To make or buy good baby food is a good idea, because most supermarkets give you little choice and tend to wrap everything in plastic. WHO recommends breast milk for at least 6 months (up to 1 year) to help prevent type-1 diabetes. If you feed formula, speak to your dietitian or midwife as plant-based formulas need to be imported. If you feed dairy formula, 2 organic brands (for better animal welfare and health) are My Little Piccolo and Kendamil.
Else Nutrition has become the first company to launch an organic plant-based toddler nutrition formula made from almonds, buckwheat and tapioca. With a global patent, this tastes great, is free from dairy and soy, and also free from gluten, hormones, antibiotics, palm oil and corn syrup. Recommended by doctors and dietitians for toddlers age 12 and over (there are plans to make an infant formula soon), it’s also certified Kosher. See their FAQ for more info.
For weaning, do not feed nuts, seeds or nut/seed butters to young children, some medications ban green veggies and grapefruit. Cut carrot sticks/veggie hot dogs lengthwise then again, to avoid choking. Choose palm-oil-free vegan butters. See foods to keep away from pets.
The Best Brands of Baby Food
Around 50% of parents buy manufactured baby food, but First Steps Trust says many brands market to babies under 6 months (against WHO guidelines). Many are also high in sugar, and sold in plastic pouches. Here are some better brands on the market.
- Mamamade offers organic plant-based baby foods, choose from 35 meals for all stages of weaning. Example meals are blueberry banana lemon porridge, red pepper polenta fingers, broccoli red pepper & amaranth, mushroom black bean spinach and banana oat pancakes. The company works with nutritionists, to make sure all meals are properly balanced.
- Bellota Baby offers organic baby food, stored in glass jars. Everything is free from meat, fish, dairy and gluten, but some items use nuts and celery (clearly labelled). There are baby purees (butternut squash, mint pea, red lentil), porridge and gooey brownies for older children.
- Little Pasta Organic is a brand of organic Italian food, see jars for age ranges (some from 9 months plus). The range includes Asparagus Pasta Sauce (with peas, broad beans & mint), Pumpkin & Carrot (with onions & spices) and Spinach & Broccoli.
Make Your Own Baby Food
- The Big Book of Plant-Based Baby Food has 300 recipes including applesauce, garden veg & lentil mask, homemade teething biscuits and forager foods like sweet potato fries, strawberry raspberry muffins and whole wheat mac n cheese.
- Little Veggie Eats is a useful book for weaning, written by a vegetarian and mother of 3. This book includes creative advice to ensure nutritional needs are met, and over 60 wholesome recipes like Rainbow Pancakes, Breakfast Sushi & Baby Buddha Bowls.
- The Plant-Based Baby & Toddler includes a visual plate, and covers weaning, purees, picking eating and 50 recipes to age 3. Recipes include Cheezy Broccoli Trees and Red Lentil Pizza Strips. The authors are highly qualified dietitian nutritionists, with years of experience working on plant-based diets.