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Babies First Foods: Acid Reflux Relief for Infants [E012]

newborn babyDo’s and don’ts with first foods your newborn should have in their diet. Pediatric and Prenatal Specialist, Dr. Whitney Hamed, helps you discover what you can do to provide acid reflux relief and avoid colic many infants experience. Get ahead of the game by introducing these specific foods into your babies day to day foods.

Table of Contents

An Introduction to Acid Reflux Relief

Dr. Bryan: Welcome to The Wellness Connection podcast, giving hope, igniting health, and shaping a brighter future. It’s time to get connected.

Dr. Bryan: All right, welcome, again. We are back live with The Wellness Connection podcast or The Wellness Connection show, and we have a very, very … I think it’ll be fun and entertaining episode to share with a lot of baby mamas. Right? I am with pediatric and prenatal specialist, Dr. Whitney Hamed once again, so welcome, Whitney.

Dr. Whitney: Thank you. Good to be back.

Dr. Bryan: And I shouldn’t, I guess I shouldn’t just say baby mamas. We got baby daddies, we got grandparents, we got big siblings, or anybody that really is going to be around little kids. This episode will be very important for you to pay attention to because I remember the feeling when I had our first baby, I was walking out of the hospital thinking, “Gosh, there’s no instruction manual,” right? There’s no … Like what now? I got this little living creature, and no one told me exactly what the next steps would be for this little baby, and I know I’m not alone. Right?

Dr. Whitney: Right. Absolutely.

Dr. Bryan: So what we want to do today is share some of the dos and don’ts right out of the gates from a health perspective for a baby, especially as it relates to food. Dr. Whitney’s had a great opportunity to study over the last 20 years this subject matter, and so we’re going to try to summarize some things in the next 20 minutes that might be of value to you and those that also have young babies. So, Dr. Whitney.

Dr. Whitney: Yes.

Recommended First Foods for Infants

Dr. Bryan: Let’s dive right in. Let’s start off with, you had shared that there are some common first foods that are recommended, and I guess I would want to know what they really could be and then why some of the ones that typically people would eat may not be the greatest ones for them to choose.

Breastfeed vs. Formula: Which to choose first?

Dr. Whitney: Absolutely. So I want to start from the perspective of where we come from when we leave the hospital. So, we go home, and it’s pretty easy at first. We’re either choosing to breastfeed or we’re choosing a formula. And what happens is, is I know our minds, as parents, within 30 days, we’re already thinking next step, right? Ooh, when are foods coming? What am I going to introduce? What should I do first? And so we might be already talking to our pediatrician or looking on websites.

Dr. Bryan: I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but I’m going to tell you. Like the first thought that I actually had was, “How the heck do I buckle a kid in a car seat?” when I was going home.

Dr. Whitney: True. Okay, other than buckling and how do I change a diaper, right?

Dr. Bryan: Right.

The science behind

Dr. Whitney: We tend to jump ahead, and so we might start doing those research or asking those questions, and then we might start getting confused. So let’s talk about first just the science behind … I’m going to give you two facts on the science, and then when I talk about foods, it’s going to be so much easier to understand.

Dr. Whitney: Here’s the two facts, is you got to think about, whether you choose to breastfeed or not, I understand there’s all kinds of circumstances and conditions, but you’ve got to think about what breast milk contains: proteins and fats. It’s the highest content of protein and fat, and that’s what your baby is designed to digest. So we think about as adults keto and paleo, and how it’s worked for some of us, and it’s so good. Maybe we’ve lost weight, our digestion’s improved. That’s what we’re designed to do from birth, and where are we get in trouble sometimes is the processed carbohydrates and sugar content. Then the second thing is leaky gut.

Breastfeed vs. Formula feeding: Latest stats

Dr. Whitney: So behind the scenes, for all those nutrients to get to the baby’s bloodstream that it needs, the vitamins and minerals that it’s depending on, they have a porous leaky gut. Now, as adults, we think that’s a bad thing, but actually, in babies, that porous gut is there so everything can get absorbed. Then I can go on to foods, but any questions about that or any comments?

Dr. Bryan: Yes. Just to make sure that’s really clear, is … So I would just assume that … Do you have any idea what percentage of women typically breastfeed versus formula feed?

Dr. Whitney: Right. So we’re at about a 60% rate of women getting to the first one to two months. So we’d love to see that higher as far as the benefits of breastfeeding, so we’re … Six months is usually about the minimum, but it’s a lower percentage, 50 to 60 percent in those first two months.

Dr. Bryan: So let’s back up a second ago. So from some of the things that you just said a second ago, I guess the big takeaway is there’s a ton of value to breastfeeding.

Dr. Whitney: Right.

Dr. Bryan: And typically the first food that an infant or a little baby might get in most instances may not be breast milk.

Dr. Whitney: Right. So then what we’re looking at, and I’ll go into the first don’t of foods, is where I see a lot of issues with the colic and the acid reflux relief sometimes are the incompatibility with formula, and the reason being, oftentimes it’s the high casein. So when you look at breast milk, it’s higher in whey than casein, but formula’s just the opposite.

Rice and oats: Not great as first foods

Dr. Whitney: It also has a lot of sugar and carbohydrates. So when we look at that and the incompatibilities or the digestive issues infants tend to go through with that, and how I know that in real life is moms are coming to me or friends are saying, “Oh, my gosh, I’ve switched formula five times. I can’t find the right one.” Right? And there’s issues with breast milk, especially too if the mom has allergenic foods crossing over, but

Dr. Whitney: So let’s go, let’s talk about that first food that in my mind, and I’ll tell you why, is a don’t: rice and oats.

Dr. Bryan: Wait, rice and oats are not a good food?

Dr. Whitney: Not a great first food.

Dr. Bryan: And are those common foods that a lot of babies get exposed to?

Dr. Whitney: Yes. Yes.

Dr. Bryan: Like because are those showing up in formulas? Or where … Why-

Dr. Whitney: It’s showing up in formulas, but it’s the first recommendation oftentimes a traditional pediatrician will give, or you’ll find on a lot of your conventional mom-based websites.

Dr. Bryan: Really? Okay.

The science behind

Dr. Whitney: So again, going back to that science behind digestion, the breast milk is formulated with lots of proteins and fats, and then the first food conventionally we’re told her introduce at anywhere from four to six months is carbohydrates, rice, oats. And so the fact behind that is this: unless your kiddo has a full set of teeth at six months, which is usually not the case, if ever, right?

Dr. Bryan: No, not unless they’re Dracula.

Dr. Whitney: Is there’s no amylase, so what I mean by that is the teeth cause the saliva then to produce the amylase to break down the carbohydrate, right? Even if it’s rice-based, non-allergenic, no gluten, right? It’s still not digested properly when it hits the stomach, and then therefore a lot of digestive issues or allergy problems can occur. We can talk about those signs and symptoms later.

Dr. Bryan: So if they’re not supposed to have those as some of their first foods, where would you turn somebody towards? Like what would be some recommendations for their first foods?

Great First Foods for Babies

Dr. Whitney: Yes, I have three great ones. Actually, four to start. So let’s talk about fruits that naturally have amylase, bananas. So those ripe bananas sitting on your counter-top with the brown spots have more amylase than your saliva so that baby can digest. So like for Reese, my first, and for Carmen, we introduced a lot of avocado and banana purees. Yes.

Dr. Bryan: I remember seeing more of it go on their face than actually in their mouth.

Dr. Whitney: Yes. And it’s changed, though. So now-

Dr. Bryan: Baby food all over the place.

Dr. Whitney: Right. There’s a technique or a strategy out there now for babies where things are chopped up really, really small into soft, soft pieces, and so babies are doing it themselves now. So purees are actually used for a very short period of time. So we could have chopped up those avocados and bananas really small and just did it that way. Right?

Avocados, Bananas, Egg yolks

Dr. Whitney: So the Avocados, the bananas, egg yolks. Egg yolks are great. Boiled or poached egg yolks are great because again, that protein and that fat content. And then one more because you’ve got to remember this with Carmen. Carmen dealt with … This is Bryan’s first … dealt with a lot of eczema issues.

Dr. Whitney: And Olivia being … her parents being from Poland, soups and broths, bone broths, chicken broths were big, and very healing, and first foods in Poland. That’s what Olivia would fix for Carmen with different vegetables and bones to all, of course, puree down, but she would give those healing broths for Carmen, for her skin and her digestive system.

Dr. Bryan: Very interesting. I … two things. Number one is we should probably not record in these episodes right before lunch anymore because it makes you hungry.

Dr. Whitney: Right, right.

“Food is messy”

Dr. Bryan: But then second of all is, you know, gosh, I’m jumping the gun a little bit to like the first birthday for most kids too, because you’re talking about all these different foods that can be pureed that they eat, but I just have this vision of babies smearing their bibs and their hands and their face, and then they got their cupcake, and they got food all over the place. So, I’m sure every parent has dealt with that. Food is messy, whether it’s blended up or not. Right?

Dr. Whitney: Right, right.

Dr. Bryan: But those are some great, great, great food items that some people may not know that those are foods to introduce. What are you seeing, like in terms of formula? Right. Let me just take a sidebar for a second. Why do you find so many people take the route of actually using formulas to feed babies? And then in your opinion, do you feel like that’s a good thing or that can lead to some problems if not done right?

Why Women Choose Formula Drink More

Dr. Whitney: I have to say, here’s … And again, it goes back to the science. Why do parents choose that? Why are we seeing a trend in that direction more? I think, and this goes back down to how women are supported, we have a hard time, especially as working mothers, is being able to breastfeed and go back to work and continue to do that. We may not have companies. Now of course, here at The Wellness Connection, all of us who have babies have breastfed for a year because we had an environment that supported us-

Dr. Bryan: Got it.

Dr. Whitney: … an environment for us to take breaks or go home at lunch to feed our babies, do different things, be creative, and we all supported each other. So if women aren’t supported, like I feel like we aren’t in our country, that becomes very hard. Then there may be other health conditions like thyroid issues. There may be imbalances that a mom has where she can’t produce, and then there’s other physical or anatomical issues. But I think on a whole, the thyroid and then women not having the flexibility and support to be able to do it past one to two months is really where it lies.

Social stigma prevents breastfeeding

Dr. Bryan: That’s interesting that you say that, and it’s so true, but there’s social … I want to say inadequacies, or that make it feel like it’s not acceptable for you to be able to do something that nature intended. Right?

Dr. Whitney: Yes, yes.

Dr. Bryan: Because at the end of the day, it’s way cheaper when you’re nursing because it’s free in most instances, and I know like you just said, people that have thyroid issues or other anatomical issues may not be able to nurse, and that that is understandable, but for the vast majority of people, maybe their environment just doesn’t support that or allow them to take advantage of nature’s best first food.

Dr. Whitney: Absolute. And total side note, I listened to some really interesting information. Talk about prevention of orthodontistry, not that I’m against orthodontistry. I’ve got two kids in braces right now, but what breastfeeding can do for the palate and the mouth and just the normal structures of the cranial facial area. So I’m not saying that it’ll prevent all braces, but it can help, especially avoiding expanders and things like that. So there are … You’ve probably read the list before, if you’re into natural health or looking at that, but there’s so many benefits, and even just the physical benefits of nursing and then getting into solid foods and letting them sooner than later getting away from purees and going to those, so they can use their sensory and motor skills and their mouth and really using their whole body to eat.

Throwback episode: Raising Healthy Kids

Dr. Bryan: So a while back, several weeks ago, I think we recorded an episode. I think it’s four, on raising healthy kids. So if you’re already at the stage where you have children that are a little bit older and you’re wanting to know how to help raise them in terms of a healthy approach, then that may be the right episode for you, but for those of you that are still with newborns or in that baby phase, let’s go a little deeper here.

Introducing First Foods For Babies: The Proper Way

Dr. Bryan: How do you begin to introduce some of these foods for these babies, and then what are some signs to look for if your baby might be intolerant or sensitive to some of the products or the ingredients or foods that you’re recommending?

Dr. Whitney: Yes, I love this one, and I do not feel like this is out on the websites right now. At least what I was researching and making sure that all the information I have, I’ve done for all these years is up to date, is that when you’re introducing, you have got to be like a doctor for your child, like an investigator.

Dr. Whitney: So you introduce that avocado. What I would suggest when you introduce a new food, and if it’s from the beginning or if it’s three months later you’re introducing a new food, wait three to four days before you introduce it again. Reason being is that over the course of that three to four days, you can look for signs. You can look for skin breakouts, and it could be anywhere on the body, including in the diaper area. You could look for runny noses. You could look for, all of a sudden, why are we tugging at our ears?

Dr. Bryan: And those are signs of what?

Dr. Whitney: Food sensitivities or food allergies.

Dr. Bryan: Okay, meaning that-

Dr. Whitney: Intolerances.

Dr. Bryan: Okay. So the baby’s not agreeing with these things.

Common cues before introducing a new food

Dr. Whitney: Correct. Tummy problems, like all of the sudden your baby’s constipated for two days. So looking at these signs and symptoms before you introduce a new food. Now, you introduce an egg yolk. That’s a common one. More parents will see an issue, and you introduce it again, and you’re like, “Yep, that’s it. I know that’s the problem.” Wait three months, wait four months, and you might be surprised how that food agrees again. So waiting three to four days, and then trying again in three to four months if it wasn’t compatible, and looking for the skin or digestive signs.

Dr. Bryan: Okay. Well, there are so many instances where babies actually … And you’ve seen a lot of them in practice, that come in with different rashes or different breakouts of their skin, like what you just mentioned, or even parents that are saying like, “It appears my baby’s so colicky or having different issues.” Can some of those really be related to the foods that they’re feeding them?

Early Causes of Acid Reflux among Babies

Dr. Whitney: Yes, it can be, and I like to start with acid reflux from the beginning, because acid reflux relief usually shows up before solids are introduced. So if you’ve got a baby, if you’re listening and that baby has acid reflux relief, just be aware and be cautious. What I could say is get to the cause of the problem. Why? Because already digestive issues are brewing, and more could brew in the future, and it may not always look like acid reflux relief. It might look like food intolerances, food sensitivities, allergies, digestive issues. So getting to the core of, why is the stomach refluxing? And there’s two main reasons for that. One is the stomach … We really aren’t designed [inaudible 00:15:26] just because we’re producing more acid than we should. That’s not really the issue. That’s never been found in research.

Dr. Whitney: There’s two issues with acid reflux relief. It’s the incompatibilities of maybe the formula, maybe the casein or the carbohydrates in the formula, or something mom is eating that’s aggravating the baby, and it’s not digesting properly in the stomach. The acid is there, but it’s not doing its job, and then what happens sometimes is that little flap that keeps the stomach closed opens up and then the acid reflux relief happened, which is a very burning and very uncomfortable for a baby. For you moms out there, you know, and dads, it’s sleepless nights over and over and over.

Healthy gut is the key

Dr. Bryan: Here’s what’s wild. You fast forward that life. We’ve all heard that statement of if the gut is not healthy, you won’t be healthy.

Dr. Whitney: Right.

Dr. Bryan: And so frequently, just because of the way that we begin to feed our children right out of the gates, it sets us up for failure where the little baby or the little child’s intestinal track is leading into things, as you mentioned earlier, like leaky gut or other inflammatory conditions or concerns right out of the gate. And then you fast forward, like that poor kid has a poor foundation for the rest of their life to try to repair, and those oftentimes are the same kids that later develop asthma-

Dr. Whitney: Yes.

Dr. Bryan: … allergies-

Dr. Whitney: Yes.

Dr. Bryan: … sinus issues, and the list of health concerns as they age keep going because they never had a healthy gut.

Dr. Whitney: Right, and it starts from the beginning, and those are some of my favorite cases to take care of here in the office and helping parents find that whole approach that will help them because, wow, we are really getting … Because here’s another thing: if they’re on the acid reflux relief meds for too long, science and research has shown those babies, those kids, are more prone to infections of the gut, whether it’s SIBO or C. diff. If you know about the gut stuff and you’ve heard about these things, basically the wrong bacteria in the wrong places.

Dr. Bryan: So how can we keep this simple for parents? So you’re already overwhelmed when you bring home a new baby from the hospital.

Dr. Whitney: Right.

It all boils down to preparation

Dr. Bryan: You already have a million little shower toys that have come in in the baby showers, and then you got all these clunky new items in your house, and I’ve been through this several times also, so I know I’m speaking from experience. But when we’re trying to make sure that we’re on the right track for parents to do the right thing for their babies, how can they make preparation in the foods simple? Like how can they do that in your opinion?

Dr. Whitney: I definitely evolved over time with prep, and I hope to share this. It was, in the beginning, it was, again, researching three months ahead of time. All right, I’m going to buy all the organic veggies and fruits and this and that, and I’m going to cook them and puree them and freeze them into ice cubes. I’m not saying you can’t do that, and if you have the time to do it, great.

Keep preparation as simple as possible

Dr. Whitney: By the fourth one, what I was doing is what’s now a trend, which is taking the foods I’m cooking for dinner, of course, not adding the spices and seasoning. The sweet potato, the squash, the green beans, the rice when they’re ready, and I’m just mashing those into small pieces and using those over about a two day period so they contain the nutrients, or doing a soup and making sure that the child is ready and at that time can eat the soup or the broth.

Dr. Whitney: So just keeping it simple and cooking as you’re cooking within the guidelines of what are the best foods. But again, you can do the purees, you can do the whole day preparation, freezing, and doing all of that too into small bite-size pieces and having that ready for your week. Either way is fine. I can just tell you, with a busier life, cooking as I’m cooking and then giving my child that was much easier.

Dr. Bryan: Does the food have to be organic, or does it matter if they choose any kind of sweet potato or any kind of banana?

Does is have to be organic?

Dr. Whitney: Great question. It’s all about where is your priority. So we know with organic, no, we still cannot avoid every pesticide and every bit of roundup and all the things that are in our environment. At the same time, it’s a cleaner food, so a lot of parents, including myself, have chose to go organic to try to keep those foods as clean as possible. So if you can, and if it’s in your budget, and you can all look up the list of the dirty dozen. I won’t name it now or take the time to do that, but just look up, okay, what’s the dirty dozen? Can I go organic for at least those?

Dr. Bryan: So I think … You’ve said this a lot. I’ve heard you say it to a lot of moms. You got to have fun with your food, right? You got to-

Dr. Whitney: Right.

Dr. Bryan: Just because you’re trying to improve the health of your child’s life and your family’s life and your life, do not obsess and go crazy and go overboard to the point where it’s owning your life and you’ve robbed the fun from eating because eating should be fun. Grocery shopping can be fun. Preparation can be fun.

Getting Fundamentals in Place: Top 7 List

Dr. Bryan: It’s just, can we get some of the fundamentals in place so that we’re actually giving our families a good opportunity to be well, right?

Dr. Whitney: Absolutely. So I’d love to go through that top seven list before we wrap up with our final questions today because there are a few more on the list that are amazing, so let me go through those real quick one more time. So we have the avocados. You’ve got the ripe bananas. You can mix those, especially once you know your baby tolerates those. We’ve got the egg yolk. We’ve got any kind of broth-based soup, which you could add veggies to. Meat.

Dr. Whitney: Last one for moms. Meat is a big one. Our babies are designed, when they’re at the appropriate age, six to eight months, to digest little bits of meat. So what moms can do is take your meat that you’ve cooked without spices, chew it up in your mouth a little bit, enough where you know it’s a safe piece for your baby, and plop it right down. Then your baby can eat that, and it’s already pre-digested for them.

Dr. Bryan: You know what’s hilarious? That’s how birds feed.

Dr. Whitney: Yes. Right? Yeah.

Dr. Bryan: Like animals do this.

Chew it up: Pre-digesting meat for babies

Dr. Whitney: Right, like how easy is that? Chew a little bit of your food, give it to your baby. And then of course, veggies that need to be mashed or pureed, and then fruits. So the last two, fruits, is just be careful with those. Once your baby gets a hold of something sweet and those taste buds have kicked in, they’re going to want the sweet and not the veggies, so really balance that out. Try to do veggies first, then fruits, and be little more minimalistic on your fruits as you know your baby has a good palate for vegetables, and last one: soaked rice.

Dr. Whitney: When your baby has those teeth and you’re seeing several teeth in the mouth is, take your rice, take some conventional organic rice, cook it up, add a tablespoon of coconut oil or avocado oil, mix it up really good, and put it in your fridge overnight. What that does is it makes it a prebiotic. So you’re giving your baby some of those good bacteria that have soaked in the rice overnight, but it has to soak then, and it’s more digestible for your baby. So those are the top seven

Make Feeding Fun

Dr. Bryan: Some solid dos and don’ts for baby’s first foods. Is there anything else on this topic that you would like to share that is relevant to making sure that we get off to the right start for a child?

Dr. Whitney: You know, I would just say, if you can make … In those first six months, if you can make it, like Bryan said, fun, but if you can also make it a priority, you’re going to just feel so good about, hey, I know that I am helping my baby’s digestive system, and really, their health the rest of their life. So take and invest in those first six months, and if you are seeing digestive difficulties or issues, yes, you can talk to your pediatrician, but you can also talk to other natural minded healthcare practitioners like a nutritionist, a chiropractor, people who have practiced this usually with their own kids too, which is refreshing.

Closing Thoughts on Acid Reflux Relief

Dr. Bryan: So in closing thoughts, when you say make it fun, I remember … You’ll remember this … when are our firstborns were young, we used to take some of these foods, blend them up, and it was a while before our kids really knew what real ice cream or any type of like sweet was, so we would actually freeze these things, and actually some of them would be flavored and colored, not with any artificial coloring, but to make it look like it was ice cream.

Dr. Whitney: Yes.

Dr. Bryan: And we would do our smoothies and whatnot. We would blend them up.

Dr. Whitney: Yes. Yes.

Dr. Bryan: And then we would freeze them and give the kids a spoon, and while everybody else was experiencing this thing called a milkshake or ice cream that was made out of too much sugar and maybe the wrong milks, our kids had smoothies that were made up of like a lot of vegetables and different great products, but they didn’t know the difference.

Dr. Whitney: No, they didn’t.

Dr. Bryan: And this is not trickery or trying to like-

Dr. Whitney: They didn’t for a very long time.

Dr. Bryan: So let me say this. Hopefully you found some value in today’s conversation, and yeah, you maybe, as I said in the beginning, maybe you’re not a baby mama. Maybe this is not the episode that is the most relevant to you. But I promise you, you probably know someone that’s either pregnant, someone that actually just had a baby, or maybe you’re a grandparent and you know your kids are going to have their first child.

Share this episode!

Dr. Bryan: If you know somebody that you think this would benefit and this message would be valuable for them to hear, then share it with them please, because that’s the whole intention behind what we’re doing right now. It’s just, we worked in an environment of a seven to 10 mile radius for many years, and people across the country started asking us more questions, and so this format is allowing us to answer questions for more people. With your help, we’re able to help more people. So if you found this valuable, you can go to That’s where this will be living. And now you may have some solid dos and don’ts for the next baby that is in your world, so thank you, Dr. Whitney.

Dr. Whitney: You’re welcome.

Dr. Bryan: And until next time, I’m Dr. Bryan. We’re out.

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