Having a baby is an amazing experience, as my wife recently wrote about online. It has its moments of joy and its moments of frustration too. One of the harder things this first year, has been ensuring that my daughter is gluten free for her first year. Given that I have a gluten intolerance, it is recommended that for the first year, my daughter also remain gluten free. So … no wheat, barley, rye, or any other gluten-filled food for her the whole year.
As my daughter approaches her first birthday, I’m letting out a sigh of relief because it hasn’t been so easy finding gluten free foods for her along the way. We make almost everything at home, and probably would anyway, regardless of GF. The trouble is that there are very few early pre-packaged foods for infants on the market. Even teething biscuits have gluten! And, although in reading the labels on jarred food doesn’t reveal any outright gluten ingredients, one can’t be too careful. It may be good if the big brands started having their food tested for gluten and labeling it as such. Maybe it is in the works – who knows. (Side note: my daughter never ate jarred food – she still rejects it all the time. She also doesn’t take a bottle either, and hates formula! I’m not sure it’s such a bad thing though.)
Here are some of the products that we’ve found along the way that are gluten free and have kept us going (in no particular order)…
- Baby Mum-Mum - these rice biscuits are great for babies who are starting to teeth. They melt in their mouths and are easy for them to hold and eat.
- Plum Organics Super Puffs - these aren’t listed as gluten free, but there are no gluten ingredients listed. We started these later in her first year. Since she can’t have a lot of the standard Gerber products, these were the next best choice. We wanted to be able to give her something she could grab and feed herself – a very important task for a little one.
- Ella’s Kitchen - these are all organic, prepackaged (and the packaging is really cool!) baby foods. Very good, very simple and just plain great for your baby. My daughter finally took to these towards the end of her first year. (It was nothing to do with Ella!, trust me)
- Healthy Times Rice Cereal - very easy to make, just add some warm water and you are good to go. My daughter has been enjoying this for dinner since she was about 4 months old.
- Mini Prep Food Processor – ok, so you can’t actually eat the processor! This is what I use to grind up things like cooked Bob’s Red Mill gluten free oatmeal, fresh blueberries, or pretty much anything else. It only takes a few minutes to grind up some steamed/cooked veggies, and your baby will love it.
As with anything and everything related to gluten free eating, check with your doctor to do what’s right for you and your family. Good luck and congratulations to all you new parents out there – it’s definitely a wild ride.