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Baby First Foods

  • Foods to avoid giving infants. 

  • Foods recommended for infants.

  • Reduce lifetime allergies and food sensitivities.

Baby first foods
must be chosen not only for what to include but also for what to avoid. This page gives guidelines for evaluating any baby food.

Food is the primary underpinning of health. It feeds the systems that fuel immune, neurologic, metabolic, and digestive processes - essentially all body functions. Nutrient-dense and properly prepared foods set up babys to thrive for the rest of their lives.

In the same way, nutrient-poor foods, processed foods, and GMO/hybridized foods undermine baby's ability to thrive. Such foods set the stage for poor health, obesity, dis-ease, and disease for the rest of the child's life.

This page covers:
Organic Baby Food, or Conventional?

In terms of purchasing organic versus conventionally grown fruits and vegetables, they are not all created equal. If price is important, pay for organic produce if that item is typically high in pesticide residues and save your money buying conventionally grown produce items that are typically low in pesticide residue.   Refer to the “clean 15” and the  “dirty dozen” at www.ewg.org/foodnews.

If you’re breastfeeding, no other liquid will be needed, but you can offer water.  If you’re giving the baby fresh pressed vegetable juice, water it down.  A very small amount of fresh pressed apple juice may be added to diluted vegetable juices. Avoid packaged and store-bought juices.

Baby Foods to Avoid Entirely
  1. Sugar in all its varieties, especially high fructose corn syrup.
  2. Sugar
  3. Sugar 
  4. Fruit juice
  5. Soda
  6. “Kid food”. Assume there is no such thing. Kids' growing bodies and minds need the best nutrition they can get, not convenience sweet foods.
  7. Rice cereal - much too starchy, possibility of arsenic contamination, and is constipating.
  8. Processed, packaged food.
  9. Trans fats 
    This is sort of a fake food, created in a factory, that has been called a "metabolic poison" and is added into commercial foods all the time.
  10. Soy (because of modern agricultural practices and GMOs)
  11. Corn (because of modern agricultural practices, GMOs)
  12. Gluten grains (wheat, rye, barley) until you’ve tested it and made sure baby tolerates it. tolerated
We have it backwards.  There is no such thing as “kid food”. This is a dangerous concept invented by industrial food suppliers and advertising efforts to sell poor quality food.  Children have a higher need for good nutrition.  A 2 year old is at greater risk of experiencing consequences for eating a slice of pizza or sweet snack than a 17-year old.

Foods to Limit

  • Dairy (i.e. cow breast milk) on occasion in small amounts, assuming it is tolerated.
  • Small amounts of dried fruit

Foods to Give Freely  
Ranked: largest amount (top) to smaller amounts.

  1. All vegetables
  2. All fruits
  3. Meat, fish, fowl, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, assuming no allergies
  4. Non-gluten grains

Nutritional Harm Reduction

Processed, devitalized, foods can cause nutritional harm. They give the illusion of being food, but leave your body's need for nutrition unmet or distorted. They also give baby a taste and desire for these same unhealthy foods. 

One of these foods is sugar itself, which is an anti-nutrient and harmful.  It’s not good for the mother and it’s not good for the child, especially as a baby first food.  Protect your baby from it. Since children are going to find sweets and be served treats when you aren’t looking, take a harm reduction approach. Do the best job you can when you have the most power, when you’re introducing real food to the baby.  After that, help develop good habits:
  • Use the health store varieties of favorite treats. 
    It will still be too much sweet, but you’ll avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup.

  • Always start with the vegetables. 
    Get into the habit of serving children veggies while they are waiting for the rest of the meal. When a young child is hungry and dinner isn’t ready,  a dish of juicy, fresh cut sweet peppe, or celery, or carrots, or cucumber can be tasty, and teaches them veges are real food. 

  • Have only healthy food in the house
    and you won’t set yourself up for stressful bargaining with children.

  • Celebrate with delicious, nutritious foods in your home.

  • Avoid hovering, micromanaging, prodding.  If there is only healthy food available, the child will make healthy choices.
Learn how and when to introduce solids to a baby.

For breastfeeding moms, more on baby first foods.

Prepared by Deborah Ginsburg, MD, of Healing Oceans Family Wellness Center, medical advisor to The Suppers Programs and Dorothy Mullen, Founder, The Suppers Programs


sloppy happy  baby

Other pages in this series:
  • Part 1 
    Covers when and how to introduce solid foods and provide proper infant nutrition.

  • Part 2
    Provides a schedule and guide for how to go about introducing food to baby, month by month, as well as giving baby a taste for nutritious foods.

  • Part 3  (this page)
    Lists foods to avoid giving to babies, and some you should.

  • Part 4
    Describes how to make and freeze your own, super-healthy, baby food.