Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Everyone has a different approach to introducing foods to their baby. Do a google search and you will find a lot of options. Confusing right? 

After all those options, I'm sure you are wondering what sets the information and guide found here apart from the others.

A couple of things. First, my recommended food introduction schedule is geared toward catching and preventing food allergies and / or sensitivities. Many mainstream pediatricians suggest starting infants on cereals and grains. The problem with this is grains [cereals included] are some of the most difficult foods to digest along with meats, dairy, and many fats.

In addition to this, I also start with vegetables rather than cereals and fruits. Vegetables are the most important foods you can give your baby. They are full of essential vitamins and minerals and are, almost exclusively, low in sugars. It's important to remember that our bodies, both infant and adult, are wired to want sugar and fat in mass quantity when it is available. This is part of our survival mechanism and is what allowed human beings to survive over the years. These days what was once a key to survival is now an addiction. Starting with low-sugar [yes, even natural sugar] foods helps provide your baby with the taste for veggies. The exception is avocado, the food I recommend you begin with.

I've also provided some important tips to help you navigate through the baby food confusion as well as a couple resources I have found to be really helpful throughout the journey.

May your baby be nourished by the food you provide.


1] It's important to introduce new foods in 4 - 7 day increments to allow your baby to get used to each food and give you time to observe any reactions to said food. Once you have built up a safe food base, remember to vary the foods you give your baby to prevent an from allergy forming.

2] Be persistent in giving your baby the food even if he/she doesn't like it at first but do not force. Try a couple times [use games, songs, etc. to make the food enticing] and if that doesn't work try another time but do try. Hide small amounts in foods he/she really likes to get him/her used to them. Fight the urge to let your personal preferences define what your baby eats. For example, I don't love cooked spinach but I eat it with my baby because this is the form she can have it in right now. Eating the food with your baby at the beginning [one bite for baby, one bite for mama/daddy] helps your babe adapt to each food.  Roasting foods is a fantastic way to pull the deep flavors out of foods making them more desirable. 

3] Cooking each food well helps babies digest them better. 

4] You won't find meats or glutenous foods on this list as I use meats as "medicine" for specific ailments rather than a part of the everyday diet and am very allergic to gluten. If you plan to give your child meat or glutenous foods, it is best to wait until after 24 months old as both meat and gluten are difficult foods to digest for anyone, especially a young, inexperienced digestive system.

5] Whenever possible, give your baby organic food. When it comes to children, organic may be one of the most important choices you can make. Local and variety are close seconds. If you are unable to purchase all of your foods organically, use the Clean 15 / Dirty Dozen Guide as a starting point. Please note that I place corn and soybeans among the Dirty Dozen as both are almost always genetically modified unless they are started from organic, heirloom seeds.

6] Documenting everything because, no, you won't remember. Keep track of the date, length of introduction, and response to each food introduced. Make a note of the reactive foods so you can try again at a later date when your baby's digestive system is a bit more developed. Look for increased gas, constipation, rashes, red bottom, discomfort, irritability, and any other abnormalities throughout the four - seven days of introduction. Stop the food if you find any of these and, depending on severity of the reaction, introduce at a later date. 

7] Constantly remind yourself that your baby doesn't know anything other than what you put in front of him/her. You have the power to define what she views as "treats". Teach her that eating sweet potato chunks with her fingers is a treat. Allowing him to feed you her food as a treat. Make watermelon-chunk popsicles, allow the popcorn to pop all over a blanket on the floor, serve sightly frozen berries as treats. Make the experience of eating the treat. Your child doesn't need what we know as "dessert" [ie. over-processed, sugar and chemical-filled foods] and you will find the alternatives much more fun! 

8] Use herbs to flavor instead of salts and sweeteners. Not only are the flavor of herbs more complex but you are adding a lot of vitamins and minerals to each meal! Of course when using herbs, educate yourself on which herbs are appropriate for infants. 


Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron
Start Fresh by Tyler Florence

Note: I don't take either of these as gospel [for example, I disagree with food introduction schedules] but both provide  great starting points and are extremely useful in guiding through the baby food preparation, storage, and safety process.


6 - 9 MONTHS

sweet potato
green beans
sweet peas
spinach [spinach is so high in iron which is essential for babies]
Swiss chard
raw pumpkin seeds [pre-soaked / sprouted, dehydrated, and very finely ground]
any of the other greens [lettuce, dandelion greens, mustard greens, endive]
flax seeds [finely ground]
chia seeds [finely ground]

extra virgin olive oil [organic, especially helpful to add to food if your baby is constantly hungry or not receiving enough calories]

coconut oil [organic, unrefined]
coconut butter [organic, unrefined]

dulse flakes [you can get this flaked at the health food store - I highly recommend this for baby and mama - it acts as a booster of essential vitamins and minerals already found in the foods you are serving - just sprinkle a little in with the food]

parsley [fresh or dried, although fresh is preferred]
raspberries [make sure you strain the berries to eliminate seeds or blend in a Vita-mix]
blackberries [make sure you strain the berries to eliminate seeds or blend in a Vita-mix]
winter squash [butternut, acorn, delicata, etc.]

9 - 12 MONTHS

lima beans
potato, white / red / purple / yellow
mung beans* [well cooked]
molasses, blackstrap [this is full of great minerals as well]
amaranth* [ground]
lentils* [soaked / sprouted, well cooked]
peas, dried
pinto beans* [well cooked]
kidney beans* [well cooked]
rhubarb [well cooked]
raisins [soaked]
figs [soaked or fresh]
summer squash
prunes [soaked]
strawberries [make sure you strain the berries to eliminate seeds or blend in a Vita-mix]

12 - 15 MONTHS

garbanzo beans* [well cooked]
corn [directly from the cob, not processed]
cantelope / muskmelon
Brussels sprouts
nutritional yeast [VERY different from regular yeast because it is really high in vitamins and minerals, use in small amounts for baby]

15 - 18 MONTHS

sprouts [homemade is preferred, otherwise from a very reputable source]
oats* [soaked and well cooked]
dates [soaked]
millet* [soaked / sprouted and well cooked]
sunflower seed butter [from raw, soaked sunflower seeds]

18 - 24 MONTHS

coconut milk
cashew butter [from raw, soaked cashews]
almond butter [from raw, soaked almonds]
walnuts [from raw, soaked walnuts]


honey and maple syrup [although I recommend holding off on introducing any sugars for as long as possible]
brown rice* [soaked, well cooked]
yeast [type used in breads]

*Please go to this link to review proper preparation on legumes [dried beans] and grains.

Note from Tina: Always remember, this and all other posts found here should be considered for educational use only and be used as a guide rather than absolute fact. Work with your pediatrician or holistic health care provider to put together a plan that best suites your baby's needs and, above all, remember that you know your baby better than anyone else. Trust your intuition.

No comments: