Friday, October 2, 2009

What Oliver eats now: an update

Thursday lunch: "juice" from roasted chicken, lacto-fermented pickles, raw goat's milk Havarti, cured sausage, baby pear

At his current age of about a year (13.5 months to be exact), Oliver still gets most of his nourishment from breastmilk. Some kids show an early interest in solid foods while others are content to continue nursing for the most part, with supplemental solids, and Oliver is one of the latter. He loves eating and trying new things, he has his favorite and his not-so-favorite foods, but for the most part he seems to still be getting a lot from breastmilk. As someone put it to me recently, "They nurse until they feel complete." I would add to this and say that in my own opinion (based on observation and study), since the quality of the mother's breastmilk depends largely on the quality of her diet (particularly whether she has enough fat-soluble vitamins available), this will affect the child's interest in solid foods. Some babies reach for food early and seem to have a huge appetite because they know they aren't getting all that they need from nursing alone. There are many people who would be up in arms at this idea, but if we acknowledge that diet does affect breastmilk quality (which has been proven), then it really does make sense.

All of Oliver's food is from small, local family farmers (or fishers) who follow sustainable, humane, and ecologically-friendly practices. So from the raw milk in his bottle to the scallops at dinner, Ollie is getting a completely nutrient-dense and natural diet. Usually he has three small meals daily and about two bottles of raw milk yogurt (which is pretty liquidy and drinkable) and/or raw milk, with some supplemental raw cream, and/or raw egg yolk added as extra fortification. He also gets about 1/2 tsp. of high-vitamin cod liver oil daily added to one of his bottles.

For his solid foods, I generally offer them mashed or pre-chewed (unless he can gum them easily, like cheese), and try to emphasize the following:
-seafood (especially mollusks and oily fish),
-meat (all kinds, but especially my creamy liver paté),
-mineral-rich bone broths (all homemade, usually fish, chicken, or beef),
-raw milk cheese, and
-lacto-fermented veggies.

He really likes the cheese, raw fish, and broths, adores raw pasture butter from a spoon, and absolutely LOVES the lacto-fermented things I have offered so far, including sauerkraut, pickles, lacto-fermented cucumbers, American kim chee, and dilly beans. For some beverage variety, he loves my homemade lacto-fermented ginger ale, and also kombucha and kefir. And of course he also eats some cooked vegetables, beans (always properly prepared), and tiny tastes of fruit. I make it a point to offer a variety of foods that he is currently able to digest (so no grains yet), and emphasize foods rich in enzymes and beneficial bacteria (thus the lacto-fermentation, raw dairy of all kinds, raw egg yolk, and raw fish (marinated 7 hrs. in whey or lime juice to make it safe).

As of right now, we don't really offer Oliver much by way of sweet foods. I feel very strongly that it is critical that he not get used to eating sweet things on a regular basis. We don't eat much by way of sweets in our house anymore (which has been a huge benefit for all of us!), and I hope to keep it this way as Oliver gets older, with sweets for special occasions and as natural as possible. We will see how it goes! Already of course if he sees Hugo eating corn chips or a piece of bread or something else that we don't want him to have yet, he will want some and cry if he doesn't get it. So it's actually of benefit to us, too, because we have to eat more or less the way we want Oliver to eat.

Of course, when it comes to his predilection for gnawing on bones (a great source of minerals!), I'm not sure where he picked that certainly wasn't something we had to teach him!


  1. you certainly give me a lot to think about, hannah! you forget to mention that the obvious; it is a lot more pleasant when your child eats like a normal mini human, with an interest in trying new things. so much more convenient and interesting than a crazy picky child! i have no doubt his exposure to all of these wonderful foods from such a young age will aid him in becoming a great eater in the future.

  2. Yes, you make an excellent point: it really is easier to raise a healthy eater when you start them off early and right! Of course, the first step is to breastfeed (which is said to expose babies to "33 flavors" via the mother's milk), and follow a varied, healthy diet while breastfeeding. Then, when starting solids, begin with the things babies digest most easily (mainly animal fat and protein), and stay away from carb-heavy foods like lots of cereals and pureed fruits. I have heard from several sources that starting babies on cereal really sets them up to crave starchy foods later, like bagels, cookies, crackers, bread, cereal, and pasta. Other people I know who introduced bone broth, yogurt, liver, cod liver oil, and lacto-fermented foods (like traditional sauerkraut) have great success! Babies are naturally predisposed to like nutrient-dense healthy foods and will continue eating them throughout childhood and adulthood if they develop the taste for them early.

  3. yup, i agree (of course) about the breastfeeding + the "33 flavors" -- cute. i am going to need your coaching how to feed my baby all this sh*t when I have one (in many years...).

  4. That's a yummy lunch! That "juice" looks soooo delicious. I'm taking notes for when my turn comes around!