New Baby: How to have a healthy baby in a GAPS family. What to do in pre-conception, during pregnancy and when the baby is born in order to prevent problems such as autism, hyperactivity and attention deficit, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, epilepsy and more.
Your baby has arrived! Congratulations!
The first thing we need to think about is feeding.
Feeding your baby
I cannot emphasise strongly enough, how important it is to breastfeed your baby! Particularly in those first few days, when colostrum is produced.
If you cannot do it yourself, try to find a wet nurse or a breast milk donor: a good place to start looking for one is in your maternity ward before giving birth (if you arrived to the hospital in a planned fashion) or straight after giving birth. In order to insure good supply of breast milk for your baby, it is practical to look for 2-4 wet nurses or breast milk donors. Look for healthy women who live not too far away from you. Even in the case of formula feeding supplementing your baby’s diet with some breast milk (even occasional) will do wonders for your baby’s development and overall health. No commercial formula will ever get close to the quality of breast milk!
If you have no alternative but to feed your baby formula (even supplemented occasionally with breast milk), add good quality probiotics into every bottle feed right from the start.
Mastitis is an integral part of breastfeeding. Most breastfeeding women get it and not once. If the mother gets mastitis – the last thing she should do is to stop breastfeeding! Carry on feeding your baby with the inflamed breast as it will bring benefits for both you and the baby.
For you: emptying the breast regularly is an essential treatment for mastitis; you must not allow milk to stagnate in your breast.
For your baby: the infection from you breast is one of the fist nature’s ways of maturing your baby’s immune system. Babies are born with an immature immune system, which requires education. The environment educates your baby’s immune system by exposing it to common pathogens. Mastitis is a safe way to introduce common microbes into your baby’s body to train her immune system: the milk from the inflamed breast will supply these microbes in a complex with antibodies and many other immune factors, which will interact with your baby’s immune system and teach it the right response.
Mastitis creates very high temperature in the body: this is essential though can be hard to cope with! The high temperature allows the body to dissolve blockages in the milk ducts in the breast. Your baby suckling will remove those blockages. A qualified homeopath can help you with both the temperature and the mastitis. Freshly brewed willow tea or plain aspirin will also help you to cope with the high temperature.
Antibiotics are usually prescribed for mastitis. However, there is no consensus amongst medics if antibiotics really help: the important thing is to open up the blocked milk ducts, and your baby can do that for you very effectively. If you have to take antibiotics, carry on breastfeeding. Yes, your baby will be exposed to those antibiotics, but in a mixture with many protective immune factors in your milk. As the mastitis gets resolved your milk will restore normal balance in your baby’s digestive system.
For a bottle bed baby introduce solids from the age of 4 months. A breast fed baby can often wait till 6 months of age, unless it is a very hungry baby and you have to introduce solids earlier.
Solids should be introduced gradually, starting from just one very small meal a day. The rest of the meals should be breast milk or formula with some probiotic added.
• Start from meat stock. To make good meat stock, simmer a piece of meat on the bone (whole or half a chicken) for 2 - 3 hours without adding salt or anything else to the water. You can make fish stock the same way using a whole fish or fish fins, bones and heads. Take the bones and meat out and sieve the stock. It can be frozen or it will keep well in the fridge for a week. Start from warm homemade meat stock mixed with homemade yoghurt. Make sure to give breast only as a reward/top up after your infant had some meat stock with homemade yoghurt from a bottle, a spoon or a beaker. Start from 1-2 teaspoons of the stock with ½ a teaspoon of homemade yoghurt (mixed together) before every beast feed. As your baby accepts that amount, gradually increase it. Do not use commercially available soup stock granules or bullion cubes, they are highly processed and are full or detrimental ingredients. Chicken stock is particularly gentle on the stomach. Do not take fat out of the stock; it is important for your baby to have fat with it.
• Give your baby one or two teaspoons of freshly pressed vegetable juice (mainly carrot with a dash of cabbage, celery or lettuce) mixed with some warm water between meals. Do not give her any commercially available vegetable or fruit juices; she can only have juices freshly pressed by you at home. These juices do not keep: they need to be consumed within half an hour after pressing.
• Carry on with the previous.
• Start making vegetable soup or pure from peeled, de-seeded and well-cooked vegetables. Cook them in your homemade meat stock without adding salt or anything else. Use non – starch vegetables (no potato, sweet potato, yams or parsnips). Suitable vegetables are carrots, marrows, squashes, leeks, onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, and courgettes (peel and de-seed marrows, squashes and courgettes). Cook the vegetables well, until very soft, cool them down to warm and puree with a little of natural fat, choosing from: a teaspoon of organic coconut oil, a teaspoon of cold pressed olive oil, 5 drops of cod liver oil, a teaspoon of ghee (made by you from unsalted organic butter) or a teaspoon of raw organic butter (unsalted!). Give your baby different fats and oils on different days. When the vegetable pure cooled down to body temperature (test by putting a little on your wrist) add one teaspoon of homemade organic yoghurt. Start from 2-4 teaspoons of this pure a day and gradually increase the amount. Start from quite a liquid pure and gradually increase its thickness.
• Carry on with the previous.
• Start adding boiled meats (cooked for a long time in water and then pureed) into your baby’s vegetable soups and puree. Start from a small bit of organic chicken, gradually increase: make sure to put meat and skin from wings, legs and carcass as well as from the breast of the chicken (skin, brown meats and all the fatty bits are the most valuable for your baby). After organic chicken introduce other meats (preferably gelatinous around bones and joints) well cooked in water. The most suitable meats are the ones you used for making the meat stock: well-cooked and gelatinous.
• Keep replacing her formula milk with the soups and vegetable pure. If breast feeding, carry on topping up with breast milk after every feed.
• Increase the amount of homemade yoghurt to 1-2 teaspoons with every meal.
• Introduce ripe avocado starting from a teaspoon added to her vegetable pure. Gradually increase the amount.
• Increase her intake of freshly pressed vegetable juice (mixed with water), particularly lettuce and cabbage juice added to the carrot.
Weeks 4 and 5:
• Carry on with the previous.
• Start adding raw organic egg yolk into her vegetable pure. Start from ¼ teaspoon of raw egg yolk a day. Watch for any reaction. If there is none gradually increase the amount of raw egg yolk and start adding it to every bowl of soup or vegetable pure.
• If all the previous foods are well tolerated try to add cooked apple as an apple pure: peel and core ripe cooking apples and stew them with a bit of water until soft. When cooked add some butter, coconut oil or ghee to it. This apple pure will keep very well in the fridge for at least a week or it can be frozen. Warm it up to body temperature (or at least room temperature) before giving it to your baby. Start from a few teaspoonfuls a day. Watch for any reaction such as loose stool. If there is none gradually increase the amount. Do not use microwave ovens for warming up or cooking, as microwaves destroy food. Use conventional stove or oven for warming up; an apple puree you can warm up by standing the dish in some hot water.
• Use more organic raw unsalted butter in your baby’s meals instead of ghee.
Weeks 6 and 7:
• Carry on with the previous.
• Increase the amount of homemade yoghurt to 3 teaspoons with every meal. You can start adding it to your baby’s juice and water in her bottle.
• Gradually increase raw egg yolks to 2 a day added to your baby’s soup or cups of meat stock. Increase the meat intake, particularly gelatinous meats around joints and bones (well cooked in water).
• Stop the milk formula completely. If breast-fed, then carry on.
Weeks 8 and 9:
• Carry on with the previous.
• Add pancakes made with nut butter (almond butter or hazelnut butter), courgette or squash (peeled and blended) and eggs, starting from one small pancake a day and gradually increasing the amount. Fry them gently using ghee, coconut oil or any animal fat (which you rendered yourself from fresh meats).
• Increase the amount of freshly pressed juices. Add some yoghurt to the juice. Try to add some fresh apple to the vegetable mixture.
• Add raw vegetables starting from lettuce and peeled cucumber (blended in a food processor and added to soup or vegetable pure). Again start from a tiny amount and gradually increase if well tolerated. After those two vegetables are well tolerated gradually add other raw vegetables: carrot, celery, soft cabbage, etc., finely blended.
• Introduce juice from your homemade sauerkraut, starting from one teaspoon of juice per day, squeezed from the sauerkraut and added to your baby’s soups and vegetable puree. Gradually increase the amount of juice per day to one teaspoon with every meal.
Week 10 and onwards:
• Carry on with the previous.
• Try to give your baby a little bit of egg gently scrambled (or an omelette) with a generous amount of raw butter, coconut oil, ghee or any animal fat, which you rendered yourself. Serve it with avocado and raw or cooked vegetables.
• Try some ripe raw apple without the skin. Try some ripe banana (yellow with brown spots on the skin). Fruit should be given to your baby between meals, not with meats.
• Introduce your homemade cottage cheese (made from your homemade yoghurt) starting from a tiny amount and gradually increasing. To make cottage cheese from your yoghurt stand the pan with the yoghurt in a large bowl with hot water until yoghurt separates into curds and whey. Line a large bowl with cheese cloth, pour the yoghurt into it, tie the corners of the cheese cloth together and hang it for about 8 hours to drip (over night works well). You can add this cottage cheese into your baby’s meals or give it to her as a dessert with a little of cold expressed honey. When this homemade cottage cheese is fully introduced, try some raw milk.
• Try to bake bread using recipes in my book. Start from a tiny piece of bread and gradually increase the amount.
You may have to introduce some foods later than in this programme depending on your baby’s sensitivities. The best indication is your baby’s stool: if she gets loose stool or constipation, take it as an indication, that she is not ready for the newly introduced food. Remove it from the diet, wait for a few weeks, then try to introduce it again. Another common reaction is any new skin rash or an eczema flare-up. If there is a serious reaction to your homemade yoghurt, try to drip it and collect whey (the yellow liquid which drips out). Whey has less dairy proteins and is more easily tolerated; start from a few drops of whey a day and gradually increase the amount. When about half a cup of whey is well-tolerated introduce yoghurt.
When weaning your baby, be confident and relaxed, as babies are like barometers: they sense our anxiety without words and will react accordingly. If your baby has refused a particular food now, try an hour later or tomorrow. Choose times when you are not in a hurry and can be happy and relaxed. From the beginning embrace the wonderful mess of baby feeding: put a plastic sheet on the floor under your baby’s chair and don’t worry about where the food may fly. Always have two spoons: give one spoon to your baby and let her do with this spoon whatever she wants. Hold the second spoon yourself and use it for feeding. Over time your baby will learn to use her spoon appropriately.
The stage of baby weaning is so short: enjoy it while you can!
Apart from feeding
Apart from good food your baby needs your loving attention, daily walks in the fresh air and good sleep. Nothing else! No vaccinations, no injections, no tests, no unnecessary visits to doctors and no man-made chemicals.
About vaccinations please read the relevant chapter in the GAPS book. Babies in GAPS families must not be vaccinated until they have developed strong immune systems and good physical and communication skills: this means no vaccines until the child is 4-5 years of age. Even then, if you have to vaccinate, make sure that your child is absolutely healthy and well at the time of the vaccination. Ask to see the ingredients list of the vaccine and demand that they are explained to you. Try to avoid combined vaccines, look for single alternatives.
Avoid all man-made chemicals in your baby’s care! No personal care products, even those that are claimed to be natural. Babies do not need to be washed with any soap or shampoo. Clean warm water is all they need. Soaps wash off protective oils from the baby’s skin and expose it to drying out and invasion by pathogens. Use coconut oil, olive oil and your homemade yoghurt and kefir on nappy area or any dry skin.
Make sure that your home is as chemical free as possible: use water and vinegar to clean your house, natural bio-degradable laundry detergents and wash your baby’s dishes by hand (rinsing the soap off thoroughly). In the first year of your baby’s life try not to re-decorate your house or buy new furniture, new kitchen, etc. These things bring a plethora of toxic chemicals into the house which may effect your baby’s development. Avoid taking your baby to toxic places, such as chlorinated swimming pools, shopping centres and hospitals. Do not allow anybody to smoke around your baby or use excessive amounts of perfume.
Use natural bedding for your baby. Wrap your baby’s mattress in a plastic sheet: if urine gets into some modern mattresses (particularly an old mattress left from your previous child), it may react with microbes and chemical ingredients in the mattress and release toxic gases (the cause of cot death!).
On the whole, think what man-made chemicals, radiation or any other environmental dangers your baby may be exposed to and avoid them.