With my second baby coming up to six months old, I had a look around published info to remind myself how to do it and see if anything had changed.
The first time, I found some interesting information that led me to avoid giving baby rice. At 6 months a baby’s iron requirements increase as well as having a bigger appetite.
Baby rice and other cereals don’t naturally contain iron in high enough levels. The accepted response has been to give baby rice fortified with Iron. However, there is an article by Renegade Mom that makes baby rice seem really bad, a central argument is that the starch in it can’t be digested by the gut (this isn’t completely correct because the amylase in the babies saliva helps), also rice contains arsenic, which in little quantities is OK but watch for build up (rice cakes, cereal, hungry milk etc). Perhaps a more balanced view is in this nutrition blog. In short, I think baby rice is OK in moderation but for me there is a better way by considering foods that naturally contain iron. These articles raise an important point about not following the herd and understanding what is best. Time for some more research!
Well, I don’t know if I just missed it last time but this time the articles I found that talked through the misinformation around baby rice also had some interesting alternative first foods – bone broth (aka home made stock), liver (good quality, grass fed) and egg yolk. Holistic squid has a great article on these first foods.
In fact, I made some bone broth just the other day after we had roast chicken for Sunday lunch. I had read about it in Hemsley Hemsley a great book about eating better (as adults). Bone broth is very healing for adults’ digestive tract. For babies it helps ‘seal’ the digestive tract, which is permeable in the first months and needs to ‘seal’ this route to protect from some nasties in our diet crossing into the blood stream. It also is an easy way for the body to absorb some useful nutrients – zinc, magnesium, and many amino acids.
Bone broth is very easy to make, no skills required, just time, ingredients and a pot to store it in. The difference between stock and bone broth is really that you leave broth on the heat for longer. Once finished, if you put it in the fridge, the fat rises to the top and forms a seal so it stores well. You can freeze it too.
For me, spooning bone broth into a babies mouth is a bit like one of those challenges on the crystal maze, there is going to be a lot of spillage and if I get any in it will be a miracle. What I’m going to try is mixing bone broth with vegetable puree. Egg yolks will be easy, I love a boiled egg in the morning and the yolk will easily stick to my finer perfect for sucking (edit: My sister pointed out it would have to be a hard boiled egg as the yolk needs to be cooked). Liver though… Yuk! Am I brave enough to grate some liver?