Raw Food for Babies Article
The type of food given to baby is dependant on the age of weaning. All babies require mother’s milk for at least the first year of life to create the strong immunity and bonding necessary for baby’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development. It contains the important fat and protein that cannot ever be replaced by other foods or formulas. The fat and protein in mother’s milk is sufficient for baby’s growth well into the second year. I encourage mothers to nurse as long as possible. Humans are the latest to mature of all mammals therefore our young require the longest nursing periods. I recommend a minimum of two years.
Only a very small percentage of mothers fail to have sufficient milk, are unable to nurse due to serious health concerns, and/or can’t find a wet nurse. If a mother is unable to nurse for at least the first year of baby’s life, then alternatives could be a wet nurse or a milk bank. If human mother’s milk is unavailable through a local nursing mother, then contacting a milk bank or website focused on breast milk donations would be the next step. For example, www.milkshare.com was formed in 2004 by Kelley Faulkner, a mom who was unable to produce enough breast milk due to a congenital breast abnormality. Knowing the significant benefits that only breast milk can offer, she sought to provide the best possible nutrition for her children using donated breast milk. Thirty generous and loving nursing mothers donated tons of breast milk for her children. Her second son has been exclusively fed with donor milk.
]A last alternative could be raw (unpasteurized) goat milk. The combination of half raw goat milk and half celery/carrot juice has been done successfully for those who were unable to nurse and unable to obtain milk from a human mother.
We must remember that human mother’s milk will always be best for the human baby.
Many infants are unable to properly digest almond milk or avocados at so young an age, and may not increase in weight because of their inability to absorb these fats and proteins. These infants risk malnourishment. Many children are allergic to nuts, specifically because they were introduced too early in life. Many years ago, I attended a class on healthy foods for the young child in which recipes were given for almond milk, and it was stated this alternative milk could replace mother’s milk completely if the mother were absolutely unable to nurse. Although some success has been reported with almond milk in Germany when babies were found to be allergic to cow milk, I strongly feel mothers have got to find a way to feed their babies with mother’s milk—if not their own, from another mother.
Toward the end of the first year, and no sooner, if baby is equipped with teeth to chew, then bite-sized pieces of fresh, ripe, organic fruits can be given one at a time.
Observe any reaction, as some babies are not ready to eat until well into their second year of life. I recommend that as soon as baby is accustomed to digesting a variety of fresh fruits given individually for chewing, that you begin to introduce green leafy vegetables in delicious green smoothies to provide additional minerals. It is best to start with the milder greens such as Romaine lettuce or spinach.
Remember that for each child the progression will be a little different depending on dentition and real desire and readiness to eat. Some children are simply curious about foods but not yet ready to eat. The mother must be observant of her baby to predict the right timing for introduction of foods. Into the second year, baby can have diluted nut and seed milks and avocado for their fat and protein contents, but solid soaked nuts and seeds should not be given until later to avoid the development of a nut allergy as nuts require a greater digestive capacity.
Some mothers ask about adding honey to baby’s first meals. According to Charles Santerre, toxicologist and food scientist, in his article “When Can My Baby Eat Honey?”: “Although honey seems like a wholesome and natural food to give your infant, don’t do it until after she’s at least 12 months old. Honey can contain spores of a bacterium called clostridium botulinum, which can germinate in a baby’s immature digestive system and cause infant botulism, a rare but potentially fatal illness. These spores are usually harmless to adults and children over 1 year old, because the microorganisms normally found in the intestine keep the bacteria from growing.” Signs of botulism are constipation along with muscle weakness, trouble sucking, slack jaw or crying and lethargy.
Fruit is delicious and filled with vitamins, perfect as baby’s first food. Fruit is sweet, not requiring honey or other sweetener to further sweeten it.
The child should not be given solid food to chew until there are many teeth. Another likely sign of readiness for solids is if the child isn’t gaining enough weight from mother’s milk alone, and requires additional food. Some babies don’t ask for or require solid foods until closer to two years of age, yet parents have been led to think their child needs them much sooner.
Some people feed coconut milk to their older babies. The fleshy part of the coconut is high in fat, and so, should not become a big part of the regular daily diet since breast milk is still providing the necessary fat and protein. Coconut water, however, is much lower in fat than coconut flesh and can be easily digested.
During the latter part of the first year, a very limited amount of diluted unprocessed fresh fruit juices may be given. Fruit juices should be used very sparingly for infants as well as older children. It is wise only to give juice to older infants who can drink from a cup. These juices could be 50% water and 50% juice, made of oranges, apples, melons or pears. You could also use the whole fruit and make a very simple watery smoothie after 9 months of age, but only if baby is eager. The fruit juice intake should be limited to not more than 3 to 4 ounces of diluted juice in a day to ensure baby is drinking enough breast milk to provide the fat, protein, and myriad other nutrients for proper development. In addition to displacing the amount of breast milk a baby drinks, dental caries have been associated with juice consumption, therefore it is best to keep it to minimal amounts.
After baby is already eating solid bite-size pieces of a variety of fresh fruit, green smoothies and green juices should be introduced to provide the abundance of minerals from green leafy vegetables. Following are some fun smoothies and puddings to create. They are a mild and delicious introduction to green leafy vegetables.:
1 mango peeled, pitted and chopped
5 Lacinato kale leaves
2 cups of water
Chop banana and add to blender with chopped mango. Add kale leaves to blender with water. Blend until smooth.
Banana Green Fun
1 cup Romaine lettuce
1 cup of water
Blend bananas and water. Gradually add Romaine lettuce. Add more water if necessary.
Bright Sunny Day Smoothie
2 stalks of celery
Blend mango and peaches. Then gradually add celery stalks. Use water for a smoothie or leave thick for a pudding.
Pina Colada Smoothie
2 slices pineapple
1 large handful spinach leaves
1 ½ to 2 cups of water
Blend bananas and pineapple with water. Add spinach leaves and blend until smooth.
Karen Ranzi, Author, Lecturer, Raw Food Consultant