The (Surprising) Best First Foods for Baby

Once you know your baby is ready to try some foods, the question becomes, what is the best first food?

(Not sure if your baby is ready for solids yet? Here are five signs that he or she is!)

Most pediatricians recommend iron fortified rice cereal as the best first food, but Mama Natural ain’t buying it! First off, rice cereal is a highly processed food, which isn’t good for anyone. Secondly, the added synthetic vitamins and minerals may do more harm than good. Avoid rice cereal!

Here are my top suggestions for babies best first food.

For most of us moms, we can’t wait till baby is 6 months old to introduce solids, at which point we may give baby pureed apples or avocado, or go the baby-led weaning route and give baby a few pear slices to gnaw on.

Good nutritional choices, right? That’s what I thought with my first child until I heard a presentation from Sally Fallon Morrell at the Weston A. Price Conference. I realized then that babies have special nutritional needs that only animal fats and proteins could fill (and not kale and quinoa!).

Animal foods are superior in building-block nutrition

Despite popular opinion, fruits and vegetables are actually not the best choices for baby’s very first foods. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with most fruits and veggies (though some should be avoided at first, as you’ll read below), babies need the nutrients found so abundantly in animal fat and protein, giving their bodies the building blocks for their rapid brain, skeletal, and muscular growth and development.

Healthy carbohydrates are definitely needed too, but in balance with nourishing fats and protein. Keep in mind too, breast milk and/or baby formula provide a good amount of carbohydrates in the form of milk sugar (lactose).

Nutrients for baby

There’s a saying: “food before one is just for fun,” and while that may be true when it comes to fruits and veggies, since they’re just not that crucial to babies (that changes as time goes on!), there are some important nutrients that baby needs as he enters the second half of his first year.

According to Weston A. Price’s research (a dentist who spent 10 years researching the diets of different cultures to see what children most need nutritionally to develop optimally), nursing babies at around 6 months of age need:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • B6
  • Niacin
  • Vitamin E
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium and other trace minerals
  • Omega 3 and omega 6 fats (in the proper balance)

At around 8 months, baby also needs:

  • Vitamins A, B, C, D, and K
  • Plus potassium

The Surprising Best First Foods for Baby by Mama Natural

Best first foods for baby

The foods we are about to discuss below are extremely nutrient-dense. Since baby’s digestive tracts is still very small and immature, s/he needs biggest nutritional bang for his or her buck!

Without further ado, here’s my list for the best first foods for baby.

#1. Blended red meat

A 2016 study found that babies who eat along the lines of baby-led weaning are more likely to be deficient in iron, zinc, and vitamin B12, which are super critical nutrients for your growing baby.

Vitamin B12 can only be found in animal foods, and the best sources of iron and zinc are found in red meat like grass-fed lamb or beef.

Keep in mind that breastmilk is low in iron (whereas formula is iron-fortified), so we must get it through diet. Plant sources of iron are poorly absorbed—especially for an immature digestive system that has a harder time converting plant-based iron to the kind we can use—so heme (red meat) iron is best.

To prepare: Once you cook the meat, be it ground meat, or a lamb chop or tender roast, put it into a blender with some filtered water or broth and blend it into a creamy puree to spoon feed to baby.

#2. Egg yolk

Loaded with healthy fat, choline (great for baby’s brain and eyes!), and necessary cholesterol—it’s the building block for ALL of our hormones—pastured egg yolks are an easy first food for your baby. Sensing how nutrient-dense egg yolks are, babies often gobble them right up (once they get used to the texture and taste, that is!).

Egg yolks also contain important minerals that baby needs right now like calcium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus as well as vitamin E and vitamin B6.

To prepare: Be sure to soft cook the yolks as not to damage the nutritional profile. Either soft boil the egg and take out the undercooked yolk, lightly poach the egg or cook it over easy. It’s best to serve egg yolks with a bit of fat for optimal absorption of the nutrients, as well as for better digestion (and taste!). Coconut oil may be easiest if it’s in liquid form, but beef tallow or butter are great too. You can then sprinkle some shredded liver into it for an extra boost of nutrition.

#3. Liver

Offal, or organ meats, are not really part of our culture anymore—but they should be! Organ meats are still an amazing food choice due to their high concentration of nutrients. Liver is also high in true vitamin A, which is extremely important to baby’s development. (Yes, carrots and other orange foods contain beta-carotene, but it doesn’t easily convert to true vitamin A, which is why many babies turn slightly orange when they eat beta-carotene rich foods!) The best source of true vitamin A is animal products, particularly liver.

Liver also contains vitamin D, all B vitamins, folate, zinc, and CoQ10. If you choose chicken liver, you get a good amount of iron as well, which is vital.

To prepare: Purchase high-quality, grass-fed beef, bison or lamb liver. Cook over medium heat in a frying pan in a little ghee or coconut oil. Once one side is brown (not browned or burnt), flip liver and brown the other side. (It cooks fast so keep your eye on it!) You can then add to blender with a little water or broth and serve as a puree. Or, you can let the liver cool and then grate over baby’s egg yolk or banana mash.

#4. Avocado

Avocado is a great first food. It contains lots of healthy fats, as well as the almighty mineral magnesium, which is so crucial to our health yet is harder and harder to get enough of through our food these days.

Avocado also contains B vitamins including niacin, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium, folate, and fiber.

To prepare: Cut a whole avocado in half lengthwise, and twist to open. Run a butter knife from top to bottom to make slices, and scoop out with a spoon. Likewise, you can mash or puree the avocado and spoon-feed it to your infant. It’s delicious mashed with ripe banana for a 1:1 ratio.

#5. Banana

Some people believe that baby’s first foods shouldn’t include any fruit because baby will get a preference for the sweetness. Truth is, baby already has a preference for sweetness thanks to breastmilk! So don’t worry about baby becoming a sugar bug because of fruit. Bananas are a great first carbohydrate source for babies because they contain amylase, an enzyme necessary for the digestion of carbohydrates (like, bananas!).

Bananas are also a great source of important nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.

To prepare: Be sure to select bananas that are very ripe with brown spots as this is a sign that some of the banana’s starch has been converted to a simple sugar, making it easier for baby to digest. It will also be softer and easier to mash. Use a fork and mash by itself or with a little avocado, liver or egg yolk.

#6. Butternut/acorn squash with butter

Another easy to digest carbohydrate source is well cooked winter squash. It’s not as starchy as yams and isn’t high in nitrates (more on that below).

Squash is also high in vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and manganese.

To prepare: Cut open your acorn or butternut squash and remove seeds with a spoon. Put on a roasting pan with a little water and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees, or until the squash is soft and the skin easily separates from the fleshy part of vegetable. Alternatively, you can put in your Instant Pot with 1 cup of broth or water and cook for 7 minutes. Let cool and scoop out flesh. Add in some butter or ghee, which will help convert the beta-carotene into usable vitamin A. Mash well with fork or immersion blender. Serve room temperature.

#7. Meat stock or bone broth

Homemade broth or stock contains gelatin, an easy to digest protein, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sulphur. Broth or stock is particularly excellent at coating and soothing the digestive tract too, which can help strengthen it in preparation for eating harder-to-digest foods (like the difficult-to-digest proteins gluten and casein) later in life.

To prepare: you can find a recipe (with a “how to” video) for chicken stock here.

#8. Fermented foods like traditional sauerkraut and whole yogurt

Once baby is a little older, you can add in some sour tasting foods like traditional sauerkraut. Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin K, but in its raw or cooked state, it’s hard to digest. Fermented cabbage, i.e., sauerkraut, on the other hand, is amazing for digestion. The sour taste stimulates our digestive organs such as the gallbladder and liver. It’s naturally rich in health-promoting probiotics to help colonize baby’s gut with beneficial bacteria—crowding out the bad, and building up the good.

Organic whole yogurt is another excellent food rich in easy to digest protein and fat and rich in calcium, vitamin D and phosphorus. It’s best to wait till 9-10 months before introducing dairy products (with the exception of eggs, butter or ghee). You can find great grass-fed yogurts at Whole Foods or prepare yourself at home.

To prepare: Make your own sauerkraut, follow this recipe. If DIY isn’t your thing, you can also buy traditionally fermented sauerkraut in health food stores like Whole Foods. Make sure you find it in the refrigerated section and that there is no vinegar on the ingredient list. Vinegar is often added to mimic the taste of natural fermentation—even if the product is not actually fermented (thus not containing any beneficial bacteria). Offer baby a small amount of the sauerkraut juice to get him used to the sour taste. Soon, he’ll love it!

Foods to Avoid

There are a few foods that parents believe are healthy for their baby that turn out to actually not be healthy for them at all.

#1. High-nitrate foods – Root and leafy vegetables such as spinach, celery, lettuce, radishes, beets, turnips, and collard greens are all very high in nitrates. Nitrates can turn into nitrites, which then turn into nitrosamines (a known carcinogen) in the stomach. Waiting until 6–8 months for root vegetables, and a year for leafy greens, is best for baby’s health. It’s also helpful to serve these foods with vitamin C-rich foods to avoid this nitrate->nitrite->nitrosamine conversion.

#2. Acidic foods – Tomatoes and citrus can be irritating to the digestive tract. They are also more likely to cause allergies so should be avoided until at least 9 months.

#3. Processed & conventional foods – It’s best to completely avoid processed foods, conventional dairy products (especially low-fat ones), excess sugar (especially from non-natural sources), soy products, and highly processed grains (more on grains below). Organic is always preferred. Natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup or blackstrap molasses may be introduced after baby’s first birthday in very small doses. (Raw honey can be very dangerous if offered to baby before 1 year old!) You can also sweeten things using fruit (date, banana, applesauce, etc.).

What about grains?

There is a lot of talk about whether grains should be introduced early on, later, or not at all. Some studies show that introducing grains (particularly wheat) around 6 months of age is best for avoiding intolerances. However, these studies don’t start with absolutely healthy people (only about 1 in 20 of us are!). If 19 out of 20 of us are dealing with some kind of underlying issue like leaky gut (which we pass on to our children), it’s not fair to say that grains are OK for normal healthy babies without acknowledging that most of the population is not healthy. On the topic of introducing gluten in particular, other studies show that introducing gluten later on, around 12 months instead of 6, delayed a celiac diagnosis for those at high risk of developing it.

Many parents choose to forgo grains until at least 1–2 years of age. Some believe that babies don’t make enough pancreatic amylase to digest grains until this time. Amylase is needed to digest all kinds of starches (including those in squash, bananas, and sweet potatoes). It’s true that newborns have almost no pancreatic amylase, but babies actually make plenty of salivary amylase by 6 months, and also get a lot from breastmilk.

Does that mean you shouldn’t avoid grains? Not necessarily.

Our children inherit our gut health, so if you had a lot of antibiotics or packaged food growing up, you may want to be careful about giving foods to your baby that are hard on the digestive tract. Grains contain disaccharides, which are not digested without optimal, fully functioning enterocytes. Those of us with weakened digestive linings (most of us) don’t have these optimal enterocytes, and can’t digest disaccharides as well.

If you do choose to offer grains, make sure they are properly prepared by soaking to make them easier to digest. There’s also not much nutritional value (especially if they aren’t being digested fully) that you can’t get in easier-to-digest forms (like iron from red meat), so holding off on grains doesn’t seem to be a bad idea.

Final word on baby’s first foods

What we’re generally told about baby’s first foods is that fruits and veggies are top priority. We think, if a salad or green smoothie is “healthy” for me as an adult, getting some kale into my little one is the best choice for them too, right? The truth is that while fruits and veggies are generally healthy, they are not the most important foods for baby and should not be the priority—at least at first.

Ideally, you should focus on getting baby the most important nutrients first (which come from animal products like red meat, liver and egg yolks), and then offer fruits and veggies as he shows interest and has the appetite for more—beyond those critical basics. Following this way of doing things will help your baby to have the necessary building blocks for excellent growth and optimal development. Not to mention a brighter mood, healthy immune system, and more 🙂 Getting things off to a great start now will help to ensure lifelong health for your little one!

References

  • http://www.westonaprice.org/modern-diseases/how-to-restore-digestive-health/
  • http://www.westonaprice.org/childrens-health/nourishing-a-growing-baby/
  • http://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/the-liver-files/
  • https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/index
  • http://megangarcia.com/infant-cereal-the-shocking-truth/
  • http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/5/e010665.full
  • http://lifespa.com/self-help/ebooks/the-protein-solution-ebook/
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93 Comments

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  1. Although I agree with most things that mama natural talks about on this wonderful and informative website, animal protein is not the way to go. When you look for protein in food, it’s the QUALITY and not the QUANTITY that matters, contrary to what the big meat and dairy industries want you to think. The typical western diet is slowly killing all of us. Before becoming vegan I read a lot of books and articles both pro meat/dairy and con meat/dairy. Before making such an important decision I wanted to know the facts. Let me tell you that meat and dairy are not the foods you want in your body. Not only is elimiating these good for the animals you’re saving from slaughter but for the plant and importantly you and your family! Animal protein has been linked to cancer, heart failure, stroke, Alzheimer’s… the list goes on and on. If you really want to know what animal protein does to your body, try reading a book about a 20+ year study from a scientist and former meat eater turned vegan. It’s called The China Study by respected scientist Campbell. It’s only one of many books/articles to prove veganism is the best for our bodies. I know Mama Natural says that for her, she needs animal protein, but I disagree with that because she was on a raw vegan diet, which is not necessary. There are many ways to substitute vegan and cruelty free foods in the western diet without losing your mind and giving up on the foods you love. I’m a modern vegan and I’ve never felt better in my life. When I have kids they will be vegan and when they’re old enough they can decide for themselves, like they can decide whether to believe in God or not, whether to go to college, whether to have kids of their own. All I can is do is my best to to get them to the point where they can make those decisions.

    • Although I do respect people’s decision to lead the life they feel is best, within reason of course! (:

  2. Just to disclaim – I am not a vegan or a PhD, but this article is absolutely absurd. All Protein is made by plant, let me say it again, ALL PROTEIN IS MADE BY PLANTS… Why is this not general knowledge, some of the most largest and strongest animals in the world are herbivores. The fact that the publisher is trying to state that meat is the best source of protein and should be your little ones first food is NOT TRUE and you should not do it. Please people do your own research on this topic!!!

    • I talk about the *nutrients* in animal protein and fat that are not found as abundantly in plants.

  3. What about feeding cucumbers to a 6 month old?

    • You can certainly try. Have you heard of baby-led weaning? Check it out. But note that it’s more about fun and learning for baby as opposed to getting tons of calories.

  4. What’s the consensus on soft cooked egg yolks and possible salmonella? As someone who’s actually had salmonella before, I definitely don’t want it for baby and I’m sure it’s pretty dangerous for little ones. Is the difference with the pasture raised organic eggs?
    Thanks!

  5. I love all of the information here! I have stuck to these 8 foods for my little one since he turned six months. He is eight months now. What are the next foods that would be good to introduce next? Are there certain fruits/vegetables that I should hold off on until he’s a certain age? Also, what are your thoughts on adding in a bit of ground flax seeds to his food? Thanks so much!

  6. Hi, my baby will be turning 6 months soon and will be starting solids. I want to start with egg yolk and avocado. Would it be ok for her to have an egg everyday? Thank you. Love your YouTube channel and can’t wait for your book to come out!

  7. Hi there! I actually have been making a raw liver smoothie for years for myself but once my son started eating solids I would grate frozen raw liver onto his eggs. Once he got a bit older I actually started just sharing the smoothie with him, he just loves it and thrives on it, as I do!

    • Hmm how do you make it? Thanks! good idea

  8. Hi Genevieve.
    What about cod liver oil added to the baby bottle rather than animal liver puréed? Seems easier to do.

    • You could, just keep in mind that it doesn’t give the other benefits of liver, like protein.

  9. I am a first-time mom and my baby is approaching 6 month. As parents we are unsure about liquids. I love the idea of bone broth, but are unsure of a good amount and if we should offer it with food or start with just this and breastmilk. Thanks for further advice.

  10. Okay, here’s a question I can’t figure out an answer to: what fats are most appropriate for adding to baby’s foods and should I always mix a little fat into vegetables? You mention butter and coconut oil, but my baby has a milk protein intolerance. How about extra virgin olive oil, or could that be considered acidic?

    • You could do ghee, beef tallow and olive oil closer to 9 months. A little goes a long way. Also, keep in mind that avocado is a rich source of fat.

  11. I’m wondering about best practices for making bone broth for baby. My understanding is that bone broth requires some acidifying agent to really pull out the minerals. I typically use wine, but I’m concerned about feeding baby sulfites. And lemon and tomato aren’t recommended due to their allergenic potentials. What’s a mom to choose? Thanks!

    • Apple cider vinegar. Just answered my own question, hah!

  12. My baby is 9 months old. I have searched high and low for a consolidated plan and direction for parents who don’t want to do cereals but need to get iron in baby. I am sad to just find this but sooo grateful. We started with avocado and egg yolk (egg whites are where allergens exist) fully scrambled.
    We did chicken and bean juice and green veggies but this affirms I need to move forward with red meat. At this point my son is anemic and about to start supplements because I just couldnt find a straightforward plan. I look forward to implementing this w supplements and getting his stores up asap.
    Do you have any recommendations on vitamin c foods w iron foods for best absorption?
    THANK YOU

  13. Thank you for the great info! My baby is 4.5 months and we already started solids! I read all the information provided by the Weston A. Price foundation before I visited the pediatrician, and she was really firm about giving the baby cereal… I guess I am not brave enough to argue and chose to give her organic oatmeal that I mix it with breast milk and then combine it 1 organic vegetable that I steamed and purĂ©ed myself. Do you suggest these “baby’s first” at 6 months? Because if that’s the case, I will be more comfortable telling her doctor that I would like to follow this list of foods in 1.5 months from now.

  14. My naturopath said that babies should not have eggs until they are two years old. Due to potential allergies and the way their bodies process certain foods prior to that age.

  15. Would you have recommendations for babies after 1 year old?

  16. Great post but i find the comments on BLW unfair: if blw-babies have lower iron intake than spoon-fed babies, it’s not because if blw, it’s because of what foods are offered to baby!
    Also you say in your post to avoid fortified rice cereal….but that 2016 study about blw you quote advocates rice cereal!

    You recommend soft boiled egg yolk. But official recomnendations in many countries tell to avoid raw or soft boiled egg because of salmonella risk. So, what to do??

  17. A lot of great info 😊 one thing id like to get more info on is poi. I was fed poi as a baby and as far as ive heard its extremely healthy for babies and seniors. It would be great to see an article and some research on it as i feel poi is the future lol đŸ’ȘđŸ‘¶đŸ€—

    • Oh yum! I bet that’s a great food for baby.

  18. Super helpful! Thank you so much for sharing!

  19. This blog is awesome! Thanks for sharing

    May I know if quinoa is safe as baby first food? I just gave for two days 😹 Wonder if it’s harmful too.

    Thanks!

    • I wouldn’t say it’s harmful, just harder to digest. You could puree with breast milk if you want to continue feeding.

  20. I read your other article about introducing broth first at 6 months. My Little Guy is 5.5 but shows all the signs of being ready, do you recommend just starting with bone broth for the whole 1st month and how do you offer it to them?! Then move onto led weaning on the 7th month?
    -1st time mom trying to figure it all out!

  21. My pediatrician recommended getting my son used to “green” food first, and then introducing “orange and yellow” veggies, and fruits last. Simply because he said that when sweet food are introduced first, the baby gets accustomed to that, and it makes it harder for them to like green veggies that tend to be a stronger or more bitter flavor – and that fruits should be thought of more as a dessert for awhile.

    This theory seems to have worked like a charm, cause he is older now, and loves almost all veggies – and some of my friends who did not follow this have the PICKIEST eaters!

    • Interesting! I would think this strategy doesn’t work because breast milk is naturally sweet. Glad it worked for your son!

  22. I’ve googled around and come up overwhelmed, so I thought I’d ask my internet best mama friend that doesn’t know I exist but I follow her on all the social medias and cannot wait to get my hands on her new book even though my babe is almost 7 months old…

    Do you puree your babies food? Or do you just mash it with a fork until there aren’t any lumps left?

    Thanks in advance!

    • You could do either. Some babies like the texture of gently mashed foods better than pureed. You also don’t have to mash it at all if you just soft cook the food and cut it into hold-able chunks.

  23. My daughters first foods were homemade bone broth and purĂ©ed butternut squash with cinnamon 😄

  24. Hi Mama natural. I’ve been watching you videos for years. I’m a first time mom and my baby is having an allergic reaction to the oatmeal cereal. The doctor recommended barley cereal and he doesn’t want him to eat rice cereal. I can’t find Barley Cereal anywhere… The one that I found is in Amazon made by Healthy Times. Have you used this brand? or have you used barley cereal?

    • Why does he want to put him on barley cereal? Could you do sweet potato, pumpkin, peas, instead?

  25. Avacado and bananas it is!!

  26. When I had my older 2 boys we started with cereal after 6 mo as the ped recommended. When I had my twins 3.5 yrs ago we started with soft boiled pastured chicken egg yolk. I did a lot of research at the time and that felt best to us. Second food was avocado, we did some BLW also.

  27. when is it ok to give papaya? my baby is 7 mo old and we just started foods like the ones above 3 weeks ago. I ask because I know papaya is used as a natural meat tenderizer b/c it has acids, so is it safe for a baby’s stomach/intestines?

      • Oh wow, gave my first son papaya for his first food, he is 2.7 years now. My daughter just turned 6months, I will start with avocado as her fist food tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!!

  28. I was wondering if you were going to buy a store bought baby food purĂ©e which brand would you choose? I make all my own baby food right now but I will admit that being able to occasionally just grab a little jar and put it in the diaper bag on a busy day would be nice. However no matter how alluring the conscience is I still wanna make sure that I’m giving my baby girl REAL food. Any advice?

    • I loved Happy Baby frozen food!

  29. Hi,
    My boy is 5 months old and has been eating rice cereal for about a month. Not every day but a couple times a week. I didn’t know it was so bad for him. I have a baby food grinder but of course have not used it yet since he is not 6 months. I was just thinking today that I would like to start feeding him real food. Is it still to early he’s 5 months and a week today.

    • I’ve been letting my 4.5 month old baby start dabbling in food not really eating but tasting and a whole lot of playing, at first she just made a mess but now she will taste the foods as well.

    • My pediatrician said they’re ready to start solids when they hold their head up strong in a parallel line with their shoulders and show interest in food.

  30. So far I’ve given my baby pumpkin mixed with his formula and avocado mixed with formula which he loves. I’ve tries sweet potatoes mixed with formula but he did not enjoy it…

  31. Staring foods next week. But we want to make it ourself so we know exactly what’s in it. How do you make all of these for your baby mama natural?

    Just started natural life when I had my daughter and I’m loving it been natural for 6 months now. Since October 6th 🙂

  32. My little one has been on rice cereal since 3 months old. Recommended by pediatrician for severe reflux. Its been a month now and she really seems to love the cereal so i am quite keen on starting her on some steamed veg, something easy to digest and a little more exciting than cereal. She LOVES spoons. I have bought her loads of toys to play with and she will go straight for the spoon. I think its because she sees us using them. She has been sitting almost unaided for a while, another result of the reflux, we have had to keep her upright since birth while she is awake. Any thoughts?

    • Find a Chiro that knows how to adjust hiatial hernias. Our son has reflux issues from time to time. We have our Chiro ajust him and he’s great!

    • Heavily spotted bananas and ripe avocados are easy to digest. Pureed meats might go down well too.

  33. I plan on skipping the rices/cereals as well. My little one is 4 months and is showing a lot of interest! She already has her first tooth. I plan on waiting a while, but I am starting to research what to start with. Would the bananas and carrots be too sweet? I don’t want her to only prefer the sweet stuff!

  34. Hey! So I’m totally new to all of this, and am having difficulty finding the time to do all of the research I want to do with 11 hour work days. So to get this right – definitely don’t do cereal – rice or grain even fortified? And is 4 months too early? My son Logan is exclusively breast fed, but definitely interested in my foods, is mostly sitting up on his own (he has trouble for the first 20 minutes after waking up), and might actually have a problem with iron because I’m usually anemic. And this won’t affect him wanting to nurse, right? I definitely don’t want to give up that bonding time since I have so little of it to myself!

  35. I recently read a study about baby’s ability to digest starches (posted below).. I’m trying to decide if/when I will give her grains. I know starting too soon can cause GI issues, but what about waiting too long? We’ve been seeing a GI specialist who’s brain I’ve been picking, he explained to us that in a study done of children whose relatives had Celiac’s Disease the occurrences of the disease in these children more than doubled when they postponed the introduction of grains beyond 2 years of age. There’s substantial evidence that shows waiting too long can cause them to have food allergies. So I’m trying to find the balance between the two, she already has a Cow’s Milk Protein intolerance and I want to be sure to introduce all the possible allergen foods at the right time so she doesn’t have any other issues.. Thoughts?

  36. Please do BLW soon! I stared off with the same cereal you have in your video 4 days ago for Nova’s first food because my pediatrician recommended it. I am regretting it, as I wanted to also start her with Avocado and BLW. As a first time mama, I was scared. Scared she wouldn’t get the iron needed. And scared I won’t do the BLW right.

  37. I’m scared to starting my baby on solids! He’s so ready though! He salivates when he watches us eat! I feel so bad, but I’m afraid that he will become constipated with solids… He’s 4 1/2 months. Exclusively breast fed.
    Help!

    • Baby’s gut isn’t ready until at least 6 months. I’d say keep on breastfeeding, momma. It could result in gastrointestinal issues for your little one.

    • Definitely wait!!! No rush! You want your child sitting upright with no support before you even consider it.

    • I agree with the comments to wait until 6 months. They go through growth spurts that make them seem suddenly hungrier. Your supply will balance out again with extra feedings after a few frequency days. It might seem like you are feeding baby all the time but in my experience (nursing 5 babies) they can and do wait until six months. Another marker for readiness is the tongue thrust instinct. Babies have an instinct to push food right back out of their mouths. This starts to disappear at six months. My son is six months and three days, he still has some issues with the tongue when trying to eat. After day three he is finally able to eat how he wants to.

  38. I have to disagree about bananas being easy to digest– I pretty much had to avoid bananas with my son until he was around 9 months because they made the poor guy constipated 🙁

    I do incorporate oatmeal cereal but I skipped the rice– the rest fruits and veggies. We did mostly purees with my son and some whole foods– I’m thinking of doing more whole foods (BLW) with future children and less purees.

    • Bananas are nice because they contain an enzyme that helps break the starch down. Good point, they do constipate some.

  39. We started with carrots! Plain whole fat yogurt after that, and then butternut squash and sweet potatoes!

  40. Do you recommend any particular squash? And how do you cook it? Steamed? Baked in oven? Thanks for the advice!

    • Butternut is nice. Baby usually likes the best 🙂 I would peel, cut into cubes and then steam. You could also bake with a touch of water. Mash with fork and you can add breast milk or coconut/olive oil.

  41. We’ve been having the five foods you recommended for 2 months now – and my little one loves it. He’s now almost 7 months, and I was wondering whether you have any recommendations about what to give him next and when?

    • Oh my, you could start branching out with your fruits and veggies. Mangoes, apples, pumpkin, different squashes, peaches, tart yogurt, etc.

  42. My son is 8 months old and we started with soft-boiled egg yolks, avocado, and bananas. We’ve moved onto carrots, mango, chicken and pot roast pureed with bone broth, and organic whole milk yogurt. And since he was 5 months old I have given him a bottle with about 2 ounces of bone broth each night to drink before he nurses….he loves it and I really believe this has contributed to the fact that he has had no sickness yet, and hopefully it is aiding in developing a healthy gut! I just ordered some Great Lakes Kosher Gelatin and look forward to making him some fruit snacks with it soon!

    • Oh Mama’s, baby is turning 6 months on Christmas and I too am feeling overwhelmed on what to feed him. I love the bone broth idea! Do you make yours or did you buy itAnd what’s your favorite brand? Also do you use the broth to mix in his solids or do you use breast milk? Thanks Mamas, love all the advice and help on this site!!

    • I love your ideas but just wanted to mention that I used to give my son natural fruit snacks often as a treat. I found out they were sticking between his little baby teeth and he ended up having oral surgery to deal with the cavities. Just something to keep in mind with any sticky food like fruit snacks. 🙁 It was a very sad experience and I always mention it when I hear another mama mention fruit snacks. I don’t want any other little ones to suffer what my little guy did. <3

    • Wow, I wish you fed me when I was little 🙂 🙂 🙂 Way to go mama!

  43. I think we are on the same page! One thing I didn’t see anyone mention in the comments was the fact a lot of rice has been found to be high in arsenic. This can be naturally occurring or a byproduct of previous farming. Brown rice is higher than white. Some organic baby formula, etc. uses rice syrup as a natural sweetener and these types of products including cereals, etc. all can contain arsenic. This is such a scary thing that has recently been more prominently highlighted in the media, but most people still aren’t aware of this fact. I have also heard of this appearing in certain fruits such as apples (apple juice, etc.). Google it and there will be a plethora of info. Consumer reports offers a chart online that showed specific products with arsenic levels: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/11/arsenic-in-your-food/index.htm
    So scary to think that many babies are being fed rice cereal for their first food which may contain poison! My daughter is coming up on 6 months. I breast fed her for the 1st few months but sadly had to supplement with organic formula due to low production. I tried everything! I am still a “natural mama” doing the best I can with what I have. I can’t wait to start giving her a taste of wholesome foods in just a few weeks.

    • Yes, great points! I’m not concerned with a little brown rice syrup here and there but in any significant quantity, no thanks.

    • I’m in your same boat! I too am unable to breastfeed and am doing organic formula. My sweet baby is 4.5 months and is already at the highest end of her formula (>32 oz). Of course, not knowing better we tried rice (organic whole wheat) but she wasn’t having it! She did eat it off the spoon but was in tummy trouble by the end of the HOUR! She is very sensitive to changes. We struggled going from breast milk to formula (even though we slowly weaned and mixed in breast milk to each bottle). Do you think she’s old enough for an avocodo challenge? She’s obviously hungry…….

  44. I started using rice cereal at first when my baby was 5 months because I felt pressure from someone in my family (something I will never do again!) 🙁 I stopped because my little one was having digestive issues, and I’ve never touched the stuff since. I just did squash mixed with breast milk for the first few weeks, and now she eats a rainbow of foods!
    I love your webpage! Great videos!

    • How did you mix the squash and the breast milk?

      • Mash up squash first, let cool a tad, then add a teaspoon or so of breast milk and mash some more.

  45. My baby is 5 months old. She hasn’t started eating yet. It has always seemed weird to me to start with rice cereal. Even if I grind the flour myself, it seems like it would be much to difficult to digest. But I haven’t read anything about starting with different foods. Do you have any recommended reading? I have been putting my spoon in her mouth as she seems interested and it feels like a good way to get her used to the whole thing. I also have let her feel and taste some fruits. She hasn’t tried to eat anything yet. She does like sharing my spoon though.

    BTW – I found your website when I was doing a search for Genevieve. My daughters name. Love your blog and videos. Thank you.

    • Hi Lorelei, Thanks for your message. How neat that my blog came up with Genevieve?! Yes, I wouldn’t recommend rice/grains for baby’s first foods (per my video.) Soft fruits and well-cooked vegetables are much better suited for their developing digestion. Nourishing Traditions (a cookbook) has a nice section on baby’s first foods. You can also find some good content online. (search wholesomebabyfood). Hope this helps and enjoy your little Genevieve!

      • Thank you! I have that book on my Amazon wish list. I will buy it now that I know it has baby food ideas in it. Thanks for your words and support. 🙂

        I was searching Genevieve on YouTube. Looking for songs.

      • I find it interesting no one has mentioned meat as a first food? My first son had a reaction to organic rice cereal (recommended by Dr of course) but studies suggest that meat is actually a better first food over fruits and vegetables. We blended cooked organic chicken livers and breastmilk. Its one of the highest sources of Iron. The Canadian Pediatric Society and Health Canada actually recommend it now but it doesnt always filter down to oldschool pediatricians….So unless you are vegan or vegetarian its another option to 🙂

  46. My baby will be 7 months old on Monday. Definitely post about baby-led weaning. I’ve heard of it but not too familiar with it. My baby LOVES to nurse and I plan on nursing for another year, but he is definitely interested in food too. He gobbled up everything that one week he ate solids!

  47. Hi Francesca, Sounds like you trusted your mama intuition about the rice cereal. One week is nothing! Going back to straight up breast milk is a great idea to reset his system. How old is your little guy?

  48. Unfortunately, my baby had rice cereal as his first food. But only for a week! I stopped because it messed up his digestive system. He’s also had green beans a couple times. Now he’s back to just mama’s milk until his tummy feels better and then we’ll try again with the foods you suggested. Thanks!

    • What did you try after this incident? I have the same issue

      • I switched to the oatmeal cereal instead (though now I know to skip all the cereals). Then we tried avocado, mashed banana, and vegetable baby food–no fruit ones; I fed him fresh fruit or unsweetened applesauce instead. I didn’t like cleaning up the avocado diapers, so we stopped that too. I never went past stage 2 baby food, because by the time he came to stage 3 he could eat solids and I’d rather him eat my home-cooked meals. I also continued to nurse him as much as he wanted (until he was 2, in fact!). Good luck!

  49. I totally agree. Just 24 weeks pregnant, already reading about baby-led weaning. I really feel that a lot of things pushed by pediatricians, the media, and so on are just cleverly disguised advertising campaigns for corporate food producers and drug companies. (Formula is better than breast-feeding…that was a good one. Or – you need drugs to give birth.) So many of the authorities (FDA and so on) are in a triangle relationship with those corporations and the government. Shop in the perimeter of your grocery store…whole foods as close to nature as possible. This is what our family eats…just like families for thousands of years. Way to go Mama Natural.

  50. We aren’t there yet because my baby is still only 3 months old but we plan to start with avocado and banana’s and go from there. We are skipping cereals and purees and doing the Baby Lead Solids or what in the UK is called Baby Lead weaning! It’s awesome..you should check it out!

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