Any advice for all the paleo parents out there on starting out on the right food nutrition wise implementing good baby food, obtaining all the proper nutrients all the while maintaining a balanced paleo diet for all
During pregnancy, eat healthily, stay active, and emphasize normalizing your gut flora. Take probiotics and avoid antibiotics unless truly needed. This should help you avoid GBS+ status, and therefore antibiotics during labor, which can mess with both of you and the baby's gut flora and set you up for digestive issues.
Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, and continue for as long as you want, but at least a year, after that if at all possible. If you truly can't breastfeed exclusively, try to do so to whatever extent you can and look into milk donation. Look into resources like lactation consultants or La Leche League if you have trouble.
When you're ready to introduce solids (they should be able to sit up well their own and pick stuff up by themselves - around 6 months for normally developing babies), you don't need rice cereal or processed baby food! There's no good reason to start with that! Look into baby-led weaning. That means feeding appropriate-sized pieces of the food you're eating (or other appropriate real food) rather than purees. The bonus of paleo is that the food you're eating is going to be appropriate - I see people advocating baby-led weaning, but including ANYTHING adults eat on standard American diet, and that seems ridiculous. Current AAP advice on starting solids pretty much supports this approach - they no longer recommend delaying introduction of foods in absence of known sensitivity to it (with the exception of honey, which can contain a type of botulism that infant immune systems aren't strong enough to fight).
There are so many benefits to this approach over purees. It's easier and cheaper. They learn to eat what everyone else is eating. They feel more included in the meal. Perhaps most importantly, they have total control over their own intake. They aren't having it shoved in their mouths, so they can just mouth it and spit it out, or spread it around their plate, or whatever. They aren't forced to ingest more than they are ready for. We started giving my daughter some food chunks at 5 months. I didn't actually start seeing changes in her diaper until after 6 months. She was "eating", and having a total blast with it, but not actually ingesting much, if any.
You don't have to give the exact food you're eating if it doesn't feel right. When she was little, we'd often give something like a carrot, an apple slice, or a bone - something she could gnaw on and get flavor from, but not actually get any thing off of. Now we often give veggies that have been boiled in bone broth to soften (and then use the broth later for something else to take best advantage of the nutrients). Just as long as you're giving real foods that they can manage on their own.
Keep in mind that solids within the first year are mostly about having fun and learning to eat. Breastmilk (or formula if absolutely necessary) should still be their primary source of nutrition.
It is perfectly ok to keep nursing as long as you want - they still get nutritional, immunological, and emotional benefit after a year. CW will tell you to introduce cow's milk after a year. Nutritionally, this is a breastmilk replacement, just as formula is for younger babies. Breastfeeding remains more nutritionally appropriate.
If you do dairy, don't fall for the baby yogurt - even the "good" brands are full of sugar and additives, and it's excessively expensive. Babies love plain yogurt as it is if they've never been exposed to adulterated versions - they don't need additives priming their tastebuds. Maybe learn to make your own - this allows you total control over the ingredients, and lets the milk sugars be more fully digested. Some people even make homemade yogurt for babies out of breastmilk.
So basically - if you're eating healthily and giving the baby the food you're eating (either as breastmilk or directly), you're giving them the best possible start :)
When starting a baby on solids, I would highly recommend baby-led weaning. Basically he/she eats everything that Mommy and Daddy eat. Put a plate in front of her and see how she does, or just let her eat off of your plate! It is actually much easier to do things this way. Babies have an amazing gag reflex, that will push something out more times than not, before it becomes a problem. I started my son on solids this way, and he loves it. It also gives them the ability to choose what they would like more of, or not at all. If you are nervous, perhaps a review of first aid for a choking child would be a handy refresher, but I know I never needed it.
Yeah, skip the docs advice about starting rice cereal around 6 months. Better first foods are mashed avocado, bananas.. really any fruit or veggie softened and mashed up! Like another said- don't over think it- fruits and veggies- scrambled eggs, meats when you think they're ready. For the first year breastmilk will give the most nutrition, and even beyond that. Try to nurse the first 2 years. Good luck :)
On top of your Paleo pregnancy and Paleo breast feeding period, add Paleo supplements to your own diet so that you pass on those mirconutrients during breast feeding. Breast feeding will deplete your micronutrient stores extremely rapidlly so you need to make sure you bolster the most essential ones.
They are (IMHO):
#1: Omega 3 fattty acids from wild fish and wild-caught seafood. 60% of our brain cells are comprised of DHA which is an Omega 3 fat that comes from wild aquatic creatures. In my opinion this human feature along with the role played by the electrolyte Na+ (an ion of sea salt) in nerve impulse transmission, fluid balance etc. indicates an aquatic past for ancient man and woman. Connect with our roots and you will optimize the cerebral capacities of your unborn child, young infant, child, young adult etc. etc.
#2 Vitamin C in supplement form in megadoses of 5000 mg. At some point in our past, we were able to synthesize our own Vitamin C (canines still can) which indicates it was essential for our adaptation. For a list of the benefits of this powerful antioxidant visit The Vitamin C Foundation Here's a blurb about the role of Vitamin C during pregnancy:
This nutrient plays an active role in a healthy immune system and is essential for the synthesis of proteins and neurotransmitters. A new study has announced that poor absorption of vitamin C during pregnancy may decrease a baby's chances of survival.
#3 Vitamin D The energy of the sun is what guides the entire body system. The more we get, the more harmony and balance we have throughout all of the body systems. Vitamin D boosts the immune system, the nervous system, the muscular system, the skeletal system, the endocrine system. The sun set life in motion so stay in that energy pathway.
Just eat super-strict paleo. It's pretty simple. There are 6,000,000,000 people on earth, and about another 6,000,000,000 who are no longer on earth. Most of them were born on some form of paleo diet. Don't over think it, don't listen to your doctor.