An Unconventional, Yet Ancient Approach to Starting Babies on Solid Food

© Sherry Rothwell, RHN

An alternative approach to introducing solid foods to babies that is based on nutrition from REAL food, digestive physiology and intuitive wisdom of the ancients. Given that our grandmothers lived much closer to the natural course of the rhythms of life, they were likely more in tune with nature`s plan for feeding babies than we are. It seems reasonable and responsible not to stray too far from the path they have paved. In addition, we would do well to call into question the modern prevailing dogma that babies first introduction to solid foods should be iron fortified and processed rice cereal- which seems just a little ridiculous from the perspective of the “nature of things“.

Why: To optimize baby’s digestion, encourage a strong constitution (basis of health) and to prevent the likelihood of allergies and food sensitivities.

When: Introduce 1 new food (traditionally prepared) every 5 days to ensure that baby is doing well with each new food. Begin as early as 4-6months if baby is formula fed or as late as 9-12 months or so, if baby is exclusively breastfed.

“Making Baby’s First Feedings A Family FUN TIME!“

F-Feed them Fat
U-“Unrestrict“ the Unrefined Salt
N-Nutrient Dense
T-Traditionally Prepared
I-Intuitive Wisdom of Our Ancestors
M-Meat Broths
E-Easily Digestible Foods

1) FEED THEM FAT: Saturated fats such as grassfed butter and coconut oil for the optimal growth of your child, to optimize immunity, build a strong nervous system, seal the gut lining and to enable optimal mineral absorption.

2) “UNRESTRICT THE UNREFINED SALT: Include a TINY pinch of unrefined salt (with all minerals provided in their natural ratios, to increase the secretion of digestive juices and nutrient assimilation). DO NOT FEED BABY`S TABLE SALT or other foods containing refined salts or the white salts that health food stores sell mistakenly as sea salt-these are considered to be dangerous for babies.

3) NUTRIENT DENSE Real Foods-such as whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, butter, ghee, homemade stock , organ meats and egg yolk.

4) TRADITIONALLY PREPARED Food Prep Methods (soaking, sprouting, sourdough leavening, cooking, blend or puree) to reduce strain on the baby’s immature digestive system.

5) INTUITIVE FOOD WISDOM OF OUR ANCESTORS Fermented vegetables and the juice of fermented vegetables, liver and organ meats, pastured fed meat and raw or fermented dairy such as yogurt and milk kefir, chicken stock and fermented Cod Liver Oil should all be on the menu to ensure that the small amounts of food that our babies do eat, are nutrient dense foods including the fat soluble vitamins, Vit.A and Vit.D (especially in northern climates and since babies and young children cannot convert beta carotene into Vitamin A).

6) MEAT BROTHS and Meat -Feed babies food that is in line with the natural maturation of their digestive enzyme system (babies have the enzymes to digest protein and fat long before they produce the pytalin needed to digest starches). Meat and meat broths are a highly digestible form of nutrition.

7) EASY TO DIGEST- Emphasize the most easily digested plant foods first such as fruit and non starchy vegetables and moving towards starchy vegetables (cooked and pureed with plenty of butter or coconut oil and a pinch of salt). Next add properly prepared legumes and then non glutenous grains all soaked overnight and preferably, later cooked in meat stock. In addition, crispy nuts and seeds soaked to eliminate phytic acid and then dehydrated later, are a nutritious and delicious finger food! Last to be introduced (around the age of 2 or later when the molars are fully developed and pancreatic amylase is produced in appreciable amounts) are the glutenous grains (paying special attention to soaking and sprouting and sourdough leavening preparation for digestibility).

So how do you know that your baby is happily and healthily nourished by the food that he or she is consuming?

You will know that your baby is thriving on the nourishment that you are providing your baby is happy, growing optimally, sleeping well and FREE of the following symptoms: bloating, gas, rashes, eczema, hives, runny nose, stuffiness, red itchy eyes, swollen eyelids, dark circles under the eyes, constant tearing, diarrhea, mucous stools, intestinal upset, tummy aches, a red rash around the anus, fussiness, irritability, colic, vomiting or increased spitting up or chronic spitting up, ear infections, asthma, undigested food in the stool and poor weight gain.

What about dairy? Only introduce fermented or raw dairy when making a significant shift from breastfeeding towards more solid food- ideally somewhere in the range of being as early as 9 months or as late as 18 months. Pasteurized and homogenized milk should be seen for what they are- a processed food that is not well tolerated by most people. However, the quality of pasteurized milk can be improved by culturing it with beneficial bacteria such as yogurt or kefir starter since the casein and lactose are close to completely pre-digested by the beneficial bacteria. This makes the milk more digestible, and the nutrients it contains within it more easily assimilated.

Try not to make a habit of feeding your baby or child low fat dairy products because fat is essential for your baby to absorb and assimilate minerals, and of course because plenty of saturated fat is essential for your childs optimal growth, immunity, to build a strong nervous system and to seal the gut lining.

Remember that breast milk is very high in saturated animal fat (human mothers are mammals after all!) and that we must compensate for this high percentage of calories from fat when transitioning our little ones onto solid foods. It is essential that our children are not transitioned onto a low fat standard north American (SAD) diet or a vegan diet, especially if mother chooses to wean baby or her toddler altogether. Ideally for the purposes of optimal nutrition and immunological purposes, we would continue to breastfeed until the age of 4 or 5 years of age (or less if the child self weans). For whatever reason, if this is not practical or desirable, then special attention must be paid to dietary practices that compensate for the nutritional quality of human milk and reinforce excellent immunity for the child. An excellent way to acknowledge and account for this is to adopt a traditional whole foods diet. By emphasizing nutrient dense vegetal and animal foods (ones that are non irritating and easy to digest), along with proper food preparation that eliminates anti nutrients (such as phytic and oxalic acid which bind to minerals and make them unavailable to our babies), we can rest assured that we are essentially doing everything that is in our power to nourish our young children in a way that promotes optimal digestion, resiliency and vitality!

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natacha Campbell Mc Bride
Digestion: Inner Pathway to Health David W. Rowland
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig

Contact Sherry  for more information or to purchase the complete 9 Step System “Making Baby’s First Feedings A Family FUN TIME! ” so that you can systematically introduce your Baby to Solid Foods, without the “spitting up“, diarrhea, constipation, fussing and rashes, while having FUN Feeding your baby Simple and Nourishing Whole Foods, AND at the same time PREVENTING the likelihood of food sensitivities too!


3 responses to this post.

  1. Great article Sherry! Love it and will share… Thanks!


  2. Sherry- love this post and am sending it over to a big time blogger friend of mine to share. Let’s spread the wisdom!


  3. Thank you for this helpful article. It may resolve some of the debate my family is having over this issue. 🙂


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