Nutrition for Babies (Part 2)
Wholefoods Nutrition for Babies
Direct Quote from Nutrition Australia: “The first 12 months of life is the fastest growth period in a human’s life – a baby’s weight can triple by twelve months of age. Making sure your baby is fed properly is critical for normal growth and development.”
This being the case, I believe that giving your baby wholefoods is going to provide them with the best start to life. There will always be underlying genetic pre-dispositions, and exposure to bugs, but food is something you can control for the most part of your babies life, right up until they start making decisions for them selves.
What are whole foods?
Foods which are as close to nature intended them; eg. An apple, an egg, a piece of celery, a chicken drumstick, a lamb cutlet, etc. The less human intervention the greater the nutritional content, and in most cases, the best food for your baby.
What if I don’t have time to cook/prepare food?
This is a common question I get asked in my clinic, and it is something that I really encourage parents to reassess. I understand cooking is time consuming, and it is so much easier to get a pre-made packet/jar of baby food. But these foods are often:
- More expensive, especially if your baby doesn’t like it and it gets thrown away
- Have lower nutrient values, due to the number of processes the food goes through before it is eaten
- Create more waste for the environment
- Marketed and advertised to play on your vulnerabilities as a new parent that these are the best food for your baby, when really they are not
- May have higher sugar content (anything above 8% is too high)
- Might contain preservatives and emulsifiers which your baby’s digestive system cannot differentiate as non food particles, and can contribute to allergies (digestive or skin)
Where do I find resources and recipes?
*Annabel Karmel has great recipes, advice, and also has cookbooks for you to work your way through. Annabelkarmel.com/au/baby/
* Foodbabieslove.com.au from a Melbourne based mum with healthy recipes.
* Wellnourished.com.au/babies-first-foods/ from an Aussie mum, naturopath and nutritionist, also with advice from a registered nurse there are plenty of nutrient dense whole food recipes for you to try at home.
Which foods should I be avoiding?
- Salt, foods can contain high levels of sodium, so no need to add salt to a baby’s food
- Sugar, not just added sugar, but even foods high in sugar (eg. Too much fruit and honey)
- Raw/uncooked meat, fish, eggs
- Low fat foods, like yoghurt, milk, cheese)
What about introducing common food allergens?
We now know that delaying the introduction of common allergens such as eggs, nut butters and fish, isn’t necessary and that it is safe to introduce them as early as six months, even for babies at a high risk of developing a food allergy. In fact, early exposure to common allergens may even prevent allergies from developing!
Piece of mind
It is important to know that introducing new foods can be a challenge. Some babies are ready from as early on as 4 months old, and some may not get the hang of it until they are much older. Talk to your friends, your parents, and experiment with different combinations. Your child is unique and will have his or her own likes and dislikes. It doesn’t mean you aren’t doing it right.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and enjoy the process!