by Kimberlee (Mountain Home, ID)
I want to give my daughter the best first foods possible. I don't necessarily want to jump on the “rice cereal band wagon” unless it really is a great idea for first foods. I read somewhere that babies first have the ability to digest proteins. Is this true?
I also want to make my own foods for her. I plan on starting her on solids in a few weeks. Do you have any recommendations?
I think she will be ready. I wanted to wait until she was 6 months but already she is salivating and smacking her lips when she watches me eat! I am sure she is ready.
Are there any good websites that are a guide for first foods and how an infants digestion develops?
You're a wise mama to be researching before jumping onto the rice cereal bandwagon! Your beautiful Penelope won't have the enzymes to digest grains very well until she nears her third year of life.
I recommend you wait to give her grains until after her first birthday, and if you can, wait until closer to her second birthday.
Proteins are a good choice for first foods – I would recommend egg yolk and grassfed liver for her at such a young age, then introduce muscle meats around 7 – 8 months. She can have butter and homemade stocks (chicken or beef broth) now, too.
Around six months you can start adding in cooked veggies and fruits, too. Apricots, peaches, and berries are good fruits (watch the berries, some babies don't tolerate them well until over a year). Serve fruits with cream or butter.
Some good veggies are: squash sweet potato, and beets. Serve with butter.
Hold off on uncooked leafy greens (salad lettuces and such) – they are hard for children to digest.
I recommend Natural Birth and Baby Care's own guide to nourishing your little ones: First Bites and Beyond. It's packed with information on how to start solids, nutrient dense foods for babies, possible benefits to delayed solids, balancing food and nursing, and much more.
You can get more good information on first foods and digestion on Rami Nagel's page about Infant and Children's Nutrition. Rami has also written a book called Healing Our Children. It goes into a lot of detail on baby and child nutrition and I recommend it highly. In the book Rami talks about his second daughter who started solids a little early, too 🙂
There are also excellent articles on feeding babies and children on the Weston A Price Foundation website; they've just re-designed their website and I find it a little hard to navigate, but there's real gold in there if you scroll through the articles (this link goes right to the child health pages).
Penelope is truly beautiful, enjoy her!