Skipping the cereal

Carolyn - posted on 03/17/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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Ok, a question for moms who breastfeed ecologically and skip the cereal...

Much information has permeated our culture about how our babies need rice cereal, etc etc. I don't believe any of that, I think my baby can have table food once she's able to pick up it (she's 5 1/2 months, she'll be there probably in the next 3-4 weeks or so), and she can have meat for iron content when she's ready. You know, the way we USED to do things before big business invented baby food.

But knowledge has been lost! What do you give them? Should I cut up a banana? A finely diced cooked carrot? Should I let her snatch food from my plate? Does anyone know? What did our great-grandmothers do? I'm having trouble finding this information, the cycle of wisdom is broken!

I need a really great resource!

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Carolyn - posted on 03/17/2009

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Quoting Alison:



THe iron stores that babies are born with are used up around the age of 6 months.  Iron is critical for brain development.  A lack of iron can cause impaired mental development and lack of concentration and well as making babies more susceptable to infection.  A good book is "First MEals" by Annabel Karmel.  Ask your doctor what foods she needs to eat to get enough.





I read somewhere (for the life of me I can't seem to find it) that the "iron store theory" is really only critical for bottle-fed babies, and as someone else mentioned the bioavailability of iron in breastmilk is far superior to iron in formula. I mean really, if infants suddenly "need" iron at 6 months regardless if they're ready for solids or not (and before the invention of iron-fortified cereal!), how oh how did we ever survive?



That being said, the hemeiron in meat is far greater than artificially-induced iron added into cereal. I would rather feed my child organic meat that I buy from the local farmer (same as rest of us eat).



In all honesty, I've never actually eaten an advocado, so I guess I'll have to try it before giving it to my child. I have a number of food allergies, as does my older daughter (many of them are similar), and I really want to avoid them if I can this go round by waiting for evidence of gut closure (I still can't have dairy!). My oldest is allergic to sweet potato! (I honestly didn't know about the carrot thing.)



I know they really shouldn't have beans until they're older due to digestibility, but what about lentils? Does anyone know about that?



We also don't "do" dairy in our house anymore for various reasons, including managing behavioural symptoms for my daughter with Autism. I really hesitant to bring cow's milk, etc, into the house when we hit the year mark because how do I keep it away from my older daughter? I plan on breastfeeding until whenever the baby loses interest (I'm hoping maybe 2 years or so?), but calcium is always a struggle for my older one too. Any suggestions? Nuts are out of the question.

Allison - posted on 03/17/2009

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Quoting Shannon:

We started with purees that I made... carrots (used canned ones for this!), sweet potatoes, basically anything I could run through my ricer and make into a thinner paste like substance. We DO NOT do avacado, I am highly allergic so it was recommended that we stay away from it for now since it could cause me some problems if he BFs soon after eating it... same with bananas since they are the same family.
Broccoli... I just give him the top portion chopped up finely, alog with cauliflower. Eats these items great.... this am he at 6.5 months ate tiny pieces of pancakes with us and small bites of strawberries and canned cut up small pears... they slip right down!!
We also do small pastas, chicken noodle soup (yup... good old Campbells!) and other easy to swallow things. Please do keep in mind that until your child is good with the textures, some of these may cause some gagging... maybe I just push my kids to early to eat real food... but by a 9 months my kids usually can eat everything we eat!


Good point about the avocado - I've also heard that allergies to iodine are related to avocados. Most people are not allergic to avocado, but when they are it can be a fairly severe allergy.



On that same note, I'm allergic to eggs, milk, and wheat, so I avoid all of those with my kids until they are a year old (although I try out yogurt at around 9 months). I also stay away from strawberries until age 2 and all nuts until age 3. It's definitely harder to not feed cheese or crackers with little ones, but we've gotten creative with what they can eat and so far my 2 children (ages 5 and 2) have no food allergies or sensitivities. Yay! I have one more on the way and plan to do the same thing WRT food introductions.

Shannon - posted on 03/17/2009

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We started with purees that I made... carrots (used canned ones for this!), sweet potatoes, basically anything I could run through my ricer and make into a thinner paste like substance. We DO NOT do avacado, I am highly allergic so it was recommended that we stay away from it for now since it could cause me some problems if he BFs soon after eating it... same with bananas since they are the same family.

Broccoli... I just give him the top portion chopped up finely, alog with cauliflower. Eats these items great.... this am he at 6.5 months ate tiny pieces of pancakes with us and small bites of strawberries and canned cut up small pears... they slip right down!!

We also do small pastas, chicken noodle soup (yup... good old Campbells!) and other easy to swallow things. Please do keep in mind that until your child is good with the textures, some of these may cause some gagging... maybe I just push my kids to early to eat real food... but by a 9 months my kids usually can eat everything we eat!

Judith - posted on 03/17/2009

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I used a great book with my first child. The book is "Mommy made and Daddy too". It had a great time table as to when introduce new foods. It also had great recipes for making your own baby food.

Allison - posted on 03/17/2009

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Quoting Alison:



THe iron stores that babies are born with are used up around the age of 6 months.  Iron is critical for brain development.  A lack of iron can cause impaired mental development and lack of concentration and well as making babies more susceptable to infection.  A good book is "First MEals" by Annabel Karmel.  Ask your doctor what foods she needs to eat to get enough.





That's true - but there *is* iron in breastmilk and, although the amount is less than what is in formula or cereal, more if it is bioavailable, which means baby can process it better. From what I've seen, babies get almost as much or as much iron from breastmilk as they get from formula, since most of what is in formula/cereal passes through the body without being absorbed. 



I do like Anabel Karmel's "First Meals" as well! It contains information from first foods all the way to recipes for preschoolers. I didn't really use her recipes for babies, though, as I just stuck with simple veggies and fruits and once baby had been introduced to most stuff, I just cut up whatever I was having for dinner (with limits - no pureed pizza for baby! :-) But the book is a great resource.

Alison - posted on 03/17/2009

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THe iron stores that babies are born with are used up around the age of 6 months.  Iron is critical for brain development.  A lack of iron can cause impaired mental development and lack of concentration and well as making babies more susceptable to infection.  A good book is "First MEals" by Annabel Karmel.  Ask your doctor what foods she needs to eat to get enough.

Allison - posted on 03/17/2009

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I really like http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com for good food ideas.



I start with avocado, then banana, then sweet potato, then yellow squash. I smoosh the avocado, banana, and sweet potato with a fork and let baby play with it and get what they can in their mouth if they want. The yellow squash I puree in a food processor, though not completely smooth if baby can handle some small chunks.



Carrots need to wait until 9 months because of the nitrites in them (jarred food removes the nitrites). White potatoes have never been a favorite in our house - guess they *do* taste much better with butter and salt ;-) Right now, Champagne mangoes are in season and they are great mushed or chopped small. Most fruits and veggies are good chopped or pureed - peas have the skin so at first those are better strained or avoided until baby can swallow the skins. Broccoli is yummy - I boil in a bit of water then puree a bit with the water they boiled in. These freeze rreally well, too.



Ok, I think I'm jumping all over the place...sorry! My toddler just woke from his nap and doesn't know what he wants. Please ask me questions if you have any since I really don't think I'm making sense!

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