Excitement and Fear.
It was around the 6 month mark that Sage really started jonesing for solid foods. The holistic nutrition nut inside me was so jazzed I could introduce him to the incredible world of foods. In nutrition school, we studied how to introduce solids and the schedules for different foods. I am very grateful to have learned even more from my time working in an alternative health practice. For me, it wasn’t the ‘typical’ rice cereal, oatmeal and arrowroot crackers – those were quite literally the last foods I gave him.
By this point, the only thing Sage had other than breastmilk was vitamin D and probiotics every night. Since he was first born, there wasn’t a day he didn’t take them. I was very routine with taking my supplements: omega 3 fish oil, probiotics, vitamin D, calcium/magnesium and vitamin C so he would also get them through my breastmilk too.
But honestly, I couldn’t wait to get started! Planning out all the combinations of herbs and spices, veggies, fruits and broths, but I was struck down with shame and fear shortly after. This means he’ll be breastfeeding less. Which means he’ll be getting less nutrients, fat, protein, antibodies. What’s going to happen with his weight, growth, development?
Growth Charts, Ugh… Growth Charts
Sage had been staying steady in the 3% on his growth curve. My doctor, knowing that he always measured small, wasn’t concerned because he made his developmental milestones and was a happy babe. I was so relieved when she mentioned her kids were small and late bloomers too. There’s nothing better than to have a doctor who is supportive, listens and connects with you on a personal level. I’m very thankful for her. At the same time, it was very stressful knowing that it was a slippery slope for his growth if anything went awry.
Sage at his 6 week check up, measuring around the 3% on his growth chart
I loathed when other mamas asked me about where Sage fell on the curve. Why? Why is this a thing? Why does it seem like so many mamas form a competition out of where their child falls compared to yours?
I remember being in a coffee shop and a mama (whom I just met), talked about her child’s growth curve within 30 seconds. We were initially chatting about baby carriers.
It probably hits harder when your babe is not where the ‘normal’ population is. Even though they’re excelling on their development milestones and are staying the course on their own growth curve. But talking with the mamas on either ends of the growth scale, it can be a tough subject. I felt more connected to the mamas with outlier babes and am still very grateful for the many heartfelt moments we had about the subject.
The Shame Cycle Starts Again.
I chose to do the majority of Sage’s meals in the form of purees. (I’ll write another post about why I don’t recommend BLW). Purees gave me more control and variety when combining different flavours. I started with one food group at a time, but I would combine herbs and spices with each new food. Sage’s favourite were butternut squash and thyme or rosemary. It was so cool planning all the different meals for him. But in the forefront of my brain was the recurring thought, there’s not enough nutrients in that one food group.
I’m a big fan of purees over exclusive BLW because you can pack way more flavour and nutrition into every spoonful.
In my baby food prep work, I knew that I could add in my breastmilk to the purees instead of water to help ease the transition from breastfeeding to solids. I was so game for this and loved the idea of sneaking in breastmilk so he could get the extra nutrients. I opened the freezer door, looked at the 4 bags I had left, sighed, looked down at my feet and closed the door again. There’s no way I can thaw a whole bag just to use half. I can’t waste that much breastmilk… I just can’t. What am I going to do? What if he stops breastfeeding and only wants the solids? This is where the idea for Booby Food came to be. Freeze drying my breastmilk ended up saving the little breastmilk I had from being wasted.
Freeze drying my breastmilk was a saving grace. I didn’t have to worry about wasting breastmilk since I could use as much or little as I wanted.
Don’t Like the Situation? Change the Attitude.
The next best thing I could do was add in bone broth. Lots of protein, extra vitamins, minerals and calories for his tiny, but mighty body. My girlfriend Chrystal, has an organic bone broth shop where I’d pick up beef, chicken and vegetable broth. (P.S. Her bone brothcicles work wonders for teething!)
I would nurse before and sometimes after, he still was very much a boob man, I was so thankful. He took to solids like a champ, but always still breastfed. I figured, oh thank god, maybe now he’ll put on that extra weight! Nope.
Happiest moments are found with food. Letting Sage explore and get messy with flavours, tastes, textures and sensations will set him up with a positive relationship with food.
No matter how much Sage ate, his growth remained the same. He went through unbelievable amounts of avocado and would have sometimes 4-6 125mLs of baby food a day. All this while still nursing around the clock. I’m talking like at this point I’m still waking every 2-3 hours to feed through the night.
What I can say is, Sage has never once had an upset stomach, diarrhea, constipation or shown any other kind of food sensitivity. I truly believe it’s because of his diet being heavily influenced on quality and quantity of nutrients.
Sage at 14 months, still breastfeeding strong on demand no matter how much food he’s had..
Of course I’m going to still worry and my mama bear hairs will rise when strangers comment on how little he is. But, I also have to remember that even though I’m doing everything I can to nurture his growth and development, sometimes nature has a different path.