Transitioning Baby to Solids

When should I start my baby on solids? What should he eat? This is a common topic among mothers, especially if one is new to the Traditional Foods way of eating.

I heartily agree with most everything in the Nourishing a Growing Baby article from the Weston A. Price Foundation; with the caveat that all these foods should be started when the baby is almost 1 year of age and not at 4 months. If you have not read this article and have asked this question, it truly is a MUST read.

Pay close attention to the end of this quote (from the Nourishing a Growing Baby article):

“Meats will help ensure adequate intake of iron, zinc, and protein with the decrease in breast milk and formula.” (emphasis added)

This article assumes that a mother is DECREASING in nursing or bottle feeding. Why in the world would I want to start preparing all these time consuming foods for a baby that I can still breast-feed 24/7? If for some reason, one is unable to continue breast-feeding or is not able to, then I can understand the need for starting earlier. Otherwise, if the mother’s diet contains all these nutrient-dense foods, I strongly believe waiting until baby’s first birthday before even beginning the process towards solids.

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Even when a baby starts to eat solids, it is not guaranteed that the baby will like egg yolks, liver, or what have you. This is where nursing comes in all the more handy. I can rest assured knowing that baby is getting all the nutrients he needs because of my diet and not necessarily from his.

As baby grows and is nursing less in the 1-2 year age range, or if the baby is not nursing at all anymore, I find it most useful to get them used to smoothies. I can put homemade yogurt in there, raw goat or cow milk, a little bit of sucanat, maple syrup (honey when over 2), and any superfoods I want to ensure he is getting all he needs. I like to add 1/8 tsp of moringa once or twice a week. I also like to get the growing tot used to eating a teaspoon of fermented cod liver oil/butter oil blend off a spoon.

When babe is between 1-2 years of age, I like to make sourdough crackers with lots of butter and pink salt for a quick snack if need be on the go. Who needs goldfish when you can give your child a traditional, nutrient dense snack that takes hardly any time at all to make? Here’s the recipe I have come to love:

Mix 1 cup spelt flour, 1 cup starter, 1/4 cup softened coconut oil, tallow, or butter. Stir it all together and let sit overnight. Roll them out, brush with oil, sprinkle pink salt on top.  Bake at 350 until browned about 20-25 minutes.

This little person has a fresh start on life, why not start him out right? Loving real, nutrient dense, traditional foods.

Joey’s First Favorite Food – Homemade Yogurt

My littlest one will be one whole year next month. I can’t believe it has been almost a year already! I say that with each one, but the time really does go faster than I realize. Being the real foodie fanatic that I am, delaying solids for my little ones seems the most natural, traditional way to go. I breastfeed them exclusively until they are almost one (and still continue breastfeeding as long as we are able). I do this for so many reasons, but here are my favorites:

  1. Breast milk from a healthy mama, who is eating a nourishing, real foods diet is SUPREME to any alternative;
  2. Babies do not even develop the necessary digestive enzymes to digest or assimilate grains and many other foods until between 6-12 months; and
  3. Exclusive breasfeeding allows my baby to be with me 24/7 – babies need their healthy mama all the time not only for physical health, but for emotional, mental, and spiritual.

And there’s so more! (For more information, read Real Food for Mother and Baby.) But hey, never take anyone’s word for it – do your own research with reliable, honest sources.

When I do start them on solids, I begin with vegetables, some fruits, organic butter and almond butter, and fermented foods (such as homemade yogurt or spelt sourdough crackers). I don’t usually go out of my way to make them special food, but rather just give them what I have already made for snacks or dinner (just keeping the baby’s spice free and simple) Today, I gave Joey some yogurt and he just loved it. I was surprised, because usually at the beginning, they don’t seem to “love” any food; they simply enjoy the new taste and the newness of eating. But he really enjoyed this one, so here’s my simple recipe for a first food:

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Homemade Cinnamon Yogurt

Ingredients

  • 3 quarts raw, pastured milk
  • 3 Tablespoons yogurt culture (I used an organic Greek yogurt)
  • Cinnamon
  • Stevia extract or Sucanat (optional) – do not use raw honey yet

Method:

  1. Add milk to a large stockpot and heat gently until 180 degrees.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool to 110.
  3. Pour milk into quart jars, leaving a little space at the top
  4. Mix in 1 Tablespoon of yogurt starter into each quart. Put lids on the jars.
  5. Add warm water (110 degrees) to the stockpot and place the quart jars in the water bath.
  6. Place the stockpot on a heating pad (or heating element of choice) and keep the heat steady at no more than 110 degrees and no lower than 95.
  7. Leave yogurt for 24 hours.
  8. After yogurt is thickened, put it in the fridge – it will become even more solid after cooling.
  9. Scoop out 1/2 cup yogurt into a bowl.
  10. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon and a dash of sucanat or a couple drops of stevia extract.
  11. Mix well and serve.

Though I don’t like heating raw milk, for this ferment it does make the end result thicker without the use of gelatin or other thickeners. Also, using just a tablespoon of starter gives the culture space to work, which in the end creates a smoother, slightly tangy taste. This might just become my new favorite snack as well!

Josiah’s Birth Story

Josiah is two months now! I suppose that is long enough to procrastinate writing another blog post and his birth story. His birth was quite unexpected and different from the others…

We had just finished a long week of VBS at our church. To top off the busy week, Isaiah (the second oldest) just had his 12th birthday. Finally, I thought, now I can relax and get ready for this baby. At 39 weeks along, I honestly didn’t think it would be another few weeks, since I have a track record of being almost two weeks late.

At 2am though, my water broke. Completely surprised, I jumped out of bed (about as quick as a 9 month pregnant mama can get) and ran for the bathroom. Had my water really just broke?! This never happens to me, I kept saying to myself. Excitedly, I told Aaron. He groggily responds, “Are you sure?” Yea, I am sure :) I phoned the midwife, hoping not to wake her. She was at another birth and responded that she would call me back when she was done. Since the contractions weren’t painful or regular, I just went back to bed.

A couple hours later my midwife calls back. She’s finished at the other birth and wanted to come over. I figured she could just rest here instead of driving all the way home and then coming back out again. So, over she came. It was a little bit of a blur. We all just tried to get some rest. When the contractions became too uncomfortable to sleep, I got up and walked around. I was at about a 7 sometime early that morning. The kids were waking up, and we needed to get the birthing pool ready. My labor kind of fizzled out and started to slow down. I think being preoccupied with everyone else’s needs didn’t help the progression. After getting all the kids out the door to a good friend’s house, I felt like I could relax, a little. Throughout the labor, I felt very watched and on a time clock. When your water breaks at home, midwives are under a lot of pressure to take you to a hospital after 24 hours if you don’t deliver. With my labor stalling out, I was getting a little worried.

In my haste to hurry things along, I tried doing herbal tinctures, some oils, massage, walking, praying, anything I could think of to get my labor going again. Nothing seemed to work. Finally, very discouraged, I went to bed and tried to take a nap. After an hour or more, contractions were back and I was ready to get this baby out!

We refilled the pool again and tried to keep the temperature just right. For some reason though, I just didn’t have the urge to push. That urge is caused by adrenaline which is produced by the adrenals. Near the end of my pregnancy, I had been experiencing adrenal fatigue. I didn’t realize all this until after the birth. Looking back now, I can see how having your body systems in top shape is so critical to having a natural, healthy birth – especially at home.

After laboring in the pool for a while, I gave up and got out. All those Swedish Bitters I had tried to get my labor going were taking serious effect :/ After laboring in the bathroom for a while, I wandered around the house, trying to find a good place to birth. Since the pool was too dirty and cold now, I couldn’t birth there. I had no back up plan! After trying different positions, I gave up and went to my bedroom. Still feeling a lot of pressure to hurry up and birth this baby, I think my emotional system was incredibly stressed and without the adrenals to help with the stress, I just couldn’t remember how to push this baby out!

Thank God for my sweet midwife. One of my dear friends suggested to her that she put pressure on the place where I need to be focused on pushing at. That did it. She only had to place her fingers down there with slight pressure for me to know what I had to do. With a couple of good pushes, little Josiah finally came out. Now all the after birth hormones were going nuts, and I was delirious, happy, in pain, unbelieving that I actually pushed a little person out of my body. God’s design just takes my breath away.

I started to bleed a bit too much; so my midwife had Aaron give me a shepherd’s purse tincture. It stopped the bleeding almost immediately. I believe the bleeding was caused by doing too much of the black and blue cohosh (one of the herbs I was trying to get my labor started again). Won’t be doing that again. I had read a long time ago that shepherd’s purse stops internal bleeding and had a bag of the herb on hand, intending to make a tincture out of it. I still need to do that, but I am so thankful that my midwife had one on hand!

Josiah Adin (meaning God saves, and pleasantly – both of Hebrew origin),  as we named him (after 8 days), was just beautiful! Weighing in at 7 and a half pounds, he was almost 2 lbs smaller than my last baby. I was elated that he had finally arrived and I was not 42 weeks along!

I learned much from the birth experience: like the importance of being relaxed and laboring in your own way, at your own pace, and on your own terms. I also have been working on building up my adrenals and other body systems that were weakened this time around.

Here are some of the ways I am nourishing my body back to complete health after baby #8:

  • praying for God to resolve and heal certain organs and areas of weakness
  • drinking homemade broth, 3-4 time a week
  • taking probiotics daily
  • taking fermented cod liver oil (Green Pastures)
  • taking 4 tsp of Moringa powder each day
  • juicing 1-2 times a day
  • eating a diet of mostly raw foods (including dairy, nuts, etc.)
  • enjoying sourdough bread and gluten free grains in moderation
  • having limited amounts of natural sugars only (like sucanat, or coconut sugar) – using mostly raw honey for sweetening
  • eating my main caloric intake during the early afternoon, and not in the evening
  • taking food enzymes as needed
  • using essential oils topically to strengthen various problem areas (Orange on pancreas, Lemongrass for lymph, DiGiz for stomach, Myrtle for thyroid, Lemon for gallbladder/liver)

It is a slow process and I need to learn to be patient with myself as I continue to heal and regain strength again in all areas. Once my baby fat starts falling off like crazy, then I will know that my body has repaired and no longer needing to reserve all energy for healing. Holding on to stored fat is a sign that the body is in a healing crisis and needs to restore its body systems to a reasonable level of functionality. In my case, it’s a combination of my thyroid, stomach, pituitary and pancreas that have to get it together before I am able to shed the extra pounds from the pregnancy.

I also experienced some serious panic attacks a week or so after the birth. I believe this was from the weakened state of my pancreas and adrenals combined. I prayed for God to heal me in those areas and release all anxiety, replacing it with trust, peace, love and joy. He is ever merciful, showing me what I need to do to heal and restore this temple back to its original design. Truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully created – knit together with such love.

Thank God for another wonderful blessing to add to our family. I am grateful and humbled by the great task that lay before me in preparing another soul for His kingdom.  Welcome to Our Father’s World, little Josiah.

Herbal Remedies for Baby

I have been blessed with such different children. Each one as an infant had his/her own set of issues. At the time, it was quite difficult, especially when you feel like you’re just trying everything to find one thing that would work. So here are some basic remedies I have used over the years for varying ailments.

Upset Tummy

  • Catnip and Fennel Tincture
  • Chamomile Tea
  • Essential Oil blend DiGiz by Young Living
  • If the baby is still nursing, I try to keep a food log and stop eating any offending foods.
  • Nurse, or give fluids frequently to flush it out as quickly as possible
  • Lobelia tincture – only a couple of drops needed if he ate a non-food (like bit a piece of crayon or ate a piece of dog food)

Diaper Rash

I usually make my own cream and add the Young Living blend Gentle Baby to it, or lavender. (I will be posting a recipe soon, so be on the look out.)

If cloth diapering, I change his diaper more frequently or even switch to disposables for a day to help him heal a little.

Over-stimulated/Emotional

Sometimes if we’ve been out a lot that day, or I was a little “hormonal”, or something traumatic happened (like big brother bopped him on the head with a toy), baby can have a harder time calming down to go to sleep; seems extra grouchy and irritable; or is very clingy. If this is the case, here’s what I have found helpful:

  • pray, ask God to release any pent up negative emotions and fill baby with peace, love and joy
  • put calming essential oil or blends on baby’s feet – evergreen tree oils (like cypress or balsam fir or spruce) are calming, Peace & Calming blend by Young Living, Gentle Baby blend; you can also put a drop of lavender on the top tip of his ear; if it was a really traumatic day, the Trauma Life blend on the top of the head is helpful
  • nice warm bath, with a couple drops of chamomile oil or lavender; you can also put a little chamomile tea in the bath if you don’t have the oils
(Any of the oil blends mentioned, you can make yourself – just look up the ingredients and if you have some of the single oils, put them together. :) )

Bumps/Bruises

  • Arnica oil or salve (can make your own, or buy pre-made)
  • Arnica homeopaths – I like Hylands, because the tablets dissolve easily and quickly
  • lavender essential oil – I usually double up with the arnica oil and I rarely see a bruise show up after that; plus the lavender will help them calm down after the incident
  • balsam fir essential oil is also good for inflammation and swelling
  • comfrey salve/oil – the “bone knit” herb – only on places you know they won’t get into their mouth

Not Feeling Well

  • Colloidal Silver – I use the one from Nature’s Sunshine because it does not disturb the good bacteria in the gut
  • Stabilized Oxygen – I have used a few drops to help kill a virus/bacteria
  • If the baby is over 6 months old, I have used those herbal blend tinctures for children or made him some immune building tea
  • If it’s the stomach bug – red raspberry leaf and peppermint tea is very helpful (in also keeping it away as well)
  • Thieves essential oil blend rubbed on their feet a couple times a day – I have done this to boost his immune system/help kill the virus/bacteria
  • If the baby is over 6 months old, I will increase their fermented cod liver oil/butter oil (Green Pastures) to help the immune system out
  • warm bath with a little ginger in it – helps to sooth aches, and also facilitate healing
  • If there’s a fever that is very high, I put a drop of peppermint essential oil on his belly button – if it is not very high: fevers are useful to help the body heal, and I try not to interfere with the natural process
  • Congestion – Herbal Vapor Rub – I got one from Mountain Rose Herbs that works well, R.C. Young Living oil blend – rub on his chest several times a day; can diffuse R.C. as well through the night; DoTerra has Breathe also, and Eucalyptus Blue is helpful. You can also make a garlic salve and rub on the chest (just chopped garlic and coconut oil)
Many other remedies for these and other ailments are out there as well. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but just my experience with what has worked over the years. I use essential oils quite frequently in our home. Use only therapeutic quality – I have found Young Living to be outstanding as well as Mountain Rose Herbs and DoTerra.
Good references to have on hand to look up specific issues are: Gentle Babies (essential oil reference book for using oils with babies), Prescription for Nutritional Healing, and Be Your Own Doctor (Rachel Weaver – great book with readily available home remedies).
Also, here’s my disclaimer – the contents herein are for information purposes only. They are not meant to prescribe, cure, or treat any illness or disease. I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be one. I am a mother who is merely sharing her experience.