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Breast to Bowl: Introducing Baby's First Foods

Written by Jeanne Ohm, D.C.   
Tuesday, 07 October 2008 09:12
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The introduction of certain foods at certain times is relative to the maturity of the digestive system. Children less than six months need only breast milk, not solids, as the infant's digestive system is not developed to maturation. If you start sooner, you may cause your child future food allergies. Since your child's taste buds will not develop until the eighth month, the feeding of your baby should be guided for nutritional purposes, not taste.

At six months of age fruits and vegetables are the best to start with. Fruits are a cleansing food, vegetables a body builder. Each should be introduced slowly, one at a time and for several days to see how the baby responds to each new food and to allow the baby's digestive system to adapt. Avoid berries as they may create an allergic response in some infants. Peaches, apples, pears cooked and mashed into sauces are great. Citrus fruits can be introduced at a later time.

Bananas are very nutritious although they may be a bit binding; so do not panic if your baby's bowel movements slow down for a day or so. Melons are a great raw fruit because they are watery and easy to mush in the mouth. Very ripe mangoes are also a soft starter for toothless chewing. One other note on fruits: it is best not to eat fruits within a half hour of eating any other foods at any age, as they digest quickly and will not allow the other food to be properly assimilated.

The easiest vegetables to start with are: steamed carrots, zucchini, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas and other easily softened veggies. Again, introduce items separately, giving a few days for your baby to become accustomed to each food. Vegetable juices, especially freshly juiced carrots are wonderful starter foods for your baby. Juicing is also a good way to get fresh, raw greens into your baby. All juices should be cut with distilled water or water purified by reverse osmosis purified water. Other bottled water may contain chlorine or fluoride; both are known toxins.

Introduce fruit juices with caution. The juice should be diluted: one-third juice, two-thirds water; the type mentioned above. Remember that a high content of fructose (natural sugar) may be too much of an over load for your child's system. Any fruit juices should be of the type found in natural food stores because they are not from concentrate. Concentrated juices have high sugar content and are a known cause of candidias (yeast infection) in children. Another great drink for children is herbed tea. Served with natural sweeteners (see below) and at room temperature, they are refreshing and tasty.

Grains are not advisable until your baby has teeth. At the same age babies get their teeth they start to secrete salivary amylase (ptyalin), which is essential for digesting carbohydrates. Before that, children can have problems digesting carbohydrates, thus they become 'gassy'. The food goes into the intestine, where it ferments and putrifacts. Of course when grains are introduced they should be whole grains like brown rice, barley, oats and millet. An easy preparation is to blend the raw grain into tiny bits and then cook it, usually two parts water to one part grain. It makes for a wholesome cream of rice type of meal.