Reducing Your Child’s Risk of Autism and Related Disorders: Breastfeeding and Nutrient-Dense Foods for the Newborn Infant and Beyond, Part III

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In Part I and Part II in this series on reducing your child’s risk of autism and related health disorders, we discussed important aspects of how education and choices affect the potential for development of these syndromes during pre-conception, pregnancy, labor, birth and immediately following birth. 

In this segment, we will discuss the importance of breastfeeding and the mother’s consumption of a real food, organic, traditionally-based diet for its beneficial impact and protective qualities for the infant in reducing the emergence of autism and related auto-immune disorders including asthma, eczema, diabetes and obesity.  

If for some reason you are unable to breast feed, consider the important reasons to avoid commercial baby formula:

Commercial formulas contain synthetic fillers, chemicals, and nutrients added in, as well as dangerous industrial chemicals such as melamine – a synthetic chemical product that forms hard resins when combined with formaldehyde – and Perchlorate, a hazardous chemical used to produce rocket fuel.

Many commercial formulas also contain soy (even those not marketed specifically as soy formula), and processed, industrial soy is one of the worst things you can feed your child. Soy has been linked to neurological, reproductive, endocrine, and thyroid problems. Our family has avoided it for years ever since I became aware of the numerous dangers to our health.

Here are two recipes for nutrient-dense, home-made baby formula, from the Weston A. Price Foundation. These formulas contain critical  nutrients for infant development and growth and brain and immunity function including fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K2, conjugated linoleic acid, Omega 3 essential fatty acids, folic acid, minerals, enzymes and friendly bacteria or probiotics:

  • 2 cups whole raw cow’s milk, preferably from pasture-fed cows
  • 1/4 teaspoon acerola powder
  • 1-7/8 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 cup homemade liquid whey (See recipe for whey, below) Note: Do NOT use powdered whey or whey from making cheese (which will cause the formula to curdle). Use only homemade whey made from yoghurt, kefir or separated raw milk.
  • 4 tablespoons lactose
  • 1/4 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis
  • 2 or more tablespoons good quality cream (preferably not ultrapasteurized), more if you are using milk from Holstein cows
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored high-vitamin or high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon regular cod liver oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon high-vitamin butter oil (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon expeller-expressed sunflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons Frontier brand nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin

Milk should be raw, from pastured cows. If you cannot get raw milk, use organic whole milk (not ultra-high temperature pasteurized – UHT). Cod liver oil should be fermented, best brand is from Green Pasture. Real food can be fed to your baby as early as a few weeks after birth, but it needs to be in liquid form. All ingredients should be from organic or sustainable sources, if possible.

Liver-based formula, hypoallergenic for babies who have a true lactose intolerance:

  • 3-3/4 cups homemade beef or chicken broth
  • 2 ounces organic liver, cut into small pieces
  • 5 tablespoons lactose
  • 1/4 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis
  • 1/4 cup homemade liquid whey (See recipe for whey, below)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored high-vitamin or high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon regular cod liver oil
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sunflower oil
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon acerola powder

Recipe for whey (makes about 5 cups):

Homemade whey is easy to make from good quality plain yoghurt, or from raw or cultured milk. You will need a large strainer that rests over a bowl.

If you are using yoghurt, place 2 quarts in a strainer lined with a tea towel set over a bowl. Cover with a plate and leave at room temperature overnight. The whey will drip out into the bowl. Place whey in clean glass jars and store in the refrigerator.

If you are using raw or cultured milk, place 2 quarts of the milk in a glass container and leave at room temperature for 2-4 days until the milk separates into curds and whey. Pour into the strainer lined with a tea towel set over a bowl and cover with a plate. Leave at room temperature overnight. The whey will drip out into the bowl. Store in clean glass jars in the refrigerator.

Nutrition matters!

Contrary to popular belief, babies should not be made to wait to eat real food until they are 4 – 6 months old. This myth which has been promoted by the conventional medical system can cause substantial harm to the infant’s digestive tract. Grain-based cereals (including rice) promote digestive issues, causing drowsiness and longer periods of sleep, and detached behavior.

Withholding nutrient-dense foods like fats and proteins early on from an infant’s diet contributes to a variety of issues in addition to digestive disorders including the onset of food allergies and intolerances, weight problems and various others.  A diet high in carbohydrates early in an infant’s life lead to the development of insulin resistance and an underdeveloped digestive tract that is unable handle digestion of grains as the small intestine does not produce amylase – a necessary enzymes for absorption of grains.

According to The Environmental Illness Resource, children with abnormal gut flora due to poor diet and whose biological background foundation is also weak (from the parents)  “testing reveals some typical nutritional deficiencies in many important minerals, vitamins, essential fats, many amino-acids and other nutrients. The most common deficiencies, recorded in these patients, are in magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, calcium, manganese, sulphur, phosphorus, iron, potassium, vanadium, boron, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, A, D, folic acid, pantothenic acid, omega-3, 6, 9 fatty acids, taurine, alpha-ketoglutaric acid, glutathione and many other amino-acids. This usual list of nutritional deficiencies includes some most important nutrients for normal development and function of the child’s brain, immune system and the rest of the body.”

In Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, M.D. elaborates on the connection between a pathogen-filled, imbalanced environment in the gut and behavior abnormalities and autoimmune problems appearing in children.  She firmly believes “the child’s digestive system hold the key to the child’s mental development.”

Feeding your baby

When your infant has been consuming breast milk and/or home-made, nutrient dense formula, he or she can start eating more solid foods at ages 4 – 6 months.  Baby-led weaning is very important, so follow your baby’s needs. A great starter food is a egg yolks or soft-boiled egg from chickens on pasture. Babies need healthy fats, proteins, and cholesterol for growth and development. Eggs provide Omega 3s which are critical for brain and neurological development, as well as cardiovascular maintenance.

Children over age 6 months can start eating mashed up raw liver from a healthy grass-fed meat source combined with the egg. You can also introduce butter, raw milk, or home-made yogurt, kefir, or sour cream from raw milk.  If dairy is an issue for your baby (perhaps a casein allergy), try cultured veggie juices and pureed, fermented vegetables made at home after your infant has reached 6-8 months of age.

Making your own baby food at home is best, and foods your other family members eat can be utilized in various stages if they are pureed or mashed. After your baby has started eating some solid foods, be sure to include vegetables and mix them with butter, olive oil, ghee, or coconut oil for good fat-soluble vitamins to help your baby absorb nutrients in vegetables.

Wait until your infant is over age 10 months to introduce complex carbohydrates such as starchy vegetables like potatoes. Allowing his or her digestive system to mature and become healthy from consuming nutrient-dense foods like raw milk, yogurt, liver, grass-fed meats, and healthy fats like coconut and olive oil and butter will help prepare the body for digestion of other foods.

Soups and broths are extremely nutritious (broths more so in the stages where your child doesn’t yet have teeth) and can be a great vehicle for including a lot of nutrient-dense items like vegetables, other healthy meats like beef, pork and lamb, gelatin from a clean source (we use Vital Choice or Great Lakes gelatin), and home-made yogurt, kefir, or home-made sauerkraut or other lacto-fermented vegetables.

Beverages

Continue to give your child raw milk and filtered water, and home-made broths.  These beverages are healthy and provide not only hydrate your child but contain nutrients. Juice is nutritionally empty for the most part and should be avoided. Unless you are juicing your own at home with no added sugar with fruits AND vegetables, consuming too much juice – especially the commercial variety – can cause weight gain and digestive issues (again, think insulin spike).

Other nourishing beverages to consdier are fermented drinks like water kefir, kombucha, dairy kefir (if your child tolerates dairy), home-made infusions and herbal “teas” such as nettles, chamomile, and ginger. Here is a link to Susun Weed’s site showing how to prepare infusions. Probiotic beverages provide needed friendly bacteria or probiotics to your baby’s digestive tract and immune system as well as increase the nutrient value of the drinks your baby consumes. Herbal infusions have medicinal as well as nutritive properties and are a good source of minerals and some vitamins.

Make a nutrient-dense smoothie for your older baby or toddler, and you can add in a variety of wholesome ingredients that really pack a nutritional punch!

Other nutrient-dense beverages:

Fermented Lemonade

Fermented Cranberry Soda

Water Kefir

Grains

Grains are difficult to digest and should always be traditionally-prepared when they are introduced to the diet of a young child. Humans lack the enzyme amylase before the age of about 28 months in the digestive tract.  Soaked and sprouted grains have had phytic acid neutralized (a naturally-occurring anti-nutrient) to provide for greater absorption. Recommended: delay serving grains to your child until at least the age of two years.

Consuming grains too early and not traditionally-prepared can cause digestive symptoms including bloating, insulin spiking, weight gain, flatulence, abdominal cramping, picky eating preferences, constipation, and loose stools. It is common for parents to buy packaged crackers, cereals, breads, bagels, and snacks comprised of grains and other similar foods when babies are young. These products are traditionally prepared, are nutritionally-void, and are designed for convenience. They are processed with natural nutrients stripped out and synthetic added back in. Even organic varieties of these same foods sold at the store are to be avoided.

Digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating pain, colic, flatulence should not be considered normal. To keep your infant’s digestive tract and overall health profile optimal, feeding nutrient-dense foods at an early age is critical. Foods such as wheat and rice can induce both allergies and health issues since they easily penetrate the delicate lining of the underdeveloped intestinal wall which is not fully developed enough to digest these substances. The result is toxins that dump into the blood stream, which cause symptoms – from noticeable digestive issues, irritability, ADD, and ADHD to autism.

Resources for recipes and food ideas:

Nourished Beginnings Baby Food

Super Nutrition for Babies

Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care

Real Food for Mother and Baby, The Fertility Diet: Eating for Two, and Baby’s First Foods

Build a solid health foundation for your child!

A healthy foundation really can help you and your child avoid illness, colds, flus, digestive, endocrine, immune, and behavior disorders. Although there is no guarantee anything we do in this life will keep our children from ever getting sick or making sure they live to be 100, taking steps to do what we can to help prevent future problems and provide our children with the best possible chance to have a healthy future is really at the heart of what we do have control over as parents.

HealthMade Team

HealthMade Team

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