We started Selah on a homemade raw milk baby formula at birth until she was 18 months old-if breastfeeding is not an option for you, YOU MUST READ THIS POST!
A nutrient dense diet is essential for allowing proper development, maximizing learning capacities and preventing sickness and disease. At NO other time in life is nutrition so important than the first 5 year of childhood, but wait a second, aren't we told to start our babies on rice cereal? What?! Grains are the most difficult food for babies under 1 year to digest as the enzyme needed to digest carbohydrates, called amylase, has not kicked into gear yet. Babies only produce functional enzymes (pepsin and proteolytic enzymes) and digestive juices that work on proteins and fats. This makes sense as a healthy mothers milk has 50-60 percent of its energy as fat. A babies digestive system is best equipped to supply enzymes for digestion of fats and proteins and not for carbohydrates, animal foods/fats should be their first food. So what are the best foods/supplements to start your baby on?
increased and babies begin to deplete their natural stores of two important minerals; iron and zinc as well as the nutrient choline (part of the B vitamin family that is essential for proper development). Breast milk does not supply sufficient amounts of these nutrients past 4-6 months.
Fermented Cod Liver Oil: At 6 months is a good time to start offering fermented cod liver oil, which is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA (also important for brain development) as well as vitamins A and D. 1/2 teaspoon per day is the dose for infants.
Pastured Egg Yolks: Both of our babies started with a pastured egg yolk and unrefined sea salt. We poached the egg and mixed with a bit of breast milk or the homemade formula for texture. It is important not to include the white until 1 year of age, as the white can be more difficult to digest and most babies who show intolerance to eggs are not intolerant to the yolk, but the white instead. Pastured egg yolks are rich in choline and cholesterol which is necessary for brain
development, healthy hormones and much more. They are although a great source of iron and zinc. A healthy mothers milk is 90% cholesterol-cholesterol in the form of animal fats is good for baby and mama! The sea salt is important to introduce in the beginning to help with mineral absorption, hydration and healthy heart function.
Grass-fed Liver: Next we introduced grass fed liver. We used both beef and chicken liver which are a super food! Liver is basically full of every vitamin and nutrient that contribute to brain health, digestive health, and even skin and eye health! According to the Weston A. Price Foundation:
Quite simply, it contains more nutrients, gram for gram, than any other food. In summary, liver provides:To prepare the liver, we started by offering it raw and frozen, (doing this destroys any pathogens)grating it onto their poached egg. Then we began sautéing the liver in some butter and puréeing it in the food processor.
- An excellent source of high-quality protein
- Nature’s most concentrated source of vitamin A
- All the B vitamins in abundance, particularly vitamin B12
- One of our best sources of folic acid
- A highly usable form of iron
- Trace elements such as copper, zinc and chromium; liver is our best source of copper
- An unidentified anti-fatigue factor
- CoQ10, a nutrient that is especially important for cardio-vascular function
- A good source of purines, nitrogen-containing compounds that serve as precursors for DNA and RNA.
Meat stock: Chicken stock is another incredibly important food to introduce to babies at 6 months of age. Stock is especially rich in gelatin and free amino acids, like proline and glycine. These amino acids along with the gelatinous protein from the meat and connective tissue are particularly beneficial in healing and strengthening connective tissue. These nutrients are pulled out of the meat and connective tissue during the first several hours of cooking meaty fish, poultry, beef and lamb. Gelatin also assists in the proper digestion of proteins ensuring optimal growth in infants and children.
1 whole chicken
2‐4 chicken feet, optional
4 or more quarts of purified water
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1‐2 medium yellow onions
3‐4 celery stalks
1 head of garlic
You can add fresh spices and herbs such as bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, sage etc. If you choose to add these fresh herbs, tie them together using cooking twine.
2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt (to be added in the last 10 minutes of cooking)
1 head of Parsley (to be added in the last 10 minutes of cooking)
*Rinse chicken and feet in purified water. Cut whole chicken in half down the middle
lengthwise. Place these in the pot. Add remaining ingredients (I do not cut or even peel the vegetables) Fill pot with purified water.
*Allow to stand for 30 minutes, giving the raw apple cider vinegar time to draw minerals out of the bones.
*Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 3 hours. Add parsley and salt during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken and other large parts. Debone and reserve the meat for eating. It will be delicious. Strain the stock and store in glass mason jars. Stock will stay good in the fridge for over two weeks and can be frozen for up to 6 months or longer.
The next few foods we introduced were:
*Avocado, mashed and served with sea salt
*Fermented sweet potato
*Steamed beets, carrots and zucchini served with a lot of grass-fed butter or organic coconut oil
*Homemade cultured yogurt made with raw milk
Aside from small amounts of banana mixed with coconut oil, fruit was one of the last things we introduced to them as babies. This is due to the fact that fruit is a high glycemic food. This means that the baby's pancreas has to work overtime to release the insulin needed to digest the fructose (fruit sugar). While they are still so little and their bodies are still so immature I do not think it is healthful to put that much pressure on their digestion. After a year when we could combine nut butters and cheese with fruit, we incorporated more. Adding the fat with fruit slows down the absorption of fructose into the bloodstream taking some pressure off of the pancreas.
Foods NOT to feed our babies:
Nuts and Seeds (until 1 years old)
Honey (until 1 years old)
Grains (until 2 years old-and then only if they are properly prepared by soaking and sprouting)
Cereals (even organic)
Baby Foods that come in a jar
A helpful tip prior to introducing a new food to baby is to check to make sure they are not intolerant or allergic to the food: prior to putting them in their bed, mash up the food and tab some on the inside of their wrist. Rub it in well and put them to bed. When they wake, if the area where the food was, is red and irritated, they could be intolerant to it and I would wait to introduce. If there is not redness or irradiation, then proceed with introducing that food.
Cheers to happy healthy babies and giving them the best possible start!