With my first, I know we have food allergies in my family so I waited until she was a year to introduce solids. Then I introduced plain steamed non-allergenic veggies, cut in soft chunks so she could self regulate and feed herself. I did it pretty much as described on Kellymom.com. She didn’t like them, but she loved my food that had a little bit of salt and fat in it. Go figure. I asked around a little bit, and discovered that babies do need salt. So I started actually seasoning her food (she pretty much just ate what we ate, with a few exceptions) and she started liking it.
With her we did wait to introduce grains til 18 months as suggested by our doctor. I’m not able to find a whole lot of documented information, but there are suggestions that babies don’t make the enzymes necessary to digest grains (amylase I think). And by watching the ‘output’ in her diaper, it was apparent that this is true. You can learn a lot about what babies digest and don’t by watching their output. I babysat a family who really were trying to do the right thing, they were vegetarian and gave their young toddlers lots and lots of whole grain cereal. Those babies (they were twins) constantly had sunken looking eyes, and full full diapers not long after their meals. Their food passed through them barely digested. In hind sight, I see the reason, but I didn’t know then so we just figured that was how their bodies were.
So, remembering this and armed with the knowledge our doctor gave us, I did cautiously give Hannah some rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread, and watched for what happened. There was evidence that she didn’t digest any of it well until somewhere between 18 months and 2 years. I’d expect that the exact age is dependant on genetics. Now that she’s older, she doesn’t have any problems with grains at all.
Our doctor also suggests only giving a baby under 12 months meat if you pre-chew it for them, so the enzymes in your saliva start to work on digestion for them. Since we don’t start solids til a year anyway, this isn’t relevant to us.
We avoid milk products as long as possible too, I think I avoided even butter with my first until she was 18 months. She still shows the same allergy I have (gets sinus infections and some other allergic symptoms from milk products in too big of a quantity), so I’m not sure if holding off on the milk helped her or not. My son is very sensitive to any milk I have in my diet that he gets through my milk, so I’m guessing he’ll be more sensitive than my daughter is. We’ll see.
We avoided nuts until near 2 years, but that was more because of lack of teeth. I was a little nervous about peanuts/peanut butter with my first, but it wasn’t an issue. If we had a history of peanut allergy I think I’d wait until 5 or so.
Both my babies haven’t shown any ‘need’ to start solids earlier than 12 months either. My son is 7 months and is 95th percentile for his weight. He was around 11 lbs when he was born, and is still growing and thriving on just my milk alone.
This time around I’ll go right into the seasoned foods, salted to taste with sea salt. We’ll hold off on grains again and see how they go at 18 months. I’ll continue nursing for about 24 months. With my daughter, I nursed her until she was 27 months- her brother was born when she was 26 months and I wanted to not make two big transitions at once, so I waited and saw how she adjusted to the new baby (she was fine) and then was pretty matter of fact about it and it wasn’t an issue. If it had been, I would have just nursed her a little longer.
So, you say, without grains or milk, what will you feed the child? I’m not really on top of things enough to do seperate meals, pureed food, or anything like that for my kids, so I try to just incorperate one or two things into the main meal that are grain and dairy free. Some suggestions:
Mashed potatoes with chicken stock, the fat from the chicken stock, and sea salt
Cooked veggies with coconut cream and salt
Meat. I usually shredded it to prevent choking if it’s not ground beef/turkey.
Taco meat- just don’t do the tortilla and rice on taco night
Ground beef and avacado was a favorite for a while
The only time I have trouble is if we’re eating something that’s mostly starch for dinner. But we really shouldn’t be doing that anyway. If I do, though, I just pulled out something that was leftover for the baby.
With our next baby I might consider doing Sally Fallon’s recommendation of a lightly cooked egg yolk a day starting at 4 months, but I’m kind of wary about that since my babies seem to do so well on human milk alone. I’m still thinking about it.
If there’s something I didn’t cover, feel free to ask. None of this is scientific, but just is based on what has worked for us in the past.
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