These are things I wish I’d known in the first year after my oldest child was born! Breast milk is best, no formula comes even close to it, and soy milk/formula is not a good option. The formula companies would have you think otherwise, but the toll on children’s health due to their marketing strategies is incalculable.
Until about the time the baby’s eyeteeth come in, your baby’s body does not produce digestive enzymes needed to break down cooked foods. So, nursing until 18 months is ideal. If you must supplement breastfeeding, consider raw goat’s milk (ask at health food stores and explore health-related co-ops in your area to find a raw goat milk provider), and mashed bananas. Raw goat milk is closest to human milk, and it contains enzymes (unlike pasteurized milk). I would still choose homogenized and pasteurized goat milk over cow milk. Best if you can make KEFIR (or at least YOGURT) of raw, whole goat milk. I teach you how to do that in Step 8 of 12 Steps to Whole Foods.
Don’t feed your baby formula and powdered/processed cereals. As you introduce foods, consider making your own baby food by mashing regular food rather than purchasing the refined products sold in jars as “baby food.” I never fed my last three babies a single thing labeled as “baby food,” and they were much better off for it. You don’t need to cook the carrots before mashing them, either. Just blend raw carrots with a little water in your BlendTec. Now it’s raw and easy to digest—cooking it only destroys nutrition. Don’t sweeten it!
In the first two years, introduce mostly veggies (few fruits) to keep your baby from developing a taste for only sweet foods. Never feed your baby or toddler refined sugar; this will be highly detrimental to her health and will create an acidic climate in her body, making her prone to infections. This includes sugar-added yogurt, sodas and sugared drinks, fruit juices, and treats made with sugar.
And you will notice that if you eat right during pregnancy (especially drink my green smoothie and eat my granola throughout the pregnancy), your baby will have a taste for good food because of the nutrition he received during gestation and breastfeeding!
“My kids won’t eat . . .” is something I hear a lot. I think a lot of the difference between me and this statement is a difference in parenting philosophy. Feel free to reject this, but “old school” is how I was raised, and it’s working with my own children, who eat a green smoothie every afternoon, and a heaping dinner plate full of salad every night, before having the rest of those meals.
The philosophy is that I’m in charge of their nutrition, we all eat ONE meal (not several different ones, according to preferences), and they can have the REST of the meal when their salad or green smoothie is gone. If they don’t want the smoothie, fine, but they go hungry for that meal. My kids rarely, if ever, choose to go hungry. No drama, no begging, no paying them to eat a vegetable . . . eating the good stuff is simply required if they want other food.
I don’t purchase junk food. It is never in my home. Ever. It’s not that my kids never get it. They do, at their dad’s house, at church and school functions, and even at my mom’s house! But there’s no need to nag Mom, because my kids know, “That’s not what we do here.” There’s no reason for ME to supply poison to my kids. Too many other people are trying to give it my kids junk food.
You may say that your kids are just “picky” and I must be lucky to get four who will eat anything. Not so: I have ONE child who would always eat anything. My youngest two kids are “picky,” and the oldest one tried that personality trait out, earlier in life. But we set limits and boundaries, and eventually they figure out that eating the raw veggie part of the meal is required, not optional. They also figure out, through repetition, and through experimenting with eating excellent nutrition, and occasionally very poor nutrition (when they’re at their dad’s house and I’m out of town, for instance), that they like how they feel, eating so many raw vegetables.