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HighChair Times

January 7, 2011

One of the main purposes of this blog is to document my family’s real food journey. A big part of that journey is the way we are choosing to feed our daughter, who is now nine months old. This post is an update on what’s currently on her highchair (the tray, as well as every other surface!). You won’t be surprised to hear that nutrient density rules when it comes to our food choices for Naomi! (If you’re new to all of this, and responsible for feeding a baby, a good place to start is here.)

She has been eating a little raw grass-fed beef liver (frozen, and shredded into) a pastured egg yolk (and a pinch of unrefined sea salt) nearly every day since around 5-6 months of age. We continue the egg yolk prepared this way on a daily basis.

Now we’ve started in with the heavy-hitters. She is eating grass-fed beef that I broiled and pureed, and “baby pate” made out of pastured chicken livers and hearts and organic butter. She also gets pureed organic apple, pumpkin, pear, plum, carrot, beet, zucchini (green and yellow), sweet potato, butternut squash, and turnip.

Most recently we added pastured chicken puree, wild sole and salmon purees, and pastured lamb to the meat rotation. I pureed the meat with my homemade fish and chicken stocks for added minerals. I’ve also been brewing my own Viili yogurt, and I have given her a few tastes of plain yogurt so far. Soon I will be making a smoothie in the mornings for her and I with yogurt, banana and raw egg yolks (fresh from the farm). I may add more to the smoothie for myself after I’ve portioned out Naomi’s share.

We just add one new food every few days, and so far, nothing has been an issue for her. She eats banana, avocado and cantaloupe melon by herself when I put it on her highchair in a strip, and I let her hold her spoon, and have a few sips of water right out of a cup, so she can learn how to balance and hold one. Plus, she finds it really fun, and I want the highchair to be a fun experience for her! She handles the chunkier things like the beef, banana and avocado like a pro.

I made the meat-based baby formula from Nourishing Traditions (all my ingredients finally arrived!), and we are now planning to put her daily dose of fermented cod liver oil into a little of it each day and offer it to her sip-by-sip in a cup, or in a little bottle if we are crunched for time.

This has been a huge adjustment from exclusive breastfeeding, and has taken an enormous amount of planning and work to get everything set up so far! Eventually, Naomi will eat what we eat, but for now, I’m more comfortable with introducing things one at a time, and only after I’ve just given her a full feeding of milk. For the time being, all of these foods are supplemental to that.

I have been using ice cube trays to freeze small portions of each of these foods (except the raw things, of course). I just portion the food into trays, wrap the trays in wax paper, and leave them overnight in the freezer. The next day, I cut the wax paper into small squares and wrap each cube in a little so they don’t stick together, and then all the cubes go into one ziplock bag in the freezer. Then, each night, I dole out what she will be eating the next day into bowls in the fridge so everything is thawed by morning. Breakfast is usually a meat cube, a vegetable, a fruit and the egg yolk, lunch is 4-5 more cubes and something she can eat completely by herself (banana, avocado, melon or mango at this point), and dinner is another 5-6 cubes give or take. I let her hold her spoon and touch all the food with her hands so she can explore the textures, and learn how to hold the spoon herself. She absolutely loves sitting up in her highchair!

Anyone out there have any baby-feeding experiences to share? I know that everyone does things a bit differently, both in terms of the ‘what’ and the ‘when,’ so I’m only describing what’s worked for us so far. What has worked for you? What’s currently on (er…under?) the highchair chez you?

{Image Credit}

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. joyce permalink
    January 7, 2011 9:52 pm

    I thought the recommendation for introducing food, other than breast milk to babies was 6 months. Has that changed?

    • January 7, 2011 10:26 pm

      Hi Joyce,

      You’re right, that is the usual recommendation. We loosely followed the Weston Price Foundation’s recommendation of an egg yolk per day starting before the 6 month mark (I say loosely because we started just a few weeks before the 6 month mark). I believe the WPF says an egg yolk can be added to the diet around 4 months! That was too early for Naomi in my opinion. But I know of others who have done this. I am sure that every mother’s diet is different (and I subscribe to the belief that my diet matters for the quality of the milk I make), and every baby exhibits signs of readiness for food at different times, so there are lots of factors at play in making the decision of when to go ahead with solids. For me, knowing that an egg yolk has many of the nutritional components found in breast milk made it easier to give it a try than, say, rice cereal (which is the “usual” recommendation for food at the 6 month mark and is really hard for babies to digest). A few weeks on either side of the 6 month mark likely doesn’t make much of a difference, in my humble opinion :)

      The day I first offered Naomi an egg yolk, I planned to just give her a taste, and see what happened from there. She got so excited, and held her mouth open for more like a little bird, and cried when it was all gone. So, I felt I had made the right decision, and to me, it was confirmed by the fact that there was virtually no change in her digestive…er…output later on ;) Still, it was a bittersweet moment for me as a nursing mother!!

      There are some great discussions in the comments about feeding babies over at Sarah’s site if you are interested (www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com) – some people are very defensive about their choices though!! So I would beware of that. Hope this helps,

      Shannon

  2. Sara permalink
    January 8, 2011 7:03 am

    Both my kids loved (and still do) lentils. I cooked them in my own stock with carrots, onions, salt, and pepper, and they were a big hit. So shmushy, soft, and yet firm enough to pick up and eat. Also, have you tried goat cheese yet? Babies are crazy for it! Also, home made hummus is a great one- I can’t remember when I started that with the kids, but my daughter went through a phase when she would only eat something if it was covered in hummus.

    I think Shannon is right, people get very defensive about their choices for first foods. Nod and smile as they give their advice (including my suggestions) and then do what makes you and Naomi happy.

    Happy Eating!

    • January 8, 2011 10:27 am

      Hi Sara,

      Those are wonderful ideas!! Thank you so much. I can’t wait to try cooking lentils for her very soon :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Shannon

  3. matu.mama permalink
    January 9, 2011 9:43 pm

    We just started giving tastes of food to my twins who are almost 6 months old. They have tasted mashed avocado, butternut squash puree and mashed banana with either a little flax oil or a few flax seeds. I consider it more of a taste and texture experience than a feeding experience. They have I have been exclusively breastfeeding them since the beginning, and they are getting everything they need that way. It is fun to try new things, though. They are very different in many ways. One baby is more into the experience of exploring the spoon or finger that the food is being offered on, and he does not like someone putting things in his mouth. He wants to control the experience. The other baby is more into experiencing the tastes and textures. Neither of them gets very much in him, mostly they wear it. It’s all in good fun now. Plenty of time for food later.

    • January 9, 2011 9:50 pm

      My first thought is: Wow!! I have a tremendous amount of respect for the fact that you have breastfed your twins exclusively from birth. I’ve experienced enough challenges with breastfeeding a singleton that I am just utterly ‘wowed’ by anyone I hear of who gives this gift to two babies at once!!!

      As for wearing food, one of the best photos I have of my daughter is from a day when she had a white onesie on, and I forgot the bib. ‘Nuff said :)

      Thanks for stopping by,

      Shannon

  4. matu.mama permalink
    January 9, 2011 9:47 pm

    My daughter (now 11) was more like the first baby, only very adamant. She would be downright annoyed with us for trying to put anything in her mouth that wasn’t the breast. Spoon, bottle, binky, anything. I didn’t know much or have many opinions back then (boy, that’s changed) but I figured she would eat when she was hungry, and so she really didn’t eat much of anyhting until well after she was one, probably around 16 months, and even then it was more like a piece of cereal or a bit of fruit, then back to mama for a real meal. She was on target for growth all along and she is a lovely healthy young lady now, if still a bit of a choosy eater.

  5. Trisha permalink
    February 18, 2011 9:18 am

    Our daughter Lyla is 7 months old and loves mealtime! we introduced baby sign language from birth, when we sign(along with speak) that it is time to eat she throws up her arms(the sign for up) and cant wait to get to the table! Eating together as a family at the table has taught her to pick up and “try” to use her spoon and to drink out of her sippy cup by herself! The conversation at the table is never ending, she bables all through the meal along with us! She is saying yummy and ummm everytime she takes a bite! We also practice “baby feed” method where we place pieces of soft fruits and veggies on her table for her to pick up herself (avacado, mango, pineapple, pears, kiwi, banna, steamed zuchini, sweet potatoe and apples) her dexterity and fine grasping skills have improved vastly since we started this!

    • February 18, 2011 12:53 pm

      Hi Trisha!!

      That is awesome :) Thanks for sharing. Aren’t baby signs great?! Can’t wait to see Lyla again! Wish we could get the girls together more often.

      Take care,

      Shannon

  6. February 28, 2011 5:29 pm

    I just found your blog today via Food Renegade and am thoroughly enjoying my visit. I have 3 kids and I’ve introduced solids a bit differently for each one. I like the lentil idea and will have to try that one soon.

    • February 28, 2011 6:31 pm

      Hi Sara!

      I am so glad! Thanks so much for stopping by :)

      Shannon

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