Intuition and Introducing Solids
From the moment your baby was born, until this time, your baby has been growing and changing. Every new day has brought new experiences, and now you're suspicious it's time for another... introducing solids. To help you know when the "right time" is and what to do, we've sought out the input of Cai Anderson. Cai is a mother of a 19 year old who teaches women how to listen to their own bodies, to know their best nutrition on any given day, and who teaches mothers how to prepare, quick, easy, nutritious meals for their babies. She works specifically when mothers are first introducing solids.
You can read Cai's interview on introducing solids in it's entirety here.
When Cai's daughter was two she took her to an iridologist after trying multiple, unsuccessful antibiotic treatments for bronchitis. The iridologist was the first to tell her, "you know your baby really needs natural foods and foods that are alive with enzymes." She also recommended layering raw onion on her chest to clear up the bronchitis. Cai followed the iridologists' advice and after a couple of days, the cough was already starting to dissipate, and her cheeks were once again rosy. Cai took to heart what the iridologist said, and 17 years later is still feeding her daughter natural foods and foods that are alive with enzymes.
Ashley: When you work with moms, when do you start to introduce solid foods?
Cai: Depends on every mother. Every mother is going to have a comfort level.... whatever their comfort level is. The baby will also give you an indication that they're ready for solid foods. When they are hungry. When the milk is no longer enough. I would say about six months is where I notice a lot of babies start pureed foods. And it's okay to give them pureed before then, it just depends on every baby...What I used to do is use a food processor to chop down the vegetables or fruits when she was a baby.
Ashley: The fruits and vegetables were raw or cooked?
Cai: They were raw...for the most part. There are some vegetables that, like mushroom, I consider a vegetable, and from what I know you increase the nutritional vegetable when you cook them. And so that's about the only thing I'll cook at home. And when it comes to juices, I always had a juicer and would give her fresh juice. And the nutrition that your baby gets from the raw fruits and vegetables, especially if you go organic versus your regular store-bought, non-organic produce is really important...because you receive as much of the nutritional value in the foods without the pesticides. And so the body is able to assimilate all this food, and especially for a baby. And you'll see your baby's skin, you'll see the glow on the skin. You'll see how they won't get sick as other baby's. My daughter since I've been using alternative options she's really not been ill at all. PMS, and that's pretty much it.
Ashley: And are there foods that you think are easier to start with?
Cai: Fruits are great. Fruits, apples, peas, carrots...broccoli. My daughter used to love broccoli.
Ashley: How did you do broccoli?
Cai: You just puree it.
Ashley: So you plop it in the blender and puree it, or do you puree it somehow different?
Cai: Without the blender, there are baby pureeing little machines. They are not electrical...they have a lever and you just turn the lever.
Ashley: Is that better somehow than a blender on puree?
Cai: I think so, it's just the vibration. You don't interfere with the vibration, the blender is chaos...(the baby puree) is low-keyed, peaceful... is better for the baby, especially in regards to food.
Ashley: I heard an avocado is a great one to start with.
Cai: Avocados, just about anything. I don't believe there's a limit to what a baby can eat as long as it's natural...You can feed your baby any raw fruits and vegetables that I know of, that I'm aware of, that would not hinder their bodies...Then as your baby develops their palette a little bit more and it becomes more mature they are ready to explore a little bit more so you should be able to do it in a very healthy way, without having to cook...If a mom says to me, "well, my baby is bored with X type of vegetable", like broccoli, maybe you want to add a little bit of garlic or a little bit of onion to it. And that's okay. Because onion is filled with antibiotics, with natural antibiotics and so is garlic.
Ashley: And when you say natural, do you include grains and rice and oats and stuff like that, or are strictly speaking vegetable and fruits?
Cai: You can add grains like oats, brown rice and flax seed, which is great for them, it's good for their livers.
Ashley: How do you encourage moms to share this experience with their baby?
Cai: It has to be done on a personal level first before it can be offered to the baby. Mothers will feed their baby's donuts on Saturday morning... if they knew that donuts, research has found that donuts stall the immune system for 3 hours! Isn't that amazing... And I used to love donuts...What I've found is that once the mom notices the difference (of eating healthy food)... in her own body, she's going to go "oh, this is really good, this must be better for my baby!"...it's actually cheaper, healthier and it's not as time-consuming. You just put the (raw) vegetable either in a food processor or a little baby puree machine and it's ready! And it's good for your baby! In my Body Wisdom workshop for women once they taste the difference that raw food doesn't have to be eaten cold and that you can make these delicious meals out of them they'll not be bored...and with babies it is so easy because they haven't developed, their taste buds haven't trained to taste certain things and so it is such an important time to train them to eat the right stuff. My daughter grew up this way so she pretty much...feeds herself real natural, healthy foods, because that's how she was brought up. And the nutritional aspect, your emotional and your physical, all of these things are really important to bring you to an awareness which is something that a lot of people right now: there is this awareness, this awakening of your higher self, of you happening.
Ashley: How do you see it?
Cai: ...antibiotics, hormones, caffeine, soft drinks... all these interfere with you being able... to make the connection with you body.
(To know more about the mind-body-spirit connection that Cai talks about read the full introducing solids interview and be fascinated.)
Ashley: Is there anything else that I didn't touch on that you would like to share with women, or dads who are just becoming aware of how they want to feed their babies?
Cai: My most important message is for them to listen to their intuition for their own bodies there is no one else in the world that knows better what they need. David Hawkins says "with lightening-like speed the muscles of the body go instantly weak in the absence of truth, they grow strong in the presence of truth or that which supports life." And that's what I go by for my own nutrition. "Do I really want a banana? Do I want to eat this? What does my body need?"
Ashley: Okay, when you ask yourself that, what do you do?
Cai: What makes me feel good. If I'm holding a glass of water in one hand and then I switch it out for a coke. The feeling I get is very distinct. My body will feel the strength of drinking water versus water, if you are very sensitive, you can feel your muscles go limp if it's something your body doesn't want. It's sort of like a conversation, when someone brings something negative to the table, you notice it on people's faces. It's like "oh god, what a downer!" And people actually have that reaction, and they usually don't know it, with nutrition!
Ashley: Thank you. Thank you for your time and this was beautiful.
Cai: You're welcome.
We've covered a lot, and hopefully inspired you as you start introducing solids to your baby. Remember, raw fruits and vegetables + baby puree = simple, nutritious food for baby. The awareness that you bring to your own body, and it's reaction to food is easily used with your baby. What foods make your baby happy, healthy and give her a rosy complexion and which ones make her grumpy, sleepy and make her skin loose it's luster are very different, so pay attention and soon you'll see a difference. Hopefully you're starting out with a fresh and clean nutritious palette, coming right off the breast. But either way, the healthy option with homemade baby food is always an option that you and your baby can share.