Nourishing a Growing Baby

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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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  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.

Jen Allbritton, is a wife, mother and Certified Nutritionist who enjoys researching, writing, and experimenting in the kitchen with WAPF-friendly dishes. Her column Growing Wise Kids is a regular addition to the Foundation's quarterly magazine, Wise Traditions. Jen has a degree in Kinesiology from the College of William and Mary and has been passionately learning and teaching others about food's affect on health for over 14 years. Contact her with column ideas:

55 Responses to Nourishing a Growing Baby

  1. Jenn Stacy says:

    I am very concerned to see almond milk listed as not good for babies or parents. I am currently breastfeeding a child with a dairy allergy and I only use almond milk for my cereal/ oatmeal. Can you please tell me why it’s bad?!? Thank you!!

    • Neil says:

      It looks to me like the article is warning you away from specific brands of milk that have chemicals such as carrageenan in them. You can make your own almond milk or find a brand that has minimal ingredients and nothing that you don’t recognise added in.

  2. Stefanie says:

    I am wondering it they said no to that brand of almond milk because of the Carrageenan. WHat about almond milk without this ingredient, or homemade almond milk???

  3. Davina says:

    Homemade Almond milk is fine,there is a recipe for this in the Nourishing Traditions book. I wish I had this book 13yrs ago when I had my first daughter,it’s a great read.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Do you have a commercial formula that you can say is better than others. My milk supply is shot because my baby had tongue and lip tie and it took us too long to fix it. She refuses to nurse much and prefers the bottle. I cannot pump much as I am in El Salvador and don’t have access to a decent pump nor do I have enough milk to be able to satisfy her. I wanted to make her formula, but I cannot get safe milk here or organic liver. I hate feeding her formula, but my hands are tied. I am trying to find the best formula for her. They are all full of corn syrup and soy. 🙁

  5. abby says:

    My daughter did well in the bone broth version of this diet for 1 1/2 months. She then developed diarrhea and it’s been a month straight. The doctors and nutritionist don’t have anymore ideas other than so much bone broth and I agree with them at this point. My child is severely allergic to milk, soy and now vitamin C seems to be bothering her too. She can’t have any probiotic that have been grown on diary either. We are out if ideas, shes grown the best on this diet, but it too has stopped being the solution as well. All the prescription formulas have failed in the way that she was still badly reacting to it and has really bad reflux. Since being on the bone broth diet, we took her off reflux mess and she was doing great. Any ideas on the this? Where do we go next? There is nothing anatomically wrong as we’ve done MRIs and such testing.

    • Rachelle says:

      Have you considered goats milk? Research it. You cant buy it in a formula i dont believe, but there is a recipe in nourishing traditions for infant formula and use goat milk instead of cow based? Im currently researching this so please do your own investigation I dont want to give out any bad advice, but maybe rhis will help. My baby is breastfed and dairy sensitive, and even if I drink kefir she has a hard time tolerating it.

  6. serena says:

    if you are vegetarian, do you just leave out the meat and dairy?

  7. Kirsty says:

    Hi There

    Are we able to feed baby exactly how you’ve stated but baby led weaning?

  8. Keesha says:

    Thanks for posting all these recommendations and all of the research! Deeply appreciated!

  9. phalguni says:

    V informative article

  10. Amanda says:

    My daughter just turned 6 months old. She is strictly breastfed. I have recently tried egg yolks with her but they gave her intestinal distress and made her vomit. I am not a big dairy drinker but have been craving it. However every time I eat yogurt or drink raw milk my daughter colics. So my question is if these foods are so healthy for babies why does my daughter have such a problem with them?

    • T.S. says:

      I know this is a bit tardy, but I wanted to respond since no one else did. I am curious if you used eggs from a local farm or bought them from the store? Even the ‘organic’ store eggs tend to have a pale yellow yolk as opposed to the healthy deep orange that a true local free-range small farm has, which has made me wonder if the nutrition content is different. Since she reacted to the egg yolks, for the sake of reference, definitely would need to stop and wait a month, before trying it again, since it’s possible she may have an allergy or simply not be ready.

      Also, with the raw milk: are you drinking goat’s milk or cow’s milk? Cow’s milk has a protein that is difficult for small babies to digest, which may be why she is having issues. Goat’s milk has a softer protein structure that is not so hard on the baby’s gut. And lastly – is the yogurt homemade full-fat, organic plain yogurt from the store, or a standard yogurt with cane sugar added?

      Here are some links to a doctor who discusses goat’s milk vs. cow’s milk:

      Obviously raw is best, and I am merely recommending the article I linked to for the sake of the information about goat’s milk, not as an authority on how to feed infants.

  11. Dawn says:

    Wonderful article! Thank you so much for posting. I am only feeding free range, organic, local foods to my daughter, and this provides the guidelines for type and amount that I’m looking for.

  12. Michal says:

    Hi, could someone please explain me, when introducing egg yolk at 4th month, what time of the day is best, does it matter? Should the egg yolk be served on its own or in addition to one of the milk servings. Thank you.

    • Katie says:

      Any time you introduce a new food it should be during the day, when you will be able to observe if they have a reaction or not. (As opposed to night time, when they could react to food eaten and you may not notice because you/they are sleeping). As far as milk along with the egg, if they are already consuming breast milk (or formula) it doesn’t matter if they consume it along with the egg because you should already know if they can consume the breast milk or formula without reaction.

  13. Kristian says:


    My daughter is nearly 8 months and we have been following the recommended solids. Recently we noticed her stool to be clay like and she sometimes turned red face trying to push out.
    She usually has breatmilk after meals.

    Could there be too much fibre?
    She usually eats a mix of puréed meat with either sweet potato or carrot or some cooked apples and pears.

    Any recommendations?

    • Tim Boyd says:

      From Sally:
      Are you adding butter to the meat and some cream to the vegetables and fruit–it could be lack of enough fat. Baby should also be getting pureed liver and egg yolks.

  14. Laurie says:

    Should the Green Pasture cod liver oil in the baby formula be unflavored or is mint flavor ok?

  15. Tanya says:

    Our 10 month old has developed mild-moderate eczema (on her body, not her face) since we introduced solids at 6 months (we do our best to follow the Nourishing Traditions recommendations, except we exclusively breastfed until 6 months rather than introducing solids at 4 months). We live in Australia and unfortunately don’t have access to raw dairy, so have yet to give her dairy other than occasional grass fed (but pasteurised) butter in cooking (we alternate with coconut oil) and the butter oil in the Blue Ice Royal blend gel (which she enjoys immensely!) … we’ve recently stopped using the butter in cooking, suspecting dairy could be the culprit but should we also stop the Blue Ice Royal and switch to the straight cod liver oil? Could my own dairy consumption (mostly butter, cream, yoghurt & cheese – rarely milk – grass fed, but again, all pasteurised) be an issue as she is also still breastfeeding? Seems unlikely considering she didn’t react to it during the exclusive breastfeeding stage. Thanks!

    • Tim Boyd says:

      Reply from Sally,
      You could cut out the butter oil to see what happens. I would give her lots of broth and use lard and lamb tallow for cooking.

  16. lina says:

    my eight month old is highly allergic to cow’s milk, buter, cream, anything with milk solids and lactose. what should i use as fat?

  17. Melissa says:

    If mentions to cool the meat before pureeing? Is there any reason you couldn’t purée straight away?

  18. Carolyn says:

    What brand of cod liver oil do you recommend for a 4 month old baby?

  19. Jenn says:

    My 7 month old is highly reactive to cow dairy — what fat would be best to add to foods in place of the often-suggested butter? Would lard or high quality olive oil be suitable?

    • Jenn says:

      Just saw an above post about the lard and tallow being acceptable. Still curious about the olive oil as we use it a lot for the adults?

  20. Marzena says:

    Could you clarify the age stops. Food 6-8 or 6+ means it includes 6 month or the food can be given only after finishing 6th month? That’s what confuses me in all baby food talk. I’m first time mother.

    • Tim Boyd says:

      From Sally:
      When they are 6 months after being born, they they really should have some solid food. For a big robust baby, this can start earlier, at 4 months.

  21. C. Munley says:

    Try marinating the raw liver in home-brewed kefir.

  22. Simone says:

    Does it matter if the chickens laying the eggs are fed soy? I am finding it difficult here in the UK to find any chickens that don’t have soy in their diets even organic ones.

  23. Allie says:

    What do you suggest for commercial free cottage cheese? Having trouble finding options. Thank you!!

  24. Stephanie says:

    I believe my 6 month old is sensitive to dairy as I have cut out all dairy and it has helped her reflux. That being the case, would an infant with lactose intolerance be able to handle whey (for lacto-fermenting)? I haven’t used it myself for fermenting just because I didn’t know if it is an issue. I would like to try the fermented sweet potatoes for her. Thanks!

  25. Stephanie says:

    Oh one other question, does the type of broth matter? I have had the best luck getting a very gelatin like broth from lamb bones. Just curious if any type is preferable for infants.

  26. Amy Snedaker Hamilton says:

    My baby is 5 months old and I am getting ready to introduce solids soon. At what age can I start to offer her raw salmon eggs?

  27. Amy Snedaker Hamilton says:

    (…from the Vital Choice Seafood company, approved by WAPF)

  28. Kassia says:

    I have a question that I’ve been wondering about for awhile. What does it mean for a baby to be “mature” and possibly ready for soaked and cooked brown rice before 1 year of age?
    My daughter is almost 9 months old and eats meats, liver, fruits, and vegetables, with the occasional bit of raw milk kefir. I have tried my best to follow the recommended diet for nursing moms and she nurses about 6 times a day but her weight gain was very slow until she stated eating 3 square meals a day. If she still seems hungry with plenty of food and breastmilk, is brown rice a good idea? Or would her small size indicate “immaturity”?

    • Kassia says:

      By the way, I do add butter or coconut oil or cream to all her foods. As for egg yolks, she reacted to them a couple of months ago so I am just now starting to reintroduce them. She also seemed to react to yogurt (from pastured milk, she got red spots on her face) so I haven’t tried giving her any soft or hard cheeses yet.

  29. Rachael says:

    I’m concerned that this article advises giving babies something besides formula or breastmilk before 6 months of age. Current research has pointed out that the infant gut is not equipped to handle anything before this point, period. The AAP, WHO and the CDC all agree that giving food before 6 months has been linked to skin issues like eczema & hives, seasonal allergies, chronic respiratory infections/ear infections, Inflammatory Bowel Disorder, Autoimmune Diseases etc. I agree with all your points on nutrition, as well as skipping the usual first food of cereal, but please do NOT advise parents to begin food before 6 months!

  30. Vegar says:

    Hey, we have a discussion on avocado block the absorption of A, D and vitamin K2. Some believe that one and polyunsaturated fats block the absorption of these vitamins. They are actually so strong in faith that they believe avocado blocks all recordings of A, D and vitamin K2. I would so like to know if I can continue to give my baby avocado and egg yolk

  31. Vegar says:

    Hello, I `ve been told that avocado blocks the absorption of A, D and vitamin K2 because the avocado has monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. So will not the baby could exploit vitaminenen in egg yolk if it is served with avocado. Is there someone who can more about this out there?

  32. Katherine says:

    I need help!

    My husband and I adopted a precious baby boy. He is currently seven weeks old. He is allergic to dairy and coconut oil. We tried to the cows milk and goats milk formula and those caused eczema and tummy upset. We have him on the liver formula and he is doing well with it except we had to remove the coconut oil because it was upsetting his tummy as well. His skin is clearing but he has developed diarrhea. I don’t know how to fix that problem and I have read that the coconut oil is a crucial component. Any advice would be much appreciated! We just want to give this sweet boy the best start possible!

    • Lisa says:

      Katherine, I’m not sure what state you’re in but do you know you can get a hold of mother’s breast milk? From donation banks… I believe they are everywhere. Google search it with your state… Good luck 🙂

  33. Veronika says:

    I have started WAPF recommendation re introducing solids after I gave my baby (at 6.5months) steamed carrots and sweet potatoes for a week. Since then only boiled egg yolk (it was always harder rather than liquid), then I introduced avocados, followed by pureed chicken mixed with broth, banana, then back some sweet potato, to which I added ghee (only diary given so far) and coconut oil. He will be 8 months soon. I added some CLO too. His face gradually developed red eczema like dry patches and rash. Not sure to what he might have reacted to. He is teething at the same time so it can be because of that? Maybe I have over done it as I fed him with spoon rather than BLW. He now spits up almost daily usually after feed, even it is just a breast milk on its own. I’m getting bit worry, please advice. Thank you

  34. Pat says:

    Hi. My son is almost 6 m. He s been on raw milk formula by EOD and doing great. Recently we’ve introduced solid food as WPF says and he got rashes on his back, front and neck. He got egg yolk, liver,broth, and banana. I also recently changed the probiotic to a different brand. I m not sure what to do next. For now we went back to only formula and will see. Any thoughts, herbs? Thanks!

  35. Sophia says:

    Hi. I wonder if you have all heard about NAET? It is an allergy elimination technique with practitioners all over the world. My baby was born somehow allergic to everything and we have successfully been treating the allergies so that he can now once again drink diary without having reflux etc. It has been a true lifesaver.

  36. Rachelle says:

    Thank you so much for all this amazing information. Just wondering. Baby is 5 months, haven’t started her on solids yet, but just started giving her Rosita’s cod liver oil, should I stop giving her the vitamin d supplement that’s recommended for breast fed babies? She’s exclusively breastfed. Thank you:)

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