This post was reviewed by Dani Rhoades (Certified Nutrition Consultant)
Your baby’s gut constantly changes and develops within the first year of life. Their digestive tract works to balance healthy gut microbiota in the gut to fight against bad bacteria. As parents, we play an essential role in our baby’s gut health.
We need to provide them with nourishing foods that help our baby’s microbiome rather than hurt it. Unfortunately, many of the things we feed our babies when introducing solids can harm their gut health.
Recently, doctors have been telling parents baby led weaning is healthy for their babies when it isn’t. In addition, there is so much contradicting information floating around the internet about the introduction of solid foods.
We’re going to tell you everything you need to know about your baby’s gut health, so you can give them the best start possible.
This article covers:
- Baby gut health development + timeline
- Controversy around how to introduce solids
- My own personal health story
- The benefits of our Starting Solids course for baby gut health
Baby Gut Development + Timeline
Within your baby’s earliest weeks of life, they are adjusting to human breast milk. Within the first six months of age, your breast milk provides all the health benefits your baby needs. However, as soon as your baby reaches that transitional phase where they start showing signs of developmental readiness for solids, they need a variety of foods to meet their nutrient needs.
Many parents go with the baby led weaning approach, where they introduce solid foods in bite-sized chunks and let their babies decide what they want to eat. Unfortunately, your baby’s gastrointestinal tract isn’t developed enough to handle solid pieces of food. This leads them to absorb fewer nutrients from the food. It can also harm the lining of the gut. In addition, your baby can develop food allergies because you are introducing solids too early before their gut is able to properly digest the foods.
With a lack on intention around starting solids, by the time your baby reaches nine to twelve months of age, their immune cells are damaged, they lack beneficial bacteria, and they have an increased risk of gut health issues.
Unfortunately, many parents experience this with their babies and have no idea why. That’s why it’s crucial in those early months of life to nurture the infant gut microbiome so that you can prevent gut issues entirely.
Babies need so many nutrients for proper growth and rapid brain development. They cannot afford to consume food that isn’t being digested. And this is why your baby’s gut health is crucial.
Starting Solids the Right Way for Gut Health
Introducing solids into your baby’s diet can be stressful with all the information that’s out there. Babies have extremely sensitive immune systems and aren’t developmentally ready to handle solids until at least nine months of age.
However, many parents dive into baby led weaning without knowing that solid food particles can damage their baby’s colon lining.
Due to a lack of good gut bacteria, their baby can develop colic, reflux, constipation, eczema and more. And still, pediatricians tell us that baby led weaning is okay, despite the overwhelming evidence that it destroys key gut bacterium.
This information leaves many parents confused about what to feed their baby during the first year of their life.
That’s why we stray away from baby led weaning and focus on pureed whole foods as your baby’s primary nutrition source. Unlike solid chunks of food, pureed foods support your baby’s gut microbiome and digestion. Pureed whole foods keep the balance of beneficial gut bacteria within the first nine months.
After nine months of age, you can start introducing soft finger foods into your baby’s diet. We go more in-depth on this topic in our Starting Solids Course!
Our course Starting Solids: A Gentle Approach to Introducing Real Food is a traditional, tried and true method to get your baby started on solid foods in a gut friendly way.
When I was diagnosed with MS, I began researching nutrition and discovered how vital essential nutrients are for a healthy microbiome. Once I had my baby, Nora, I wanted to give her the best overall health possible.
I know the only way to provide her with that was through digestible nutrients that would help her developing immune system. That’s why my husband and I created our Starting Solids Course to help parents break away from baby led weaning trend. We want to help you foster your baby’s gut and immune system development. I want parents to understand the importance of good nutrition, even at an early age.
Benefits of Our Starting Solids Course for Your Baby’s Gut Health
Our Starting Solids Course is beneficial to you as a parent because it gives you a step-by-step guide for introducing solid foods. For example, we walk you through the distinct phases of your baby’s gut and immune health.
Each phase of your baby’s first year is broken up into three parts, and we give you exact nutrient guidelines for maintaining a healthy gut microbiome during each stage.
If your baby is suffering from digestive issues, we can help with that, too! The best way to heal your baby’s gut is with nutrient-dense recipes that foster good gut health.
In addition, the best part about this course is that we teach you how to raise an adventurous eater who is willing to try new foods and enjoys them!
We know you don’t want to put your baby at a higher risk for developing future health issues due to a lack of good gut health. That’s why we’re here to help guide you through the process of feeding your baby so that you can be confident in what and how you feed your baby!
Still curious about the pros and cons of baby led weaning vs pureed baby food? Check out our full post Baby Led Weaning vs. Purees.