Food Introduction

For the first 6 months of life, breastmilk is the preferred source of nutrients for all infants.   Until around the age of 6 months an infant’s digestive tract is not able to adequately digest most foods.  It is a myth that solids introduced before 6 months of age will help babies sleep through the night.  Foods given too early may induce food allergies.  A baby is usually ready for solid foods when she/he is able to sit up and is able to push food away.  You will know your baby is ready for foods because they will begin to show interest in food and grab for your food when you are eating.  New foods should be introduced one at a time for several days.  Allergic reactions should be looked for. 

 
Allergic reactions include:

  • Rash around the mouth or anus                     
  • Diarrhea or mucous stool
  • Hyperactivity or lethargy                               
  • Redness of face, cheeks
  • Runny nose                                                 
  • Allergic shiner (black eye)
  • Skin reactions (urticaria)                              

 
It is important to choose fresh organic foods for your infant’s food introduction program.  Babies are more susceptible to environmental pollutants like pesticides.  Pesticides  have been linked to a number of different health issues including eczema, ashtma, allergies and developmental issues like autism and AD/HD. 

Most physicians suggest avoiding common allergens such as cow’s milk, wheat, oranges, eggs and chocolate early in the introductory phase (up to the first year).  It is best to introduce one new food at a time, preferably one every two to four days while observing for reactions.

Six Months   

At 6 months, foods are introduced into the breastfeeding (or formula if medically indicated) regime. Several qualities are desirable in these foods:

1. Organic

2. Easy to chew

3. Reasonably iron rich

4. Adequate fiber and fluid levels for the health of the colon

With these goals in mind, the following foods have been chosen as appropriate foods to introduce at 6 months.

  • Prunes: Fiber, iron, vitamin C, fluid and calcium
  • Cherries: Fiber, iron, vitamin C, fluid
  • Banana: Potassium, iron, chew-ability
  • Blackberry: Fiber, iron, vitamin C
  • Carrot cooked and mashed: Fiber, carotene’s, calcium
  • Mung bean sprouts (blended): Iron, fiber, chlorophyll, potassium, calcium
  • Broccoli cooked, mashed or blended: Iron, fiber, chlorophyll, potassium, calcium
  • Applesauce: Pectin, fluid, fruit sugars
  • Cauliflower cooked, mashed or blended: Iron, fiber
  • Yam and Sweet Potato: Carbohydrates, carotene’s, potassium
  • Pears: Vitamin C, fiber, fruit sugars
  • Kiwi: Vitamin C, fluid, enzymes
  • Green peas: fiber, chlorophyll, calcium
  • Butternut squash: fiber, carotene’s

 

Seven to Nine Months

Substantial growth and maturation of tissues occur at nine months. Iron and zinc foods are emphasized as well as maintaining hypo-allergenicity in food choices. High bulk and fiber are encouraged for good intestinal health. The intestinal bacteria change as food containing lactobacillus species, bacteroids, colostrum, staphylococcus and E.coli are added to the diet. A high fiber diet encourages a smooth transformation to these from pathogenic bacteria to safe metabolites.

 
The following are the foods to be introduced at 9 months:

  •  Papaya: Vitamin C
  • Lima beans: Zinc and protein
  • Split pea soup: Zinc and protein
  • Mashed potatoes: Complex carbohydrates and protein
  • Artichoke: Carbohydrate, protein, Vitamin A, phosphorus, potassium
  • Cabbage: Fiber, Vitamin A, potassium
  • Millet: Complex, carbohydrate, protein
  • String beans: Bulk, magnesium
  • Blueberries: Fiber, Vitamin C
  • Nectarines: Vitamin C, potassium
  • Chard: Magnesium, chlorophyll, and bulk
  • Chicken: protein and B vitamins
  • Fish (all kinds, introduced one at a time): protein and iron – see HEALTHY FISH GUIDE FOR MORE INFO


Twelve Month Foods

 12 month foods, like nine month foods are high in fiber, zinc and complex carbohydrates. Again, check for allergic-type reactions such as skin rashes, runny nose and behavior changes. Protein and iron are emphasized.

  • Acorn squash: carbohydrate, fiber
  • Blackstrap molasses: iron
  • Tofu: protein
  • Asparagus: fiber, protein, vitamin A, niacin, potassium, manganese
  • Avocado: oils and good fats
  • Barley: carbohydrates, phosphorus, magnesium and proteinBrown rice: carbohydrate, protein, fiber, vitamin B complex, potassium
  • Swiss chard: magnesium, fiber
  • Spirulina: protein and chlorophyll
  • Parsnips: bulk, vitamin A, plant pigments
  • Goats milk: protein, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, potassium, calcium, zinc

  

Eighteen Month Foods

 The 18 month foods are high in protein. The molecular structures are getting more complex. These foods emphasize calcium and B vitamins as well.

  • Tahini: oils, protein and iron
  • Kelp: protein and trace minerals
  • Beets/greens: chlorophyll, fiber, pigments and some iron
  • Beans: carbohydrates and protein
  • Lamb: Protein and iron
  • Eggplant: fiber and carbohydrates
  •  Spaghetti squash: carbohydrates
  • Various greens: magnesium and fiber
  • Rye: carbohydrate, protein, fiber and sodium
  • Mushrooms: fiber, copper and zinc
  • Rutabaga: carbohydrate, pigments, carotene’s
  • Buckwheat: carbohydrate, fiber, B vitamin

  

Twenty-one Month Foods

This completes the list of foods. Any fruit or vegetable may be added that has not appeared on previous lists. Be sure to continue to watch for allergic symptoms as mentioned above.

  •  Sunflower seeds: Essential fatty acids
  • Peanut butter (Natural) and Nut butters: Essential fatty acids and protein
  • Lentils: fiber and protein
  • Duck: Protein
  • Cottage cheese: calcium and protein
  • Clams: minerals and protein
  • Lamb liver: iron and protein
  • Soy (all forms): calcium and protein
  • Cheese (all types, introduce one at a time)
  • Rabbit: protein
  • Pork (chops): protein