Wherein my baby eats steak

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for a long time.

Many of my friends with babies may roll their eyes at this post since I’m sure that most of them have already heard me go on and on about this book and “highly recommend it” several times.  But that can’t be helped…Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck is one the best baby books I’ve ever read and I think that every mother should read it!  Very informative, funny, laid-back…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

When Cedar was about five months old, he started getting very interested in our food and would get upset when we would eat and he couldn’t have any.  I knew that general baby knowledge said you shouldn’t start your baby on “solids” until they were at least six months old, but for the peace of our dinner table, I fudged a little.  As Cedar didn’t have any teeth yet, I bought two mesh feeders to be stuffed with assorted fruit (usually peaches since it was stone fruit season here) and he was a happy camper.  Gnawing, sucking and banging it on the table…I am forever thankful to whoever invented those things.

But I knew he wouldn’t be happy with that forever, though I wasn’t sure where to begin with the seemingly overwhelming task of “starting your baby on solids”.  I really didn’t like the idea of store-bought baby food, so super-processed with who knows what, but the idea of making my own baby food and pureeing it all seemed like a lot of unnecessary work.  And the baby books that I had read gave such a limited list of what a baby could eat once you started them on solids.  But what to do instead?

Then, one day, while browsing a natural eating blog that I enjoy, I came across a link to Real Food for Mother and Baby: The Fertility Diet, Eating for Two and Baby’s First Foods.  The title and sub-title intrigued me and when I saw that Amazon had it majorly discounted (as they do again…under $7!), I immediately ordered it and waited impatiently for it to get here.  As soon as it arrived, it jumped to the head of my nursing reading list and I devoured it (no pun intended).  I obviously had ordered it mostly for the “Baby’s First Foods” part, but I found the fertility diet stuff fascinating as well.

My feeling upon finishing the 270 pages of information…relief.  This whole starting your baby on solids thing wasn’t nearly as complicated as I had originally thought it was.  Basically, I just needed to feed my baby real food…fruits, veggies, full-fat dairy, good meats.  After a baby is six months old, their intestines are no longer porous so the odds of giving your baby an allergy by feeding him something too early are quite low.  And the food doesn’t have to be pureed and passed through a strainer.  Babies already have an incredibly sensitive gag reflex and will automatically keep large chunks toward the front of their mouth.  So just make it manageable and keep an eye on them.  Planck recommends keeping your baby off grains until they’re at least a year old as a baby’s digestive tract can’t really handle them until then.

And so we began.  Cedar was eager to try anything we would give him and there was little he didn’t like.  One of his favourite things was to gnaw on a piece of steak, sucking all the juices out of it and getting little flakes of meat off.  When he finally got some teeth around six or seven months old, feeding him got even easier.  He ate what we ate.  The only thing he hasn’t tried yet is oily fish (salmon, trout, etc.) as Aaron is allergic to those and we aren’t sure if that was passed on to Cedar.  As recommended, we tried keeping Cedar off grains until he was one, but that ended up being a lot harder than we thought it would be (since he was eating whatever we ate, and a portion of our meal almost always included grains) and so it only lasted until he was seven or eight months old.  However, introducing him to grains didn’t seem to adversely affect him at all and now one of his favourite things to eat is a slice of cold sprouted bread!

We often get comments on how good of an eater Cedar is.  This is something that I’m incredibly thankful for as he had to transition to mostly solid food sooner than most babies as my milk supply dropped when I got pregnant again. And though  I realise a good part of that varies from kid to kid, I sometimes wonder if it was affected by the fact that, from the beginning of eating solids, he always ate quite a variety of foods and hardly any that were prepared specifically for him.  As such, he’s always anxious to try something new and there are only a few things he doesn’t like.  It will be interesting to see if this carries over into his childhood and also how our other children respond to this method of eating.

While thinking about our “solid food journey” with Cedar for this post, I’m very thankful that God “led” me to read Real Food for Mother and Baby when I did.  Planck takes such a laid-back approach to feeding your baby solids (and to nursing and other aspects of natural mothering) and finding such information really helped to simplify things for me as a new mom, anxious to do everything right.  And I’m sure that though he doesn’t know it, Cedar is very thankful too…or else he never would have gotten his steak!

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14 thoughts on “Wherein my baby eats steak

  1. Sounds like a great book! My mom just gone one for Megan that she used when she was a new mom; I forget the title/author but it’s fairly similar. My mom made most of our baby food.
    (We have amazon prime too and love it!)
    Haha, we were talking about babies the other day (when we had our craft day with the N’s & Holly) and Holly mentioned how good of an eater that Cedar is and how he loves garlic too. I think that’s great! 😉
    I think boys naturally like steak… =D

    1. I’d be interested to know the title of the book your mom gave Megan – “Real Food…” is pretty much the only book that I’ve seen that takes that approach to the subject, but that’s good to know that there’s more out there!

      That’s funny…how does Holly even know how Cedar eats…I don’t think she’s ever even seen him eat! 🙂

      1. Sorry about not replying sooner!
        The book was called “Feed Me, I’m Yours” by Vicky Lansky
        It’s mostly just for baby, I think. Sounds like your book is better after looking at it again! 🙂

        Hmm, not sure how Holly knows how Cedar eats except she said something about being down there this past fall? She said he was a cute chubby baby 😉

  2. I love that book too! I was not interested in buying pre-made baby food for $$$ and health reasons (and yuck reasons!), but never went the pureed homemade food route either. We never once had to pull out the food processor or blender for Hans! He had a very different approach to solids than Cedar, though, and was not interested in solids until over a year old (we offered them regularly from about 8 months onward, but he was still 90% breastfed until about 13-14 months old). But I’ve also since wondered if part of that was that most of the solids I offered were by spoon or fork (mashed up portions of whatever I was eating), rather than letting him get messy and dig in himself (my type-A personality!). It’ll be interesting to see how Gretchen responds to solids. . . but I’m also in no hurry right now. She can wait a few months ;-).

    1. Wow, I didn’t realize that Hans wasn’t interested until he was so much older…that’s great that he was able to be breastfed for so long! I sometimes wish that had been the case with Cedar since it definitely complicates things when you have actually provide FOOD for the kid, but considering that by the time Cedar was 9-10 months old, I hardly had much of a supply, I’m very thankful that he took to solids so readily when he was so young. 🙂

  3. I have been trying to gte my sister to use the mesh feeders with her 6 months old and to read this book from the libary as i think its a good idea. It has had nothing come of it. So in year to come when I have my own children may i remember this book.

    My husband and i dont eat red meat and i dont eat fish or turkey/chicken but more then about twice a month and i would like to keep that going, so the nop grain thing may be tricky.

    Non-the-less I’m excited to try feeding whole foods someday

    1. That’s great that you’re encouraging your sister along those lines, but as I’m sure you’re discovering, going the opposite way of processed baby food is considered quite “out there” for most people! 😛 Oh well…

      If you haven’t read the book yet, you may be interested in Planck’s take on vegan/meatless diets, but yes, I can see how keeping the no grains thing going then would be even trickier than for most people. I’m torn in my feelings on that…as I stated, we did give Cedar grains before he was a year old and there didn’t seem to be any adverse affects from them. Personally, I think that it’s a good idea to delay them some and just make sure that your baby isn’t living solely on rice cereal… 😛

  4. At your recomendation, I got that book from the library and thoroughly enjoyed it! I’m enjoying researching for that next transition out of babyhood… 🙂 I know Vivi’s going to love food once we offer; she already loves lots of different flavors! I’m hoping to research some more of what Nina talks about; I like the fact that the includes lots of research and references, but I have to admit, she lost some of my respect when she talked about using birth control. Morally, it’s her decision, and I won’t discard someones science because we disagree morally. But if she’s a healthy expert, and talks extensively about how certain foods mess with your hormones, it seems like she should know a thing or two about how the Pill does. Nonetheless, I’ve appreciated the research she presents, and will probably follow in a similar direction, with our own modifications. What she says makes a lot of sense- we eat real food because we believe it to be the best; why shouln’t Vivi?

    My siblings have all started eating at a variety of ages; usually between 9-13 months. Some just weren’t intersted. Our curent plan is to start offering around 9 months, but we’ll see. 🙂

    Anyway; good post!

    1. I didn’t realise that you had read this already, Brianna…or did you tell me that and my pregnancy brain forgot it?! 😛

      I haven’t read the book super recently so I don’t remember Nina talking about birth control, but I’m not surprised. She’s obviously coming from a very secular viewpoint, but I don’t think that negates all the other great information in the book. As you know, I’m not against all forms of birth control, but I agree with you about how she should be aware of the problems, etc. caused by the Pill…does she specifically talk about that form?

      Wow, I can’t imagine my kids not eating solids until nine months…I don’t think Cedar could have handled waiting that long, he was way too interested in what we were eating and couldn’t stand not trying some too! And, like I said earlier, the Lord obviously had that happen for a reason since by nine months my milk supply was pretty much gone! 😛 I’ll be interested to hear how your “journey” with Vivi goes… 🙂

      1. I intended to tell you in my next e-mail about having read the book. 🙂

        She doesn’t go into detail about how people should use the Pill, obviously- she just states that she was on it and went off it when she wanted to get pregnant- then consulted a midwife about what she shoudl do to prepare her body for pregnancy, etc. So it wasn’t a huge thing- I would just want to do a bit of my own research before someone who’s intentionally messing with her hormones tells me what to do. 🙂 As it happens, I really appreciate a lot of the people she follows, like Weston Price, and I think she does have a lot of good evidence. I’ve just learned to check sources instead of taking things at face value. 🙂 I don’t have a problem with certain forms of birth control for some families- it’s up to each one to decide what they wish to do and how they feel led- like I said, it’s the health issue that made me think twice. I would tend to think a health nut, regardless of how secular, would tend towards FAM or something of the like- which is written by a very secular person. (I believe, again, a case of living with her boyfriend and so on- or maybe she just talks about a lot of people in that situation. I don’t remember….but her reason for FAM is to preserve her health.) My husband’s grandma died from cancer caused by hormone injections- which tends to make the whole artificial hormone thing a bit of a bigger deal for me than it might be for some. 🙂 Anyway- all that to say- I still really appreciated the book, that just served as a reminder that she’s human too, and obviously doesn’t have all her facts in order. Of course, who does? There’s a handful of things I disagree with her on, the rest made sense, and I really loved that she incorporated a lot of research- that really adds a ton to a person’s credibility!

        Each kiddo’s different…..and there are those who just absolutely aren’t interested. 🙂 Vivi’s probably in between. She’s grabby and the like, and she loves different tastes, but she does try desperately to eat our food or get mad if we don’t let her. She’s infatuated with water, now, though. 🙂 I let her have some sips as car entertainment on our trip, and now she loves to get a sip when I’m drinking around her. You can tell she thinks she’s so big!!! 🙂 She gets a proud little grin….

        It’ll be interesting to see how we do at avoiding grains….I can definitely see it being a little tricky. 🙂 Since we strive to eat balanced meals and not have excessive carbs (we probably always have a carb with meal, just try to avoid a ton of it- in line with Schwartbein, sort of- except not as strict, because we have a long ways to go on our health journey!), hopefully we’ll be able to keep her off for a while….but, a year isn’t likely.

        We were just talking the other day about what we’ll want to do as far as her food goes and grains and sweets, especially. I think I’ve reached the conclusion that I’d rather keep sweets away till she’s older, but if we do happen to give grains, and she has a piece of bread that has some honey or molasses in it, I’m not going to flip out. What do you think/did you do? At this point I’m also thinking that when she’s older (yearish) giving her a couple spoonfuls f my homemade ice cream or cheesecake while I’m eating isn’t really going to harm her, as long as she’s already established on a healthy diet. It sounds better than the whole hiding food and battles and all! 🙂 Ahhhh…..so many choices!

      2. Sorry that it took me so long to reply to this! 😛

        In regards to sweets, Aaron isn’t as strict about them as I am and as such, Cedar has definitely gotten to try quite a few different desserts when we’ve been at other peoples’ houses and such. 🙂 At first it kind of bothered me, but since sweets are still a rarity, I don’t really think it’s a big deal to have every once in awhile. He got a whole homemade brownie for his birthday and thought that was pretty great though only about 2/3 of it ended up in his mouth! 🙂

  5. I ordered this book from the library today. Elianna is only 5 months, but is starting to frantically grab at our food! I’m not sure how much longer I can hold her off! But like you, I hate the thought of feeding her fake food, especially when it involves so much extra $$!

  6. I just got a mesh feeder on our trip to Eastern Canada to see my husband’s family and I LOVE it!!!! Soooo nice to just put whatever we were eating into it and let her gnaw away!

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