CURRICULUM TOPICS FOR 6 TO 18 MONTHS INCLUDE:
- Finding Courage to “Face the World”
- Stage Specific Recommended Reading
- Introducing Solids
- Natalia’s Famous “Baby Shake” Recipes
- Introducing Cooked Foods and “Safe Poisons”
- When and How to Utilize Goat Milk
- Naturally Reducing Teething Pain
- “Small” Children
- Well Visits
THE COURAGE OF YOUR CONVICTIONS
It’s time to talk about courage. As a parent, you may not realize your power yet, but it is within you and now is the time when you really need to connect with it. It is less difficult to stand behind your beliefs when you’re at home with your baby; and it can even be relatively easy with your spouse, immediate family, in-laws, and friends. However, around 6 months, when you start to introduce solid foods and enter the world of playdates, classes, and more frequent interactions with other parents, your lifestyle choices may begin to feel more complicated and difficult. You may feel alienated or like the odd one out. However, as soon as you enter a space of insecurity and vulnerability, you can be easily misled.
Use this time to find the courage to figure out what you believe, who you are, what your intentions are for your life and for your baby’s life. Where are you going to go with all of this? If you don’t have strength of conviction, the confused world will end up confusing you.
Remember, if we as a society continue on the same lifestyle trajectories, we will continue to get the same results. This means having our children suffer from terminal illnesses, chronic diseases, emotional imbalances, behavioral problems, obesity, eating disorders, and a whole host of other issues common to today’s youth. It’s only by changing our approach to living, by challenging mainstream beliefs and adopting more life-generating ones, that we can lead ourselves and our children to happier, healthier outcomes.
Someday the folly of modern medicine and the extreme damage we are doing to ourselves with toxic foods and environmental poisons will be fully exposed. Until then, a brave few pioneers must light the way for others with the courage of their convictions. Who else but you will protect your child? Certainly not the government, the education system, or big business. You must take back our power and take full responsibility for your health and the health of your children. At times you may feel alone and isolated. But remember, we are here for you as a supportive community. Together we can be strong in our search for the truth and for a better way to raise our children.
Between 5 and 6 months after birth, you will start to offer your baby solids (aka “table food”). Despite what we know about the health advantages of exclusively feeding breast milk for the first six months, it is common for doctors to encourage rice cereals as early 4½ months. Rice cereals are inflammatory, gluey, and difficult to digest and pass. Sadly, however, they have become the norm. How has this happened? Look no further than interests of economic gain for your answer.
Since a baby’s gastrointestinal tract is sensitive and still developing, it is best to wait until a baby is fully ready for solids before introducing them. A sure sign that a baby is ready for solids is the emergence of teeth and interest in table food. The presence of teeth generally indicates readiness in the stomach and intestines. Sound obvious? Believe it or not, this bit of traditional wisdom has been largely lost in the modern age, due to the manufacture of dead foods such as grain, pasteurized dairy, and soy products.
When solid foods—particularly undesirable solid foods such as grain and dairy—are introduced to an unprepared system, digestive weakness and digestive imbalances develop. It is a recipe for IBS. Even if you’re using organic rice cereal, it is highly processed and not health-generating. Rice cereals can set the stage for allergic reactions in the body later in life. In addition, rice cereals and other non-fruit items are constipating for the baby. To start a clean-celled, alkaline body on acidic substances is to jump-start the process of acidic accumulation right away.
Therefore, it is important to introduce solid foods thoughtfully, with respect for your baby’s sensitive digestive tract. It is ideal to offer your baby the lightest possible foods first, and as it becomes clear that your baby is digesting them well, you can transition to heavier natural foods. Remember the “light to heavy” principle? It applies here too!
A good rule of thumb for introducing solids: start with fresh, juicy raw fruits, which are ideal for a baby’s digestion. Within the fruit category, begin by offering the lightest possible fruits, such as melons—ideally starting with watermelon and then moving on to cantaloupe; however, any melon will work fine. Use melons to test for digestive readiness for solids (organic is ideal, but even if you cannot find organic melons, it’s still best to start with them). If you are starting solids in the months when melons are not in season, go ahead and choose the lightest “winter fruits” you can find, such as apples, bananas, or avocados.
Thoroughly blend the watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew in a blender until it is smooth. Then let your baby sip the melon through a bottle (cut the nipple large enough to let the mixture through without it pouring out too quickly) and notice his or her response. Next, pay attention to how quickly it is eliminated. What do the eliminations look like? Are they regular and comparable to the amount taken in? Your baby should essentially be passing along exactly what he or she is consuming with well-hydrated regularity. This kind of smooth digestion will pave the way to a strong system with excellent flora and peristalsis!
If your baby’s bowel movements are regular and well-hydrated, you can begin to make your way through any fruits you want to try, with the exception of strawberries, and avoiding honey, which a baby should not be given in the first year. You may need to add a little water to denser fruits, such as bananas, to blend smoothly.
It is a common misconception that if you do not introduce vegetables and only introduce a baby to sweets, he or she will end up with a sweet tooth and will not eat vegetables later. This is false! Babies naturally crave fruits because these are the cleanest, most life-generating foods available. The desire to eat vegetables will come eventually and should not be forced. Fruit is the most natural food for humans, and babies are naturally attracted to it. Also, like mother’s milk, it is sweet and hydrating.
At this point, the most important thing is making sure that what you are feeding your baby is highly digestible. A baby’s digestive system will do best with simple, raw foods. Many mothers try to make their own cooked baby food, or steam and bake their fruits and vegetables. This will not increase digestibility, and will only rob these foods of their vital nutrients. At this stage, it’s perfectly OK for a baby’s diet to remain completely raw IF YOU ARE CORRECTLY MONITORING YOUR BABY’S INTAKE AND RESPONSE.
If your baby is exhibiting symptoms such as thrush, mucous-y discharge, coughing, or extreme colic, this may be an indication that the breast milk itself is quite toxic. Don’t assign blame here! You may have only just started your cleansing journey. If this is the case, you may give your baby some cooked food in the form of baked sweet potatoes or steamed apples. Fruit is the most alkaline, high-vibration, and highly cleansing food for the body. If your baby’s body is already struggling with a toxic load through lineage or compromised breast milk, too much fruit may be difficult to process at first. But this is extremely rare! Most babies can remain on a raw diet up until 18 months, around the time they are exposed to other toxins. At this point, you will need to temper your little one’s raw intake with some occasional cooked food.
INTRODUCING BABY SHAKES
After working your way through a spectrum of fruits, you can move on to baby shakes. Baby shakes are wonderful for you and your baby because they are extremely easy to prepare (blending only once for a full day’s feeding), chock-full of nutritional value, easy to digest, and they will fast become your baby’s favorite treat!
There are 3 components to the baby shakes:
Fruit will be the main component of your baby shake, with a sparing amount of greens and a tiny drizzle of high-quality oil to further support brain development. You can get creative with your combinations, but make sure your mixture will appeal to your baby’s palate. Remember, babies like sweet because the human body is programmed to start with fruit!
Use greens very sparingly and be sure they are well blended if you are adding leaves instead of raw juice. Romaine lettuce is an ideal starter green because it blends so well and is highly water-containing. Just make sure there are no unblended chunks large enough to pose a choking hazard.
Baby Shake Ingredient Ideas
Fruit*/Organic Leafy Greens*/Fat (small amount)
- Raw pure fruit juice/Raw green juice/Avocados
- Melons/Kale (ripped from the stem)/Udo’s oil blend
- Banana/Romaine lettuce/Flaxseed oil
- Pineapple/Baby spinach/Raw tahini or raw sunflower paste
- Apple/Parsley/Raw nut butters**
- Peach/Alfalfa sprouts
- Orange/Sun Chlorella chlorophyll powder
- Coconut water & young coconut meat
*Fruits and greens should be blended or juiced. Adding carrot juice can help to create the perfect consistency in the blender and appeal to your little one’s craving for sweetness.
**Some good options are almond, pecan, or walnut, but NOT PEANUT OR SOY NUT. AVOID STRAWBERRIES AND HONEY, which can be dangerous in the first year.
Sample Baby Shake Recipes
- cup fresh-squeezed orange juice, 1 cup blueberries, handful baby spinach, and 1 avocado. Blend well.
- 2 bananas, water, 2 large leaves romaine lettuce, and ¼ avocado. Blend well.
- ½ honeydew melon, ½ cup green juice, 1 teaspoon Udo’s oil. Blend well.
These shakes are easy to digest, full of enzymes, and so easy for mom to prepare! All you need is a cooler bag to bring the bottles with you and give them to your baby throughout the day. Babies will usually enjoy baby shakes solely until about 14 months, but they can have them forever if desired!
Tip: For easy feeding, simply cut the nipple of your bottle until the opening is slightly wider than is needed for milk alone. Then, fill it with your blended food and give it to your hungry baby! For daily intake, make 40 ounces of blended baby shake or simple melon puree and divide it into five 8-ounce bottles. These will keep in the refrigerator until your little one is ready for them.
INTRODUCING COOKED FOODS AND “SAFE POISONS”
Although a diet composed mainly or exclusively of raw fruits and vegetables is the ideal diet for humans, the truth is that we are exposed to a lot of toxicity in our environment and most of us do not live in cultures where such a diet is realistic or always safe. At some point, your children will most likely be offered a cupcake at a birthday party, a bag of chips, or a slice of pizza. If restricted to a diet that’s 100 percent raw, children can have extreme reactions when exposed to toxic elements of the Standard American Diet (SAD). We want to keep children on mostly raw, highly alkaline diets, which will keep their bodies happy, but we should temper this with some safe additions. Deliberately introducing children to select cooked foods or “safe poisons”—i.e., acidic substances such as cooked vegetables, high-quality grains, and goat and sheep dairy—will prepare them for encounters with mainstream diets in other homes and environments.
When you decide to introduce cooked and/or processed foods, start with the lightest and cleanest substances for your baby (baked root vegetables and steamed vegetables), and as your child gets older, introduce foods with safe levels of toxicity in the form of high-quality grains (quinoa, millet, Kamut, and spelt) and raw goat and sheep dairy. Although raw goat and sheep dairy is ideal for our purposes here, if you cannot find such products, regular goat and sheep dairy is fine as well.
Consult with your pediatrician before introducing goat milk to your child, but keep in mind that it is nice to have on hand for emergency feeds at any stage of infancy. It is not optimal (most people can only get pasteurized goat milk, which is not an alkaline substance) and should never be chosen over available breast milk. However, if there is a difficult travel situation, or mom is either unavailable or temporarily unable to produce milk, goat milk is an option.
If you are going to give your baby goat milk in the early stages, be sure it’s diluted 1 part goat’s milk to 3 parts water. As your baby grows, switch to a 1:1 ratio (half goat milk, half water). Eventually, your baby will be able to take straight goat milk. It smells terrible, but kids love it. Two things missing from goat milk are folic acid and iron (along with all the other special human nutrients that cannot always be measured in a laboratory), so it is not a substitute for breastfeeding. It should be used as supplemental milk, and only when absolutely necessary, after consulting with your family doctor.
Tip: Meyenberg powdered goat’s milk is great to keep with you when you know you’ll be traveling or away from the home for an extended period. Simply add water and shake in a bottle for feeding time.
SUMMARY OF INTRODUCING SOLIDS
- Start with the lightest, raw fruits available—ideally blended melons. If melons are not available, start with the lightest winter fruits, such as banana, avocado, or apple, adding water to blend if necessary.
- Pay close attention to bowel movements to ensure your baby is digesting foods properly.
- Move through the spectrum of raw fruits, paying close attention to eliminations. Do not force vegetables; a baby’s natural preference for fruits is advantageous because fruit is truly the best food for a baby’s delicate system during this early stage of development.
- After completing thorough testing of different raw fruits, begin introducing baby shakes. Baby shakes are composed of fruit, a green element, and a small portion of “good fat” or oil.
- When moving your child away from a 100 percent raw diet, begin with baked root vegetables, baked fruits, and steamed vegetables.
- Eventually, add “safe poisons” such as high-quality grains and raw goat and sheep milk products to avoid any potential shock to the system when your child is exposed to mainstream foods.
- Although not ideal, if there is a difficult travel situation, or mom is either unavailable or temporarily unable to produce milk, goat milk is an option.
The most important thing to remember during the teething process is compassion! This is a time when your precious little one will be experiencing bouts of intense pain on and off throughout the day as each new tooth breaks through the gums. An adult could not withstand such pain. The accompanying crying and irritability are wearing on even the most patient parent, but the teething process is difficult and intense. Parents must support each other, and work together to comfort their baby.
Natural Options for Reducing Pain
1. Medicinal Oils
Numbing oils, such as licorice and clove oils, can be rubbed directly on the gum for soothing relief. Licorice root, often available in health food stores, doubles as a chew toy. Warning: Swallowing too much clove or licorice oil can create tummy problems for your baby.
2. Homeopathic Remedies
During the first year of a child’s life, homeopathic remedies can be employed with great success, as the body is still clean and finely tuned enough to respond to such specified treatment. Employ the help of a homeopath, or try one of the creams or tinctures available at your health food store. As long as they are made of all-natural ingredients they will be safe, and can often be extremely effective. Many babies respond well to Hyland’s Homeopathic Teething Gel.
During this stage, you’ll notice that everything tends to end up in your baby’s mouth. This urge to chew is natural and should be encouraged, as it’s the best way to speed up the teething process and help new teeth to break through. Hard vegetables that will not break off and cause a choking hazard, such as carrots, are ideal. Just have a bib ready for the accompanying saliva!
A baby knows best when it’s time to wean, so watch for signs. Typically, a baby will let you know it’s time for more “real food” and less milk by spending more time playing with your nipple and biting on it than taking milk. This usually occurs between 11 and 16 months, though some babies choose to nurse longer. (It’s interesting to note that because nursing reduces fertility, indigenous women would often nurse beyond 2 years in order to help prevent population growth. However, this is not a dependable form of contraception, as the mothers of many an Irish twin will attest!)
When it becomes time to think about weaning, nursing will have naturally become less frequent—from approximately four times per day to three times per day, then to two times per day, and then perhaps to only once per day—over the course of the year. Some babies choose to nurse a lot longer than that. Tune into your baby’s needs and natural inclinations, and remember there is no strict rule for the right time to wean.
However, if you find yourself nursing your child for years and years, I urge you to examine your intentions and figure out what psychological factors might be behind this prolonged developmental stage. If your intentions are clear, and your child is not merely compensating for feelings of abandonment or neglect, then relax and trust your little one.
If you need to wean before your child “directs” this process, just keep in mind that milk and soy milk formulas are highly mucus-forming and acidic and not ideal for a baby’s system. However, this is something that you will need to discuss with your doctor. You need look no further than the ingredients list of even the highest-quality organic formula to see that mainstream infant formula is simply a cornucopia of chemicals. Make your own choices based on this information, but please note the growing epidemic of bowel disease in this country, which is occurring at shockingly earlier ages than ever before.
Obviously, many women have to go back to work before their children are ready to wean. If this is the case for you, and if pumping enough milk for your baby is not an option, you can simply begin to introduce baby shakes (see above) and fluids such as coconut water or, occasionally, goat’s milk. Infant formula and cow dairy are not necessary and can be harmful to the baby’s health.
During this time, you may be attending “well visits” with your pediatrician on a consistent basis. One issue that many parents confront when raising children within the detox lifestyle is their babies tend to be smaller than the national average and may fall on the low end of height and weight charts. The noticeable difference in size is due to the fact that most children are being fed hormone- and antibiotic-laden formula from birth (even if only partially) and are now consuming hormone-laden dairy products, mainstream meat products, and other foods that prematurely beef kids up. Keep in mind that one in three children born after the year 2000 will end up with diabetes, so the fact that your child is not on the “normal” curve in this way is a good thing!
If you child is smaller than most of his or her peers right now, that doesn’t necessarily mean your child will remain so forever. Your child will reach his or her full growth potential beautifully, just at a slower, more natural pace than those who are being artificially plumped up from an early age. And keeping your child away from chemical- and hormone-laden foods will allow your little one to grow at his or her own pace without the ailments, mood swings, and sugar cravings that come with the modern lifestyle.
Good health is diminutive. Healthy cells are tight, tiny, and spherical. When you have babies raised on toxic breast milk, formula, and compromised lineage, then the biomass and the biochemical makeup of the cells in their bodies will be bloated with yeast and water retention. These babies will actually look puffy. This plump, “healthy” baby look that we are used to in our society actually indicates that a baby is unhealthy and mucus-filled, bound to suffer from ear infections, IBS, asthma, allergies, and headaches. When a baby drinks clean mother’s milk, and doesn’t get formula, the wrong kinds of dairy, or other compromised foods, it will show. It’s not that the baby is undersized, but that we are used to seeing oversized babies. Clean, healthy babies are being compared to a skewed ideal.
Size is not an indicator of good health. Many children who place “normal” on the height and weight charts are constantly sick and in otherwise poor health. To assess the true health of your child, ask yourself the following questions:
Is your baby…
- free from colds, constant runny noses and coughs, ear infections, eczema, respiratory/digestive issues, flus, and other common childhood ailments?
If your baby has these indicators of health, you can feel good. Your instincts will tell you when something is wrong, and imbalances will manifest in the form of digestion issues, colds, ear infections, asthmatic breathing, croup, cradle cap, thrush, and so on.
From How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn:
When your child enters a pediatric examining room he is almost invariably subjected to height and weight measurements, usually taken by a technician or a nurse. This is part of the ritual Modern Medicine has developed to make you feel that you are getting your money’s worth. First-time parents wait nervously while the nurse places the squirming baby on the scale and may be asked to help hold the child’s legs down so that the height can be measured. Mom and Dad sigh with relief when their pediatrician finally appears, checks the measurements against a chart, and announces that their child is developing “normally.” Conversely, they are worried if they are told that their baby is gaining too much or too little weight.
What their doctor doesn’t tell them is that this ritual has no medical significance whatsoever. They aren’t told that some formula manufacturer was probably the source of the growth chart that the doctor is using and that he is given these charts by baby food and formula companies. This leads to an obvious question: Why are the formula makers so eager to have your doctor check your baby’s weight? Answer: Because the weight gain of breastfed babies may not match the average weights shown on the formula maker’s chart. They hope that the pediatrician, instead of reassuring the mother that this is normal and nonthreatening, will tell her to stop breastfeeding and switch to their product. The pediatrician may even have some samples on hand. Too often, the baby is subsequently denied the immunity and other benefits that breastfeeding provides.
Around this time, you will begin to experience with force the realization that although you are doing what you know is best for your child, there are many who will not agree with your parenting choices. The pressure to do what is “normal” is strong, and with the overall lack of awareness and the commercial interests driving so much of modern medicine and mainstream childcare practices, the cards are stacked against you! You will need to dig deep within yourself to find the strength to do what you know is best for you and your child. We have listed many great reference materials on this site. Some of you will want to tap these resources to strengthen your knowledge base and your powers of conviction when you are having moments of doubt. Remember to connect with others in the detox parenting community. We are here to support you in any way we can!
• For more Life Force Families content, click here