© 2019 by Heiwa Clinic.

  • w-facebook

What to feed your baby? - First foods

March 5, 2018

 

 

All food in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has specific energy. Some are hot, some cold, some disperse Qi, and some tonify Qi. Babies and children are sensitive to these energies.

 

A baby or child tends to develop patterns of energy that are similar to the food. If the child is fed ‘neutral’ food it is easy to digest and the child’s energy will be strengthened. If a child is fed foods with cold energy, such as cow’s milk and bananas, will very often lead to cold patterns of illness i.e. colic. If a child is fed hot energy foods they are prone to hot illnesses and tend to become restless and irritable. 

 

To avoid stressing the system the first foods should be introduced slowly and one at a time. The initial food should be easy to digest. Avoid all wheat products as many babies have allergies and intolerances to the gluten content at an early age. They will develop the ability to digest it later on.

 

It is important for a baby to be introduced to food one at a time, making sure they can digest the first foods before the next. This may take a more than a month before the child is ready for the next food. It is better to gradually develop the digestive system than overload it. This seems difficult for parents to accept. They seem they are depriving their babies from different foods. Your not, they have the rest of there lives to grow and try different foods; why rush!

 

 

When the baby’s digestion is more developed, I would then later wean onto brown rice, wholemeal rusks, quinoa and so on. 

 

First foods

A baby doubles its weight in the first 6 months and adds the same weight again in the next 6 months. Therefore a baby must spend most of its time eating, the digestive system is forced to work to its maximum capacity. However the digestive system is a comparatively weak system at that age. Inappropriate food can clog up the digestive system and weaken it; leading to symptoms as abdominal pain, reflux problems, insomnia and constipation. 

Food as a cause of Disease

Babies or children do not suffer the same emotion distress as adults, but they are much more sensitive to food. If their food it easily digested and given at regular intervals, the digestion will work and the child will thrive. When the food is unsuitable the digestive system the ‘Qi generating mechanism’ weakens, the child becomes upset, bad tempered and then ill. Unsuitable refers to both quantity and quality. 


Energy of food

All food in TCM has specific energy. Some are hot, some cold, some disperse Qi, and some tonify Qi. Babies and children are sensitive to these energies. 

A baby or child tends to develop patterns of energy that are similar to the food. If the child is fed ‘neutral’ food it is easy to digest and the child’s energy will be strengthened. If a child is fed foods with cold energy, such as cow’s milk and bananas, will very often lead to cold patterns of illness i.e. colic. If a child is fed hot energy foods they are prone to hot illnesses and tend to become restless and irritable.  

 

 

First Foods

To avoid stressing the system the first foods should be introduced slowly and one at a time. The initial food should be easy to digest. Avoid all wheat products as many babies have allergies and intolerance's to the gluten content at an early age. They will develop the ability to digest it later on. 

 

We feel that it is important for a baby to be introduced to food one at a time, making sure they can digest the first foods before the next. This may take a more than a month before the child is ready for the next food. It is better to gradually develop the digestive system than overload it. This seems difficult for parents to accept. They seem they are depriving their babies from different foods.When the baby’s digestion is more developed, I would suggest to then later wean onto brown rice, wholemeal rusks, quinoa and so on. 

 

 

Signs of readiness

Firstly, listen to your children’s cues. Babies should begin simple puree solids. They may show interest by grabbing food off mother and father’s plates. They may have lost their tongue thrust reflex, make clucking mimicking sounds or gestures with mouth, and can sit up on their own.  Don’t give in to pressure by doctors, other mother in your baby groups, or even your own mother to give solids before your child is ready.  Remember babies don’t need solid food. Your breast milk is supplying them with complete nutrition for the first year of life.

 

Appropriate food choices:  Introduce orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut and acorn squash) and later on non glutinous grain cereals first (Millet, rice, and quinoa).  These foods tonify Spleen and help to set up healthy digestive function.

Introducing solids: Steam or slow cook all foods and always serve foods warmed to baby temperature.  Heating the food to body temperature helps to aid in easy digestion of new solids. If your baby rejects food, maybe it’s too soon.  Stick with breast milk and try again in a week or few weeks.

 

From a TCM perspective, that would include foods that nourish and protect the Spleen and Stomach.  By nourishing the Spleen and Stomach you strengthen the digestive system and therefore strengthen Qi which allows the child to thrive. 

 

 

First baby foods - 6-8 months

 

Think of sweet and starchy ingredients that are yellow or orange in colour, spleen nourishing foods.

 

• sweet potatoes & yams
• peas
• all winter squash (pumpkin, acorn, kobocha, butternut, etc)
• courgette (especially yellow zucchini)
• yellow squash
• cabbage
• parsnip & turnip
• carrots
• kale
• cooked apples
• cooked cherries

 

Make sure all of the foods are baked or steamed and then puree.  As previously discussed only introduce one food at a time. Some choose for at least 3 days; some 3 weeks before introducing the next food.  Look for signs of intolerance such as: redness around mouth, anus or diaper area, mood changes, excessive gas, diarrhoea, rash or hives, increased spitting up or vomiting, and increased mucous or nasal discharge.


 

Foods – 7-9 months

 

• broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy
• avocado
• wild salmon
• organic chicken
• homemade chicken stock – simmer whole bird for a few hours – when cooled the stock should be jelly like (bone broth) – very nourishing, adds more sustenance for baby, and great flavour.
• dried figs (soaked in water and cooked with other fruits)
• egg yolk – organic
• virgin coconut oil – organic
• butter – organic
• avocado oil – organic


Make sure all foods are baked or steamed.  Babies may want to start eating more solid foods, so you can cut foods into soft chunks and allow them to enjoy.
Adding fats to their meals (coconut/avocado oil) will keep them satisfied and also nourish their brain and keep their digestive track protected (oils are warm in nature).


Foods – 9-12 months
• oats – certified gluten free (slow cook with twice the amount of water)
• rice – organic (soak overnight in water, dump water and cook as mentioned above)
• quinoa – organic (soak overnight in water, dump water and cook as mentioned above)
• red lentils
• berries (cooked)
• potatoes
• pumpkin, chia, flax, sunflower seeds (ground into a powder and mixed into foods)
• nutritional yeast

 

Be sure to soak the above grains overnight in water to break them down and increase their digestibility.  

 

E.g Kale Coconut milk with Quinoa topped with nutritional yeast. Be sure to soak quinoa overnight first to increase digestion. Nutritional yeast can help boost Spleen & Kidney yang Qi.

 

Foods to avoid for the first - 12-24 months

 

• gluten (includes wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, wait until 2 yrs old)
• corn (even though it’s a spleen nourishing food – it’s highly allergenic for most people.  wait until 2 yrs old)
• tofu (very cold in nature, wait until 2 yrs old.  However, tempeh can be consumed by 18 months)
• bananas (cold in nature, wait until 12 months OR cook the banana and serve with other cooked fruits and cinnamon after 8-9 months)
• tomatoes (cold in nature, wait until 12 months)
• spinach (cold in nature, wait until 12 months)
• oranges (cold in nature and causes phlegm, wait until 12-18 months)
• cow dairy (choose organic goat milk instead – it is closer to breast milk in properties and easier on digestion – you can introduce a small amount of goat milk between 9-12 months)
• ice cold drinks (let smoothies and water be room temperature before consuming)
• peanuts (common allergen, wait until 2 yrs old)
• shellfish (common allergen, wait until 2 yrs old)


Raw fruits are generally too cooling in nature for the immature digestive system of a baby. Begin with cooked apples, pears from 6-8 months and then offer fresh peaches and mangos a bit later 8 months. A 6 month old could try some cooked mangos and peaches, but I would still begin with apples/pears first and introduce closer to 7 months. 


Tips:

 

Start with milk-feed as the first meal warmed up the spleen/stomach and then a few hours later he was ready to eat solids, the last solid meal is dinner time. The hungrier he became the more meals you can provide. Less quantity per sitting is good so not to cause food stagnation.

 

You can add small amounts of things like ginger, cardamom, and cinnamon, aid in digestion and blood sugar regulation. You can add good fats like extra virgin coconut oil in small amounts. Coconut oil has many health benefits and is a good source of beneficial fats for babies' development. According to Chinese Medicine, sweet potatoes nourish the 'kidney yin' and the 'spleen' and are energy tonics. In babies, kidney energy is generally developing and spleen energy (digestion) is weak and again maturing gradually. Also things like quinoa may be added to provide protein, fatty acids, and long chain carbohydrates. Grains are also generally nourishing for the 'spleen' energy in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

 

Only use raw fruits and vegetables sparingly and perhaps not until an older age like 18-24 months. Raw foods require more of the baby's energy to digest and absorb, so make it as easy for them to get their nutrients as possible by steaming or gently cooking their foods before blending. 

 

The 'oven' analogy would state that too much raw food requires more work for the oven to 'cook' the food. You can flash sauté spinach in olive oil and then blend with a small amount of curry powder for digestion. Babies love it and you can add organic potatoes or perhaps a little quinoa or other whole grain. I recommend gluten free grains to again give them something easy to digest.
 

 

 

 

Please reload

Featured Posts

5 Nutrients Drained by Stress

August 13, 2019

1/1
Please reload

Recent Posts

September 11, 2018

September 11, 2018

March 5, 2018

Please reload

Archive