Recently Tilly turned six months old and so we have embarked on sharing some new tastes with her. It’s incredible to think that up until this point – 9 months in my belly, 6 months out of it – my body alone has grown and sustained her.
It’s fair to say I’ve actually been scared about introducing something other than breastmilk to her. I’ve done quite a lot of exploring into health these past few years, and combined with addressing my own health, I now feel acutely aware of how nourishing or damaging food can be to our bodies.
I have a small collection of baby feeding books that cover various approaches to ‘weaning’, and they are The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care by Sally Fallon Morell, Beautiful Babies by Kristen Michaelis, Super Nutrition for Babies byKatherine Erlich and Kelly Genzlinger, and Baby-led Weaning by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett.
All but the Baby-led Weaning book follow the premise of starting with nutrient dense foods that are gentle on the digestion.
So for her ‘first foods’ we have settled on introducing Tilly to egg yolk primarily, as well as a little liver and homemade chicken broth. We boil an egg (from happy organic pasture-fed hens just up the road) for about 4 minutes until it’s cooked but the yolk still runny.
I carefully cut the top of the egg off and slide out the yolk into a little dish – I have got Tilly some nice white enamel dishes with a blue rim that I picked up last summer from Baileys Home. I started by adding a little expressed breastmilk to it as well.
We dip one of her sweet little bamboo spoons into the yolk and hand it to her so can lick it off. We also have a spoon for us to feed her so as to ensure she actually eats some rather than just smearing it everywhere!
She likes to suck it off her spoon, dribble it down her chin, splatter it all over the place (including mummy’s jeans).
What I am realising is that she appears to be really excited by it. Her reaction tells me that she’s enjoying it – whether that be the taste, learning something new, or just having fun splattering egg yolk all round the place – and that’s helped ease my initial fears of giving her grown-up food.
Although I must add in here I have had a few days where she’s pulled a “whoa that’s gross!” kind of face at me, but this seems to coincide with if she’s tired. As a result I’m actively trying to make sure she’s not tired when I offer her food.
Mainly we’re going to focus on egg yolk for the first couple of weeks, plus a little homemade chicken stock and (bear with me here!) a tiny amount of raw organic chicken livers (that have been frozen) grated into the egg yolk. Basically we’re following what the books suggest, and shortly will add in a few more foods and so on.
Great excitement at trying homemade chicken stock…
We recently picked up a Tripp Trapp highchair that we got from Ebay, and it’s been one of the best baby things we’ve bought. Tilly is sitting up now, so she seems to love being in the highchair, and being able to pull her up to the table with us while we eat dinner makes me realise that we are going to soon be having family meals.
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Notes: I don’t really want to go too much into the science and reasons behind all these food choices, I never really meant for my blog to be about that – it’s just that in sharing what might appear to be rather ‘alternative’ baby first foods I feel I need to explain my choices to a degree. There are plenty of websites and blogs and books out there that will give you the science behind the Weston A Price Foundation way of eating so I would encourage anyone interested to go search, just as I have done.
Egg yolk is a super nutrient dense food and apparently is and has been used around the world for generations as a first food for babies. We freeze the livers first for at least 14 days (that kills any baddies that might be in them) and then just grate from frozen. Why liver? It’s another food absolutely jam-packed with wonderful nutrients. I’ve also learnt that it’s only the past 50-60 years that we’ve stopped feeding babies liver in this country.
On our trip to the Weston A Price Conference in London earlier in the month, I met a lovely lady who’s a nutritionist ‘down South’ and has set up a business called Nutribaby. She’s running workshops for mum’s on weaning the WAPF way, and she explained to us how to properly ensure that Tilly was ready for egg yolk.
You do a skin test, rubbing a small amount of cooked runny egg yolk onto your babies wrist and leaving it overnight. If the next morning there is no redness or skin reaction where the yolk was, then you’re ok to start feeding egg yolk. If there is redness, you leave it and try the skin test again a week or so later, and so on until there’s no reaction. We plan to do this skin test with each new food as we introduce it to ensure she has no reactions before feeding her things.