As I entered motherhood with a tiny newborn in my arms, I knew that our first year would be momentous and extraordinarily special. I found myself scribing each month, charting our story. Our story attracted a following. People were drawn to my words, touched by the honest beauty of a new baby and curious about my macrobiotic whole food weaning approach.
I invite you to enter the lives of baby and I, and share a glimpse of life in the second half of the first year.
Jemima yearns to be involved at meal times. Yet, I hold off the first foods until she sits unsupported and when I can no longer bear dining in front of her. Then I prepare her momentous first meal with great care and attention, even though I have made my own grain milk countless times before.
In true macrobiotic style I pressure cook short grain brown rice and sweet rice with seven times as much water. Then using a sieve I separate the soft rice from the cream. I serve her the rice cream in a cup and she beckons for more than a few sips. A result!
Right now her digestive system and gut flora are perfect, untarnished by any foul food or toxicity. Can I preserve this perfection and uphold her healthy vigour through weaning and beyond?
Puree v Baby Led
In the puree approach, she gets very excited and thrusts her head forward in anticipation of food. She can hold the spoon and is also using the cup to drink. With assistance, she can easily engulf a good few tablespoons of rice milk now.
With baby led, dining is a different story. Here, dining is about discovery, play with food, fascination with texture and movement. Jemima’s first encounter with broccoli was a long marvel of picking up the florets, pushing them around her tray and raising a few to her mouth. Baby led weaning is not about filling the stomach at this stage.
The first supper that Jemima enjoys. Her head plunges forwards with hands clapping as she laps up the freshly prepared puree of squash, onion, courgette and watercress, accompanied by pureed rice and tiny tofu pieces. Then she sang, ate and explored finger foods of maize and rice fusilli, and trees of broccoli and cauliflower.
I love seeing how food is really fuelling energy. Upon eating, quiet moaning is quickly replaced by song and laughter, talking and double-handed waving.
As nine months approaches, Jemima’s appetite develops and she loves dining with others at the table. She becomes familiar with protein now, beaming with butterbeans and practicing her pincer grip with plenty of chickpeas.
She knows hot from cold food, refusing cold and devouring warm. She shows her preference for fresh homemade meals, by declining store bought baby food and my few day old purees!
Food, Glorious Food
Jemima dines on her highchair throne and if she is in luck, a mini buffet awaits. She rigorously points to that which she likes or wants more of. She tells me of her hunger with a burst of short vowel sounds.
She is enjoying quinoa, millet, soups of mixed vegetables and red lentils, finger foods of kohl rabi, steamed courgette and shelled peas. Nori, the sea vegetable wrapped around sushi, serve as great edible paper treats. She grabs these snacks out of my hands and loves tearing them with her teeth.
She sucks up ribbons of Chinese cabbage and pointed cabbage. She laps up a light miso broth and loves foraging for bready croutons in her soups. Noodles and sauce too are hoovered up in a messy foray.
For afters, she likes an amasake pudding. This yummy sweet treat I prepare with rice cream and amasake, the nourishing fermented rice product. My sugar and gelatine free jelly made from agar flakes, she snatches up from her tray in glory.
What’s For Dinner?
Her two front teeth have dropped down through her gums. She notices her mouth structure change and now relishes biting into food and clicking her tongue on her palate. A tapestry of words emerge each day.
Meals are detected, ingredients surveyed and praised. Plenty of finger foods allow me to step back at meal times, letting Jemima feed herself. She even wishes to use the spoon on her own.
Rye bread and oat cakes she nibbles. Morsels of white fish and occasional salmon she really enjoys. She loves my stew of red lentils and seasonal vegetables. I offer her clumps of oatmeal, lentil pate or soft sticky grains.
I make soups with wakame sea vegetable and she drinks the nutritious broth. The soup contents make for ideal and easily prepared finger foods. Yesterdays soup ingredients of peas, leeks, sweet potato and rice noodles she lapped up from her tray.
From a distance, she places her hand to mouth, followed by extending her arm. She blew me a kiss! Thank you my precious one, my child, a baby no more.
FIRST OAT COOKIES
My recipe is gentle on baby’s young digestive system. I use oats that have already been cooked, instead of raw oat flakes or flour. Cooked oats are easier to assimilate than raw flakes, and baked flour products can be very mucus-forming and heavy on the digestive system.
- 1 cup cooked jumbo or rolled oats
- Pinch ginger powder
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds
- 3 tablespoons rice syrup
Combine the ingredients and heat the oven to 180°C. Prepare a baking tray with oiled baking parchment. Place spoonfuls of the mixture on the tray. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until the top goes slightly golden. Enjoy!
Anna Freedman is expert in taking the mystery out of Macrobiotics. Her sensible natural food approach and delicious recipes are widely followed for their health expanding effects, ease to integrate into modern living and wonderful taste.
This article is extracted from her book; Pure Baby: Give A Beautiful Beginning, which charts the wonder of her baby’s development from a natural approach and applies her pure food wisdom.
Anna is a qualified Macrobiotic Cook and Health Coach. She is founder of Wholefood Harmony, the Cookery School which inspires health through delicious natural cuisine.
Wholefood Harmony offer an array of Cooking Workshops, Events and Catering services. Their Wholefood Cooks Training Course begins next term and offers a rigorous exposure to natural cooking and macrobiotic food for healing.Anna holds individual Food & Health Coaching consultations, Kitchen Impact cooking workshops and Wholesome Weaning masterclasses.
The Pure Baby ebook is available on Amazon and iTunes and the paperback can be preordered at Wholefood Harmony.