I’m following the naturopathic approach to introducing solid foods to our now 8-month old. We started her on solids around 6 months of age.
The main difference between the naturopathic approach and the standard way most people introduce solids is that naturopaths don’t believe in introducing any gluten or commonly allergenic foods to infants until after 18 months of age. Gluten (wheat, barley, etc.), eggs, soy, meat and other potential allergens or harder-to-digest foods won’t enter the mix until baby is least 1 year old or later.
Another difference is that naturopaths don’t recommend starting solids at 4 or 5 months, waiting a while longer for a baby’s digestive system to become more developed.
My naturopath gave me a list of appropriate foods for a baby between 6-9 months of age. They include:
pumpkin seeds (which are seeds, not nuts – another allergen)
We’ve introduce one food at a time and let her eat it for several days along with foods she has already tried. Once we confirm there isn’t an allergic reaction of any kind, we add the new food to her existing menu.
I’ve been using a Kidco hand food grinder to make sure the food is the right consistency, and so far she has tried all of the above foods except for apricots, raspberries and blueberries (hard to find fresh apricots in Alaska and raspberries and blueberries stain too much).
She has also had avocado, butternut squash and acorn squash and loves them all. Everything is organic.
I grind a fruit or vegetable and put it into empty baby food jars, filling them halfway, then mix in some filtered water until it is a good consistency (not too soupy, not too pasty). Then I freeze them. I can combine them into 2 or 3 food blends such as butternut squash/acorn squash/applesauce and the ground pumpkin seeds can go into any food to give it a nutty texture.
I can’t say that I’m diligent about feeding her homemade foods – the bigger she gets, the more she eats, and it is getting harder to keep up. I have a backup supply of organic foods by Earth’s Best and Natural Food Preferred (Fred Meyer’s organic brand). I also have a supply of Gerber’s Organics on hand because it seems easier and safer to toss a plastic container into baby’s diaper bag than a glass jar.
The challenge is finding jars of single foods. Most baby food companies mix foods together, particular foods that aren’t on the naturopath’s list right now such as apples with peaches (peaches are a 9-12 month food) or peas and rice (rice is an 18 month food). Usually I can find peas, sweet potato, green beans, or winter squash alone. The baby food bananas don’t seem very banana-ish – more like melted plastic pudding. The baby food applesauce is so expensive that I just get a large jar of organic, unsweetened grown up apple sauce and divide it into little containers.
This is the easiest cooking I’ve ever done because I can’t mess up a recipe. This is also the most strenuous cooking I’ve ever done because it always involves a lot of hand grinding. Still, it makes me feel good to know what my baby is eating and that she can have an interesting and varied meal.
Who knew there was such a thing as baby cuisine?