Avoiding grains and nuts for infants can be difficult, and you may wonder why it is necessary to do so. The article Nourishing a Growing Baby (by certified nutritionist Jen Allbritton) says,
"Grains, nuts and seeds should be the last food given to babies. This food category has the most potential for causing digestive disturbances or allergies. Babies do not produce the needed enzymes to handle cereals, especially gluten-containing grains like wheat, before the age of one year."
In the article Feeding Babies, Sally Fallon and Mary Enig (both of the Weston A. Price Foundation) wrote,
"Babies produce only small amounts of amylase, needed for the digestion of grains, and are not fully equipped to handle cereals, especially wheat, before the age of one year. (Some experts prohibit all grains before the age of two.) Baby's small intestine mostly produces one enzyme for carbohydrates—lactase, for the digestion of lactose. (Raw milk also contains lactase.) Many doctors have warned that feeding cereal grains too early can lead to grain allergies later on. Baby's earliest solid foods should be animal foods as his digestive system, although immature, is better equipped to supply enzymes for digestion of fats and proteins rather than carbohydrates."
Furthermore, in Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride has shown that improper digestion of foods such as grains and nuts can lead to small problems, such as allergies and eczema, as well as big problems like autism, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.
It is clear that, while it may be contrary to popular opinion, avoidance of grains and nuts in babies' diets is a worthwhile endeavor.
Don't rush the introduction of solids
There is no need to rush the introduction of solids into baby's diet. If the mother has a nutritious diet, breastmilk is a wonder food that provides all of the baby's nutritional needs. For mothers who cannot breastfeed, homemade infant formulas can be used (the Healthy Home Economist has excellent videos on how to make milk-based and meat-based homemade formulas).
I have let both of my children lead the way to the introduction of solids. Neither of them were really interested in eating food until around the time when their first teeth came in (which was over one year old for my daughter, and around 10 months old for my son). Don't be afraid to let your baby guide you on when to introduce solids.
Avoid commercial baby food
Commercial baby food is not nourishing. Much of it is grain-based, and the remaining tends to be filled with undesirable additives or cooked to death in jars! I have never bought any commercial baby food for my children. I believe that children should eat the same nutritious foods as their parents (appropriately mashed or chopped when necessary).
Start the day with a nutritional powerhouse!
In our house, we start off the morning every day with a dose of cod liver oil and butter oil! These nutritional powerhouses provide Vitamins A and D, Vitamin K (previously known as Activator X in Weston A. Price's studies), plus Omega 3's, DHA, and EPA. Weston A. Price's studies showed that the diets of traditional people contained ten times the amounts of Vitamin A and D present in modern diets, and this higher nutrient-content led to people with robust health and virtually no cavities, heart disease, or cancer. Cod liver oil and butter oil are also a great way to boost the immune system.
Probiotics with each meal
What about breakfast?
One of the biggest challenges to avoiding nuts and grains is figuring out what to eat for breakfast. As a society, we are accustomed to eating grains at breakfast in the form of cereal, muffins, waffles, pancakes, and toast. Luckily, babies don't have such expectations! This makes it easy to feed them nourishing foods so long as we can give up our own expectations of what breakfast looks like.
Grain-Free and Nut-Free Infant Breakfast Ideas
Here are some super simple ideas for infant breakfasts. The idea that sounds the strangest is the one my infant son likes the best: banana and bacon yogurt!
- Leftover soup made with homemade bone broth (my son even loves it served cold and gelatinous)
- Any combination of the following, all mixed together:
- Mashed avocado
- Sour cream or whole milk yogurt
- Shredded full-fat raw cheese
- Egg yolk (runny or softly cooked)
- Banana and bacon yogurt (made with whole-milk yogurt, mashed ripe banana, and a bit of bacon drippings)
- Mashed berries and whole-milk yogurt
- Homemade bone broth and egg yolk
- Scrambled eggs when infant is nearing one year old (egg whites are best avoided until around one year old due to high allergenic potential)
Do you have any nourishing, grain- and nut-free breakfast ideas for infants?
This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist!