The Paleo diet and your baby

The Paleo diet, also known as the ‘caveman diet’, is based on the food our ancient ancestors might likely have eaten, such as lean meat, vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds. It excludes dairy, whole grains and legumes, and highly processed food.

There has been some recent attention in the press about a cookbook that promotes a Paleo diet for babies and toddlers, including a recipe for homemade infant formula. There is also a growing amount of information about the Paleo diet being shared online.

A paleo style diet is not suitable for babies, toddlers and children. It recommends cutting out entire food groups, such as whole grains, legumes, and dairy foods. There are also problems with the safety and suitability of the recipes being promoted in this cookbook, and online.

Breastfeeding is the best option until your baby is at least one year old or beyond. You should start feeding safe and suitable solid foods when your baby is ready for it, at around six months of age. For babies who aren’t breastfed, use commercial infant formula.

Babies over one year of age can start to drink whole pasteurised cows’ milk along with a varied diet.

Babies who have allergies or are failing to grow and develop normally should be referred to a paediatrician and dietitian. Your doctor can give you advice about this.

Where to get advice

If you have questions about feeding your baby, talk to your doctor, midwife, Well Child/Tamariki Ora nurse, lactation consultant, or dietitian.

For free information and advice 24 hours a day, ring Plunketline on 0800 93 39 22 or Healthline on 0800 611 116.

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