Baby Food Organic

Baby foods, is the time right?

It is good to wait until approximately six months to introduce solids (give or take a few weeks); this gives the baby’s digestive system time to fully mature. The Better Health[1] website states that starting solids too early can cause problems including a greater chance of developing food allergies; poor growth if the solid food replaces breast milk or formula; loose bowel actions or diarrhea, if the baby cannot digest the food.

Babies will let you know when the time is right: they may start staring intently while you are eating, trying to grab the spoon or pieces of food from your plate; keep putting their fingers in their mouth as a habit; will open their mouth when food is offered; maybe they are not so satisfied with a breastfeed and have started to wake more in the night. Often around this time the baby’s teeth have started to come through, and there is an increased alertness to the world. If you watch closely you will sense when the time is right, it may be a couple of weeks before six months for your unique baby or a little later. Do not leave starting solids too late, feeding problems can arise if not started before seven to nine months.

Foods for life

If you are eating healthily, it will be easy to feed your baby fresh, healthy, ‘real’ foods. If you are shopping for in season and pesticide and chemical free fruits and vegetables, then making baby food will be a breeze. Cook and prepare for yourself and at the same time, puree and mash a little to share with your baby. Freshly made baby food is perfect for your growing baby. The way the earth intended: gifts from nature for life! Some busy parents make up fresh baby food and store in the fridge or freeze in ice cube trays, so home-made baby food is available all the time.

Yummy fruit, lunch time

Organic apple and pear create a perfect baby starter solid. Look for fresh organic fruit, in season if possible, as the first foods for your baby. These fruits are higher in nutritional value, life force and free from pesticides, preserving processes and cleaning or polishing chemicals. If the season is summer, then move on from apple and pear to mangoes, avocadoes, peaches, banana. Strawberries should not be given until eight months. Add a little expressed breastmilk to the pureed fruit, to make it creamy and appetizing. Adding breastmilk will create an easy transition to solids. A hand held blender (bar-mix) can be used at first, although mashing with a fork and adding plenty of liquid is now recommended. A baby can become fussy about lumps in food later on if food is over blended for too long.

If you cannot buy organic items, then peel fruit and vegetables thoroughly and wash in white wine vinegar, before rinsing to remove cleaning and polishing agents and preservatives from the skins.

The first solid food (fruit) can be given before the middle feed of the day (lunch). A baby will go from one or two teaspoons a day at first to approximately half a cup at a time. When this is an established routine – baby is taking the fruit and enjoying it – then a little breakfast can be introduced (or visa/versa if this feels right for your baby).

Breakfast time

Organic baby rice cereal is a good start to a baby’s breakfast life. There are many baby cereals on the market. Organically grown cereals, free from genetically modified ingredients and chemicals, are a great choice for your baby.  They can be found in selected supermarkets (if not ask to be made available), health food stores or organic fruit and vegetable shops. Start with simple organic baby rice porridge and then move onto baby oat and mixed grain porridges. After a time, fruit can be added to the porridge (banana, stewed apple or pear, for example). Bio-dynamic cow’s milk or goat’s milk can be added with half water to the porridge, after eight months of age or so; before this time mix baby cereals with expressed breastmilk and water.

Organic baby cereals and porridges are a lovely gentle transition to a healthy breakfast time for babies. Again start with one to two teaspoons and move up to half a cup or so each morning.

Tea time vegetables

Around seven months of age, or when half cup or more of breakfast (porridge) and lunch (seasonal fruit) has been established, vegetables can be introduced to baby. When cooking your own tea, steam or boil vegetables suitable for baby. Pumpkin and carrot are good starters – add a little zucchini or broccoli – then venture below the ground with sweet potato and parsnips. Again mash with a fork with plenty of liquid. Potatoes are very heavy – from the animal nightshade family – and can be left until later as a personal choice. Buy vegetables in season, and if not organic, peel and scrub.

Enjoyable eating!

Eating is an enjoyable and social experience and should be shared, where possible, at the family table. Eating alongside your baby with each meal will provide an invaluable role-model for your baby. Babies learn from imitation and will be more motivated to eat whilst others are eating. Freshly prepared food, organic and in season, are by far the best way to start a baby’s eating life. Canned and bottled baby food does not have the same life force or nutrients. Organic baby food in jars can be helpful when going out, once in a while or in an emergency. If the family is in a healthy habit of eating fruit and vegetables, it is easy to prepare a little meal for baby. Eating fresh home-made baby food provides the best nutrition for your growing child and the beginnings of a healthy eating pattern for life.

Be flexible

The above eating pattern is an idea; however, if you are eating fruit or vegetables, and later on other foods, and your baby is reaching and grabbing your food with great interest – go with the flow. Ask “Is this a healthy and safe food for my baby?”, if the answer is “Yes”, share your food (At first in a mashed form).

What foods are next?

All three meals have been established each day, combinations of different fruits and vegetables can now be given, also fruit with the morning porridge. At eight months add an iron source to the vegetables, beans, tofu or lentils. Meat is a family choice; small amounts can be added to the vegetables from eight months to one year (however you may wish to introduce meat much later to your child). Meat is more difficult to digest than vegetables. It is not needed at all for young children if good alternate protein sources are introduced.

Yogurt – and cheese – grated can be given to baby. From nine months babies may show an interest in self feeding. At this time they can also learn to use a feeder cup and begin to chew lumps in foods. Up to the first birthday introduce other foods; organic lentils, rice and pasta (not necessarily wheat based) to the vegetables and soft finger foods to chew. Always sit with your child whist eating to watch for choking. After a year, healthy foods from the family table (mashed at first) can be introduced.

It is advised to solely breastfeed or give formula until twelve months of age. Then a little cup of biodynamic or organic cow’s milk can be introduced (or fortified rice or oat milk, if there is intolerance to dairy). Introduce the milk very slowly over time (A little with water at first). This will create an alternative milk supply to breastmilk and will help when you decide to wean or stop powdered baby formular. At six months of age, filtered water (or boiled) can be introduced in a feeder cup. If there is a family history of intolerances do not give diary, peanuts, tree nuts or shellfish until two years of age. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include; a rash, vomiting, diarrhea and swelling of the mouth. Otherwise honey, egg yolk and ground nuts and nut pastes can be introduced after the baby’s first year. Fruit juice is not suitable for babies, milk or water is sufficient.

Signs to stop

Babies will indicate when they have had enough by pushing away the spoon, tightly closing the mouth and turning their head away. Do not be perturbed, it is quite normal for their appetite to change from one day to the next. Babies are not always consistent with what and how much they eat. Growing spurts can be erratic and an increased or decreased appetitive can happen from day to day.  

Feeding themselves

Some babies want to feed themselves, the moment they can hold a spoon. Let them do this, and spoon in at the same time! You may need to get creative with finger foods. In the months to come expect a messy face, table, highchair and floor!

 


[1] www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au