I know some people (read: mamas) have been interested to know what I, as a Natural Chef, foodie, hippie health mom have been feeding my baby since she has started solids, so I thought I’d do a quick post on that.
First off, I know there are a lot of different schools of thought concerning when babies should be introduced to solids, what should be given to them, and in what way. This post is not to condemn the other schools of thought; it is simply to explain what we have decided works best for us, in case it might help someone else who is trying to decide.
Some people still say they can start getting some solids as early as 3 or 4 months, although the consensus now seems to be a more conservative 6 months. Others say to wait until closer to 9 months in order to avoid the development of food allergies. This caution is because babies are born with leaky gut, which allows large proteins to enter the bloodstream through the gut wall. If they ingest foods too early, before this leaky gut has naturally healed itself, they can be more prone to having an immune response to those food proteins that have entered their bloodstream, thus potentially creating food allergies, asthma, or other immune-related issues.
Seeing as I have dealt with MORE than enough food allergies in my own life, I decided to take the conservative route on this one, to be DARNED SURE my daughter would be as protected against them as possible.
We didn’t even start introducing foods to her until she was almost 9 months old. The thing is, though, she didn’t seem ready. She still didn’t (doesn’t!) have any teeth, and she showed no interest in any food other than nursing. So we didn’t push it! She is getting no gluten through my breastmilk, and she will not eat any gluten or grains either (as grains have large amounts of lectins and phytates that inhibit mineral absorption and cause poor bone and tooth formation, and are extremely difficult to digest, especially for amylase-deficient babies). She is dairy free as well.
We decided to use the Baby-Led Weaning method. You’ve probably heard of baby-led weaning as following the baby’s cues for when it wants to wean from nursing, but this approach takes it a step further, to the actual introduction of foods. It teaches you to watch for your baby’s cues of when it is ready to start trying solids (the very beginning stage of weaning), and to follow Baby’s lead.
This means…no purees. *GASP!* But won’t the baby choke?? I know, I know…I thought the same thing. The book does a great job of explaining it, though. Basically, your baby has been feeding itself its whole life (if it’s breastfed), so why change all the sudden to YOU picking some yucky weird mush thing to shove in its mouth, and YOU deciding how much it needs to eat? It was never that way before.
Basically, you put an array of foods before baby that are large enough for them to grab with their lil’ fists and nom away on. They decide what they want to try, and what they want more of. At first the gag reflex is pretty strong, but honestly, my daughter only gagged maybe twice, and since then she’s been learning to bite off chunks she can handle, chew them (thus developing her jaw and her fine motor skills), and swallow them.
I have been very impressed. I have been even MORE impressed at what babies will eat if you give them a chance! People seem to have this preconceived notion that babies will only eat oatmeal and bananas. Let me tell you, that is FAR from the truth! If you start them out early on a wide array of healthy foods, they will LOVE them and develop quite a sophisticated palate early on.
To give you an example, here are the foods B eats now at 10 months old. She has only just started being really adventurous with food in the last week or 2, so don’t get discouraged if Baby seems to not like something the first time – offer it to him again the next day anyway!
Clementines - one of her first foods (because she refused my dreamed-of first food of avocado…) – she loves sucking on these!
Pickles – yeah. Weird, right?? We kinda gave her one just to see the face she made, but instead she just DEMOLISHED it. Surprised us!
Cooked sweet potatoes in stew
Cooked carrots in stew
Venison – courtesy of her redneck uncle. She freakin LOVED the stuff!! She chewed on it like crazy and was so excited.
Broiled zucchini spears with coconut oil, real sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder – loves these too
Broccoli cooked in coconut oil
Apples (stewed in coconut oil, and raw)
Chicken Tagine stew
Apple Fennel chicken stir-fry
And finally….my dreams have come true….AVOCADO!!!
I made up a kiwi, banana, avocado pudding for her, which I got her to eat some of, but she didn’t look too pleased about. Then, I decided to freeze it into popsicles for her, since we think she might actually be teething now (though we’ve thought that for the past 7 months…). But she loved the pops! She knew exactly how to hold the stick, too. And, she shared with her daddy :-) I haven’t found any popsicle molds that meet my strict standards, so I was just ghetto and used a metal measuring cup and wooden skewer, but you should use real popsicle molds if you have them. Unless you wanna be awesome like me.
Kiwi Avocado Teething Pops
1 ripe avocado
1 ripe kiwi
1 ripe banana
Place all ingredients in food processor or high-speed blender. Blend on high until smooth.
Pour into popsicle molds or other ghetto container and freeze.
Optional: place pudding in fridge and feed to baby alone or as a dipping sauce for fruits.
That’s it! Easy peasy, lemon squeezy! And, the great thing is, when if your baby doesn’t finish it all, it is quite delicious enough for you to finish yourself. :-)