benefits of the X factor in the butter oil.
Also, does anyone have a recommendation for which type of cod liver oil to start baby on? Trying to decide between the Blue Ice Brand plain oil, gel, or the one of the flavored gesl/oils??? Anyone have a recommendation that they've tried with their baby?
Thank you!
Egg yolk issues too
written by Jennifer V, Sep 16 2012
I would love to read a response from the author about the egg yolk/vomit issues. Same thing happened to me - barf-o-rama. It was scary because she is so young. But, she survived and we cleaned up. I tried at 6 months - vomit. I just tried again at 7 months - vomit. And this is from just a teeny-tiny taste. My egg quality is very high. I know this also happened to a friend with her baby. I think it may be too much for their digestive system. We are doing well with squash, avocado, banana, pear and bone broth. But, again, any response from the author or WAPF would be much appreciated.
My baby vomits after eating egg yolk
written by Rachel Elliston, Sep 14 2012
I been weaning my baby according to the 'Super Nutrition for Babies' book which is based on WAPF principles. I have tried egg yolk with by baby twice and both times he has vomited significantly. I get what I thought were good quality eggs from my local grocer. Admittedly they aren't pastured outside as these are very costly here in the UK, but they live in massive barns and are fed corn (apparently). My family has no history of allergies and my 7mth has never been ill so I assume has a good digestive system. Could it be that the hens are fed soya or something like that? Would that make my son vomit? Or is it just the case that he is ready for egg yolk?
Interesting... and I followed but not to the tee
written by Lilie, May 27 2012
I have had my son on little breast milk, I don't produce much but offer it all the time, and for breakfast he has pureed raw fruits (combo of 3 each - peach, apricot, apple, plum - with banana) mixed with pureed oats (raw oatmeal cooked until pasty and blended with water). Then a couple hours later Organic VAT pasteurized non-homogenized milk with Happy Belly's Cereal (thick). About 6 hours later he has brown rice (soaked for a few hours, washed, cooked until pasty and blended with water) egg boiled for 3 minutes (runny) the yolk only, chicken liver (frozen for 14 days, grated, raw), and vegetable puree (steamed veggies - combo of broccoli, green beans, peas, yams, cauliflower, asparagus, carrots - steamed, blended with water). a few hours later he'll have another bottle like above - milk/cereal. Once in a while he will have pureed vegetable stock (homemade from leeks, carrots, and various veggies), ground turkey, and lentils. He's had this diet for months, except introduced more fruits and veggies when suggested by my cookbook. He's been on the bottle mix since 3 1/2 months. He is very healthy, never been sick except for a small fever that lasted less than 24 hours once, and he is almost walking at 9 months, passing every test given buy doctors, in the 95th percentile on the charts, completely average on weight for his height, but still doesn't have any teeth. Am I missing something? Tried to give him yogurt once but he threw up so I am waiting to introduce it in smaller amounts, and working on getting raw milk so I can make my own yogurt. I also am going to start fermenting my own foods. I hope I am doing the right thing here. Please comment with any concerns or info.
Almond Milk Balanced Drink??
written by Joy, Apr 08 2012
This article is wonderful. I am wondering if you could offer a recipe for almond milk "formula" for toddler. We make our own almond milk at home and our daughter loves it. I'd like to know what I can put in it to make it a nutritious, well-balanced drink. Not just a treat.
written by michaela, Feb 26 2012
Im working on getting my 1 year olds iron count up and Im confused on one thing. I always thought that you should never eat calcium along with iron since it blocks the absorption of iron. Most foods I see with a lot of iron have calcium. Blackstrap molasses is a good example it is full of iron AND calcium. How does this work?
Grated frozen liver with egg yolk
written by Loriel, Feb 13 2012
Do i just grate the liver while its frozen and put in the egg yolk or thaw out the liver?
re: RECIPE's for home made ALMOND and COCONUT milks
written by natural papa, Feb 04 2012


get a mature coconut and crack it with the backside of a machete or large blade knife and get the meat out with a butter knife after you have it in pieces.

Rinse the pieces and put in vitamix until ¾ full

fill with drinking water

blend on high for about 1-2 min - let stand in the blender for 15 min or in another container if you don't want it sitting in your blender.

Poor into a nutmilk bag (or better yet put nutmilk bag over the top of the blender and poor though into whatever container you want the milk stored in the fridge.)
Squeeze the leftover pulp to get the rest of the milk.

Then poor all milk BACK into blender and add sea salt (couple pinches) 1-2 dates (Without pit) or maple syrup for sweetness if you want, then some vanilla to taste couple tsp.

Blend well, then poor and drink. Store rest. Goes off after 2-3 days. We would put it in kombucha glass bottles and store for later drinking. Excellent when cold.


soak 2 coups almonds (or 1 cup) depending on how strong you want it, overnight or 6-8 hours.

Drain and put in vitamix. Fill with water maybe ¾ full
(find the ratio that works for your tastes) the more the almonds, the more rich the almond milk will be.

Strain and squeeze milk then put back in blender, add a date or 2, sea salt and vanilla. And blend.

Goes off after 3 days in fridge, so drink cold later. Excellent milks for home made granola (will post later).
Baby led weaning ...
written by Hyman, Jan 26 2012
what if I'm taking this approach instead of spoon feeding? I don't plan to puree meats ... blw suggests babies suck out the goodness from the meat they are given and able to hold in their hand.

My son loves sweet potato and so do I! I'll try this recipe above. He loves to eat them with his hands and scoop into his mouth. I've never mashed but baked for several hours ... given whole (cut in half) and he loves it.

If I give my son cod liver oil, do I add butter oil like I add to mine? I read that's important for me.
Reply to curious mom from Sally
written by tjboyd, Jan 16 2012
Berries can be introduced after the first year, as long as baby has good digestion. Kale can be introduced then also, but only if very well cooked and chopped up small, served with plenty of butter. But don't expect baby to like it. You can go your whole life without eating kale and still be very healthy (as you can see, it is not my favorite vegetable).
written by curious mom, Jan 13 2012
Thank you for the information contained in your article. I have followed your recommendations for my first child and now, my second. Both are healthy and strong. I am curious about when to introduce berries and kale. I have found the reasearch and recommendations "out there" contradict each other.

Thank you.
Reply to sumeyye from Sally
written by tjboyd, Oct 24 2011
I think the best thing is lots of bone broths. These will provide calcium, and also components in your breast milk that may help heal the colitis. Of course you should not eat any soy at all. As baby gets older, it will be helpful to give baby lots of nourishing bone broth--you can mix it with the foods that you puree for her, or even give it in a bottle.
Reply to Deb from Sally
written by tjboyd, Oct 24 2011
As baby grows, you will probably be giving more formula, so don't need to add extra lactose, vitamin C, etc. However, at six month, you should begin solid food, so baby will be getting less of the cod liver oil (added to the formula). So you may want to start giving him a little with the syringe. As baby transitions out of formula to just plain raw milk (9-12 months, depending on baby's size and maturity), then you can give the full 5 ml (one teaspoon) with the syringe or eye dropper.
Reply to Lois from Sally
written by tjboyd, Oct 24 2011
Probably so. Pectin can be very hard on the digestive tract. Better to make your own yogurt from raw milk, without any additives.
should we stay away from all store-bought almond milk?
written by vivian, Oct 21 2011
Will you please provide clarification on your warning about almond milk? Do you mean to stay away from "vanilla" almond milk, specifically or all store-bought almond milk? Or, is "organic" almond milk okay? I have been drinking all kinds of almond milk throughout my pregnancy and now almost 7 months into my child's life. Why should we stay away from almond milk? Any information you can provide would be much appreciated. What are the top 3 best alternatives to almond milk? Thanks!
Baby's Only formula
written by Angie, Oct 15 2011
My 4 month old has been on the baby's only formula since he was about 3-4 weeks old. (stress and VERY low milk supply caused me to have to formula feed) He was born at 8.8 lbs and is now 17.5lbs! He is doing great on the formula. I do add 1/4tsp to one bottle once a day. He is a very happy, healthy, and social baby. I am glad I read your formula article and found the baby's only! Thank you smilies/smiley.gif
formula ingredients
written by monica yearwood, Sep 15 2011
another thing, is i just read this page about going slow, and now that this has all happened i realize i should have. but i didn't read this page first, i went from the book and resources from radiant life, and others...anyway, it's actually a really intense combination of all sorts of things that seem difficult for a baby to digest. brewers yeast? cod liver oil? gelatin! all this craziness like a bomb in my boy's belly. i feel so terrible about this whole thing, he is just crying in pain. how about a warning with chicken liver to start slow? that it could cause constipation?
bad reactions to formula all around
written by monica yearwood, Sep 15 2011
hi there, i'm quite concerned about this formula. i've been using on my little one almost since he was born. he is 6 weeks now. first it was the lactose sugar that i figured out was aggravating him, so i removed it. then he started having green eliminations, which i learned was lactose intolerance. i became concerned about the lack of b vitamins, i've been using the goat formula. so i followed the protocol for chicken liver. BIG MISTAKE! my little one is suffering so much right now. he is completely constipated. i'm concerned about the level of iron that is in 2 ounces of chicken livers (7 grams) when the daily RDA is .3 and mother;s milk has .5. why are we adding do much iron? on top of that, i did not include the cod's liver oil with this formula, because the chicken liver has so much vitamin a in it already, that with the cod liver it would be astronomical. that much vitamin a can be deadly. i think in this recipe the cod liver should be left out. now i am worrying that i have irritated my little guy's belly so much with this formula that he will be allergic. i already switched from cow to goat. incidently i was on a gentle formula originally, which he was doing fine off of. i'm very concerned his intestines are being harmed by this formula, and i feel terrible because i was so boastful to my family members who opposed it. i am taking him in, and hopefully nothing is wrong. i'm totally sad and put off by this whole thing, i really believed in it and wanted it to work out.
written by Lois, Sep 01 2011
Are foods containing pectin in them bad for baby? (eg. yogurt)
written by deb, Aug 24 2011
As my baby grows do I have to add more lactose, vitamin c. I also see at 6 months you should start feeding a baby cod liver oil with a dropper... do I have to do this if I am using the milk-based formula.
Allergic Colitis
written by sumeyye, Aug 11 2011

My baby girl is 21 week old and she has allergic colitis. I cannot eat any dairy or soy because of her allergies. I want my milk to have all the nutrients that she needs. How can I substitute dairy without having any nutritional deficiencies? I also try giving solids to her (vegetables and fruits) but she had very hard time digesting and her reflux came back. What should I feed her? Thanks.
How do you make almond milk or coconut milk w/o a high powered blender like vitamix
written by Cara Shelton, Jun 30 2011
How do you make almond milk or coconut milk using a regular blender? I don't have a vitamixer yet.
Thanks for the comments -- followup
written by Mojica1038, Jun 30 2011
Thanks for the comments on our situation.
I have done every known thing, short of taking the prescriptions, to increase my milk supply. (pumping every 2 hours, herbs, feeding any time of day for as long as desired-- most days he stayed on for 1.5 hours at a time and fed till I bled). My son has not had the MMR vaccine and never will because of all the issues associated with it. Also, our local source of raw milk is from a wonderful farmer who has Jersey A2 cows. We did try the liver formula but could not get him to drink even 1/2 an ounce.
For the past two months my son has been on the Baby's Only Organic formula and has done well. I supplement it with probiotics and cod liver oil. At his last pediatric check up his iron & hemoglobin levels were almost back to normal and he had gained 5 lbs.
For now, we are sticking with the commercial formula despite our concerns over hydrolyzed dairy. I love my son, as you understand, and want the absolute best for him but right now that does not appear to be any of the homemade formulas.
written by Anne, Jun 24 2011
Homemade almond milk would be fine for an adult but when you buy it at the store it's full of added chemicals and preservatives. Canned whole-fat coconut milk is a delicious healthier option.
written by Emily, May 28 2011
I know that commercial almond milk drinks are not properly prepared, so this may be the reason to avoid. Nuts should be soaked then rinsed, then combined with fresh water and strained in order to make nut milk. I don't think that commercial formulas are, and I'm not sure about the other ingredients added to preserve them...
to Mojica
written by Mother of Young ones, May 28 2011

Look into the difference between A1 and A2 milk...see this article
Response to Mojica1038, May 14 2011
written by Avia, May 27 2011
Hi Monjica,

Just out of curiousity is your son vaccinnated? Has he recently had the MMR vaccine? Just curious because I have heard of this happening, after the 4 month MMR vaccine, this exact thing occurs whether the baby has been given whole raw milk formula or a commercial formula. Personally, I think it is a reaction to the vaccine.

This exact thing happened to my friends son when he was being solely breastfed! At 4 months, a few days or maybe a week or so after his 4 month shots, he had blood in his stool and all the symptoms you described. The doctors told her that he was allergic to HER milk and that she had to QUIT breastfeeding or eliminate all wheat, dairy, and soy from her diet. Now, I'm no doctor, but that just doesn't make sense to me...the baby had been fine on breastmilk with the mother's diet, then all of a sudden after shots the baby has issues? And of course, its not the shots that caused the problem but the mother's milk....hmmmm....

I know you are trying to do the right thing, have you thought about trying the liver formula?
To Mojica
written by S_B, May 17 2011
Dear Mojica,
You said that you supplemented your baby but went on giving breast milk. Have you tried increasing your breast milk supply. Try breastfeeding your baby as often as possible even if it's every hour and even when no milk seems to be coming, this will send sign to your body to produce more milk. Your baby may be upset every time, so try when he's sleepy or try to distract him with smooth talking to him or with necklace or other shiny objects that he can play while sucking. There are times of the day when breast milk is produced little, like around evening hours. I'd suggest resting or taking a nap in the afternoon to help your body for the production of the milk. If you are already following the weston a price diet, your milk should be nutritive for your baby. It is still possible increasing you milk supply, just don't give up since it's the best food against allergies. I'd recommend checking out the la leche league for further information.
I wish you and your baby best luck
Raw Milk formula issues
written by Mojica1038, May 14 2011
I have been supplementing my low breastmilk supply with the Raw milk formula for about 2 months. My son appeared to thrive on it - gaining weight and advancing in mental development. But at 4 months he developed signs of anemia, dangerously low levels of iron, and had blood in his stool. They wanted to do a blood transfusion until they realized what I was feeding him. They then proceeded to blame me for his issues, which I expected, but at this point they seem to be right -- the milk and egg yolks appear to have harmed him.
Has anyone else had issues with the Raw milk formula causing intestinal bleeding and dangerously low iron levels??? If so, these problems need to be noted and available to other moms!!
I have been a big fan and follower of the Weston A. Price diet and nutrition for about 2 years. I have access to a wonderful source of real milk and did all of my research before giving this formula to my child. So, you can understand that I am very very disappointed in the condition this has left us in.
The doctors have decided that my son has a protein allergy-- to cows milk, soy (which we already avoid), and eggs. I don't agree necessarily but while his health is in such a fragile state we don't know what else to do but use one of the hypoallergenic commercial formulas for now.
Does anyone have advice or wisdom to pass along? We are desperate to get him off of the commercial formula but can't in good conscience introduce new foods / supplements until he is a couple of months older.

Question on Alomnd/ Rice/ and Coconut Milk
written by MU, May 08 2011
Why is Almond Milk and Rice Milk bad for babies and us as adults? My husband is lactose intolerant and he drinks it and it doesn't affect him in a bad way at all? I have also heard of drinking Coconut Milk...what do you feel on that type of milk? I'm asking because I had given my daughter some food that had cow's milk in it today and she had an allergic reaction to it like my husband. She is 10mths old. Thank you in advance. Have a blessed day!
Nourishing a Growing Baby
written by baby drink, Feb 02 2011
Importance of immediate newborn care can never be under-estimated, and parents will be learning things they have never experienced before. It is the basics of being parents that is often never taught. Although parents may prepare for the much awaited homecoming to a beautifully decorated nursery with every material item the baby could need, the essential hands-on care needs to be achieved first.
written by ShannonB, Oct 22 2010
Why is Almond Milk bad for us?
norushing a growing baby
written by chris wagner, Oct 13 2010
Could you comment on feeding tofu to one year old twins. They are both breast fed. They are both healthy but the little boy has low iron.
written by Brenda, Oct 05 2010
The homemade infant formula in Nourishing Traditions cookbook calls for cod liver oil. Other places I've read Nourishing Traditions say to start cod liver oil at 4 months. Does that mean that the homemade formula should not be given to infants under 4 months. If not, what should be given then? Also, every other source seems to say no raw milk until 1 year. Are there other sources that agree with Nourishing Traditions views on infant diet that aren't affiliated with them in any way?
written by Plain White Baby Bibs, Sep 02 2010
Thanks Jen for sharing your knowledge!

What kind of foods would you recommend for toddlers to help with building a strong immune system?

I just can't stand to see my kids getting sick. Would you say alot of fruits or soemthing?

written by joshua, Aug 10 2010
can you say more about why almond breeze milk is bad for babies and others?

Write comment

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 December 2009 16:55