By Kerryn McArthur
Growing a healthy human – this journey begins with those first foods that are introduced to a baby’s palate. I love the analogy of using food as the building blocks for laying a strong foundation, one that will withstand whatever life or Mother Nature throws at it.
If this foundation is laid well at the start of life, it will provide a child with a strong base for good health in the years to come. Food therefore becomes our fuel and our medicine.
I am a qualified medical herbalist and naturopath and the proud aunty of three gorgeous young nephews. It has given me great joy watching the boys eat wholesome food right from the start.
I’ll never forget the beautiful array of colour on their plates when solids were first introduced to their diet and then to see them scoff it down, always wanting more. Years down the track their palates are so diverse, they eat almost everything that is put in front of them. Thanks to my sister and the countless hours of cooking, their solid nutritional foundation has been laid.
Organic wholefoods are far more nutrient-dense and filling compared to supermarket shelf-stable food. This means babies won’t need to eat as much so you will spend less time and money at the supermarket.
My sister’s journey, plus other mothers like her, helped inspire Sharon McDonald and Robyn McArthur to start The Baby Pantry, producers of organic, frozen baby food delivered to the doors of busy mums, dads and caregivers. They offer handmade food using organic or spray-free ingredients, real flavours and textures to broaden and shape little palates and strengthen immune systems. This is how we grow a healthy human!
STARTING ON SOLIDS
Progression from breast milk or formula to solids isn’t always a seamless process. Believe me, I have observed it. A baby’s entertaining facial expressions doesn’t mean they don’t like a food, it’s just that “it’s different”. It is very normal for babies to reject certain foods or all food at first.
Keeping positive, calm and repeatedly offering a variety of vegetables during the first 2-3 weeks of starting solids will mean they are more willing to try and accept new tastes. It can take 12-16 times for a baby to decide whether they like a food or not.
There is a “golden window”, during the first six months of introducing solids, when babies are willing to try everything. It is important to capitalise on this if you want to create a lifelong, healthy eating behaviours.
When it comes to choosing first foods, simple is best. Organic wholefoods are far more nutrient-dense and filling compared to supermarket shelf-stable food. This means babies won’t need to eat as much so you will spend less time and money at the supermarket.
The Baby Pantry’s ‘Pure’ collection offers delicious pumpkin and carrot options to get them started. There is also an apple meal to use as a treat. The reason I say apple as a treat is because it is important to try to develop a more savoury palate early on.