Let’s start with a confession today: I’ve never fed a real food baby once solids have been introduced.
All of our babies began life with the perfect food: mother’s milk.
After that, one child started with the standard rice cereal, another had a bit of rice cereal and oatmeal but much, much less than number one, and now I’m determined to keep this number three grain-free for the first year.
I’ll be learning as I go and sharing what I learn when my little 2-month-old (who’s already grown an extra chin; good mama’s milk!) becomes a toothy 6 or 7-month-old.
Today I wanted to touch briefly on feeding infants to kind of wrap up the baby theme I’ve been on during October. Here’s what you may have missed so far:
- Evolution of a birth plan (including thoughts on circumcision and Vitamin K)
- Natural remedies for postpartum pain
- Meal planning after baby comes
- 8 baby items I couldn’t live without
- Non-toxic, safe baby bath wash and diaper cream options
- How to put on a Moby Wrap (including how to nurse in one)
- Thoughts on vaccines
- How to make homemade baby wipes
- How to make homemade safe baby body wash
This post is sponsored by Radiant Life.
For so many reasons, both nutritionally, spiritually, developmentally, and for me, even sanity-wise, I think breast is best. It’s not something I even want to get into in depth, but you can read more about it at Erin’s breastfeeding series (listed at the end of this post) or Emily’s great guest post.
I’m very realistic about the fact that, no matter how hard they try, no matter how much help they seek, some moms just can’t breastfeed. Some have to go back to work and their supply can’t keep up. Some get terrible advice or judgment from lactation counselors, family, or others. Adopted children need nourishing options, too.
When breastmilk isn’t possible, is formula the only choice out there?
Formula relies pretty heavily on soy, which I haven’t yet written about but stay away from myself when practical for two reasons:
- phyto-estrogens are thought to interfere with hormones
- high in omega 6 fats
Beyond the soy issue, there are often powdered foods in formula, and even though I’m not fully convinced powdered milk forms oxidized cholesterol, I don’t know that I’d be willing to use my newborn as a guinea pig.
The only other option I’ve ever heard of is one that would totally knock my socks off as a new mom: the homemade formulas in Nourishing Traditions. I do love the idea of (a) having control over ingredients, (b) the traditional foods included, and (c) avoiding the many question marks with processed formula…but…have you read those recipes? They’re full of tough-to-find ingredients like goat’s milk, pastured liver, and a bunch of things I’ve never purchased and wouldn’t know where to find.
If I was a recently postpartum mom trying to figure it out, I bet I’d throw my hands up in despair. It would seem way too daunting.
I was pretty excited to see that one of October’s sponsors, Radiant Life, actually offers a kit to help you make the homemade formulas from NT. The kit contains all the weird unique ingredients you’d need to nourish your baby the homemade way, so you don’t have to run all over creation seeking out and pricing a million items.
You can check out the kit’s contents HERE. If you have anyone in your life who might be interested in making their own formula, or if you might ever need the info, bookmark this post. It will be worth it!
First Foods for Babies
Emily has already tackled this subject for me here at KS in this wonderful post: Countercultural First Foods. She fed her little guy real food starting at about 8 months and practiced a sort of “baby led weaning/baby led solids” philosophy.
Cara speaks of her progression in feeding her babies and has some good precautions for families with allergies.
When I fed my babies, I wasn’t all the way in the camp of “feed the baby what the family is eating” because I did want to introduce one food at a time, and sometimes having actual “baby food” on hand is just convenient. I’d hate to have baby miss a few meals just because I hadn’t been to the store for fresh bananas, avocado, eggs, or similar. Some family meals just aren’t appropriate for baby yet.
I kept it simple – cook a single fruit or vegetable, puree in a blender, and freeze in ice cube trays. Homemade baby food is definitely not rocket science!
I’m not sure how I’ll do it this time, because I’m really not sure if my plastic ice cube trays contain BPA. If I decided to worry about that issue, I’ll have to look into these cool stainless steel ice cube trays. To help a tiny baby avoid the possibility of leaching plastic, the premium price might be worth it.
I’ll also not be afraid to add fat (for fat-soluble vitamin assimilation) and salt (the real stuff).
What philosophy do you use when you introduce solids?
I’m trying to figure out what I want to put on Jonathan’s Christmas list, and I’m considering more upgrades in feeding supplies for him.
With my first child, we pretty much used standard cultural stuff – plastic spoons and bowls, plastic sippy cups, etc.
By the time baby two came around, she got to use some plastic sippy cups, but we tried to default to the stainless steel versions my mom got her for Christmas. Plates and utensils varied from plastic to regular glass/Corelle dishes. I’m sure I still used plastic when we had to go somewhere.
For John, I’m considering getting a few more stainless steel containers for traveling, and my 6-year-old can also make use of them for lunches. Poor boy has the heaviest backpack in the world when I include a few Pyrex glass dishes in his lunch!
Would a set of stainless baby dishes that could be thrown from the high chair and not break be worth it to you? I just don’t think so for me, but I do want a stainless steel cup, since although I’m all about glass glasses and little ones, there’s still a stage before careful training will work. I think my first grader would get a lot of mileage out of a tiffin like this one, but I’ll have to see how lunch packing goes in our new house and how much space we have (wants vs. needs, you know).
For all the Eaters in Your Family…
pictured: Cinnamix Power Balls, one of 14 variations in Healthy Snacks to Go
I’m excited to be teaming up with Wardeh of GNOWFGLINS to host a free webinar next Thursday, October 27th, on the subject of snacks. I’ll be talking about how to make sure your family has healthy snack options wherever they are, preferably without taking up all of your time or all of your budget!
You can get details and register HERE. If you can’t make it at 1 p.m. EST, you can always download the audio file later, and all attendees will receive a free recipe ebooklet with 7 of our favorite snacks recipes, as well as a discount code for Healthy Snacks to Go.
- Natural Remedies for Teething Pain
- Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck
- White Out Now – a campaign to “Let every kids’ first grain be a whole grain. There’s no good reason not to. They won’t mind. They’ll thank you.” Together we can change 50 years of tradition in just one year. Let’s END white rice cereal for babies by Thanksgiving 2011!
- They’re not going to make it by Thanksgiving 2011, and I’m still not sure about babies having grains so early, period, but it’s a step in the right direction – the one away from white rice cereal.
If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Radiant Life as part of an advertising package, but all opinions are certainly my own. Amazon links give me commission when you make purchases. See my full disclosure statement here.