There are a lot of things to consider when looking into starting solids with your baby. First is to realize that their biochemistry is different than an older child’s and even an adult’s. So, one must take into consideration a baby’s biochemistry and their physical and neurological developmental nutritional needs.
Pancreatic amylase enzyme is needed to digest grains, legumes, beans, nuts, and seeds. Pancreatic amylase doesn’t start fully producing till around 28 months of age. Before this age it is either not produced or only slightly produced, production increases the closer to 28 months of age. If you introduce these foods prior to full production of the pancreatic amylase the foods are either not digested at all or only partially digested, this is why allergies to these foods tend to be so prevalent. Waiting to introduce these foods will greatly reduce the risk of allergies to these foods and autoimmune diseases associated with them.
If you do try to introduce the “Pancreatic Amylase-Dependent” foods, it is best to start with quinoa. Quinoa is actually a grain alternative, a seed. It is the ONLY vegetarian complete protein source. Meaning you are able to get all your essential amino acids from it. However, it too can still cause sensitivities if given too early, so at the first sign of a reaction; cold symptoms, runny nose, cough, congestion, rash, etc., you will want to eliminate it from the diet and wait till after 28 months of age to re-introduce it again.
Raw non-denatured (different from un-denatured) whey protein powder is a great way to get healthy protein to your toddler. Put it in green super food smoothies for great health benefits to your child. This can be started whenever you desire to introduce smoothies. However, you would only use things in the smoothie that are age appropriate and have already been introduced fully into your child’s diet. You do not want to use the smoothie as a method of introducing a new food.
After about a year of age, or closer to the age of two if you prefer, you can start introducing healthy organic, free-range, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, vaccine-free, meats like beef, chicken, eggs, lamb, etc., and wild caught, deep sea, cold water fish. Do NOT ever use farm-raised fish! The levels of toxins in these fish are astounding.
Something else to consider is that children do NOT need milk to get calcium or vitamin D, especially if they are still breastfeeding! In fact, we do not need milk beyond the age of baby-led weaning period. However, if desiring to give dairy to your child, it should be for the healthy fats and fat soluble vitamins and minerals it offers them, and then you would ONLY want RAW dairy at that to be sure they are getting the full benefits. Processed dairy contains denatured protein, altered fats, and has killed all the beneficial antibodies, and rendered the vitamins and minerals present inactive due to pasteurization and homogenization. Processed dairy is the #1 cause of allergies and autoimmune diseases in childhood. You can avoid this by going RAW with dairy, and/or waiting till AFTER 2 years of age to give processed dairy, if ever, or choosing to forgo dairy all together.
By the age of 14 – 18 months many toddlers will be eating just about every fruit and veggie you can find at the market if you follow this approach. Most toddlers at this age range will also have most of their teeth. If your child does not have many of his/her teeth yet, I’d suggest simply making sure you continue to steam, bake, broil, or grill the veggies so that it is a bit easier for him to chew. However, the firmer you allow the food to be, the more stimulation it gives the gums, which will stimulate the teeth to come in as well. You might try frozen cantaloupe spears, frozen pineapple spears, or frozen carrots for this as well, and/or use as healthy teething items, instead of biscuits that are very unhealthy and contain grains that the child is not ready to digest, or plastic teething toys, which are also very unhealthy.
Here is a list of the foods, along with crucial information about introducing solids to babies on the right side!
Do NOT introduce solid foods before six months of age. Prior to 6 months breastfeeding or healthy breastfeeding alternatives are all your child needs.
** If there is a family history of allergies to any of the foods listed wait as close to 2 years of age as possible before introducing.**
*lettuce, all varieties
mushroom (10 months)
peppers (not spicy)
white and red cabbage
|1 1/2 years|
|raw foods||raw cucumber (peeled)
|6-8 months||varies per childif there is a history of tomato allergies in your family wait till closer to 2 years of age before introducing.other raw vegetables can come to the dinner table when your child is ready, don’t be afraid to offer raw vegetables, they make great teething toys for young children too, freezing them adds a nice extra chill for the teething child.|
|6 months||peel the fruit and give it in piecesat times you may give organic fruit without peelingRIPE pears are great to give whole with peel on.peels contain nutrients not in the fruit or veggie itself, that are very beneficial to our health.remove the seeds the first months when giving certain fruits.if you feel streamed, boiled, or baked fruit would be easier for your child to chew that is perfectly fine, just don’t cook it to a mush, you want it still firm enough to be held by your child, and don’t cut up into small pieces, keep them in spears or hand-held size.
most RIPE fruit, like pears for example, are VERY tender and do not need to be cooked for tenderness
|9 months||If your child shows a reaction to acidic foods hold off on the citrus till after a year old.|
kiwi (green and yellow!)
| protein sources
Pancreatic Amylase Dependent Category
|Use ORGANIC, free range, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, vaccine-free sources as much as possible|
egg (yolk only)
RAW whey protein
|9-10 months||meat can be given, but it is not a must; there are more nutritious sources of iron, and if still breastfeeding they are getting all the protein and fat they need.
an entirely vegetarian diet is possible the first 12 – 24 months (or longer, depending on the duration of breastfeeding)
when allergic to raw cow’s or raw goat’s milk, wait until 2 years with raw cheeses and whey, but only if the re-introduction of raw milk was successfulwhen allergic to egg: wait until after 2 year, but only if the re-introduction of egg was successful
when allergic to something else: wait with egg and raw dairy until after 1 year
|PorkEgg (whole egg)
|If NOT using RAW dairy, do NOT introduce dairy till AFTER 2 YEARS.Processed dairy is the #1 cause of allergies and autoimmune diseases among children. These can be potentially avoided by not giving processed dairy till after 2 years of age, if ever.
Grains are a decent protein and good carbohydrate source.
Some beans and legumes are a good iron source.
Nuts and seeds are also a good fat source.
If wanting to try to introduce some of these before 2 years of age, it is best not to introduce at all before 18 months, and these are the best to start with; soaked or cooked chickpeas, hummus (soaked chickpeas and tahini, which is sesame seed butter), and quinoa (a grain alternative, is actually a seed, and is the ONLY vegetarian complete protein source). These tend to be the least allergenic. If you notice ANY signs of reaction, cold symptoms, skin rash, cough, congestion, sneezing, etc. eliminate and do not re-introduce till closer to 28 months.
Wheat, gluten, and grains are the #2 cause of allergies among children. This too can potentially be avoided by not introducing any grains, nuts, seeds, beans, or legumes till after 2 years of age and as close to 28 months as possible. At 28 months is when a child’s pancreatic amylase is active and able to digest these foods. Prior to then these foods are only partially digested which is why allergies are so prevalent.
This list is adapted from http://www.borstvoeding.com/voedselintroductie/schema/engels.html to fit a true holistic whole food dietary approach.
Try to limit meat consumption in your and your child’s diet to as close to 10% or less of the total diet as possible. Read “The China Study” for more information on why it is important to limit your animal product intake.
The WAPF, Weston A. Price Foundation, www.WestonAPrice.org, is all about QUALITY of animal products and their importance in our health, but they do NOT talk about QUANTITY at all. So a combination of the WAP guidelines and The China Study recommendations is a GREAT holistic approach to a healthy diet and lifestyle at any age!
Also, while the list for veggies is quite long, those are your options, as some you may not even be able to find them.
More Introducing Solids and Baby-Led Feeding topics to come!
Leigh Anne DuChene