Tag Archives: Baby

Introducing Solids to Your Baby

Introducing solids to your baby v2 small

I’ve sure come a long way on introducing solids since I began this parenting gig almost 10 years ago.  By the time my third child came around to this stage, the processed crackers and store-bought biscuits were history, and instead I was making homemade blends of vegetables cooked in stock and taking a careful, considered approach to how and when foods were introduced.

So here are some things I’d like to pass on that I hope will help you as you put together your plan.

Why Organic?

The most important thing for our family is that we choose only organic foods for these reasons:

  • More nutrition
  • No harmful chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other toxic residues.
  • Free from additives and GE-free

If buying organic food is a stretch for feeding your whole family, consider buying organic food just for your baby, as the quantities are small enough that you shouldn’t notice much of a change to your overall grocery bill.  It’s just worth the investment to give your baby a head start to optimum health.

When to Introduce Foods

I introduce single foods and watch for any reaction over a few days before introducing the next one.  I also prefer to cook vegetables in homemade broths/stocks.

Here’s the basic plan I’ve followed, give or take a few compromises here or there.

4m + (minimal solids; ie. 1-2t per day)

  • Egg yolk
  • Mashed banana
  • Avocado

6-8m (single foods to start with, then gradually introduce blends, as well as meat and oil)

  • Cooked vegetables: sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, beetroot
  • Raw pureed fruits: pear, banana, avocado, apple
  • Cooked fruits: apple, dried apricots, peach, plum
  • Meat: Cooked and pureed lamb, beef, chicken
  • Broths: added to meat and vegetable blends
  • Oils: coconut and olive oil

9-12m

  • Homemade casserole/stew
  • Vegetable soups
  • Cooked vegetables: broccoli, peas
  • Dried fruits (small amounts): dates, raisins (soaked and blended in with other fruit)
  • Cooked berries (if tolerated)
  • Slowly introduce tastes such as ginger, garlic, onion, spices
  • A little of the juice from homemade fermented vegetables mixed with food

We introduced certain types of dairy slowly about this stage, such as kefir and yoghurt and a little butter, as our baby appeared intolerant to dairy from when he was a few weeks old (eg. nappy rash, green poop, unsettled when lying flat, reaction would occur about 4 hours after I’d eaten any).  We did a little cheese with him about 11 months.  We don’t do store-bought skim versions of any dairy with all our children.

Avoid until after 12m and then introduce slowly and one at a time:

  • White potatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • All grains and legumes (babies do not have enough digestive enzymes to handle them)
  • Citrus fruit and tomatoes
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Egg whites
  • Raw berries (pectin can upset tummies)

More Information

Bear in mind, this is all just a guide based on what’s worked for us.  You might have a different set of needs to consider for your little one.

Once you have your plan, print it off and keep on the fridge or somewhere handy to refer to easily.

All the best to you as you help give your baby a great start in life!

Victoria

Healthy Child Summit – FREE Online Conference

healthy child summit collage

The Healthy Child Summit is a FREE online conference, coming in February 2014, for educating, empowering, and inspiring parents to care for their families naturally. I wrote on this last month, when the 5 weeks of giveaways and ‘sneak preview’ began.

There will be over 50 natural health and wellness experts that will speak on a range of topics, designed to help you and I become better equipped for raising our families naturally.  There will be something for those just getting started, or for those a little further along on their journey into natural living and parenting.

I’m really looking forward to this!

Here are just a few things that will be covered:

  • Preparing your body for pregnancy.
  • Preparing for a natural birth.
  • Whole family natural health and wellness.
  • Childhood illnesses, and preparing a natural medicine cabinet.
  • Breastfeeding, weaning, and starting solids.
  • Ridding your home of environmental toxins.
  • Gentle sleep solutions.
  • Supporting your child through specific issues, such as autism, adrenal fatigue, sensory processing disorders, and others.
  • Food choices and hormones through the teenage years.
  • Real food, nutrition, oral health… and so much more

This is your last chance to register for free access to 22 audio recordings, and enter the giveaways for the grand prize and the week 4 giveaways.

Healthy child summit giveaway

See some of you there!

Victoria

Summer natural  background with sun and lens flare.

{This post contains my affiliate link}

Healthy Child Summit – A Sneak Peak and Giveaway

healthy child summit headerThe Healthy Child Summit is a FREE online conference for educating, empowering, and inspiring parents to care for their families naturally. The conference is coming in February 2014.

Honestly, it’s going to be amazing.  I can’t list everything here that’s going to be covered as there’s so much, but here’s a few things that have caught my eye:

  • Preparing your body for pregnancy
  • Preparing for a natural birth
  • Whole family natural health and wellness
  • Childhood illnesses, and preparing a natural medicine cabinet
  • Breastfeeding, weaning, and starting solids
  • Gentle sleep solutions
  • Real food, nutrition, oral health… and so much more

Register HERE to receive free access to 22 audio recordings during the Healthy Child Summit sneak preview November 18th – December 20th, 2013.

To spread the word about this upcoming conference, there’s a giveaway running for 5 weeks starting TODAY and ending just before Christmas.

Here are the dates on the grand prize and weekly giveaways below – make sure you enter!  I’ll add weeks 2, 3 and 4 to this post as we roll into those weeks so be sure to check back here to enter.

Don’t forget to head over and register for access to the 22 audio recordings preview.

Summer natural  background with sun and lens flare.

Healthy Child Summit Giveaway

To celebrate the Sneak Preview of the Healthy Child Summit, there will be 5 weeks worth of giveaways!

  • The Grand Prize giveaway opens today and closes December 23rd at 11:59pm PST. ENTER HERE
  • Week #1 Giveaway opens today and closes November 25th at 11:59pm PST. ENTER HERE – Closed
  • Week #2 Giveaway opens December 2nd and closes on December 9th at 11:59pm PST. ENTER HERE – Closed
  • Week #3 Giveaway opens December 9th and closes on December 16th at 11:59pm PST. ENTER HERE – Closed
  • Week #4 Giveaway opens December 16th and closes on December 23rd at 11:59pm PST. ENTER HERE

Healthy child summit {Shared at Intoxicated on Life Wellness Wednesday}

Leaning Towards Weaning

Leaning towards weaning - homemaking with heart

The time has come… I do believe it’s time to start weaning my little guy.  He’ll be 2 next month and it was my hope to make it to his second birthday.  Almost there!  I’m so glad that I’ve made it this far.  I’m not sure how long it’s going to take, maybe weeks or even a couple of months, but I’m confident he can cope with the transition.  Gradual is usually better, both for his comfort and for mine, and that’s the approach I’m going to take.

I have loved the breastfeeding journey.  I feel a tinge of sadness as this might be my last child.  But I’m certainly ready for some sleep and don’t feel like the thought of weaning sets me into a tail spin!  And I’m looking forward to having my body back as it needs more than just a little focus at present!  It’s been almost 5 years straight of either being pregnant or breastfeeding.  I look back on this time as a blessing and joy, even through some challenging days and weeks.

My approach to weaning:

  • Ensuring his nutritional needs are all adequately met;
  • Ensuring his emotional needs and connection with me is more than satisfied.

Nutritional Needs

I’m fairly confident that my son’s nutritional needs are mostly being adequately met from food.  The main thing I need to do is be more intentional than I have been, as I’ve always had that back up of breast milk to cover those times where it can be a struggle to get good food in him.

He doesn’t eat adequate leafy greens and won’t for a while.  So my plan is to get a daily smoothie in him which has some juiced greens and carrots added in with berries, kefir, banana, orange, and the odd superfood such as spiriluna.

As I did with my older girls, I’m going to fluff up some raw milk in our espresso machine at bedtime, which should fill his tum before his bedtime feed as well as create a bedtime ritual.  I love the idea on ‘Mama Natural’ of singing a song during a shortened breastfeeding session too.

Connection

My son is a naturally affectionate child and he hasn’t weaned himself yet because he loves the connection with his Mummy.  I know it’s going to be important to make sure there are plenty of tender daily moments where we have time together, just the two of us.  He’s just a kid that loves close proximity – don’t we all deep down? 🙂

When our son was ill earlier this year, we took the side off his cot and put it up against our bed.  This made things easier for me to settle him in the night without getting out of bed (20 times a night for many weeks was seriously draining).  When we put the side back on, he worked out how to climb out which was a settling nightmare.  So the side came off again and now he sleeps right next to my side but in his cot.

The last few nights, I’ve gently but firmly returned him to his cot during the night, as he generally attempts a body dive over me and settles between us.  Such a happy and warm place to sleep for him, but we are over being repeatedly booted and having the covers kicked off!  Sometimes it’s just been easier to give him a feed in the night so we can all get back to sleep.  I’m sure many of you can relate.  I know also from experience that dropping the night feeds doesn’t necessarily guarantee that little ones will sleep through.

The main thing for me in this transition is that trust and security between us remains unaffected.  If he gets clingy during the day, I’ll take my cues from him that I need to perhaps go easy on the transition a bit.

I’m going to try shortening our breastfeeding sessions, which I have started to do (and it makes him a bit cross with me initially).  But all he usually needs is a long cuddle or for me to lie down next to him while he goes to sleep, and then he’s fine.  It’s that proximity thing again.

I’m not one to leave my children to cry at any age simply because I want them to sleep through the night or not ask for a breastfeed.  Ignoring their tears for the sake of my own convenience is not an approach I’m going to take, despite the fact that it might make perfect sense to someone else.  At the same time, I’m also OK with intentionally encouraging my little ones to grow into the next stage when I think it’s time, and I believe this can be done with care, gentleness, compassion and love.

Any suggestions for gentle and natural weaning are gratefully received!

Leaning towards weaning

My adorable little guy – I can’t believe it’s been over 2 years!

UpdateMy happy little 2 year old is weaned, and taking a gentle approach meant for us it took 4 months from his second birthday.  The best thing I did was to create a new bedtime routine that wasn’t centred around being breastfeed, and I gradually reduced his bedtime feed to 1m.  The first night he went without completely, he cried a little but the following night there were no tears.  He still loves to be settled with cuddles, which is perfectly OK with me!

{Linked up at Natural Family Friday}

‘Heart-to-Heart’ Nights with our Children

Heart-to-heart nights

I little while ago I wrote a post about a brilliant book called Grace-Based Parenting that has helped Shawn and I in our parenting approach like no other resource.  Please take a read if you haven’t already!

One of the four things that the author offers for maintaining a grace-based environment is to allow your children the freedom to be candid**.

The freedom to be candid means, they know they can come to you and express their hearts openly without fear of shocking you, or of wearing your judgement.  They need to be able to express what they are going through and where they have failed.  They also need to be able to express where you have hurt or annoyed them.  You’ll need to learn to eat humble pie and ask for forgiveness regularly.

At a practical level, the author and his wife implemented ‘what’s your beef’ each week where their children could share candidly.  During these times, the children were not to bring up positions that their parents had taken in terms of moral standards that they potentially disagreed with, or consequences that might have been taken because of things they’d done wrong.  And for the parents, they were not permitted to defend themselves, despite the temptation to justify words and actions from their perspective.  The point was, regardless of how the facts were perceived, if their children were hurt they were able to share this.

For us, we have called it ‘heart-to-heart night’ where our young children can share their hearts with us, and if we have hurt or upset them in any way then they have the freedom to tell us.  This means that we humbly receive their words, and apologise for how our actions have affected them.

It does NOT mean we justify, make excuses, attribute blame, or anything of the sort, even if at times we feel they are making a mountain out of a molehill or we ourselves feel misunderstood.  The main point is that they feel the freedom to express how we have affected them, and to build trust and respect in our relationships.

Because our children are still very young, we have made the adjustment to what the author suggested in that we can at times give clarification for our actions. It is the exception to the rule and we only do it if it’s absolutely necessary.  In time, we will phase out doing that altogether as their awareness and understanding grows.

It’s our hope and prayer that it will lay a foundation in our relationships that will see us through their teenage years and beyond.

Freedom and unconditional love go hand-in-hand, and this is where we show our children the heart of the Father.

“Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom”.

** The 4 freedoms that create an atmosphere of grace: the freedom to be different; the freedom to be vulnerable; the freedom to be candid; the freedom to make mistakes. [Source: Family Matters].

Grace Based Parenting – Tim Kimmel

Grace based parentingI think this book has revolutionised my thinking in parenting like no other book I’ve read.  Or maybe it’s grabbed me at just the right time, when my heart is primed to be navigating this journey with a different paradigm and set of tools in my backpack.  For whatever reason, it has reasonated with me to the point where it has instantly changed the way I relate to my children.  And for the better.  YES!

I’ve read more philosophies and perspectives on parenting than I can count.  So why this one?

Tim Kimmel doesn’t wade into strategies and techniques.  He doesn’t give a breakdown of what to do in any given situation.  There are no rules and checklists.  And, unlike some books I’ve read, he doesn’t express what is more or less a cultural paradigm and call it ‘biblical’.  Rather, he outlines how to, above all, create an environment of grace in which your children can cultivate their own faith and learn to lean into God to empower them to overcome sin and live out their purpose on the earth with intentionality and not passivity.

The foundational premise of this book is that we are all born with the same condition and the same need for a Saviour.  Our children are no different to us in this regard.  It is our job to point our children to Him and to draw from the power and presence of heaven, as they struggle through their natural bent to sin to overcome.  They will form an inner strength and character to overcome circumstances if we teach them to do this.

The Father relates to us with gentleness, unconditional love, and by laying a strong sense of purpose and hope in our hearts.  What a model for us to look to, as we emulate His ways as parents!

“Grace Based Parenting” also provides a matrix which serves as a useful summary – what your child’s three driving inner needs are, and the four basic things you need to do to maintain a grace-based environment.

I feel equipped with a way of approaching parenting that I can naturally and intentionally run through my own filters as we seek to create a grace-based environment that works in our family’s particular circumstances.

My favourite portrayal of Jesus played by Bruce Marchiano in the Gospel According to Matthew.

** Photo credit at bottom of page

What grace-based parenting IS about: empowerment; forgiveness; boundaries; responsibility; grace to make mistakes; freedom to be vulnerable; freedom to have open and honest communication; and, allowing the freedom for your child to be uniquely different.

What grace-based parenting IS NOT: fear-based; legalistic; overly permissive; highly controlled.  Most of all, it’s not about fear!

I feel myself becoming more and more free from the terrifying fear of damaging my children’s perspective of the Father, to the point where they do not eventually choose Him.  We all want to see our precious ones on the other side. Trust me, I have anguished over this too.

But whether we get the strategies right or wrong, what we should perhaps focus on foremost is that our children are immersed and raised in an environment of grace; I love how Tim puts it:

He chose you to assist Him in a miracle.  He gave you children and then said, “Now go, and give these precious lives meaning.” … This is where many parents panic.  When they realise that their job is to raise up children to love and serve and God, they wonder how on earth they will do that.  The answer isn’t on earth.  It’s found in heaven.  It’s sitting on an eternal throne.  He has many names, but among my favourites is “The God of Grace.”  You wonder, How am I to raise up children to love and serve God?  The answer is actually not that difficult. You simply treat your children the way God treats you.  He does it in His grace.  And here’s the good part.  If the only thing you get right as parents is His grace, everything else will be just fine.

Purchase “Grace Based Parenting” from Book Depository (free worldwide postage).

** Photo Credit: My favourite portrayal of Jesus is by Bruce Marchiano in the Gospel According to Matthew.  This stunning picture has touched my heart for years.  Visit Bruce’s website here.

Babies: Introducing Solids

AvocadoI’ve sure come a long way on introducing solids since my first child.  Gone are the processed crackers and store-bought biscuits, in exchange for homemade blends of vegetables cooked in stock along with a careful, considered approach to how and when foods are introduced.  The results seem to be speaking for themselves: I have a thriving healthy little lad on my hands, and the dairy intolerance that was there for a good part of his first year seems to have subsided, if not completely disappeared (still monitoring).  I’m taking my time with introducing certain foods, and he’s still having a good amount of milk from me.

The most important thing for us is that we choose only organic foods for these reasons:

  • More nutrition
  • No harmful chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other toxic residues.
  • Free from additives and GE-free

As to what foods we introduce and when, I have used guidance from Weston A Price, GAPS diet, and the Baby and Toddler book.

I introduce single foods and watch for any reaction over a few days before introducing the next one.  I also prefer to cook vegetables in broths/stocks.

Here’s the basic plan I’ve followed, give or take a few compromises here or there.

4m + (minimal solids; ie. 1-2t per day)

Egg yolk
Mashed banana
Avocado

6-8m (single foods to start with, then gradually introduce blends, as well as meat and oil)

Cooked vegetables: sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, beetroot
Raw pureed fruits: pear, banana, avocado, apple
Cooked fruits: apple, dried apricots, peach, plum
Meat: Cooked and pureed lamb, beef, chicken
Broths: added to meat and vegetable blends
Oils: coconut and olive oil

9-12m

Homemade casserole/stew
Vegetable soups
Cooked vegetables: broccoli, peas
Dried fruits (small amounts): dates, raisins (soaked and blended in with other fruit)
Cooked berries (if tolerated)
Slowly introduce tastes such as ginger, garlic, onion, spices
A little of the juice from homemade fermented vegetables mixed with food

We introduced certain types of dairy slowly about this stage, such as kefir and yoghurt and a little butter, as our baby appeared intolerant to dairy from when he was a few weeks old (eg. nappy rash, green poop, unsettled when lying flat, reaction would occur about 4 hours after I’d eaten any).  We did a little cheese with him about 11 months.  And we don’t do any processed dairy with any of our kids, such as store-bought skim yoghurt, cottage or cream cheese, etc.

Avoid until after 12m and then introduce slowly and one at a time:

White potatoes
Leafy greens
All grains and legumes (babies do not have enough digestive enzymes to handle them)
Citrus fruit and tomatoes
Nuts
Honey
Egg whites
Raw berries (pectin can upset tummies)

I was aware around 9-10 months with my baby that the dairy intolerance was most likely to do with gut flora issues rather than a genuine dairy intolerance.  I tested this according to the GAPS diet book (a few drops on the wrist overnight) and no reaction occurred.  So I’ve been mindful of that in recent weeks and have taken steps to prepare food according to the GAPS Diet guidance given for GAPS babies.  Gladly for us, our little guy doesn’t have any issues with behaviour or development.  It’s more about giving him a good start in life with the right kind of balance of foods.

For more information on introducing solids the traditional way and mindful of gut balance, I highly recommend Natasha Campbell-McBride’s book Gut and Psychology Syndrome.

Also the Weston A Price foundation website has some useful information on introducing solids.  Although personally, I couldn’t bring myself to do the liver thing. 🙂

And of course, this is all just a guide based on what’s worked for us.  You might have a different set of needs to consider for your little one.

I hope you find something useful in what I’ve posted so you can make intentional decisions for your little ones as well.

My health disclaimer here.

Home Remedies

home remediesOur approach to health is first and foremost prevention through nutrition and lifestyle.  I’ve found that we usually end up with sickness in our household when someone is run-down, tired, teething or when we’ve had a run of not eating so well.

When sickness comes in, we try natural-based remedies and vegetables juices first.

Here are the things from my top shelf cupboard where I keep all my home remedies (along with our First Aid Kit).

Daily

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Multi for Kids This is the current multi-vitamin that my girls are taking.  At some stage when they’re doing better with raw juices and eating a broader range of healthy foods, I’d like to think we can stop taking them altogether.

We have been a bit inconsistent with fish or krill oil as of late, but it’s another good daily supplement to take for children and adults alike.  The brands we’ve used are Nordic Naturals Fish Oil and Clinician’s krill oil.

[Edit Mar 2013: The kids are now taking ‘Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil’].

Colds and Sniffles

Vitamin C (with Bioflavenoids) in powdered form.  The powder is assimilated into your body faster, without the tableting aids.  And always buy one that has the three ascorbates and bioflavenoids – calcium ascorbate, sodium ascorbate, ascorbate acid, rutin, hesperidin and quercetin.  We use the Health House one called Complete C.

Malcolm Harker Remedies:

  • Eutherol – contains eucalyptus, pine, peppermint and thyme
  • Sniffle Juice (children’s formula) – blackberry, peppermint, and liquorice
  • Verm Xpel – use as a de-wormer in the Spring or as a gentle detox after sickness; contains green walnut, wormwood and clove

KiwiHerbs, Organic NZ De-Stuff for Kids – ear, nose and sinus support.  KiwiHerbs has a range of other products I’d like to try at some stage.

KalobaHelps soothe throat, nose and sinuses for children (under 1 year old also).  This has been clinically proven to be effective and is a natural plant-based product with herbal extracts.  Read more about it here.

Weleda Organic cough elixir  – Helps stop coughing and soothes the throat.

Digestive

Activated Charcoal PowderFrom what I have researched, charcoal is perfectly safe for children and I have used it a couple of times as a precaution when my tot decided to ingest things that she shouldn’t have.  It’s been used for many years as a remedy for poisoning, amongst many other things.  I have this under ‘digestive’ here, but there are many other uses for it.  I’ll blog on it sometime in the future, but in the meantime if you’d like more info, see www.charcoalremedies.com.

Ginger is of course the best remedy for stomach upsets that I know.  Have a go at getting ginger tea in your little one by diluting it with extra water and adding a little raw honey.  You could also add a very small amount of fresh ginger to a fresh veggie juice – but careful, as it can really overpower the juice (we learned the hard way!).

Skin and Muscles

MelaGel topical balm – melaleuca oil in a beeswax balm; for minor cuts, scrapes, burns, and insect bites.

Aloe Vera Gelfor burns and as a skin soother (eg. after sun care).  We’ve also used the plant before when we didn’t have the gel.  Simply break off from the plant and smear over the affected area of skin.

Riversdale Manuka Honey – certified UMF 20+, medicinal grade.  Thanks to my friend Liz for this amazing gift.  We have applied it to infected weeping skin infections, soothing sore throats, burns, relieving coughs, afternoon pick-me-ups, and in herbal teas.  I’m sure there are lots of other uses that we’ve yet to discover.  If you know of any others, let me know!

Colloidal Silver gel – nature’s antibiotic. Use in the treatment of all skin infections including eczema and warts.  We purchased this one from Ephraim Health.

Epsom Salts – These can be used in the bath for soaking and keeping wounds clean.

Witch Hazel –Use this distilled Witch Hazel as a compress for minor burns and sprains, or apply directly to the skin for insect bites and cuts. It can also be used to soothe external haemorrhoids by applying directly with cotton balls or soaking a gauze pad and freezing first.  Witch Hazel can also be used by men after shaving.

Pain-Ez – A natural herbal relief with arnica.  This one is from the folks at Health House (free freight for NZ and Australia).

Earaches

Weleda ear drops – and we’ve found it actually works.  You could also try a few drops of organic olive oil or garlic oil.

Calming and Sleep

Bach Flower Remedies

  • Rescue Remedy – calming
  • Rescue Sleep – relief from sleeplessness

Tui lavender massage balm – wonderful for calming the little ones down before bed.

Teething

We have 2 remedies on our cupboard.  One is a teething rub that contains clove oil and is made from our local health dispensary.  The other is a homeopathic remedy by NaturoPharm called TeethMed.

Essential oils (not pictured):

  • Melaleuca tea tree oil
  • Thyme oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Lemongrass and melaleuca tea tree  oil
  • Eucalyptus and melaleuca tea tree oil
  • Mandarin and melaleuca tea tree oil

We also have 6 DoTerra oils with different combinations in them.  A very generous friend from the US sent us these and we look forward to trying some different ones from this range.

At some stage I’ll do another post on essential oils, and what we use them for.

For those outside NZ, if I was overseas I’d be looking up Gaia Herbs and Earth Mama Angel Baby as options for my family.

I’m sure this is a post I’ll keep adding to in future.  If you have any thoughts, please let me know.

{Read my health disclaimer here}

Homemade Wipes

These are a handy way of saving money on buying expensive wipes, and also much gentler on little bottoms.  Remember not to over-do the essential oil (for little bubs, I didn’t use any until he was eating solids).

I’ve tried these with other types of paper towels, even thicker brands, but I’ve found they only work with Viva.  Today I picked up a double roll on special for just over $3.  That’s only 50c per half roll used.

I have 2 round containers I purchased from the supermarket.  Double the quantities to make 2 containers at once.  We also have a smaller round container that we use for the nappy bag.

3/4 cup of filtered water
1 or 2 drops of melaleuca tea tree oil
A half roll of Viva paper towels

Simply cut roll in half, remove cardboard core, and put in container that already has the water and oil in it.