The choice of solid food for your baby is very important. Contrary to what childcare books say, feeding white rice cereal to your baby is ill-advised. USA Today says that white rice cereal is a heavily-processed “nutritional disaster” since it’s devoid of vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients.
If your baby’s diet is high in grains, he or she will grow up craving processed carbs like white bread, cookies, and cakes. This contributes to childhood obesity, Dr. Joseph Mercola warns.
Dr. Mercola strongly believes that grain-based infant cereals should NOT be a part of your baby’s diet. When flour is refined to make cereal, the grain’s most nutritious part is removed. The flour essentially becomes sugar.
As white rice or flour turns into sugar in the body, it raises blood sugar and insulin levels. Worse, babies who consume highly-processed white rice or flour may become accustomed to this unhealthy diet in their older years.
The Dangers of White Rice Cereal
Stanford University pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene warns that rice is the number one source of calories during the first year of life. Babies who ate white rice cereal diets developed an increased risk of type 1 diabetes. White rice increases your baby’s insulin levels, promoting weight gain while weakening the body’s ability to lose fat.
Excess weight and obesity causes heart problems and a wide variety of other diseases later in life. High insulin levels also suppress growth hormones that promote muscle development and glucagons that burn fat and sugar.
Dr. Mercola recommends breastfeeding your baby exclusively — meaning no solid food or water — during his or her first six months. At six to nine months, supplement with solid foods while continuing to breastfeed.
Healthy Solid Foods for Your Baby
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, egg yolk is a good first solid food for babies. You can start when your baby turns four months old. Egg yolk from free-range hens contains special long-chain fatty acids that are critical for your child’s optimal brain and nervous system development. Egg whites can cause allergies, so avoid giving them to babies less than a year old.
Dr. Mercola recommends freshly pureed organic vegetables as baby food. Sweet potato, cooked peas or carrots, and mashed avocado are nutrient-rich and soft enough for babies. As your child’s teeth begin to come out and the GI tract epithelium begins to mature, you can add:
• Cooked and finely chopped or pureed greens, like kale, collards, chard, and spinach
• Mashed asparagus
• Squashes like acorn, butternut, and other winter squashes
• Raw nut butter
• Seaweeds that become soft when wet, like nori or wakame
• Raw milk cheese or yogurt
• Organic and pasture-raised or grass-fed meat
Aside from white rice cereal, Dr. Mercola also warns against store-bought baby foods because they contain unhealthy ingredients like excessive sugar, trans fats, and processed salt. Toxic contaminants like bisphenol A (BPA) can also pollute baby foods in plastic containers.
For Dr. Mercola, homemade baby food is still the best. It’s a little time-consuming, but you’re sure that you’re giving your baby a healthy diet.