When I was trying to decide on my approach to eating for myself while pregnant, and for my child, I read and was hugely influenced by one book in particular; ‘Nina Planck’s book ‘Real Food for Mother and Baby.’ The author’s food ethos meshed really well with my own in terms of the food my husband and I eat, and my thoughts about what was right for me in pregnancy. So, the natural progression of what and how to feed my child was there too. I believe in traditional foods, home cooking, and the integrity of the gut so in pregnancy I ate the foods I was used to eating which included bone broths, stews, sushi from the restaurant I always use, smoked fish, and would have included cheese too had I not been allergic to casein. I’ve never had listeria or food poisoning from any of the above foods (in this day and age it is very rare) and so I decided to be sensible in my choices. I did avoid raw meat and eggs as I felt these were too risky, but nothing else in my food intake changed. I therefore also feed my child as I would feed myself, including sea salt (to encourage glial cell production which supports and protects neurons in the brain), roe, meat and fish including organ meat, bone broth, and raw dairy and cheese. I cook with coconut oil which retains its nutrients at higher temperatures unlike olive oil which I use uncooked to flavour food (i.e. steamed broccoli with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt), I also give him no starches, refined sugar or grains as children’s guts do not produce the enzymes necessary to metabolise these foods until at least a year old.
I also read Annabel Karmel’s traditional ‘Weaning’ book which involved making purees and have adopted a half/half approach. My baby feeds himself mushed, but not pureed, food with a spoon so he actually ingests a proper meal-sized amount of food. He also picks up strips of pear, chicken, beetroot etc and bites off pieces of them. He picks up tiny orange balls of roe which are slightly sticky and which therefore have been amazing for developing his pincer reflex, and can grab a bottleor open cup of water and tip it up to drink it as and when he needs it.
Here’s a sample menu, taken from yesterdays meals. My baby is almost fully weaned and now 11 months old, but this menu does broadly reflect his intake over the last few months. Some meals he eats more, others less, and I trust him to let me know what he needs in terms of quantity.
- 2 fried eggs
- Smoked salmon
- 3 grilled courgette strips (whole courgette effectively) with herbs de provence
- 4 sweet potato chips
- 1 satsuma
- Roasted cherry tomato
- Half a cold fillet of lemon sole from our dinner last night
- Pieces of slow cooked lamb in bone broth
- Mushroom/spring onion/parsnip and carrot mush
- Piece of pear
- Goat’s milk formula
- Chicken strips grilled in toasted sesame oil and tamari
- Steamed broccoli florets and asparagus spears
- Leftover parsnip mash from our dinner last night
Did I mention that my baby eats A LOT??
These are some books about feeding a child which I found extremely useful:
- Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck
- Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
- Step by Step by Julie Clark
- Super Nutrition for Babies by Katherine Erlich
What does your baby eat? What is your approach? Mine isn’t going to be for everyone, so I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and share any recipes or food suggestions you have.