Just like that my exclusively breastfed babes of 5.5 months has started giving me very clear cues that he is ready for food. He has become quite desperate in his attempt to put our food in his mouth and is starting to get upset that we won’t let him. He has also sat on occasion by himself – I wouldn’t say he is sitting yet, but his core strength just suddenly and very quickly progressed, and he has become very distracted on the breast and is snacking more than ever. Kojo was also 9 days overdue and so based on his due date, he is very nearly on the 6-month mark. It is believed that babies generally show a readiness for solids from about 4.5 months right up to about 7 months, so it is about the right time for all of this to be going on. And most importantly, I can just “feel” his readiness. I am so excited to have such a gorgeous clean slate to give him the very best nutritional start, even if it feels like a bit of whirlwind and I can’t believe my little guy is growing up so fast.
But seriously it is so easy to give your little one food that packs a very awesome punch in vitality and goodness that I wanted to share some of the extras that I have used with Cassian, now 6, and will be using with Kojo as he starts his culinary adventures.
We will be feeding him pureed or mashed food and will also be giving him pieces of food to eat and explore on his own (otherwise known as baby-led weaning). I am personally quite weary of dogmatic baby routes and have found that balance or the middle road has always worked best for me. Each baby is different, every family is different, and I think even us super passionate natural mamas need to be self-aware enough to watch out for the ego traps that come with the labels of how we eat, parent or live. I love that I can sneak so many awesome extras into pureed food, but I also love watching my children find their own hands and mouths while they discover various tastes and textures of food in its real form.
Mama’s, these are the superfoods I would recommend for your babies best potential:
- A baby is born with sufficient iron reserves to last them until they are about 6 months, but from this point, it is advised that you give your baby a diet that is naturally rich in iron from real food – not fortified cereals or drops. And life with dulse makes it so much easier to do this. Quite miraculously, an 8g serving of dulse contains more Iron than a 100g portion of sirloin steak! And if like me you are keeping your little on vegan or vegetarian to start with, you are probably doing a happy little jig knowing that. I find the granules quite tasteless and your little one is not even likely to notice that they have been sprinkled or mixed into their favourite food.
- The health benefits of flaxseeds for babies include a rich supply of omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus and iron and acts as a natural laxative thanks to the presence of high dietary fibre. You can start adding it to babies diet at 7-8 months but be sure to use no more than 3 teaspoons of Flax per day and offer it on a rotating basis until you see how it affects your little one. Cassian really struggled to pass his first solid stools so I’ve bought this to keep on hand if Kojo needs the odd dose before 7 months to help with constipation.
- Greens are also a great source of iron, amongst everything else and The Real Thing Green Powder is a great choice to add to purees for an extra nutritional kick. Free of gluten, yeast, soya, corn and additives of any kind, it really is just a blend of top-notch dark green vegetables.
- A recent landmark study showed that feeding nuts to babies—even those at high risk of allergies—before age one can actually prevent peanut allergies. If there is no history of allergies in your family, nut butter is being recommended by many nutritionists as a great first food for baby but of course, always consult your paediatrician if you have any questions or concerns. I personally love starting with almond butter as it is a very good source of Vit E, iron and especially calcium. (As a side note, be sure to avoid nut butters with added salt, sugar and partially hydrogenated oils.)
- Lucuma is an excellent source of carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins especially beta-carotene, niacin and vitamin C, and also a good source of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and remarkable concentrations of iron. It tastes like a mix of caramel custard and pumpkin. It’s a great immune booster and a very easy “taste” for babies when added to purees.
- Not only super tasty, and a great immune booster but baobab fruit powder is also fantastic for promoting good gut health in our youngest eco-warriors as it provides soluble and insoluble fibres that promote the healthy probiotic cultures in the intestinal tract.
- Nutritional yeast is full of naturally cheesy/ nutty flavour, plus it is an amazing source of protein, B vitamins and folic acid. It’s fantastic added to vegetable purees for added flavour.
- Hemp seed is one of the most nutritionally complete foods available. It is an excellent and easily digestible source of essential fatty acids and has the perfect balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids to sustain human health. EFAs strengthen the immune system and nourish the brain, skin, and almost every system in the body, so they are very important for babies and children. Great to introduce at about 7/8 months – just sprinkle a teaspoon of raw seeds onto babies (homemade) cereal or purees.
- Whether you are using it to make your own porridge for baby or adding as a thickener to pureed food, quinoa flour works as the perfect low-GI, gluten-free alternative to heavy, starchy grains; and a great way to give your babies diet a protein and iron boost. Millet is gluten-free, easily digestible, alkaline and rich in vitamin B, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and magnesium. It is also a good protein source. A truly fantastic grain for babies and kids!
- Mr Goodspoon Organic Superfood Blend is my version of baby takeout. A fantastic way to throw together a last minute highly nutritious meal for babes. Simply mix with breastmilk or formula. Cannot recommend it enough.
- Wow, I don’t quite know where to begin with this amazing book. Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics reviews speak for themselves, but the author Catherine has created an absolute treasure trove of very well researched information to guide both your and your children’s health. I was pleasantly surprised at how great a resource this book, Weaning Sense, is and do highly recommend it due to the great practical “how to” advice of introducing solids, food prep and storage and then, of course, tons of awesome recipes.
- This wipeable baby bib design from the Stephen Joseph range makes clean-up after your tiny tot’s meal times so much quicker. The BPA-free vinyl surface is so easy to wipe down, and the built-in crumb catcher will help to control spills.
- I make babes purees in bulk and then freeze the end results in cubes. I have found placing the cubes in snack cups are perfect for naturally defrosting the cubes and then placing in a dessert bowl of hot water or the sun.
- Finally, this is an absolute lifesaver of a product. We have been giving Kojo frozen cucumber sticks to teethe on and use these reusable food bags to transport them. I also store purees in them in the freezer, and then, of course, they are an amazing way to feed babes on the go when your little one us able to suck.