From the early days of breastfeeding and formula-feeding to introducing solid foods—there’s a lot to navigate in terms of filling an infant’s tummy during that crucial first year. That’s why health coach and parenting expert Sara Snow is here to run down everything you need to know.
First off, think of breast milk as a superfood—with over one million immune-boosting white blood cells in every drop. And according to a study from Harvard, it may even be good for raising baby’s verbal IQ. If you’re going the breastfeeding route, be sure to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods to introduce an array of flavors to your child’s palate. (Also check out tea that promotes healthy lactation.)
Whether it’s your first choice or not, formula is a necessity for many babies and many parents.
Snow’s recommendations: choose one that’s organic, and use filtered water to avoid fluoride. Multiple studies suggest that too much fluoride for babies can cause tooth discoloration, potentially reduce IQ, and possibly lead to thyroid issues.
Most babies are ready to start on solid foods when they’re anywhere between 6 and 9 months old. If yours is still hungry after breastfeeding eight to 10 times a day or drinking at least 32 to 40 ounces of formula, they’re probably ready! Snow recommends introducing them to simple organic veggies and fruits like:
- Sweet potato
There are a few foods you should definitely avoid during baby’s first year, though:
- Raw honey: May cause botulism
- Acidic fruits (e.g. oranges or pineapple): Too harsh for their digestive system
- Excess salt and sugar: Not ideal for tastebuds-in-training
- Strong spices: Could be too intense for baby
- Canned fruits or vegetables: May contain too much sugar or sodium
- Beets, spinach, collard or turnip greens: High in nitrates that could lower baby’s hemoglobin levels
Press play to learn everything there is to know about feeding, straight from a veteran all-natural momma.