How To Introduce Solids To Baby The GAPS Way

How To Introduce Solids to Baby the GAPS Way

Even though my youngest little munchkin is now a sturdy nine-year-old, I can still remember the thrill and excitement of each new pregnancy declaration. I was always thrilled…even if, by numbers 3 and 4, my happiness was mixed with a dose of “shiiiista, what have I gotten myself into?” I only wish I had known, for all of my kiddos, what I know now, about how to introduce solids to baby the GAPS way, and therefore give my babies the healthiest start possible.

I wish I had known how to:

  • Not mess up their little digestive systems (SO important!) by introducing dead and commercially prepared “baby” foods, and hard-to-digest “baby” cereals.
  • Feed them very-easy-to-digest foods, and brain-building foods like fats and egg yolks.

How to introduce solids to baby, the GAPS way

The ever-practical and generous, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, has laid out a systematic and healthy way to introduce solids to your baby, in a way that listens to their individual signs and bio-individuality, and gives them high levels of nutrients and little-body-building foods.

Let’s tuck into this project of introducing solids to your little one.

Considerations for bottle-fed and breastfed

Before we get into the details of the solids progression, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride recommends two different introduction starting points, depending on whether the baby is bottle-fed, or breastfeeding.

  • Bottle-fed = start at 4 months
  • Breastfed = start at 6 months (unless you have a super hungry little one!)

The 10-week guide to adding solids

FIRST – Do the Skin Sensitivity Test!

For older clients, I often consider food sensitivity testing, such as the MRT Leap 170, but for babies, I recommend to use Dr. Natasha’s method for skin sensitivity testing.

Dr. Natasha recommends doing a skin test before each new food.

So what does the skin test look like?

  1. Before bedtime, take a drop of the food to test & put it on the baby’s wrist (if the food being tested is solid, mash & mix with a little water)
  2. Let the drop of food dry, & put the baby to bed
  3. In the morning check to see if there is any angry redness on the skin
  4. If the skin is red, avoid that food for a few weeks then try Steps 1 – 3 again

*Note: Test the food in the intended form of eating…if testing raw egg yolk, make sure you put raw egg yolk on the baby’s wrist, not the whole egg, or cooked egg.

*Another indication that a food is “too much, too fast” for your baby, is if the stool changes to either diarrhea or constipation…or if a new skin rash or eczema flares up. 

meat stock

Week One

*sensitivity test each new food, starting with the meat stock

The main emphasis of week one is introducing meat stock & fresh pressed carrot juice.

+ GIVE 1-2 TSP MEAT STOCK BEFORE EACH BREASTFEED (breast as reward!)

+ GIVE 1-2 TSP A DAY OF FRESH PRESSED CARROT JUICE (mix w/ warm water & use within 30 min.)

 

1

Week Two

*sensitivity test each new food

This is a big week 🙂 The main emphasis of week two is increasing veggies in the fresh pressed juice, introducing probiotic vegetable juices to the meat stock, and then adding cooked vegetables and more fats.

+ INCREASE WEEK 1 FOODS

+ ADD OTHER VEGGIE JUICES – cabbage, celery, lettuce – TO CARROT JUICE

+ ADD PROBIOTIC FOOD TO MEAT STOCK (start with 1/2 tsp a day)

  1. homemade whey (goat is best) OR
  2. homemade sauerkraut juice/fermented veggie juice

If whey is well tolerated:

+ TRY 1/2 TSP HOMEMADE YOGURT (cultured 24 hours)

If increased yogurt tolerated:

+ TRY HOMEMADE SOUR CREAM (1/2 tsp, cultured w/ the yogurt)

+ ADD PUREED VEGETABLE SOUPS (cook veggies in the meat stock until very soft, puree, and add a little fat…see below)

+ FATS TO CHOOSE FROM, in rotation:

  • pork
  • beef
  • lamb
  • duck
  • goose
  • chicken
  • a tsp. of organic coconut oil
  • a tsp. of ghee (homemade, organic, unsalted)
  • a tsp. of olive oil (cold pressed)
  • a tsp. of butter (raw, organic, unsalted)
  • 5 drops of cod liver oil

+ ADDITIONAL ADDITIONS/NOTES

  • Use non-starchy, peeled, seeded vegetables such as — carrots, squashes, leeks, onions, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, & zucchini.
  • When veggie puree has cooled down, add 1 tsp. of homemade, organic yogurt.
  • Start with 2 – 4 tsp. of veggie soup/puree a day.
  • Gradually increase thickness from “soupy” to “puree”.

 

WEEK TWO

Week Three

*sensitivity test each new food

The main emphasis of week three is adding solid meats & fish, and mashed avocado.

+ CONTINUE AND INCREASE PREVIOUS FOODS

+ START ADDING BOILED MEATS AND FISH (& FISH SKIN) to the vegetable soups/purees

Start with a small amount of chicken and include the soft bits, the fatty parts, the dark meat, & the skin. Then try other meats as well as fish. Fish is important and it is incredibly nutritious to add the de-scaled fish skin to the solid fish meat.

+ BUMP HOMEMADE YOGURT AND SOUR CREAM UP  to 1 – 2 tsp. with every meal

Continue adding 1 tsp of fermented veggie juice to soups/purees.

+ INTRODUCE RIPE AVOCADO, beginning with 1 tsp. added to the veggie soups/purees

 

 

3

Week Four & Five

*sensitivity test each new food

The main emphasis of these two weeks is adding raw, organic egg yolk and cooked ripe apple.

+ CONTINUE AND INCREASE PREVIOUS FOODS

+ START ADDING RAW, ORGANIC EGG YOLK to the veggie soups/purees

Give this step a little time and watch for any reactions beyond the skin sensitivity test…such as stool changes or skin rashes.

If all these additions and previous foods are okay, then you can move on to the next step, which is:

+ ADD COOKED, PUREED, RIPE APPLE and serve with plenty of ghee, coconut oil, or butter

Simply stew peeled, cored apples (that are ripe) in water until soft. This puree can be refrigerated for a week, or frozen, but should be warmed to body temperature for feeding to your baby.

+ ADDITIONAL ADDITIONS/NOTES

  • Start with a few tsp. of apple puree a day, and watch carefully for stool changes or skin reactions.
  • Don’t warm up in the microwave!

 

4

Week Six & Seven

*sensitivity test each new food

The main emphasis of these two weeks is increasing previous foods, and to discontinue formula if the baby is formula-fed.

+ CONTINUE AND INCREASE PREVIOUS FOODS

+ BUMP UP HOMEMADE YOGURT OR SOUR CREAM to 3 tsp. with every meal

You can also add the yogurt or sour cream to the fresh-pressed juices or water in a bottle.

+ BUMP UP EGG YOLKS to 2 per day, added to soup or meat stock

+ INCREASE THE WELL-COOKED, GELATINOUS MEATS

+ STOP FORMULA FEEDING (if breastfeeding, continue topping up after eating)

 

5

Week Eight & Nine

*sensitivity test each new food

The main emphasis of these two weeks is adding nut butter pancakes and raw vegetables. This is a fun week!

+ CONTINUE AND INCREASE PREVIOUS FOODS

+ ADD NUTBUTTER PANCAKES (almond or hazelnut nut butter, squash, and eggs)

Here is my recipe for nut butter pancakes that can be adapted for baby (no salt, etc.) https://honestbody.com/gaps-intro-pancakes/

+ INCREASE FRESH JUICES and try adding apple to the juicing mix

+ ADD RAW LETTUCE & PEELED CUCUMBER (blended & added to veggie soups/purees)

After these two veggies are tolerated well you can slowly add other veggies, prepared in the same way — carrot, celery, cabbage, bell pepper, kohlrabi, etc.

 

6

Week Ten

*sensitivity test each new food

The main emphasis of this week is adding scrambled eggs, raw apple, and raw, ripe bananas.

+ CONTINUE AND INCREASE PREVIOUS FOODS

+ TRY EGG SCRAMBLED in plenty of good fat (see list above)

Cook the egg gently, serving just a tiny bit and serving with avocado or veggies.

+ ADD PEELED, RAW APPLE

+ ADD RIPE BANANA (make sure there are brown spots on the skin!)

*Feed your baby fruit between meals as a snack.

Beyond Week 10

+ ADD HOMEMADE COTTAGE CHEESE made with your homemade yogurt

To make cottage cheese you can gently heat a bowl of yogurt in a larger bowl of hot water until it separates into curds & whey. Then put the curds & whey into a cheesecloth (tying the ends up) and let it drip for 8 hours over a bowl. The cheesecloth can be tied to a wooden spoon and suspended over the bowl that way.

+ ADD GAPS FRIENDLY BREAD

This is my recipe that you can adapt for your baby –  https://honestbody.com/gaps-intro-nutbutter-bread/

+ ADD SMALL AMOUNTS OF NATURAL SALT

No more separate cooking for the baby at this point!

 

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Important Notes For Introducing Solids

In this section, I will bullet point key points to remember while doing this 10-week progression.

  • Always do the sensitivity test before each new food! This will eliminate a lot of guesswork later.
  • It is important to introduce and increase foods gradually over time.
  • Carry on with previous safe foods, as you add new foods.
  • You don’t have to do every food if there is sensitivity. Some foods can be retried later.
  • Give the breast only as a reward, after the baby has eaten their meat stock.
  • DO NOT use commercial stock or bouillon cubes/paste!
  • Keep the fat in your homemade stocks.
  • DO NOT use commercial vegetable or fruit juices…they must be fresh-pressed at home.
  • Dr. Natasha says “be confident and relaxed” as babies are smart and can sense our anxiety 🙂
  • Work with two spoons, one for your baby to practice or play with, and one for you to feed them.
  • This is all over soooo quickly…enjoy it!

I hope this information helps with your own feeding and care of our baby. Take time to soak up these days and weeks…they are over too quickly, and what you do now will have a big impact on your little munchkin’s health for a long time to come.

GAPS Class

If you would like to learn more about implementing GAPS™ for yourself or the whole family, the GAPS Class is an excellent place to start.

Click here to learn more and register.

33 thoughts on “How To Introduce Solids To Baby The GAPS Way”

  1. I started feeding my 7 month old already. Is it safe to restart with this schedule or will the toxins be too much for a baby?
    Thank you!

    1. Hello Lisa,

      Thanks for the question. I don’t know what your little one’s particular health needs are, but I would say “in general” it should be okay to start the GAPS Solids Introduction schedule at 7 months.

      Kindly,
      Melanie

  2. Thank you! This article is always open on my phone and I refer to it often. It can be quite overwhelming for first time parents, especially when the commonly recommended advice seems counterintuitive. My little girl is just over 6 months, and she is loving her chicken broth!

  3. My baby is 4 months, I am returning to work and don’t have enough breastmilk expressed for day time feeds. I need to either supplement with either formula (baby is sensitive to dairy i.e. yoghurt cheese etc, I had to cut it from my diet) or introduce solids in order to reduce breastmilk intake and still maintain night time feeds and weekend feeds. Which would be better supplementing or introducing solids?

  4. Thank you Melanie! My daughter is 7 months old and we just found out that she has some food allergies. I am hoping that re-starting her with this plan might help her since she is still so young. Do you know if using the GAPS protocol has helped babies reverse allergies? Thank you for offering all of this information!

    1. Hello Julie,

      The GAPS™ Protocol is wonderful (and timely) for attending to the root causes of food allergies…babies, children, and adults alike.

      Kindly,
      Melanie

  5. Hello,
    My baby (now 9 months old) received antibiotics when he was born. He is now extremely sensitive to fatty foods, any dairy, avocado, egg yolk, salmon, etc. He will throw up or spit up if he has any of it. Do I just omit these foods or try something completely different like fermented foods? Thank you!

    1. Hello Sara,

      It sounds like he is in need of therapeutic amounts of probiotics. You might check out my Mothers Guide to Probiotics – honestbody.com/mothers-guide-to-probiotics/

      Also, fermented foods such as beet kvass (tiny, tiny amounts to start) and sauerkraut juice would be excellent before his meals.

  6. Hi,

    I have a 6 and half month baby and i have exclusively breastfed my baby until a week ago when i introduced some fruits/veggie purees homemade. My baby had moderate eczema since he was 2 months old but about a month ago, he started getting acute hives on and off. After seeing the allergist, it turned out he is allergic to dairy, peanuts, treenuts (Not walnuts, pecans and pinenut but all others) and legumes+lentils+chickpeas. I want to reverse his allergies while he is still a baby. I am vegan (have been vegetarian all my life, turned vegan 4 years back) but I do know and understand the benefits of gaps diet and want to try it for my baby. But my issue is, Can I breastfeed my baby when I follow vegan diet minus all the allergens and he follows the gaps diet? Do you think it will help fixing his leaky gut and reverse the allergies?

    1. Hello DA,

      There is a high likelihood that GAPS could help your little one. You can continue to breastfeed, but I would be concerned about that drawing down your own nutrient stores too much while being on a vegan diet. It is a very cleansing diet, but not a very “building” diet. In my practice, I’ve seen a lot of health issues crop up when folks are on a vegan diet long-term, most likely because it is too difficult to get enough nutrients and building blocks that come from healthy fats and protein.

      Have you seen Dr. Natasha’s new book called Vegetarianism Explained? That would be a book I would suggest if you are interested.

      Kindly,
      Melanie

  7. Hello, Do you have any suggestions on how where to start with your plan for a near 11 month old who already does eat only grass-fed meats, local free range chicken, all organic fruits and veggies, bone broth, all fats mentioned, etc.

    He suffers terrible constipation/witholding and exzema. He is exclusively breastfed but is not much interested in nursing as of late; would much rather food.

    Your plan has food being introduced at a much smaller amount than he is currently eating. For example, he eats half an avocado a day practically. Drinks 1/4 to 1/2 cup of broth a day, etc.

    He is GL and dairy free, as well as I am. I have him on magnesium, fermented foods, coconut oil to help soften stool, etc, etc.

    Any help you could provide, I would be grateful. Thank you!
    Monica

  8. Hi Melaine. Thanks for your awesome guidlines. We are excited to begin the GAPS diet for our son (now 3 months) to give his gut a good start. I have a question regarding timing: My pediatrician had suggested introducing solids at around 4 months. Your recommendation for those breastfeeding is 6 months. As it turns out I will be travelling to Europe just days before he turns 6 months and will be gone for 4 weeks. I’d like to start around 4 months and carry the GAPS diet through week 8 when we leave to Europe. It may be difficult for me to follow the program closely for weeks 9&10. Would you see any problem just maintaining the foods introduced in week 1-8 and resuming weeks 9&10 upon our return? Any suggestions you have are greatly appreciated… very best Bjorg

  9. My little one is 11 months old and we slowly started solids around 6 months. She has always been gluten, dairy and grain free. She has awful chronic constipation. Is it too late to start this protocol? Would I stop everything and start with week one?

    1. Hello Haley,

      Not knowing the specifics of your little one’s health, I can only give you some general recommendations.
      Since your little one is probably already eating a significant quantity of foods and variety I wouldn’t suggest going back to square one, unless there were health issues of concern. The constipation is important to address though! Lean in the direction of incorporating foods that support the liver and gallbladder. So along with working up to 1/2 cup to 1 cup per day of meat stock, work in egg yolks, lots of healthy animal fats, homemade sour cream, and beet kvass. A good quality probiotic like BioKult will assist in constipation too.

      Hope that is helpful.

      Warmly,
      Melanie

  10. My 6 month old hates the meat stock (week one). Any suggestions? I think he might like it I added carrots, onions, parsley, etc to the meat stock rather than plain. This diet is very important for me to do because my five year old, after 7 weeks on intro no longer appears autistic.

    1. Hi Kristine,

      Are you adding any salt to your meat stock? That can make a huge difference in taste.
      It may be a good idea to add some flavor that you can then pull out, such as a bundle of herbs, garlic, and/or ginger.

      You could also try making stock “gummies.” Or blend the meat stock with small bits of gelatinous meat.

      1. Thank you. I even tried an egg yolk with shaved liver and he cried. I think he’s just not ready. He is 6 month old. In the one percentile and is still working on sitting up. All my other kids were large, not sure why he’s so small yet chubby. Thanks again!

  11. Thank you for this wonderful article. I have it on my homescreen and refer to it often. I have autistic son and we are on gaps for almost 2 years and I have 6 month old girl who I started introducing solids gaps way at about 5.5 months. We are going a little bit slower than weeks described here. We dont do fresh pressed juice because she didnt like it at all so we been doing this for 7 weeks or so with blended veggie soups from summer squash, zuccini, butternut squash, carrots, garlic and onion, chicken and pork and added cooked apple, avocado, yogurt and sour cream rotating with every meal. Is it bad that we skipped fresh pressed veggie juice? What if I try to reintroduce it adding apple to carrot juice in hopes that she will like it better? I am also nervous about adding raw egg yolks. We dont know any farmers and just buy organic eggs at the store. I just dont trust it. Is it ok to skip raw egg and move onto gently cooked egg?

  12. Great blog post – thanks Melanie. My little will be 6 months in a couple of weeks and I’m preparing to introduce solids when he’s ready. He’s a CS baby born a little pre-term, only breastfed and very healthy. I’ve got him on therapeutic probiotics as he has a little eczema and was delivered via CS. With regard to the juices, purees, boiled meats and broths etc is it okay to freeze them first and bring them to room temperature – I know fresh is best but I’m keen to explore time saving measures. Also do you have a recommendation for a juicer? Thank you, Emma

    1. Hello Emma,

      Thanks for writing in 🙂

      I would suggest that you keep fresh pressed juices fresh if possible, as some nutrients will be lost in freezing. However, you can freeze the purees, boiled meats, and stocks without issue.

      For yogurt making, I don’t use a yogurt machine as I prefer to either use my Excalibur dehydrator to keep at temperature for 24 hours, or my InstantPot yogurt setting for 24 hours.

      Kindly,
      Melanie

  13. I was wondering is it safe to give my 8 month old the nut pancakes and the egg with the egg whites? He is almost up to that week. I have been feeding him everything but the raw veggies juices because we don’t have a juicer. Will it still be safe to feed him nuts and egg whites?

  14. Hello. Can you help me? I have a child. She 9yos.dislexia.constipation 1 or 2days a week. So she must intro or full gaps diet?

  15. Hi Melanie
    My 11 month old now baby has eczema and anaphylaxis igE food allergies to fish and eggs on skin prick test. Her face and hand swell up after ingesting tiny flakes of fish at 7.5 months and also rash around mouth and neck very itchy scratching to bleed. We never fed her eggs though. She also reacted to wheat, peanut butter, spinach and beetroot. She had 3 course of antibiotics since birth . We started gaps diet since December with meat stock, stage one vegetables, meat , liver a bit bone marrow ,recently slowly add on coconut oil, good fat like lard, tallow. we haven’t started fermented vegetables juice yet but will be soon (i made a batch of fermented kraut juice, carrot and garlic). We just changed to use gut pro probiotic.

    My question is
    If GAPS diet can reverse her real igE food allergies? How long do you usually seeing the outcome ?

    Why her eczema still here even we have been on gaps diet since December like 2.5 months now while we have omitted all her allergins?

    These few days she has diarrhoea any reason for that (is it related to the added fat like lard/tallow or changing probiotic ? And I give it too much that she can tolerate ?)

    Should I also start home made fermented camel kefir and coconut water/milk kefir? Or even try fermented breastmilk?

    Thanks your blog is really helpful, wish I know the gaps way to introduce solid at the beginning.

    Many thanks

    1. Hello Lilian,

      GAPS has reversed real IgE food allergies, yes. Though it can be a longer process than other health symptoms. Eczema can also take longer than some other symptoms.

      I might suggest a GAPS Inquiry call to talk about further options for help, as well as point you in the direction of my eczema article:
      Eczema article – https://honestbody.com/gaps-diet-eczema-remedies-tips/
      Free GAPS Inquiry call – https://honestbody.as.me/?appointmentType=1059245

      Kindly,
      Melanie

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