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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Baby's First Food

I recently became aware that rice cereal is a big no-no for babies first food.

Reasons Being:

1) There is arsenic in white rice -- ugh. This seems to be the least quoted reason, but it sounds like a good one to me.

2) It is worthless nutritionally -- empty calories 

Sobering picture: "When you feed your baby a bowl of infant cereal, picture yourself dipping directly into your sugar bowl and feeding baby a spoon or two, because that's essentially what it amounts to."

3) It increases risk of diabetes.

"A diet based on these types of refined carbs is responsible for many bulging stomachs and fat rolls in thighs and chins, and even worse, high insulin levels that lead to diabetes and suppress two other important hormones -- glucagons and growth hormones -- that are responsible for burning fat and sugar and promoting muscle development, respectively."

4) It predisposes babies to like empty calorie foods later on.d

5) Babies can't digest it.  Babies don't make the enzyme amylase which is required to breakdown wheat until 1-2 years old (when molar teeth are developed)

What Should Baby Eat Instead? 
- Egg Yolk  (huh - wouldn't have thought of that!)
- Mashed Avocado
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cooked Peas or Carrots
- Liver (I've never had liver before, hmm)
- Butter (can mash into cooked vegetables or straight)
- Kefir, yogurt and buttermilk

As teeth and GI tract develop 
- Cooked Greens (finally chopped or pureed - kale, spinach, chard, collards)
- Squashes (such as butternut or acorn)
- Mashed Asparagus
- Raw Nut Butters
- Seaweeds that become soft on soaking (wakame or nori)  
- Mashed cooked meats

Resource Links:
Get the White Out of Baby's First Food
Reports Warn of Arsenic in Rice
First Foods
Why White Cereal for Babies Must Go by Dr. Greene
Why Ditch Infant Cereals
Feed Babies Food Not Cardboard
Baby Led Weaning


  1. Yeah, I became aware of this too late. I started him on rice and it stopped him up pretty bad, so we quit for a week and just breastfed until he was back to normal. Then I tried the oatmeal cereal instead, which was better. Although he ate baby food and regular food, he didn't eat much and still mostly nursed. He didn't become a little piggy until about 15 months and now he eats us out of house and home! I can't imagine him as a teenager.

    I also didn't know about baby-led weaning, but I still think I did pretty good. He didn't start until 7 months and I never forced him to eat. He was pretty easy though, not too picky at first. We only bought veggies and meat baby food (nothing past stage 2, because I think the meals are gross--I can just take our meal and puree it myself!). Then he ate fresh fruit and healthy snacks, like brown rice puffs (never nasty sugar cereals I see so many moms feed their little babies), shredded cheese (the only way he would eat it, haha), unsweetened applesauce if we ran out of fruit, and tofu. He used to love tofu! I didn't give him cow's milk until a year, but he barely drank an ounce a day, so we kept on nursing, drinking water--no juice, and eating cheese and yogurt for calcium. Now he's a little milk fiend.

    We're not as diet strict as you guys, but I think I do a pretty good job being careful about what goes into his body as best as I can, though lately not as well since I'm not cooking.

    With this next one, I plan on making my own baby food and skipping the cereals altogether.

  2. p.s. Liver is disgusting! I grew up eating it and had to force it down my throat with twenty spoonfuls of rice per liver bite. Yuck. And I hated that I was eating the body's toxic cleaner, no matter how nutrient rich and high-iron it is. Maybe your baby will like it, but mine will never taste it in my house!

  3. Oh, our diet is not that strict. Now that I've been sick, I bought a whole bunch of greek yogurts and TV Dinners. Poor Oscar had never had a TV dinner before in his life. We don't have a microwave, so they still take 30-45 minutes to make, but they aren't that bad.

    As for liver, we probably won't do liver. My grandma thoroughly enjoys it to this day, but it always sounded gross to me.

    I came across those articles on a natural parenting website. Otherwise, I would have started with the rice cereal, as well. It's still in a lot of parenting books to start that way.

    I was reading about babies gagging during Baby Led Weaning and it was a huge turn off. I think we'll use parts of that philosophy, but aren't sticking to it like glue. I like watching for signs of readiness and giving the baby the opportunity to feed his/her self, but am not married to the philosophy completely. I don't want baby to gag, but do understand the process of chewing before swallowing and agree that is a safe way to learn to eat. I think we'll see what we like best when we get there, oh about a year down the line. :)