Thursday, July 29, 2010

Infant Nutrition (Part 2)

aka - "What I Did Do"

So, last time I posted on infant nutrition, I talked about several things I didn't do when feeding my son Owen. This time, I thought I'd talk about a few things I did do.

1) I made my own food, mostly.
I was fortunate that Owen started eating real food in the late summer, when he was 6 months old. Good, local produce was plentiful and cheap, and I had the best time making Owen's food! Making your own food is not only more economical, but it's also healthier. You can make organic food without spending a fortune on organic baby food. There are no preservatives. There are no weird ingredients.

It's really not hard and requires few tools. I found it to be quite fun, and I made Owen's food exclusively until he was about 10 months old, when I started buying some baby food and table food, simply because of the huge amount of food he was eating. You'll need a food processor and ice trays and some big freezer bags. That's it!

The first foods I made were sweet potatoes and applesauce. He loved squash too! Check out Wholesome Baby Food for great recipes and tips! I somewhat followed the guidelines for when to start certain fruits and veggies, but I wasn't super strict. I also didn't follow the 5 day rule, except when I was trying a food like strawberries or milk that is highly allergenic.

2) I fed Owen meat and egg yolks.
Most cultures have traditionally fed babies meat and egg yolks (and liver) as a first food. One good reason for this is the need for iron and protein. Doctors recommend supplements and fortified cereals for breast fed babies, so that they can receive adequate iron. If God intended for babies to need iron at 6 months old, don't you think He also provided perfect ways to get it? Grass-fed beef is excellent for babies to receive iron, and it doesn't take much. You'll be hard-pressed to find an iron source that is more easily absorbed by the human body, except maybe for liver (which I'm too chicken to eat). Most countries, including England and Canada, now recommend beef as a first food (though it's been a traditional first food in most cultures), which is another good reason to make food yourself, since it's almost impossible to find high-quality meat baby food in the store.

Egg yolks may also seem like an odd choice, since eggs are a highly allergenic food and generally not recommended until a year. However, it is usually the egg white that is the allergenic part. Egg yolks contain a nutritional make-up that is very similar to breast milk, in terms of its protein/fat/carb ratio, thus it is a natural food for babies to begin with. Check out the Weston A. Price website for more reasons why.

3) I gave Owen whole milk yogurt at 6 months.
Yogurt is an amazing food! It's filled with everything your infant's tummy needs to digest all those weird foods you've been giving him. We've all heard of probiotics, that good bacteria (naturally found in raw milk, btw) that is essential for healthy digestion. If you are breastfeeding, your baby is getting some of these probiotics in your breast milk as well. It's amazing that God made milk such an easily and naturally preservable food!

I didn't buy the organic kid yogurt that they sell in the store, like Yo Baby! yogurt. For one, it's filled with "organic" sugar. Also, soy. Whole milk yogurt is cheap and plain, with no added anything. It's best if you can make your own, but I don't. I just buy a big carton of whole milk yogurt at Walmart. It's like $2 for a 16oz carton. Pretty inexpensive. Then I just add in applesauce or smashed peaches or bananas. Owen LOVES it. It's easy, naturally, homemade, and great for your kid!

Hope this helps. Next time I'll post about toddler nutrition and how Owen eats now.

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