First Foods… We did it our way…

“Food, the forgotten medicine (c)”

REAL FOOD Baby Weaning

I wanted to share our weaning journey with you as I know there is so much conflicting and confusing information out there and I really feel like with an adult diet, it’s much more simple than our society would have you believe.  It won’t come as a suprise that I HUGELY advocate weaning with REAL FOODS!

My principles for a happy feeding environment are three fold;

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Eat real food
  3. Don’t believe the hype

1. Keep it simple. Although it’s tempting to try lots of different foods from the get go or to try and fill little tummys with ‘organic baby rice or cereal’ (*), your baby has developed the tools over the last 6 months to process  just 1 food (Breastmilk) – even by adding one food you’ve doubled his or her challenges!  Adding 2, 3, or even 4 brand new foods will be a huge shift and in my opinion too much too soon!

My personal advice would be to start with just one or perhaps two supplements… Egg Yolk and Banana.  (egg yolk from free range hens and organic banana where possible)

I say ‘supplements’ because at the moment that’s all they are…mum is still providing the vast bulk of calories and nutrients.

Human Breastmilk is roughly 55% fat, 38% carbohydrate, and 7% protein. Whilst you’re never going to find a food which matches this profile completely, it seems reasonable to introduce foods which reflect this balance – high fat, moderate carb and low protein.

You’ve had 6 months of just milk feeds and as well as the nutritional benefits of starting simple there’ll be benefits to you as parents as you find your way with it all not to mention a happy baby who isn’t struggling with a sore tummy or excess wind!

2. Eat Real Food

It won’t suprise you there are no RUSKS in our cupboards!  Breast milk is made up of mainly fat which is precisely why Leander’s first food was cooked egg yolk (also mainly fat).  Meat has been studied as a first complimentary food to milk and been found to improve zinc levels and potential benefits.  Bananas are a carbohydrate but have an enzyme which helps with breakdown in the digestive tract making for easy digestion and absorption of nutrients.   Baby’s digestive systems are simply NOT READY for the array of foods some parents throw at them early on and this can cause gastorintal problems later on in life.

3. Don’t believe the Hype

Pures, pouches, the baby bullet, strips of steamed veg, frozen dots of food from cute jars, different textures, tastes and smells all spell one thing for your baby – OVERWHELM.  He has the rest of his life to experience all of these things and more.

Our society is driven by advertising, by pressure, encouraging you to live in fear that you’ll do something wrong just by trying to do right – do yourself a favour and opt out.

Stay with me over the coming weeks as we introduce more REAL foods to Leander and tell you how it fits in with our lifestyle too.

Yours in health and happy parenting

Manos

PS – I offer nutrition plans for pregnant or nursing mothers and for those bravely starting their journey into weaning with REAL Foods!   Contact me directly for details…

(*) organic baby rice is essentially just rice with added iron!  Those marketeers know what they’re doing!

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Exclusive Breast Feeding – We did it our way…

“Food, the forgotten medicine” (c) 

REAL FOOD for baby

This is a post about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.

That said, it’s important to point out that everybodies path is different, we couldn’t quite believe how much pressure you face after you leave the hospital with your bundle of joy.  Mums have it particularly tough of course with the realisation that you’re solely responsible for providing the energy and sustenance to grow an actual human being!   Functioning on very little sleep and bombarded with 24/7 access-all-areas internet and media coverage of how to do the right thing for your child it’s easy to reach overwhelm!

This ridiculous NHS advert is just one example – i can only assume it was conceived by a group of clueless advertising executives – the underlying message is that, not only do we expect you to single-handely breastfeed your child, but we expect you to look glamourous in the process!  (*)

An ill-conceived NHS Advert!
An ill-conceived NHS Advert circa 2010

The book ‘Breast is Best’ was written way back in 1978 and yet the World Health Organisation (WHO), together with UNICEF are still (report February 2015) raising awareness of the benefits of breastmilk as the cornerstone of child nutrition, health and development.

Breastmilk is nature’s perfect food. It is universally available. Its benefits last a lifetime, for mother as well as child…Exclusive breastfeeding – defined as the practice of only giving an infant breast-milk for the first 6 months of life (no other food or water) – has the single largest potential impact on child mortality of any preventive intervention. — WHO (2015)

It’s my personal belief and inline with current Health guidelines in the UK, US and Australia (to name a few) that babies where possible (there are certain clinical reasons where breastfeeding is not an option – HIV or taking certain medications that may be harmful to baby) should be given breast-milk and breast-milk only for the first 6months of life.

“Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months of your baby’s life” NHS, UK

Introduction of complementary feedings before 6 months of age generally does not increase total caloric intake or rate of growth and only substitutes foods that lack the protective components of human milk. — Roberta J. Cohen et al. 

Our son was exclusively breast fed for the first 6 months of his life, and whilst I would never judge anyone who chooses another route, I am surprised that only 38% of infants aged 0 to 6 months being exclusively breastfed globally.

There is also an incredible amount of pressure to start weaning early for a multitude of bonkers reasons and we faced our fair share! Click here to read results of a survey that demonstrates this.

I am incredibly proud our my partner in her journey through EBF and of our baby who has been just bouncingly happy throughout the process!  Some days she really felt she was in prep to run a marathon and we ensured she had plenty of good fats, protein and fresh vegetables.

We have just started weaning working with real foods and tuning into our sense of what is right for our son Leander, after all ‘every baby is different’.  In my next post I’ll share the start of that journey with you…

You are a brilliant parent and all your baby needs that’s all you need to know!

With love for a BRILLIANT parental journey,

Manos

PS – I offer personalised nutrition plans for nursing mothers and weaning babies.  Please contact me for more information.

(*) It is not my intention to add to the already oppressive message that you MUST breastfeed…but simply advise, best where possible, but if this places mum in an unsustainable and dangerous position then she should certainly not hesitate to examine other options.

Further Reading

Introducing Solid Foods Too Soon

Is baby ready for solids?

Bone Broth-ing with chicken in 5 simple steps

Food, the forgotten medicine (c)

You may have seen more and more articles recently about the benefits of Bone Broth!?  There’s even a cafe serving Bone Broth opened up in New York that’s going down a storm!

Bone Broth plays a huge part in healing our gut thanks to its collagen content.  Another high-value food used by many traditional cultures that’s been somewhat lost in the West, bone broth will improve digestion, allergies, immune & brain health and may even help reduce cellulite AND increase hair growth!

Miraculous!  It’s even been suggested bone broth should be one of the first foods used to wean your baby.

We drink Bone Broth EVERYDAY!

Bone broth helps you grow BIG and strong!!
Bone broth helps you grow BIG and strong!!

Here’s what you need;

  • A slow cooker (ideally, but you could also use a pan and boil on a hob)
  • 2 organic, free range chicken carcasses
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic
  • Vegetables of your choice (I usually throw in an onion & a few root veggies)
  • Salt & Pepper, herbs to taste
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar (helps break the bones down to release the good stuff!)

 

LOVE your bone broth FATS.  This is a beef stock, you can skim off the fat to use for roasting root veg!
LOVE your bone broth FATS. This is a beef stock, you can skim off the fat to use for roasting root veg!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what to do;

  1. Put all of your ingredients into your slow cooker
  2. Add filtered water; enough to cover the ingredients
  3. Turn to high to get going
  4. Turn to low for 18+ hours (it’s ready when the bones have become soft)
  5. Strain and serve, cool pack and freeze for up to three months or keep in the fridge for up to 1 week and use a base for soups
No waste in our kitchen
No waste in our kitchen

Homemade RAW milk Kefir in 5 easy steps!

Food, the forgotten medicine (c)

We LOVE Kefir in our house!  In terms of fermented and pro-biotic wonder foods it’s an absolute WINNER with trillions, that’s right trillions of tiny GOOD bacteria to help keep your gut healthy.

Read more on the science and benefits here

Since our son was born, my partner drinks it every day and we’re confident it is strengthening his digestive system through her nursing him.

Little Milk Man
Little Milk Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re planning to offer him some too once he’s old enough!

It’s one of the easiest fermented foods to make (promise) … so much so you can do it in 5 steps…

Here’s what you need…

  • Kefir grains
  • Organic whole or Raw Milk if you can get it from a trusted source.
  • A plastic sieve
  • A glass mason jar
One of my milk Kefir Grains
One of my Kefir Grains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what to do…

Depending on how strong you like the taste of your kefir you can choose how much milk to add to your grains.  I’m currently working with a x5 grains (*) to 1 pint of milk ratio.

  1. Rinse the grains in a little of the milk through your sieve if you’ve been ‘hibernating’ (**) them or they’ve just arrived.
  2. Add your milk to the kefir grains in a mason jar
  3. Take to your nearest warm spot (we use the airing cupboard)
  4. Leave for between 12-18 hours popping the top and shaking once
  5. Open, sieve, chill and serve!

 

If you give it a go I’d love to know how you get on… you can contact me via my facebook page. 

(*) Kefir grains will multiply the more you feed them… you can read more here

(**) You can hibernate your kefir grains in the fridge in a little milk if you need a little holiday from them.