Transitioning to whole foods is such an exciting time for baby and the family. It marks a big milestone in life, and is a key part of development. When your baby is ready for food, remember to choose whole foods, preferably organic. The lower the ingredient count, the better. Avoid processed food products whenever possible. The best option for baby food is homemade, and truly this is not as daunting as it may sound. Babies eat small portions, so it’s easy to prepare large quantities of baby food to freeze (in single-serving portions) for the future. Getting in the habit of preparing all of baby’s food right away helps to create a routine of home-cooked meals for life.
Here are some simple rules to follow to make the transition smooth and easy:
Signs of Food Sensitivity or Intolerance
Somehow, it has become common practice to introduce rice cereal to babies as a first food. This is NOT the best option, as babies do not have the proper enzymes to digest grains at this time. Starting with cereal has been linked to low nutrient and trace mineral absorption in babies.
Great First Foods
Fats Are Brain Food
Remember, fats are essential to brain development and proper growth, as well as muscle and bone health. Incorporating healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee butter is essential to optimal health.
When to Introduce Water
Follow baby’s cues and pay attention to the environment. Babies can get all their hydration from breastmilk or formula for most of the first year. As you incorporate more solid, whole foods, begin working on sippy cup drinking as well. Also, ensure that you are giving your baby the purest water you can. Invest in a filtration system that removes metals, fluoride, and pesticides from water. I recommend the Berkey. Steer clear of store bought juices, which contain lots of processed sugar and preservatives. If you want to bring juice into your child’s diet, it is best to juice the produce yourself.