How to Introduce Solids with the Baby GAPS Diet

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This is my step by step guide on how to introduce solids with the baby GAPS diet. I love this method as it is so nourishing.

How to do baby GAPS diet

Introducing solids with the baby GAPS diet

When your little one is ready to finally start solids, it can feel overwhelming to know how to begin introducing food that will nourish your baby. Using the steps from Dr. Natasha’s GAPS book, here is a 10-week guide to help you know how to introduce solids with the baby GAPs diet. 

The GAPS diet is a traditional way of eating that is deeply nourishing, and many, many people have found relief from various health issues and symptoms by following GAPS. Did you know that Dr. Natasha also has a baby GAPS diet for starting babies on solids? I am a certified GAPS coach, and I’ve used Dr. Natasha’s baby GAPS with my kids with wonderful results.

If you’re new to the GAPS diet, you’ll want to read this post, The GAPS Diet Explained in a Nutshell here. You might also want to read about how the GAPS diet changed our lives here.

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Step by step guide on how to introduce solids with the baby GAPS diet

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What are the benefits of the Baby GAPS Diet?

Baby GAPS is a wonderful way to nourish any baby. Whenever is a baby is born to parents with known gut and psychology or gut and physiology syndrome health issues, whether past or present, I’ve found that starting with baby GAPS gives children the best chance at not having to struggle with the same health issues that their parents did.

Why I chose to use the Baby GAPS diet for my children

With my children, I prefer to start them off using the GAPs diet for several reasons, which are all discussed in Dr. Natasha’s book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome

  1. To give them the best start possible knowing the health issues we overcame as their parents
  2. Lay a solid foundation of savory foods like meat stock to help with healthy cravings as they grow. 
  3. Babies’ development rate in those first few years means that they deserve nutrient-rich food to help their brains develop a strong foundation. 

In that first year of life, the brain is developing at a rapid pace. It will grow to 80% of its adult size by age 3 and be formed entirely by the time your child is 5 (source). With that known, I like to feed my child nutrient-rich food that will help their brains develop as much as possible.

  1. Diets like the GAP diet are typically used to heal the gut from damage and toxins that are commonly found in foods today. If you start your baby on the GAPs diet, they have the opportunity to form a healthy digestive system from the very beginning.   

Tips to keep in mind

Before we discuss how to begin the baby GAPs diet, here are a few things I keep in mind when starting my babies on solids:

  • Try the sensitivity test before feeding anything. Before bed, take the food and rub it on the inside of their wrist and allow it to dry. If there is an ‘angry red or itchy mark’ in the morning, then your baby is not ready to ingest the food. 
  • Add in one food at a time. This is to make sure their bodies agree with each food and to help their digestive tracts adjust.
  • With fruit, I try to hold off on giving any to my children as long as possible. This is a personal preference but the fiber in fruit can be irritating to the gut, so keep that in mind when implementing this diet on your little one. Always look for signs of digestive issues/discomfort.
  • Dr. Natasha says to start slowly with this diet. I like to look at this ten-week guide as more of a roadmap to help you along the way. If you don’t introduce avocado until the fourth week instead of the third, it will be okay. Taking your time is better than going too quickly. Do what works best for you.
  • Do not use a microwave to heat foods because it changes the molecular structure of foods.
How to introduce solids with baby GAPS

How to make meat stock for baby GAPS

Ingredients:

  • Whole chicken plus chicken feet, necks, etc. if possible
  • 6-8 cups of filtered water
  • (optional) high-quality mineral salt like Baja Gold

The ratio for this recipe is always 1 pound of meat and pounds to 1 quart or 1 pint of water

Instructions:

  1. Place raw chicken in a stock pot and add water. This should be enough water to submerge the entire chicken. Adding some chicken feet is a bonus if you have them!
  2. On medium-high heat, bring the water to a boil and skim the scum.
  3. Let simmer for 2-3 hours. Save the meat for other meals and keep the stock for the baby’s bottle. 

How to make vegetable puree

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of homemade meat stock
  • 2 non-starchy vegetables like carrots, squashes, onions, broccoli
  • Natural fat like cod liver oil/tallow/ghee/unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Dice vegetables and add to a pot with meat stock.
  2. Bring to a boil cover and simmer for 6-8 minutes until the vegetables are soft. 
  3. Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth.
  4. Add 5-6 drops of unfiltered fat and mix in well.
  5. For extras, place them in ice cube trays and freeze them.
Baby GAPS step by step guide

10-Week Guide for How to Do the Baby GAPS Diet

People always ask me the best method for starting your baby with the GAPs diet. Here is the breakdown of how I recently introduced solids to my own children using the GAPS diet. 

Baby GAPS Diet Week One

  1. Introduce meat stock. 

Not only is this simple to make, but it can be fairly cost-effective since I like to make it with water and chicken raised on our farm. If you want to add salt, use good quality mineral salt and avoid table salt. Avoid any ingredients like onion or vegetables. Before each nursing, give the baby a few sips of meat stock (around 1-2 tsp) before nursing. Start off with once a day and slowly work it up to 5-6 tsp a day. 

  1. Fresh pressed vegetable juice mixed with water. 

Dr. Natasha recommends 1-2 tsp fresh pressed carrot juice to begin with between nursing. Try adding cabbage or celery or lettuce once they start enjoying the carrot juice. 

Baby GAPS Diet Week Two 

  1. Continue homemade meat stock and fresh pressed carrot juice and gradually increasing amounts. I like to still serve meat stock once a day and allow the baby to start to dictate how much they eat.  
  2. Add a few drops of probiotic foods to the homemade meat stock. Dr. Natasha recommends homemade whey from homemade yogurt or using the liquid (also known as brine) for the homemade sauerkraut. I recommend that most families start with whey from yogurt. If you’re not sure what to do, feel free to reach out to a GAPS practitioner or coach or ask in my Facebook group

Note: avoid kefir whey in the beginning as it can be too aggressive for your little one’s stomach at first.

  1. Begin serving vegetable puree. (See cooking directions above.) Start with 2-4 teaspoons and gradually increase.

Baby GAPS Diet Week Three

  1. Carry on with previous foods while you start incorporating cooked meat. I like to use the cooked meat from the meat stock, then puree with meat stock and serve. 
  2. Increase the liquid probiotic intake up to 1-2 teaspoons a day.
  3. Ripe avocado. This can be added to the vegetable puree or served with a spoon on its own- that’s up to you!
  4. I like to broaden the variety of fats as well during this week like different animal tallows, fresh unsalted butter, and different fish oils. 

Baby GAPS Diet Week Four and Five

  1. These weeks are when you can begin to introduce raw egg yolk, GAPS baby bottles, and cooked pureed apples. Cook some peeled apple in water until very soft, then mix with some fat. Start with a very small amount and watch for any symptoms or digestive distress. (As I said above, I personally wait on this step and don’t introduce fruit for my babies until after one year.)

Baby GAPS Diet Week Six and Seven

  1. This week’s primary goal is to get comfortable with serving all of the foods mentioned in the previous weeks. I like to use these weeks to begin increasing the servings 
  2. I find that these weeks is an increased interest in self-feeding with young kids. When this happens, I reduce the amount of blending that I do and start placing bite-size pieces of food on their tray. 
  3. These weeks Dr. Natasha recommends homemade kefir cream as well as having two raw egg yolks a day.

Baby GAPS Diet Week Eight and Nine

  1. Pancake made with nut butter, preferably fermented nut butter (see how I make homemade almond or hazelnut butter), squash, and eggs.
  2. Increase juices to include fruits as well as vegetables (I also wait on this step until after one year).
  3. Lettuce/peeled cucumber raw. I like to introduce fermented raw vegetables first so that kids can digest them easily, then try raw vegetables.

Every day is a GAPS bottle twice a day and meal times consist of little bits of meats, vegetables (cooked, fermented, and raw), kefir, avocado, and extra animal fat.

Baby GAPS Week Ten and Beyond

According to Dr. Natasha, these last few weeks are all about incorporating these last two meal types before serving your children full GAPS meals with the rest of your family. Here are some examples:

  1. Scrambled Eggs cooked in plenty of fat (lard, ghee, butter, duck fat, etc)
  2. Raw Fruit like peeled raw apples or banana (again, I find it works best for my kids to wait until after a year to introduce any fruit)
  3. Kefir Cheese is essentially the thick part of the kefir that’s leftover when making kefir whey. 
  4. Baked items on GAPS. This is more so during special celebrations, not for their daily needs. 

Baby GAPS diet considerations for bottle-fed and breastfed babies

  • 6 months is when we choose to introduce solids for my babies GAPS style. This is what Dr. Natasha also recommends for breastfed babies. For formula-fed babies, she says that you can start as early as 4 months.
  • Some foods may need to be introduced later and that’s okay! For example, we choose to wait on introducing fruit as long as possible so that our body can learn a healthy taste for non-sweet foods, as well as not aggravate symptoms such as digestive distress or skin rashes.
  • One strong indicator for parents to look out for when deciding on what foods to feed their child is how loose their stool is or constipation. When you see this with your child, then you will want to take that food out for a while, and try again later. In the meantime, be sure to focus on meat stock!
  • Be confident and relaxed in this process. Not only can babies sense when we are nervous when feeding kids, but this is such a special time that you both deserve to enjoy. 

Baby GAPS Diet Video Series

Check out my 10 part video series as I take my own baby through baby GAPS as he starts solids!

Baby GAPS diet recipes

How to Make a GAPS Diet Baby Bottle

Blended Carrot Soup

Meat Stock

Ready to nurture your little one with the Baby GAPS Diet?

What questions do you have about starting the Baby GAPS diet for your child’s health and well-being? Let us know in the comments!

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GAPS diet essential recipes free ebook

Want to work with Marisa, Certified GAPS Coach?

I offer a complete coaching package called Follow GAPS Academy. In this format, I guide clients through GAPS with lots of resources like instructional videos, a comprehensive strategy, and the package includes daily support from me to give you a personalized approach, answer all your questions, and help you have success following the protocol. You get lifetime access to the program materials and lifetime access to coaching support from me. You can sign up here to watch my free class on starting GAPS with more confidence and less confusion, and get more info and an invitation to join: bumblebee-apothecary.teachable.com/p/follow-gaps-academy  

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GAPS™ and Gut and Psychology Syndrome™ are the trademark and copyright of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

The information in this blog post is my personal experience and opinion. It is for general information purposes only, may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your physician’s medical care or advice. Always seek advice from your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding nutrition, medical conditions, and advice. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read on this blog.

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