Baby Solids: What we cook

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in BABY, Cooking, HEALTH, Health and Fitness, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience

If you missed previous BLW posts, you can visit them here:

BABY LED WEANING
SOLIDS: GEAR 

I’ve been emailed and asked about what we cook for Alexis in terms of BLW and how our whole feeding process goes. So here is the breakdown.

First thing you have to remember is that we don’t really eat like a typical American family.  You almost never see green beans on our table, or green peas, or corn. No mashed potatoes (no reason for that, we just never get around to making them), no meats, no dairy. What you will see is mostly other types of vegetables, fruits, grains and fish. My husband was vegan for a couple of years, but I think we’re slowly starting to permanently introduce fish. I would always eat certain fish, because of its benefit when pregnant and now, but my husband used to stay away from ANY animal products (except for trace amounts in baked goods on occasion). But I think we have decided that the benefit outweighs the disadvantages. I do eat eggs once a month or so now, my husband doesn’t. We’ll occasionally “cheat” if we have to or want to. So at this point our family is a bit of a smorgasborg of vegan/pescetarians/vegetarians/whatever. However, our eating habits are constantly changing and I am not exactly sure which direction we are going with them.

Our goal is (and of course that doesn’t always pan out) to make sure that Alexis has a protein source at almost every meal (beans, fish), a few vegetable servings every time, whole grains (which can also be considered high in protein if you stick with quinoa) and fruit/berries for breakfast.

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BREAKFAST PHILOSOPHY

I once read this philosophy on nutrition and specifically breakfast that has stuck with me and I have followed it for years now and never looked back and now apply with Lexi.

As you probably know, the most taxing process in our body (energy-wise) is digestion. Meats take longer to digest, fruits (except for bananas) digest partially in your mouth as you eat them, vegetables are in the middle, grains are somewhere closer to meats. At the same time, food is what gives us that energy necessary for digestion.

So when we wake up in the morning, after not having any food for 12 hours (or 5-7 for some of the unlucky ones of us), we lack the energy necessary to sustain the most energy-draining process, digestion of our breakfast food. So it’s like a vicious cycle. We don’t have the energy from not eating and yet we are asking our body to digest the typical breakfast foods, like grains and meats and eggs and dairy. Seems counter intuitive.

Instead if you have some fruit when you first wake up, it quickly digests in your mouth, and then finishes in your stomach, passes through your system giving you the necessary energy to go on with your day and move onto the more daunting task of digesting heavier foods. I have been doing this for 5 years now and it makes a HUGE difference! Andrew hasn’t jumped on board, so I assume it’s not for everyone. We wake up and instantly have some fruit for breakfast (berries, pears, melon). Then about 30-60 minutes later, after the fruit has digested and we are hungry again, we go on to eat our typical 2nd breakfast foods, like cereals and vegetables or eggs. Doing it that way avoids that post-breakfast crash, as well as doesn’t tax our body.


So with Lexi we’re taking a similar approach.

Because we started on BLW, she eats what we eat. Or more precisely what I eat. That means:

  • no dairy ( though I am considering introducing Kefir to her, again because I feel the benefits outweigh the risks)
  • no meat whatsoever
  • certain types of fish low in mercury and dioxins
  • egg yolks (and whites now), but not too often
  • lots of whole grains (mainly quinoa, whole grain couscous, whole grain pasta, buckwheat)
  • legumes (black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, split peas)
  • fruit (any kind)
  • vegetables ( a lot of tomatoes, spinach, cucumbers, zucchinis, eggplant, carrots, cabbage, butternut squash, etc)

So a typical meal would have about 1-2 servings of grains or 2 servings of beans, 4 servings of vegetables and an occasional fish/egg. {servings are baby sized}

We usually do not cook separately for her, unless necessary. Yes, that means that our meals are cooked without salt, but we just add salt after serving up on our plates.

I use all the typical spices: paprika, cumin, pepper, basil, thyme, and Alexis loves it.

If the vegetable requires to be cut more finely for her, I do put everything in a separate pan/pot. That way I have two identical meals cooking, one chopped finely and one – for adults.

For the time being, Alexis eats everything. There has not been a meal she has rejected or didn’t like, except for one time that we decided to spice up her favorite brocolli. Her particular favorites seem to be beans, tomatoes, sardines, buckwheat, steamed broccoli  vegetable soup, butternut squash chickpea stew and whole grain angel hair pasta. The only thing she doesn’t seem to care for is bananas, which is weird because I adore bananas :) {edit: lately she’s been eating more of them, so I think it was a matter of giving it time an continuing to offer them to her, which is a rule of thumb with any rejected food)

BABY FEEDING PHILOSOPHY

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{Photo credit: Stacey Downy Photography Editing credit: The Art of Making a Baby}

We are strong believers in not coercing the child to do things, not exerting control over one and letting Alexis explore the world at her own pace with occasional help and loose direction from us if she needs it.

It is not an easy thing to do because we’ve all been conditioned to a certain way of treating and parenting kids and it’s almost hardwired into our brains. However, we try to catch ourselves in situations where we could be controlling over what she wants to do. It’s what we do with sleep, play, nursing. We let her decide whether she’s had enough, whether she wants more and what exactly she wants, within reasonable limits and without exposing her to dangers or items that could cause issues.

With food, it is on a completely new level. Food struggles are almost a right of passage for parents and toddlers. So I am doing my best to remind both of us (an  it’s harder with grandma here) that she should regulate when she eats, what she eats and how much she eats, much like she has been with nursing since birth.

BLW makes it easy. There are no airplanes, or force feeding, because she hasn’t eaten enough. We offer her several choices of nutritious foods, she eats till she doesn’t want to anymore, and  depending on how much or little she ate, we might offer a spoonfull of food to her ( sometimes she gets distracted and forgets to eat) and if she rejects it, we move on and come back again in a bit. Luckily, she can easily communicate to us that she is hungry by using her sign language.

In the beginning it was somewhat difficult to shake off all the years of seeing moms beg their baby to take “just another spoonful of food“. My mom did it, my sister did it, my whole family did it. But once I put my trust into the fact that she WILL eat exactly what she needs and in the amount that she needs, that inner battle quieted down and I simply relaxed. I know my baby will not go hungry, I know she can always nurse to pick up extra nutrients, I know her body knows better.

There are weeks where she will go eating very little, and others – when she will pack in food like an adult. I don’t stress it. I offer her food frequently, but let her decide whether she wants it. My mom, on the other hand, is overly controlling in that department, so she has taken over mealtime and has been trying to spoonfeed her. I have been able to convince her to ONLY offer her food off the spoon when she is done eating on her own, but it’s still a struggle to change her ways :) Lexi has almost gotten the whole self-feeding with a spoon down, so it won’t be long till she feeds herself with a spoon independently rather than using her hands, so I am not pushing the issue because I’ve gotten my mom to have Lexi take the spoon and feed herself rather  with her help than do the spoon feeding thing.

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{Photo credit: Stacey Downy Photography Editing credit: The Art of Making a Baby}

Here are a few comments on less popular foods that I mentioned and why we eat them:

BUCKWHEAT

It’s a whole grain that has the same nutrition score as quinoa (which is well known for its benefits), except for it’s more filling, but has a bit less protein. It goes great with vegetables, as well as fish or meats. We usually serve it with sardines, or sauteed vegetables, like zucchini  mushrooms or carrots and onion. My husband used to refuse to eat it – yes it is an acquired taste – but Alexis is a HUGE fan of buckwheat. I would definitely recommend it as a baby food to anyone who is worried about arsenic in rice and is tired of quinoa or couscous as their go-to grains.

SARDINES

I’ve mentioned sardines a few times before. They are really big in Russia. But just like with buckwheat, you really have to grow up eating them, otherwise they taste/smell too fishy. To me, they taste exactly like tuna fish but with a lot more flavor. The biggest reason for eating and feeding Lexi sardines is that they are probably THE MOST nutritious fish out there, while at the same time containing the least amount of mercury and dioxins. Sardines, along with wild salmon, contain the most amount of Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA) that are SOOO important for baby’s growing brains.

They can be bought raw and baked (but then your whole house stinks lol) or canned. The issue with canned sardines, just like with anything canned is that very few companies use BPA free cans. The two that I’ve used in the past primarily that use bpa free cans are : Vital Choice and Crown Prince ( only certain types of sardines by Crown Prince are in bpa free cans). The issue I have with Crown Prince is the only sardines they have without bpa are smoked sardines and I am hesitant to give anything that is smoked to Alexis.

KEFIR

My husband hates it, I grew up on it since it’s crazy popular in Russia. Out of dairy products, this is the best thing in my opinion. Beats yogurt any day of the week. Not by taste, but benefits. I haven’t tried giving it to Alexis, but I am definitely considering it (though after the news of crazy amounts of phthalates in dairy products across the world, I am re-thinking that).


One of the reasons I really don’t want to introduce cheeses and meats (aside from all the crap they have from the way that they are currently mass produced and our polluted environment that makes its way into the meats and cow’s milk) is because they do tend to “condition” your taste buds to want those types of foods, and vegetables and grains start tasting bland in comparison. I’ve experienced that phenomenon myself several times as I was going back and forth between eating meat and not eating meat years ago. I just want to make sure she has a great love for healthier foods like legumes and vegetables, before she is sucked into the world of processed meats and dairy. Speaking of that world, we are not planning on dictating what she should eat and whether she should be vegetarian once she is old enough to make her own decisions.


SQUOOSHI

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Since we do baby led weaning, Alexis feeds herself. That means no spoon feeding or purees. Except for when we make soups and runny foods for her. I was feeding her with a spoon, but I felt like she wanted more control over it. So I decided to find a company that makes refillable pouches. I found Squooshi, got sent a set to try out and fell in love with their fun animal designs.  The pouches fill up from the bottom, get sealed and then used like any store bought food pouches. You can take them with you on car rides or give to your baby with home made baby food at home.

We don’t make baby food, but I do feed her soups with them. I simply mash up the soups and pour the puree into the pouch. That way she can actually take it with her to the car or around the house and eat good wholesome vegetable soup or split pea soup. Brilliant!

They wash easily  with soap and water and dry on a drying rack, so it really doesn’t add that much time to my already insanely busy schedule. They are BPA-free, Phthalate-free, PVC-free, and Lead-free, which was my primary concern when looking for a reusable pouch. So I’d definitely recommend checking them out if you make your own baby food.

squooshies


 MEALS

Now onto meals. My cooking mantra has always been the same: find what’s in the fridge that is most nutritious and healthy, throw together a meal based on those, mix and match :)

I  have been guilty of going the easy route and making some frozen crap lately for myself. But Lexi gets all fresh good stuff. Even if it means I have to give her a warmed up raw tomato to eat while I try to cook something up. (what? tomatoes are very nutritious when heated up and she loves them)

Paella

We used to make a meatless paella until the whole issue with arsenic in rice came to light. I am still very concerned with making rice for her again, but I do know the advisory is that California white rice is the safest one, because it wasn’t grown on old cotton plantations.

Chickpea squash stew

This meal she adores. We use a store bought organic butter squash soup and cook some onions and carrots in the broth, add chickpeas and spices and pour it over whole grain cous-cous. Very flavorful and a huge hit! There is a full recipe in the Everything Vegan Cookbook I use.

Buckwheat and sardines

Two of the most nutritious foods out there put together. They go really well together and Alexis eats it up. Add warmed up tomatoes or steamed spinach and you’ve got the best thing you could feed your baby.

Couscous with vegetables

Also very simple, just cut up a bunch of vegetables, saute them and mix them with whole grain couscous

Split pea soup

This is her favorite from CPK, so we make a home made version. You can find any split pea soup recipe, add barley and carrots to it and skip salt. High in protein, nutritious and tasty.

Whole Grain pasta with fried tomatoes

Like any kid she loves pasta (I think she loves the shape of spaghetti more than the taste). To make it a bit more interesting, I flash fry tomatoes thinly sliced  and mix them in with the pasta. Beats having to make your own tomato sauce and is much more fun for her to eat. Fried tomatoes are a big favorite of hers.


SNACKS

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{Photo credit: Stacey Downy Photography Editing credit: The Art of Making a Baby}

Millet Puffs

We no longer really do that, because my mom is here and she always has food available. However, back when we were on our own with cooking, we’d give her some of the organic millet puffs to play with/eat while we cook. It gets the egde off, when she is hungry but doesn’t fill her up. It’s wholesome and organic, the only ingredient is millet. It does not contain rice or additives like most commercial baby puffs. Yes, it’s not as fun as cheerios or some green puffs I’ve seen around, but as soon as I look at the ingredients on that stuff, I just walk away.

Organic puree pouches

This is filler food. For when we are on the road and I don’t have any homemade food to bring with us, as well as when she is done eating and wants something “tasty”. We use Plum Organics and Peter Rabbit.

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Baked pears and apples

This is a great snack for little ones. Baking these fruits gets them soft enough that there is no fear of chocking and somehow brings out the sweetness.

Whole beans

She LOVES LOVES LOVES picking off beans and eating them like a snack. We started giving her beans right away and she really took to them.

Sugarless butterless fruit pie

I found this amazing recipe of a fruit pie online that I made for us, adults, without butter but I felt like it’s something Lexi could enjoy too if we just substitute some ingredients. So instead of butter, I used coconut oil and instead of sugar I used a few drops of agave nectar (or you can do honey if your little one is over 1 year old). The fruits make the pie sweet enough that no additional sweetener is necessary. {I usually use pear, apple and blueberries with strawberries, but will use anything that we have at home}

Steamed broccoli

At this point that is Lexi’s favorite food (I know right? I hate broccoli!) It is an awesome snack to take with you on car rides.

Raspberries

They don’t stain and run as much as strawberries do and she is a big fan of them.

 

Obviously, things change greatly as she grows and as we learn things, but this is what we’ve been doing for the last 7 months. 

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Comments (49)

  • Grace

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    I love this post! BLW is the way to go – we’ve done it since day one with our DD, and now at 15 months she will still try (and enjoy) any food we give her, and can now feed herself with a spoon or spork (so I’m sure Alexis will be there soon too). We also just give our daughter anything we eat (since we eat very healthily) and she now really loves spicy food, especially curries!

    Are you members of a CSA? In FL I bet they have a ton, and year-round too, I imagine! We’ve been members of a CSA for close to a decade, and it’s so wonderful to know that almost every bite of food that we’ve given our daughter has been grown by someone we personally know (especially with the issues of “big organic”; I prefer local over anything else if I can get it).

    We’ve given our daughter (local, organic and free-range) meats and dairy for many months (although no red meat) and it hasn’t decreased her love of fruits and veggies at all, so I wouldn’t worry about that. I could see lots of added sugar and salt affecting her tastebuds, but our DD will still pick the spinach out from her pasta and each that first before eating the chicken, goat cheese or noodles! We also use reusable pouches and they are great for green smoothies – a good way to get in kale, swiss chard, etc. into her snacks (although she also loves kale chips). Adding chia seeds in the smoothies is another great source of omega-3’s. We also do beans as snacks, and green peas are also a great snack that she can easily pick up and feed herself (and not too messy). I agree with your stance on pre-made baby snack food – did you know that Baby Mums are made in China? I can’t imagine feeding my daughter that!

    Have you read “Child of Mine”? It matches your food philosophy and maybe your mom can read it to understand why it’s important not to force your toddler to eat (esp. since they regulate their metabolisms over a week-long period, not a day). Our DD is very petite (20th percentile, a typical skinny breastfed baby!) so we do get some pressure from our relatives as well about her eating. We’re very adamant about not forcing her to eat; we never spoon-feed her (except for soup, that would be very messy!) and let her completely set the pace, and she always ends up eating exactly as much as she needs at that moment. I love our stress-free meals!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I wish my mom would read half the books I’ve read but she doesn’t speak English :(
      I’m really glad to hear how similar our approaches are. It’s smth we’ve developed on our own so it’s nice to hear that other people arrived at essentially the same methods.

      We used to be a part of an organic coop but after Lexi arrived it was just not convenient for us to go pick it up across town on a set day anymore. Produce started getting pretty bad there too and the suppliers were the same as our local organic store or whole foods. We’ve been shopping at a small privately owned organic store that has much better produce than WF.

      Reply

      • Grace

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        That’s a bummer about your coop! Lots of CSAs now will deliver straight to your house for a fee, if it’s something you’re interested in.

        I bet both a cultural and language barrier does make things more complicated with your mom. But you should definitely check out Child of Mine (the author is Ellyn Satter, she also has an awesome Facebook page where she takes questions); it will give you lots of good language and resources for why you’re letting Lexi take the lead with eating! The basic premise is: the parents decide the when, where and what for eating and meals, and the child decides if they are going to eat and how much.

        For the green smoothies, I use berries (or whatever fruit we have on hand), frozen bananas, whatever greens I’ve got at the moment, organic whole fat Greek yogurt (got to get in those awesome probiotics!), chia seeds and a little water to thin it down enough to get into the pouches. If you want to increase the thickness without adding dairy, try adding more frozen bananas. I make a ton at once, put it in pouches and freeze them, then defrost one a day.

        Reply

  • Laura

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    WE follow a similar diet– even the millet puffs! One big exception: although I’ve wanted to give my little one sardines, I’m hesitant about the high salt content in canned fish. Is this a concern for you? Do you somehow ‘wash it off’? Also, I’ve been thinking about kefir too, but for now have decided against it. Is there something about the process of ‘kefir-ing’ that I just don’t know about that would ‘fix’ the issues with the animal’s milk in it. Or is it just that you might consider the health of the kefir in general to outweigh the cow milk yuckiness? Thanks, my fellow obsessive researching mama!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      The sardines I got only have 4% sodium. I have to double check that but I seem to remember looking that up.
      As far as kefir, if my memory doesn’t fail me, the process of fermentation does SOMETHING with the milk that it makes it more easily digestible and the benefit of the probiotics cannot be understated.
      I’ll double check both and if I’m wrong, I’ll reply to your comment again.

      Reply

  • Elena C.

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    Wow nice!
    I’ve gone from being clean vegan for several months to eating eggs and fish every now and then + more legumes and whole grains.
    As for breakfast routine, I love it! I always start my morning with a fruit or two unless I have an intensive workout in the morning and need smth more substantial like oats.
    It’s such a joy that Lexi eats such a variety of foods already :)

    Reply

  • Nina

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    A few questions:
    1. Where did you get the butterfly barrette?? Love!
    2. Can you rec any vegan/vegetarian mom blog (beside daily mom)? I emphasize mom because once they get to school it is just sooo hard to come up with something beside cupcake and pizza for celebrations.
    3. What sunscreen you use on Alexis?
    Thanks

    Reply

  • Misty

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    What fish do you use? What do you think of tilapia? I need to research it. My son will eat salmon sometimes but we do have budget issues and tilapia seems to be a little cheaper so I’d like to sub that in sometimes if it is a safe fish.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Tilapia is on the list of fish low in mercury. It doesn’t have omega 3 as far as I know so salmon is still better but as long as you’re BFing and taking dha supplements, you’re fine with omega 3.
      Also how’s the pricing on herring? That’s another fish that’s very high in omegas.

      Reply

  • Elizabeth

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    GREAT post! I also am very concerned with what I am feeding my son and mostly feed him organic clean foods. Thanks for the new ideas though!!

    Reply

  • Aimee

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    Hi Elena,

    I’m wondering where you got Lexi’s bibs? They look like they provide more coverage than the average bibs – something I could use as my son is a pretty messy eater.
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Ah! That’s a frequent question and unfortunately (for you or anyone who wants a better bib), my sister in law made them for us as a gift. These are the best bibs ever and I’ve been asking her to put together a tutorial, but she is just as busy with 3 very high needs kids :)
      I’ll ask again.

      Reply

  • Caitlin Mallery

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    Starting babies on healthy food early certainly gives them the taste for it! My son adores fruit, and would eat mounds of it at every meal if I let him. My husband and I want our family to eat locally as much as possible. We had local grass-fed beef over the last year, and the flavor and nutrition content was way above grocery store products. We also garden, or purchase produce at the farmers market in the summer, and I am starting to become more adept at canning, though I would like to get a dehydrator as well.

    I did start my son on the rice cereal and such when he showed interest in food, but am not sure if that is what I want to start my 5-mo old daughter on. She is showing interest in food; any recommendations for a first food?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I’d def. stay away from rice cereal, especially with arsenic worries…
      In our case, we didn’t have a choice, since Lexi grabbed a peach out of my hands at 5.5months and started eating it.
      But from the digestion standpoint, any fruit or vegetable will do as long as you don’t start too early. Make sure she is truly ready ( showing interest does not indicate readiness), or better yet, check out BLW method. Even if you decide not to use it, it gives you a world of knowledge and another outlook on baby feeding.

      Reply

  • Bernadette

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    Thank’s for this post! We are doing BLW as well and I love your take on it. Also your food-suggestions are wonderful! (I don’t know why I didn’t think of giving Kretschka to my son before!)
    Also a HUGE thank you for the squooshi Tip! I ordered it right away and can’t wait for them to arrive and to try them out. Such a great idea!
    Greetings from Austria,
    Bernadette

    Reply

  • Irina

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    I love food posts. It is so wonderful that A eats so many different veggies. it is always great to hear about other people’s approaches to food and baby feeding.

    Our food approach is a lot different – we do eat meat and dairy (of course only organic and grass fed, etc, but it is not a meat vs. veggie debate here!) and my biggest food belief after many years of searching is NO processed foods and 100% organic if I can help it… (and is it exhausing cooking all meals myself :) ) while 5 mo pregnant!

    I am working on self spoon feeding (she currently feeds herself efficiently using hands, i have not spoon fed her in many months, she decided to not ever be spoon-fed again at about 111mo) and I think I am going to try those pouches for soups! As usual, thank you for doing my research for me!

    My daughter will try ANY fruit but is not so open to veggies – we are workign on it too, but it is a slow process, especially when I am not there during most of the day time meals. She used to eat a lot of pureed veggies as an infant but since going to eating herself and in pieces, she does not seem to want any of the veggies she used to like (or at least tolerate). We will keep trying.

    About brown rice – I read that brown rice has significantly more arcenic than white, this prompted me to take rice almost completely out of our diet, and switch to organic white rice on rare occasions. What is your take on the arcenic scare? Also, what is this about phthalates in dairy – does it affect organic and local dairy or just commercial? Please share a link in the comments if you have time!

    thanks as usual for your research :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      OMG is it not so time consuming not eating processed foods? It was so much easier when all we ate was microwavable meals!!!!

      Did you do purees or BLW? Sounds like purees right? I am wondering if her issue with veggies is because of the texture since they vary so much and can be pretty weird. And that’s why she had them in pureed form but not in real form?

      Also I know I read you have to introduce a food 10 times because a kid will start to accept it.

      Re: brown rice, I read them same thing. California white rice is probably the safest one, since no cotton plantations were grown there and it is refined. We def. stopped using rice for Lexi and we personally switched to California jasmin and white rice and asian black rice on occasion.

      Pthalates in dairy: http://guide.thesoftlanding.com/study-finds-shockingly-high-phthalate-levels-in-food-seasonings-and-dairy-products/ That’s all I read. Since we don’t really eat it, I didn’t do any more research that this. If you do, let me know.

      Reply

  • Megan

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    V LOOOOOOVES Kefir. She drinks it just about every other day or so. Since she’s been sick and not really “into” eating, I make Kefir smoothies with a couple ice cubes and spinach, and some bananas. The vanilla Kefir rocks in it.
    The ONLY problem with Kefir is that it’s impossible to find a full-fat version. Every one I’ve ever seen is low-fat, and I’m trying to keep us away from that. ;-/
    But, like you said, the benefits outweigh the risks, so she drinks the low-fat one (not the fat free)

    :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Why are you trying to keep Viv away from the low fat version?

      As far as animal products go, the fat is where all the nasties (like dioxins, heavy metals, etc) are stored. non-fat and low-fat are better from that standpoint.

      I am still deciding on Kefir and whether I want to introduce it.

      Reply

          • Leah

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            You might also look into water kefir. The probiotic level is a bit less than dairy kefir, but you don’t have any of he issues that come with dairy. You can also make it yourself really easily at home. :)

            Reply

  • lindsey

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    Wondering your thoughts on peanuts and tree nuts? Great source of protein! We started with peanut butter at a year with my son and no problems at all. He also lives cashews, which I give just a few at a time.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I am all for it! I have given her Justin’s almond butter and a taste of hazelnut butter (it has chocolate and sugar so I didn’t go further). I want to see if there is such a thing as walnut butter since walnuts are high in ALAs

      Reply

  • Babsie

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    I don’t have an issue with dairy kefir, but have you ever thought of Kefir water? You can grow your own and it’s dairy free :) I’ve never made it, but I have a friend who makes it and loves it.

    I like your post and your approach to feeding, but I was somewhat put off by the “no green beans, peas and corn” comment. I’m not American and most food I cook probably wouldn’t be found on a typical American dinner table, but green beans and peas are perfectly healthy :) (and also happen to be a staple in my Eastern European family’s diet). Ok, I’ll stop with that comment…I always get annoyed when your readers pick out one little phrase from your whole entire post and nitpick at it…and here I am doing the same :)

    I have a question regarding your parent philosophy. While I am in favor of some aspects of Attachment Parenting (such as feeding on demand co-sleeping when appropriate), I do believe in providing direction, correction, and structure in my child’s day to day. I do think many things need to be child-lead and child-centered, but the reality of life (especially with multiple children), is that it can’t always be up to the child. So my question…do you plan on having any more children? If so, how do you think that will work if you continue the same philosophy for both Lexi and the new child (especially if their needs don’t align)?

    Just wondering :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      lol at your comment about American foods, both the nitpicking and then catching yourself.

      I didn’t say those foods are bad, I simply said they are typically american and we somehow don’t eat them often. Most likely because I usually decide on meals and I really don’t like green beans and peas and corn. (actually, after i wrote that part of the post, my mom while she is here started making both peas and corn for Lexi. I still don’t eat them, but they are easy foods for Alexis).

      As far as your question, just like with anything in life, I am super flexible and adjust very easily. With a second child, I’ll do what I have to do while trying to do my best meeting both children’s needs. Our parenting phylosophies aren’t set in stone and change as our circumstances change.

      Reply

  • Vicky

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    Curious about the beans. How do you prepare them?

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    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I get them in bulk at Whole Foods and just follow the instructions on the bin. Usually it involves rinsing, soaking and then cooking in boiling water.

      Reply

  • Amanda

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    As far as the kefir issue goes- we haven’t tried it out yet but I know you can make (and buy I think) coconut milk kefir. This might be worth looking into since coconut milk has all those awesome medium chain fatty acids and none of the dairy worries!

    Reply

  • Anna

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    Thanks for this post. I just blogged about our experience on BLW, three months into it. Quite different.
    I love buckwheat, kefir, millet and sardines. Smells like home :) Too bad I cannot get it in Mexico. But I get fresh sardines (ha!) and amaranth (have you tried? As good as quinoa, better taste imo).
    Bruno must have read same book on breakfast, bc he will only have fruit as his first meal :) :)

    Reply

  • Elena

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    Oh, how sorry I am about not learning BLW before! I have a 10-month old who is being fed purees from the spoon. But I can go over to self-feeding now, right? I have never heard of it before, it’s so not popular in Estonia.

    How do you give Lexi buckwheat? Just boil it and put in from of her in a bowl? I tried to puree it, and it turns into an inedible crap :))
    And now I can show my husband one very healthy-looking baby who does NOT eat meat!

    Thank you, Elena. I love your diary, I can learn so much from you.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I think at the age of 10 months, you’re already close to introducing first table foods, so I’d stick with the method you’ve been doing already.
      You can definitely give buckwheat in its normal form ( boiled) to your little one, though. It’s too small to choke on it. Just make sure you don’t serve it in lumps.
      Pureed buckwheat! LMAO! Yuck!

      Reply

  • CJ

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    This is a great post! I’m amazed at how many veggies you are able to get Lexi to eat!

    I didn’t do BLW, but I did make all my own baby food from the beginning. My son was never really a picky eater until he got closer to 2 years old. Now, I find that I’m having to hide veggies to get him to eat them. I’ll be curious to see if you run into the same issue, or if BLW will help you in that regard.

    Fortunately, my kiddo has never met a fruit he hasn’t liked, so at least we have that going for us. lol

    For the reader that asked about mom blogs on cooking, http://www.weelicious.com is one of my favorites. It’s not vegan/vegetarian, but it is very health-conscious and has lots of fun ideas. http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com is another good one. Also, the book Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron is another invaluable resource. In addition to baby food, she has a lot of recipes for toddler and school-aged children in the book. So many creative, healthy ideas!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      “I’m amazed at how many veggies you are able to get Lexi to eat!”
      I am still waiting for the time when she starts refusing it. I am myself incredibly curious if it’s BLW helping her with veggies, or whatnot. I guess we’ll see when she turns 2 :)

      Thanks for the blog links :)

      Reply

  • Ryan Kelly

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    Hi there- with regard to the comment about meat and the toxins from the environment- what are your thoughts on the findings that the same environmental toxins are in breast milk?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      It sucks big time! Those are my thoughts!
      BUT that is precisely why I did things a certain way when we decided we’d have kids in the future, before pregnancy and during pregnancy: to minimize dioxins, heavy metals, pthalates, bpa in my body.

      Not sure if it works that way but that’s one of the reason I made sure I got as lean as possible since all these things are stored in fat, so I’d assume if you burn off most fat, they would eventually filter out for the most part.

      I didn’t go as far as doing chelation, but if there was an easier way to get that stuff out, I’d do it for Lexi.

      Reply

  • Kat

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    I don’t know if you feel the same way or not (maybe your family is less crazy than mine) but I find that Russians make meals so much more stressful. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of lectures/battles I go through with my mother about the amount of food that P eats. It’s CONSTANT (and they don’t even live near me). And it doesn’t stop at the baby. I get lectures from mom/grandma about my eating as well as what I feed my husband (it’s never enough….). Drives me bonkers.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I honestly don’t even know how other Russians do it but it does seem like you have to eat a lot and it has to have meat and heaven forbid you play with your food lol.
      I mean I get it. But it’s still important to think outside the box rather than do what’s always been done.

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  • Kath

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    Love that you love sardines!! I do too and agree – they are one of the world’s most nutritious foods!

    Reply

  • Kate

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    Hi Elena, great post! Truly enjoyed reading, very helpful also.

    What oil do you use for cooking (sauteeing etc…)? Do you use butter on Lexi’s food? Also, when you say warmed up tomatoes, is it steamed or boiled?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I use canola in frying/sauteeing because it can be heated up to higher temperatures without oxidizing and olive in salad type things.Warmed tomatoes- I just heat them up in a microwave for 5 seconds, but you could fry them or sautee them or steam them ( not boil, you don’t want to get all those nutrients boiled away). You could also drop a tomato into a bowl of boiling water for a minute, that way you can peel the skin easier and release minerals- win win.

      Reply

  • Olga

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    Hi Elena,
    I came across your website when I was looking for a good carseat for my toddler. I’ve found a lot of good information here and I love it :) you are doing a great job caring for your little one who is super cute :)
    I know this post is a year old, a lot has probably changed by now.
    I just wanted to ask and suggest something:
    Are you still not giving Kefir to Lexi?
    I have 18 months old who hates milk but loves Kefir, I’ve never heard about phthalates in Kefir before, will try to do more research in regards to that. Just wanted to ask you: have you heard about kefir grains? You can make your own organic kefir at home without being concerned about any harmful additives. It does require some dedication as you have to feed them fresh milk every day for the grains to stay healthy, but you have your mom who can take care of it, it doesn’t take much time to do it anyway 😉

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I don’t but that’s really for no specific reason. We just haven’t bought it. I am not opposed to it as long as it is organic. :)

      Reply

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