A new day, a new food. And just as the introduction of egg yolk opened Isla’s world up to food much different from her diet of fruit and vegetables, her latest food took her yet another step in a new direction: grains.
Grains that are low in or free from gluten are recommended for nine- to 12-month-old babies. Quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet and oats – Isla’s latest food – are all good options. Oats are an excellent source of fibre and are rich in Vitamin E, B vitamins, and minerals, including iron, zinc and calcium. According to my naturopath, substantial growth and maturation of tissues occur at nine months. Foods containing iron and zinc are suggested at this age, including those that are high in fibre, which encourages good intestinal health.
Further, Nutritionist Kim Corrigan-Oliver of Your Green Baby recommends holding off introducing gluten-containing grains (such as wheat, barley, rye, spelt and kamut) until after your baby is 18 months. Her reasons include:
(1) The enzymes to properly digest gluten are not present in full amounts often until between 12 and 18 months;
(2) Introducing gluten-containing grains earlier risks increasing the chances of digestive distress; and
(3) Energy potentially spent on trying to digest difficult-to-digest gluten could be better spent on growth, development, immune system function, and general health and well being. Letting the digestive process be as easy and smooth as possible allows for maximum absorption of nutrients with little energy expended.
With this in mind, Isla recently got her first taste of organic oats, which are also considered a low-allergen food. To replace the coconut oil I usually mix in with Isla’s food, I used organic coconut milk instead, pureeing the cooked oats with the coconut milk to create a creamy, beautifully rich food.
To sweeten the deal, I mixed in some pureed, stewed, organic prunes to much fanfare – Isla loved the new taste and texture and had no negative reaction to the oats. Healthy grains, happy baby!