Here is what I did with my little one and what I recommend other mothers that look for advice for first foods or simply nutrient-dense foods and options for little ones. Each child is different so you will need to adapt as per your family’s needs.
My little one was not interested in foods per se at 6 months, but she started to eat at 8 months. I always checked her teething journey and been able to determine her abilities to chew and break foods. I did not do BLW, but I helped her to develop the necessary strength to start eating proper portions of foods as I noticed that with a BLW approach the child would simply not get a real amount of nourishment instead she’d be more into sucking, licking and playing (which is good! but you want your baby to also get in nutrients).
So I simply allowed myself to be guided by her development. At first I accustomed her to tastes and textures and I did serve foods mashed (with a fork), then I offered chunks and saw her reaction and preference. I took that into account all the time. She (and most babies) love chewing, so I added textures, different sizes, etc. By the age of 1 year of age she was able to eat most meals unassisted. And she was eating good amounts of foods each meal.
So, I will always say: see what your child can do and how you can support them. See what they need help with (and help them develop a good jaw). A properly developed mouth, jaw, will also mean a properly developed air system, well rested child, less fussy (less pains), better sleep, better brain development, more agile, more astute.
HOMEMADE WARM FOODS
Focus on serving warm foods mainly, body temperature (always check the temperature so you don’t burn your little one):
- Mineral Bone Broth (if the child cannot eat chunks of soft veggies, then simply puree them all together with the bone broth
- Stewed root vegetables (chunks or mashed, depending on your child’s development)
- Cooked mushrooms (they are slimy, so always be next to your child when eating this in case they gag it out, mushrooms are great for hormonal production)
- Red meat on the bone, slow cooked to the point it opens up easily (you can shred it or offer very small bites)
- Slow cooked or baked marrow bone (you can mix this goodness with butter and spread it on soft sourdough bread or serve it on the spoon, I have a recipe for this in my cookbook ”Old World Feast”)
- Stewed fruits (apples, plums, cherries, pears, etc.)
- Cooked eggs (from soy-free chickens) with a mini pinch of Celtic Sea Salt
Foods to be served at room temperature or just a little bit above:
- Mashed avocado (focus to scrap the avocado meat as much as close to the skin as there’s where all the nutrients are kept) with a little extra virgin olive oil
- Tiny sardines in olive oil (never in seed oils and the tinier the better)
- Cooked cod
- Cooked wild-caught salmon
- Homemade liver pâté (served on little pieces of bread or just on the spoon to be licked off)
- Salmon roe on the spoon
- Butter, ghee to snack on
- Fermented dairy (+12 months)
- Parmigiano-Reggiano D.O.P. to bite on
- Nitrite (E250)-free bacon in the oven
- Nitrite-free sausages, sliced as per your child’s needs
OTHER FRUITS AND FOODS
Foods to serve sliced/cut/mashed or as per your child’s needs:
- Small citrus to suck on
- Small amounts of pre-soaked nuts (I took the decision to give these to my child after 8 months of age after reading increasing evidence that exposure earlier in life to allergens meant less chances of allergies later on)
- Small amounts of pre-soaked grains (barley, buckwheat, oats, no rice here)
- Small amounts of pre-soaked and lacto-fermented legumes (we tried some beans and lentils that I first soaked overnight, then cooked and afterwards I fermented in kefir water or Sauerkraut juice)
- Sauerkraut (not spicy)
WHY TO AVOID CEREALS AND RICE
Here are the reasons why I decided to avoid giving these options to my child and why I encourage you to do the same:
- They have no nutritional value when compared with nutrient-dense foods mentioned above. Take into consideration that babies and children have small stomach and if they still depend or drink milk, there will not be much space for foods so you will need to prioritise the most nutritious options for your little ones!
- Heavily fortified with vitamins and iron of plant origin. Non-heme iron does not absorb properly in the body, which is also the culprit for constipation.
- They disturb the gut microbiome and irritates
- Highly processed
- Source of heavy metals and other toxins (arsenic) used for growing crops, this all ends in allergies and even skin conditions in children, supressing the immune system
- Too bulky kinds of foods suppressing child’s appetite due to its satiety levels, leaving no space for other meals and lowering the dependency on breastmilk
- They are too soft, without allowing the child to exercise their mandibular muscles or practice chewing
Your child is a blessing, the most precious gift life has for you. Your child is what makes your immortal. Your blood is passed on. You live through them. Be thankful for that and show your child appreciation and respect every single day.
For that, treat your child with respect. Nourishment and love are basic needs that you will need to comply with as a mother. You might not know what those things are before becoming a mother, but you have the responsibility to learn, as a mother, as a woman.
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