I'm often asked what books I recommend on the topic of feeding babies. And to be honest, I've never had a good answer.
You see I gleaned the bits and pieces I do know from a stack of different books and blogs, but had never hit upon that ONE book I could slap down on the table and say, "Read this. It's got everything you need to know."
Well now I've found THE book. It's brand new and it's called Super nutrition for babies: The right way to feed your baby for optimal health by Katherine Erlich, M.D. and Kelly Genzlinger, C.N.C., C.M.T.A.
This book has the approval of Dr Natasha Campbell McBride, author of Gut and Psychology Syndrome, as well as Sally Fallon Morell, author of Nourishing Traditions, so now you know the kind of company it keeps.
Super nutrition for babies works through the ages and stages of a baby and features nourishing recipes for each step of the journey.
Food introduction timeline
The authors have combined this food introduction information into a timeline at the end of the book, so you can see at a glance which foods to introduce at 0-4 months, 4-6 months, 6 months, 6.5 months, 7 months, 8 months, 9 months, 10 months, 11 months, 12-15 months, 15-18 months, 18-21 months, 21-24 months and 2+ years.
For example, the recommended first foods for a 6-month-old are:
- soft boiled egg yolk
- cod liver oil
- grated frozen liver
- hearty meat stocks
- meats in soups
- unpasteurised sauerkraut.
Not the foods typically recommended by your Plunket nurse or doctor, but they are the foods an infant is best able to digest at this stage. Super nutrition for babies explains the science of why that is, and why these foods give babies a good start in life.
Instead of only talking about the best foods a baby could eat, the authors have classified all possible foods available into four different categories.
I found this really useful for helping me identify where our current diet is letting us down, and what I can do to improve it.
Here are the four categories:
1. CRAP (Chemical, Removes body's nutrients, Addictive, Processed) Foods
Examples of food in this category include fast foods and microwave meals; cereal; non-organic low-fat pasteurised dairy; margarine; vegetable oils (such as canola and soy); most soy products; foods made with white flour or white sugar; and any genetically modified foods.
CRAP foods are not digestible, immune boosting or nutrient worthy. Rather, they are harmful - causing or exasperating what the authors call the "3C" conditions.
These are Contemporary Chronic Childhood maladies which include autism spectrum disorders; allergies, eczema, and asthma; attention deficit disorders and learning disabilities; emotional, mood, and behavioural disorders; recurrent pain disorders; metabolic syndrome, obesity, and autoimmune diseases; digestive disorders; tooth decay; and cancer.
3C conditions are on the rise in children and none of the feeding advice stemming from government agencies is doing anything to help. Dr. Katherine Erlich, on the other hand has seen great success guiding children towards better health in the holistic medical centre she opened after spending more than a decade in a large, conventional paediatric practice.
She advises ditching CRAP foods from category 1 and focusing as much as possible on feeding babies from categories 3 and 4 in order to prevent or treat these 3C conditions.
2. OKAY (Ordinary, Knockoffs of real food, Adequate but not optimal, Yield subpar health if fed exclusively)
Some examples of OKAY foods are unsoaked/unsprouted whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds; nonorganic fruit and vegetables; whole-food sweeteners; pasteurised organic full fat dairy products; barn-raised eggs; and farmed fish.
3. PURE (Pasture based, Unadulterated, Rich in nutrients, Enzyme containing) Foods
Some examples of PURE foods include soaked or sprouted whole grains, legumes nuts and seeds; Organic and in-season fruit and vegetables; free-range eggs, pastured meats, poultry and pork; unrefined cold-pressed oils (olive oil) and tropical fats (coconut and palm); and wild caught fish and seafood.
4. Super POWER (Protective, Optimal nutrition, Wisdom of the ancients, Enriching, Regenerating) Foods
These foods are complete, whole, real, natural foods; nutrient dense and uniquely able to heal; free of toxins; packed with a wide array of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, supply inflammation fighters, often a source of fat-soluble mineral activators, often contain probiotics and enzymes.
Examples of Super POWER Foods include raw, grass-fed, organic dairy and cultured dairy; pasture-feed animal fats; bone marrow; mineral-rich bone-based soup stock; eggs from organic free-range poultry; oily, whole seafood and shellfish from clean sources; fish roe; probiotic-rich condiments; lacto-fermented beverages; Celtic sea salt and Himalayan sea salt.
For mothers like me who find they have to introduce formula, Super nutrition for babies includes the Weston A. Price Foundation recipes for making homemade formula.
Reading this book I got all inspired to make my own formula for Sophie, but when I priced it out I discovered it is prohibitively expensive to do so. (More than half our weekly grocery budget.) I think the fact I live in New Zealand makes it more expensive as many of the ingredients have to come from the other side of the world.
Instead, I'm putting into practise some of the other tips I've gleaned from this section, adding probiotics and cod liver oil to Sophie's bottles to aid digestion and boost her immune system.
Where to buy your copy
Super nutrition for babies is available to order online here and currently costs US$16.99.
Kiwis can get a great deal on it through the UK Book depository at the moment - just NZ$18.44 with free delivery. Otherwise it's available from Whitcoulls for NZ$31.95 with free delivery.
I'm so grateful to Kelly Genzlinger for sending me a copy of this book to review. It has become my new go-to baby recipe book and I can't wait to try the recipes in it. I may even share one or two of them on Craving Fresh, so stay tuned for that.