Looking back over Little Piñata’s first 16 months, he was never fed very conventionally. Even from the beginning when he was fed mostly donated breastmilk (read more here and here), we haven’t always done what our pediatrician was familiar with. This meant a lot of research on our part, so I’m very grateful for the internet and being able to find so much information online! We ended up choosing the Weston A Price Foundation’s “Nourishing a Growing Baby” recommendations and decided it was the best for our family. If I were to summarize it, I would say the focus is on healthy fats, proteins and vegetables and postponing grains until their molars come in.
There’s a lot of information included in their recommendations, and we certainly didn’t do it all. Although it would have been great if we did, as a working mom I still relied a lot on packaged baby food and didn’t make as much homemade as I would have liked. I also didn’t ever attempt fermenting sweet potatoes or anything else that looked too complicated. We just tried to follow their general monthly guidelines that are found at the bottom of the article.
Foods By Age (from Weston A. Price)
4 – 6 M O N T H S - Minimal solid foods as tolerated by baby
Egg yolk–if tolerated, preferably from pastured chickens, lightly boiled and salted
Banana–mashed, for babies who are very mature and seem hungry
Cod liver oil– 1/4 teaspoon high vitamin or 1/2 teaspoon regular, given with an eye dropper
6 – 8 M O N T H S
Organic liver–grated frozen and added to egg yolk
Pureed meats–lamb, turkey, beef, chicken, liver and fish
Soup broth–(chicken, beef, lamb, fish) added to pureed meats and vegetables, or offered as a drink
Fermented foods–small amounts of yoghurt, kefir, sweet potato, taro, if desired
Raw mashed fruits–banana, melon, mangoes, papaya, avocado
Cooked, pureed fruits–organic apricot, peaches, pears, apples, cherries, berries
Cooked vegetables–zucchini, squash, sweet potato, carrots, beets, with butter or coconut oil
8 – 1 2 M O N T H S - Continue to add variety and increase thickness and lumpiness of the foods already given from 4-8 months
Creamed vegetable soups
Homemade stews–all ingredinets cut small or mashed
Dairy–cottage cheese, mild harder raw cheese, cream, custards
Finger foods–when baby can grab and adequately chew, such as lightly steamed veggie sticks, mild cheese, avocado chunks, pieces of banana
Cod liver oil–increase to 1/2 teaspoon high vitamin or 1 teaspooon regular dose
O V E R 1 Y E A R
Grains and legumes–properly soaked and cooked
Crispy nut butters–see recipes in Nourishing Traditions
Leafy green vegetables–cooked, with butter
Raw salad vegetables–cucumbers, tomatoes, etc.
Citrus fruit–fresh, organic
F O O D S T O A V O I D
Up to 6 months: Certain foods, such as spinach, celery, lettuce, radishes, beets, turnips and collard greens, may contain excessive nitrate, which can be converted into nitrite (an undesirable substance) in the stomach. Leafy green vegetables are best avoided until 1 year. When cooking vegetables that may contain these substances, do not use the water they were cooked in to purée.
Up to 9 months: Citrus and tomato, which are common allergens.
Up to 1 year: Because infants do not produce strong enough stomach acid to deactivate potential spores, infants should refrain from eating honey. Use blackstrap molasses, which is high in iron and calcium. Egg whites should also be avoided up to one year due to their high allergenic potential.
ALWAYS: Commercial dairy products (especially ultra-pasteurized), modern soy foods, margarines and shortening, fruit juices, reduced-fat or low-fat foods, extruded grains and all processed foods.
Not everything went perfectly for us. We waited until Little P was 5 months old and started “practicing” with food. There was definitely nothing actually consumed until he was at least 6 months. And when we did start solids we were disappointed to discover that Little P had an allergy/sensitivity to egg yolks even though WAPF (Westin A Price Foundation) recommends it as baby’s first and foundational food. But, we did mashed bananas right after that and tried to focus on healthy fats, vegetables and protein. We didn’t do liver until Little P was 9 months old due to the fact that I didn’t know how to prepare it, but once I did (and I never did raw like they suggest, I always cooked it first) he loved it with sweet potatoes!
I did what I could with preparing homemade baby food, but we did a lot of yogurt and Earth’s Best meat combos, which Little P always liked. Once he got the pincer grasp and could do finger food, we introduced cheese, bits of meat and chopped fruits and veggies instead of pureed ones. We tried to postpone all grains until he was a year old or had his molars, but due to the fear our previous pediatrician instilled in us we did give him oatmeal cereal at 9 months (not that it’s something we stress out about now, I just hate that we did it due to fear). Other than that we waited until Little P had molars before we did bread, and we have stuck to sprouted grain bread with him for now since sprouted grains are easier for our bodies to digest and also because we know it’s egg-free.
WAPF recommends making your own baby formula with raw cow’s or goat’s milk, but we never did that. We were grateful to have a big supply of donated breastmilk and when we needed to supplement we used Baby’s Only Organic Formula. When first weaning him to whole milk, we started with raw (or as I like to say, “fresh”) goat’s milk as I read it was easier on babies’ tummies than cow’s milk. We did that for a few weeks before switching over to raw cow’s milk. He LOVES it! We give him pasteurized whole milk when we’re traveling or when we run out of the fresh cow’s milk, but overall he loves the fresh milk better. I know it is controversial, but to me it’s one of those topics you need to research yourself as a parent and decide what is best for your child. We buy our milk from local Amish farmers from our farmer’s market and since we buy into a share of their farm, it’s legal to purchase for human consumption. So far the only things we have offered him to drink are milk, water and chicken broth. He drinks a lot of milk and water over the course of a day so I figure there’s no reason to add juice to his diet.
Overall, Little P is not a picky eater considering the fact that he’s a toddler. He’s still not a BIG eater, but his favorite foods are meat, cheese, broccoli, bananas, apples, mashed potatoes and whole wheat pasta. I’m really glad we never did any baby foods with added sugar because I think that it would have kept him from eating and liking healthier foods. We’ve tried to keep sugar from his diet and still try to limit carbs, just because we want him to try to avoid the addiction as long as we can and to keep him interested in real, whole foods. We had heard a lot of friends complain about their picky toddlers and their refusal to eat anything healthy and I’m glad that Little P (for now) isn’t like that.
We did start Little P on Cod Liver Oil supplements from the time he was about 6 months old too. He always kind of liked it, and we later discovered that it’s absorbed best into the body when taken with butter. Since he has always been small (see this post) we decided that around 9 months a good afternoon “snack” would be butter and Cod Liver Oil. When your butter is from grassfed cows, it’s actually quite good for you! Like I said at the beginning, it’s not conventional, but it works for us.
Did anyone else use the Westin A Price guidelines for starting solids? How did you decide which method would be right for your child?