|Three friends share a lime|
“Pediatricians and parents should be aware that exclusive breastfeeding is sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months of life and provides continuing protection against diarrhea and respiratory tract infection.30,34,128,178–184 Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child.185 Complementary foods rich in iron should be introduced gradually beginning around 6 months of age.“
“Practice exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months of age, and introduce complementary foods at 6 months of age (180 days) while continuing to breastfeed.”
“A review of feeding guidelines promoted by various national and international organizations has shown that there are inconsistencies in the specific recommendations for feeding infants and young children (Dewey, in press). Some of the feeding guidelines are based more on tradition and speculation than on scientific evidence, or are far more prescriptive than is necessary regarding issues such as the order of foods introduced and the amounts of specific foods to be given. To avoid confusion, a set of unified, scientifically based guidelines is needed, which can be adapted to local feeding practices and conditions.” (emphasis added)
|Annabelle tries some fermented oats with
pumpkin, and hemp seed.
- Iron: The RDA for infants 7-12 months is 11mg, from 1-3 years it’s 7mg, and for 4-8 year olds it is 10mg. Good sources of iron in vegetarian and vegan households include foods such as: quinoa, blackstrap molasses, tomato paste, white beans, peaches, lentils, and hemp seeds. While leafy greens are a well-known source of iron, the iron many contain is not particularly bioavailable. Iron absorption is enhanced by Vitamin C, but hindered by calcium. Using cast iron to cook can also increase the iron content of foods, particularly more acidic foods.
- Calcium: The adequate intake(AI) from 7-12 months is 270mg/day, the RDA from 1-3 years is 500mg/day, and from 4-8 years the RDA is 800mg/day. Good sources of calcium that we eat include: broccoli, leafy greens (note that the calcium in some, including spinach, is not well absorbed swiss chard and bok choy are two of the best choices) dried figs, and various beans and seeds. Calcium is one vitamin that has been hotly debated in recent years, and many experts argue that exercise and Vitamin D intake are far more important to the building of strong bones than is calcium. See this letter from Harvard Health for more information. There’s also a great article on PCRM’s website that pertains to children specifically, but readers should note PCRM’s probable bias against dairy products when reading, as they receive a great deal of their funding from PETA.
- Zinc: 7-12 month olds and 1-3 year olds meet the RDA with 3mg/day and 4-8 month olds with 5mg. Zinc is found in many grains, legumes, and nuts. One great source that has been a favorite in our house lately is shelled hemp seed.
- Vitamin A: For infants aged 7-12 months 500 is considered to be adequate intake, while the RDA from ages 1-3 is given as 300 and for ages 4-8 the RDA is 400 . Vitamin A rich foods in our diet include mango, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato.
- Riboflavin (B2): The RDA’s are .4mg/day from 7-12 months, .5mg/day from 1-3 years, and .6mg/day from 4-8 years. Sources eaten in our house include almonds, mushrooms, and quinoa. Riboflavin is also found in many fortified foods for vegetarians and vegans such as nut milks and nutritional yeast.
- Vitamin B6: Between 7 and 12 months, .3/day is considered adequate intake and the RDAs for 1-3 and 4-8 years are .5 and .6mg/day respectively. Our favorite sources include chickpeas, bananas, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.
- Vitamin B12: For ages 7-12 months, the AI is .5
What first foods did, or will you offer? Would you do the same with future children? What advice or information did you rely on in choosing your children’s diet? I would love to hear from you!
**I put a great deal of time, research, and thought into this article, so I would love to see others benefit from it. If you have friends who you think may benefit from it, please feel free to email it, share it on facebook, blog it yourself – use it as you see fit!**