I have a 10mo daughter and while she is still being breastfed, she's been eating solids in greater amounts and I'm feeling unsure about what's best to give her.
In general when it comes to digestion, if something comes out the other end looking pretty much the same as how it went in, I tend to think that it shouldn't have been eaten in the first place, the body is unable to digest it. (Either that or you've been unwell and your body is purging it.) I've never pureed any of my daughter's food so right from the start it was obvious if anything came through her system undigested. I only gave her meat, liver, etc for the first couple months but have gradually introduced a few veggies & fruit. (Egg yolks don't seem to agree with her unfortunately). I had read not to give starchy veggies (like potatoes) until they are older, so I've kept away from them, however in my daughter's case, I get to see pretty much all vegetables & fruits a second time. So far, the only thing I can guarantee will get fully digested is meat! Plus when she is only eating meat her poops are very healthy-looking, and occur only twice a week, but fruit makes her go within hours of eating it. (Except bananas, they seem to be ok). So....
1. Is it ok for a baby to just eat animal products (meat, fat, liver, et al) ? For how long would this be healthy? What about once they are no longer taking breastmilk? (I do want to wean her gradually from 12-18 months)
2. Is it the case that in order for the baby's gut to develop the enzymes required to digest fruits & veggies, it needs to consume some first? And that I should see an improvement in digestion once baby has had a chance to develop those enzymes? If so, how long would one expect for a baby's gut to do this? Is 10 months too young to be eating anything other than breastmilk and other animal foods? Should we all be waiting to introduce veggies & fruits until much later?
3. What is the best way of fostering good gut bacteria in a baby and avoiding any hint of leaky gut syndrome in the future?
I would really appreciate any thoughts or discussion on this topic - thanks!
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Meat is easier to digest than vegetables.
I don't have answers for you (am very interested in the answers) and I see you are on to WAP. I recall one comment in a WAP article that veggies are hard to digest for babies and not to worry if they won't eat many veggies. So my only possibly helpful comment is that my 2 year old has been passing under-digested veggies for pretty much his whole life, with a gradual improvement being observed (almost totally digested now). And now I have a 7 month old and have been wondering the same as what you posted. Do they *need* veggies and fruit right now? This evening after showing signs of still being ravenous after dinner, he seemed very happy that I was spooning him pure, congealed, chicken fat... but then I chickened out and defrosted another cube of squash to go with it.
I don't think that the fact that the bits are coming out the same size as they went in is necessarily a bad thing. I also note that GAPS recommends feeding babies cooked veggies. That protocol can be found here... http://gaps.me/preview/?page_id=34 ...and I think would be the most conservative approach to respecting the baby's developing systems. And is directly aimed at avoiding digestive issues. When she says marrow and courgettes she means squash and zucchini.