Breastmilk Popsicles

When Baby H was starting to get ready for solid foods (around 5 months), we began placing her in her highchair at the dinner table, for all meals. In order to get her used to the idea of meals at the table, we wanted to give her something to eat, instead of a toy.

She never took a bottle, specifically because we didn’t introduce it due to latch issues early on, so giving her a bottle of pumped breastmilk was not an option.

Instead, I found these amazing silicon teethers, that became a wonderful “breastmilk popsicle” for her to eat while we ate our meals! It also helped her practice putting food into her mouth.

I simply pumped some breastmilk and filled my silicon chocolate moulds halfway – they were the perfect size! They froze in about an hour and easily popped out. I had a stash in the freezer to make things easy!

Once she starts teething, we will probably use this method again – but maybe with bone broth, kombucha or even a smoothie

Favourite Foods at 6 Months

JUDGEMENT-FREE POST: Please note that this not how you *should* do things. This is just a window into how I did things, and I relied mostly on my instincts. Do what feels right mama. *Should precedes shame* so I strongly encourage you not to *should yourself*! Parenting is hard enough as it is. You’re doing great!! 

 

We started solids with Baby H at about 5.5 months. Prior to having a baby I was fairly strict on the “wait til 6 months” approach, and then as I’ve learned with babies, you really have NO idea how things are going to go, until you get there. So when she was clearly ready, we started!

 

My Approach

There is a lot of discussion about which is better, purees or baby-led weaning. In my experience, you need to trust your instincts! We started with purees because historically, moms would have likely chewed the food before giving it to the kid, and purees mimic that (as does chewing the food, which you can totally do). I also really wanted to get some of the important nutrients missing from my milk (iron, zinc) into her, so I didn’t want to rely on her getting it in her mouth on her own! Not to mention food waste. We spend a pretty penny on our food, and I hate unnecessary food waste so having her throw food all over the place kind of makes me cringe. Luckily the dog helps out there, which makes me feel less stressed about it! So we started with purees of real food (thinned out with bone broth or breastmilk) increasing the thickness of the purees as she developed her eating skills!

Why I Didn’t Do One Food At A Time

First of all, this makes for an incredibly bland diet. It kind of makes sense to me that if we want to develop a robust palate in our kiddos, we need to give them interesting foods with lots of flavours!

But more importantly, we have a relatively short window before kids enter their neophobic phase. Often at 2, kids become less likely to try new things – although check out Holistic Little Sprouts for great tips for working around that! If we try one ingredient per week, and you start at 6 months, you get maybe 26 foods in by the time they’re a year. Also, I don’t think historically mamas would have taken the time to make special meals for their kids. 

So instead, I made lovely flavoured foods – food that we would also want to eat! I made sure she had liver or salmon, or at least egg yolk, most days, and other than that we played around with fun-flavoured soups that I made for the whole family!

Three Meals at the Table

Part of what we want to teach her, is that meals happen at the dinner table with family. For that reason, we don’t feed her and then eat ourselves. And we don’t wait to eat dinner after she goes to bed. We all eat together. At breakfast and lunch, at least one of us eats with her as well. When she was just starting solids, we gave her liver or salmon at one meal, and breastmilk popsicles at the other two. Making sure she was always at the table with us for meal time.

Favourite Recipes

Chicken Liver Pate I like this recipe because it doesn’t use garlic or onion, which may upset a baby’s belly in the beginning. I modified to use bone broth instead of cream, coconut oil instead of butter, rosemary instead of thyme, no allspice because I didn’t have any, and a gala apple instead of a green one!

Egg Yolk – I have nothing against a whole egg! But starting with purees makes a whole egg a little challenging. A hard boiled egg yolk, mixed with breastmilk turns into a great puree! 

Salmon with Ginger & Orange I modified this recipe, using the juice of ½ an orange, and a piece of ginger pressed through a garlic press. Then pureed it with bone broth.

Carrot Soup with Cumin and Coriander (only used a bit of onion)

Avocado

Spinach and Zucchini Soup (inspired by French Kids Eat Everything)

Pear and Leak Soup (inspired by French Kids Eat Everything)

Sweet Potato mashed with Bone Broth

Breastmilk Popsicles

First Foods

JUDGEMENT-FREE POST: Please note that this not how you *should* do things. This is just a window into how I did things, and I relied mostly on my instincts. Do what feels right mama. *Should precedes shame* so I strongly encourage you not to *should yourself*! Parenting is hard enough as it is. You’re doing great!! 

Introducing foods to your baby can be a fun, but also intimidating process. The best advice I can give is to (a) understand when a baby is ready for food, (b) identify your goal with food intro and (c) have a few resources you can trust!

 

When Is A Baby Ready For Food?

There are 3 things you want to look for:

  1. Interest. Ideally your kid is expressing an interest in what you’re doing when you’re eating. They might want to grab your food, or try putting things in their mouth. This is a little tricky, because as of 4 months most babies put everything into their mouths, and suddenly are a lot more interested in the world, so this isn’t the only consideration for being food-ready.
  2. Sitting Up Independently. For safety reasons, it is best if your kid can sit up, mostly unassisted. Sticking them in the bumbo doesn’t count!
  3. No More Tongue-Thrust Reflux. The tongue thrust reflex is an important safety reflex in newborns. If something solid gets in their mouth, the tongue automatically pushes it away, to protect the airway. This tends to disappear somewhere between 4-7 months. (NOTE: I struggled to find a video showing the tongue-thrust reflex, other than this one, but I’m posting cautiously. I promise I’m not judging this family, it’s just a great example of the reflex!)

 

My 2 Goals with Food Intro

NUTRITION: My first goal was nutrition – obviously! Breastmilk is notoriously low in iron and zinc, and no matter how many supplements you take, it won’t become sufficient for your kiddo. That’s why the recommendation from the medical community is to start with iron-fortified grains. Since I am a real-foodie, the idea of using a fortified food as a first food doesn’t sit well with me. Not to mention grains are full of anti-nutrients that actually inhibit nutrient absorption and can contribute to poor gut-health. A lot of real-foodies, or those who follow baby-led weaning principles, choose root veggies as an alternative. But, those don’t contain the nutrients babies need! So instead, I went straight to the source of iron…meat, specifically liver. The first food that we gave Baby H was pate – specifically my friend Megan Garcia’s Pate. Although I modified the recipe to be dairy-free (I used bone broth and coconut oil), and I used ingredients I had on hand such as chicken livers (instead of beef), rosemary and a gala apple.

FUN & FLAVOUR: To avoid becoming too clinical about food, I also started introducing fun, high-flavour foods. While babies don’t need fruits & vegetables til around 1 year, I played around with them to help develop her palate. I took a page out of the book French Kids Eat Anything (stay tuned for a post on this amazing book) and started with fun soups. I also did not worry about introducing one food at a time, since that (a) didn’t make intuitive sense to me (b) there’s no evidence to back that up and (c) food should taste good, not bland! So my soups contained big flavours like cumin, ginger, coriander, and even Thai curry! Things we wanted to eat!

Check out my post on Favourite Foods at 6 Months!

 

Resources

Megan Garcia – my friend Megan is a wonderful resource. She has a ton of free information to get you started. But even better, she has a course you can take, which walks you through nutrition and introducing foods to your baby! Great for anyone who wants to go into this stage with all the knowledge and confidence!

CanDo Kiddo – I subscribe to Rachel’s newsletter, and there was one video that really resonated with me. It showed the stages of muscle development as a child learns to move food through their mouth. It was absolutely fascinating. She also has great info on her blog, as well as a course you can take to boost confidence!

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