BEST FOOD CHOICES FOR BABIES
Ideally an infant must be fed only breastmilk until 6 months of age.
Most people are aware of the benefits of breastmilk. After 6 months most babies do well on two raw fruit meals and one cooked vegetable meal (started with something raw like avocado or carrot juice) daily. Soft fruits like papaya, banana and mango, are the best ones to start with. Choose fruit that is ripe and in season.
Who decided that we rice cereal needs to be the first meal? Rice cereal is processed and doesn’t contain nearly as much vitamins, minerals and enzymes as raw fruit or vegetables. Fruit is also much more palatable than rice cereal.
Interesting fact: The nutritional composition of fruit is closest to that of breastmilk than any other food available.
Before the age of one year it is not ideal to add animal protein and animal products to your child’s diet. However, after that age, you may want to introduce these foods if the rest of your family does not follow a vegetarian diet.
What about weight monitoring?
Weight gain is considered to be the single most important tool in determining the adequacy of your baby’s food intake, regardless of the type of food he is eating. But is that an accurate tool to monitor a baby’s state of health? I do not agree.
When if you are breastfeed your baby and provide them with nutritious food, you can relax and be confident that your child is getting in the right nutrients, regardless of his weight.
Always look for signs of general good health in your child. As a mother, you will immediately notice if your baby is unhealthy. Here are a few check lists to go through when you monitor the health of your baby:
- Do you have a happy baby? (Okay, babies usually cry a lot, so don’t be too hard on yourself 🙂 )
- Is his colour good?
- Is he sleeping well? (Again, babies doesn’t always sleep well. but they need to get a bit of rest… and mommy too!)
- Does he have regular bowels and at least three wet nappies per day?
- Does he achieve his milestones of development in time?
Babies can often gain weight and yet be in bad health, so don’t focus on weight gain alone.
Children will find all the nutrients for vibrant health from natural foods. Until a child is 18 months, the only natural foods that you should be wary of are the concentrated starches, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, bread and pasta. Many children of this age still do not chew properly, and therefore do not secrete enough of the starch digesting enzyme ptyalin in their saliva, as starch digestion starts in the mouth. If this stage is missing, the whole process will be more prone to fermentation with the accompanying symptoms of digestive problems and allergies. If you really want them to eat this, chew the food yourself first (in order for the food to mix with your saliva) and then give it to your baby. Alternatively you can give them a digestive enzyme.