A note first. I’m going to describe what I did for Sam’s diet when he was 9-12 months old. I was not advised to do so by any doctor, and this is not a recommendation for anyone else. I want to describe what I did because it seemed to work well, and as far as I can tell not many people have published information on the same kind of thing.
When we found out Sam was allergic to milk at 3 months, he began taking soy formula. I hated the idea of soy formula – one, because it is soy and two, because it is formula. We tried Alimentum (a hypoallergenic formula) and it did not agree with him. He took soy for six months and began solids at five months.
Basically, he was such a good eater that finally, as he neared nine months, my hatred for soy formula got the best of me. What if, I began to wonder, he could get most of his nutrients from solids so he didn’t need as much formula? Here is where the researcher Jessica took over. I discovered this document (published by the government if that means anything), that suggests exact amounts of what a baby needs. (How much fat, carbs, protein, vitamin this that and the other…) I made a chart of everything Sam needed, and tried to figure out where he could get each item from food. I know it sounds terribly involved, and it kind of was. But I felt a little guilty for being so unconventional, so I wanted to make sure I had my bases covered. By the way, I did go see a nutritionist, which was actually the LEAST productive step of all of it. I was especially impressed when she googled the answer to one of my questions while I was sitting there. Anyways, back to my story. Basically from months 9-12, Sam had about a bottle a day of soy formula, a few more of rice milk (more for the vitamins and fluid than anything) and everything else from solids. If anyone is interested in the particulars of what foods he ate for what nutrient, let me know; I still have my little spreadsheet.
Here is a very general idea of what Sam ate about once a day. I knew he was allergic to milk and eggs, and I avoided peanut butter and tree nuts. I used the document above to figure about how much of everything he should be eating. After about a month of this when he was clearly doing well, I stopped keeping track. Keep in mind this plan started after he had been eating solids for about 3+ months and had been introduced to everything.
- protein: chicken, turkey, ground beef, and lentils or black beans with a complex carb. Also, whole wheat pasta has a good amount of protein.
- carbs: banana, baked apples and pears, oranges, peaches, blueberries or other fruit, wheat bread or pasta, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, squash, beans, broccoli, brown rice.
- fats: olive oil, Smart Balance Vegan Blend Butter, avocado, beef, dark meat of turkey and chicken
- vitamins and minerals: fruits, vegetables, fortified rice milk and orange juice
A few other notes. I got many of my recipe ideas from wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com. I used my food processor to make foods and used the ice cube tray method of storage. There are explicit instructions here but basically you make a large batch, put it in ice cube trays, and take out 2-3 cubes to reheat as you need. Once he was past the initial stage 1 of foods, I would always try to match a carb with a protein. Because he couldn’t have peanuts, milk, or egg, that meant I used beans, chicken, beef, and lentils with about every carb you can think of. Which did raise a few eyebrows when we would eat with friends. But who says lentils can’t go with applesauce?!??! 🙂
Also, I tried to use organic fruits and vegetables, especially for the “dirty dozen.” I owe my friend Brandi for two great suggestions. One, in my pureed meals I addedspices whenever possible. They add nutritional value and create good eaters I think! And two, I used a LOT of olive oil for Sam, because he really needed fat, not being able to eat cheese, egg, or nuts. Often I would use olive oil in my large batch of babyfood, and when I reheated a few cubes, I would reheat them in a pan with more olive oil. Once he was eating the Smart Balance butter, I put it on anything I could think of, and large amounts of it.
As far as I can tell my plan worked well. Sam has always been in 50th-75th percentile. This actually increased at first and then maintained throughout his first and second year. He is happy, loves to eat, alert, energetic, etc. I’m not saying any of this is due to the diet but it certainly didn’t hurt his progress! I was fortunate that he is such a good eater!
Here were a few of our favorite “meals”:
- baby chili
- baby shepherd’s pie
- lentils and apples
- sweet potatoes and black beans (total FAV! 🙂
- black beans, brown rice, and avocado
- whole wheat pasta, spinach, and dark meat chicken “meatballs” with pasta sauce (not as weird as it sounds 🙂
- chicken, peaches, and brown rice