Matteo is 7 Months!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Still delightful.  Still warming hearts with his gummy smile and dreamy brown eyes.  I adore this boy from head to toe.  My favorite moments with him are in the morning.  I walk into his room and he is fussy and grouchy in his little zipadee zip sleep sack. I shouldn't say this, but I LOVE his grumpy face. Then I nurse him, and he gets all sleepy again, a soft curled up baby in my arms. We spend 10 minutes cuddling in the chair while the rest of the house is still asleep, and he looks around his room with a renewed sense of wonder and amusement. Every day is exciting and new to this little guy.

He is starting to recognize words.  If I say, "Where's Basil and Pesto?" he will scan the floor for the dogs. I say "daddy" and he smiles expectantly. When we're nursing, I say "other side" and he pulls off to switch.  It's amazing what a baby can learn and process at such a young age. 

Matteo at a glance:

  • He's a small fry.  He didn't gain any weight between 4 and 6 months.  That's crazy, right? However, because he's nursing well, is so healthy, sleeping well and content between feedings, the pediatrician didn't seem concerned at all.  I'm a teeny bit concerned, so I've increased his nursing sessions during the day and am giving him nutrient dense solids.
  • 6 month clothes fit him best, but he can still fit into his 3 month onesies.  Like I said, he's a small fry.
  • We have added daily reading to the bedtime routine.  His favorite book by far is "I Love You Through and Through", which Sisi also loved.  The pictures of the boy and his bear are so expressive.  He does a funny grunt of approval, like "hhhhunh" each time he sees the boy's face. 
  • No teeth yet! But I see a raw white bump on his bottom gums.  
  • Likes to mimic sounds like raspberries, fake coughs and fart sounds.  He LOVES when I fake cough at him. 
  • Loving solid foods- especially the more complex combinations of proteins,veggies and herbs.
  • The mysterious birth mark above his right eye disappeared this month!  
  • Killer tan from daily naked time in the sun and beach trips at least once a week. 
  • Sleeping through the night more and more (about 50/50 chance).  I'm now limiting him to one feeding per night so he will eat well during the day.
  • Two naps at approximately 9:30 and 2pm.  Bedtime around 7 or 7:30, wakes up around 6:30 or 7am.  
  • He is making strides toward mobility, but in a very type-B non-aggressive kind of way.  He is strategically rolling his way toward toys and reaching and pivoting while on his back.  He can cover some decent ground this way. But he's never attempted to crawl or use his arms to scooch, which I'm totally ok with :)  He still seems content to observe the world on his back.  
  • I secretly love when he tries to eat my chin or nose or fingers (baby hickies).

MVI 2883 from kristin brancaleone on Vimeo.


Paleo Baby #2: Matteo's Solid Food Plan

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I am grateful that my husband pushed to raise Sisi on a paleo diet from the very beginning.  When Sisi first started solids 4 years ago, I wasn't even on the paleo diet yet.  I was just dipping my toes in, and not fully convinced that it was the best diet for adults, let alone babies.  I decided it couldn't hurt to raise Sisi paleo.  She immediately took to healthy foods and we've never really had food battles with her.   Mealtimes are generally happy and stress-free for us, and I attribute that to starting off with savory nutritious foods, coupled with the "French Rules" and the fact that she just LOVES to eat-   that definitely helps.

Now it's just second nature to feed Matteo paleo. He turned 6 months a few weeks ago, so he's only had a few different things.  He seems willing to try anything, but will only actually consume it if it's very smooth and liquidy. Most of it ends up on the bib or his face, but that's ok with me.  I just want him to get used to different tastes.  I know milk is his primary source of nutrients until 1 year.

Our Strategy: 

In theory, we like the idea of baby-led weaning (no spoon feeding, baby feeds himself chunks of soft food) but we also like the French way of eating (starts with simple vegetable purees, then they get chunkier and more complicated over time.)  Since France has the lowest rate of child obesity in the developed world, and French kids are renowned for eating well, the French method won.

Before 6 months I'd given him little tiny bites of raw butter and coconut oil to make sure he wasn't sensitive to them.  I knew we'd want to mix these into the purees right away.  So far everything has been either steamed or lightly pressure cooked and pureed with breastmilk to a soup-like consistency. At this point, we're still nursing 5 times a day (plus occasional night feedings) and doing 2 solid meals per day (lunch and dinner.)  Once again, I'm talking an ounce at the most.

I make a batch of food at a time (for example, steam a filet of salmon with some zucchini in the pressure cooker, then blend it with butter and milk in my mini blender.)  I serve some right away, and freeze some in silicone storage trays for later.  On days when I don't have time to cook, I take out a few different frozen portions and blend them together with a little boiling water.  The boiling water warms it to the perfect temperature and helps it blend more easily.

Lunch is his heaviest meal, usually containing egg yolks or meat, and dinner is usually some veggies mixed with some kind of fat (butter, breastmilk, or coconut oil).

We are holding off on fruit, like we did with Sisi.  In our family, fruit is a special treat or dessert served after the meal, similarly to the French.  You should see Sisi's eyes light up when someone offers her a piece of orange or a berry.  The farmer's market samples are her candy store.

I know you're supposed to start off super slow to catch reactions, and I kind of did.  I waited a day or two between new foods.  But after a few weeks, I couldn't resist mixing and matching and starting to add more interesting herbs and spices.  I really want food to be delightful for him.  I'm excited for him to try basil, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.

First foods in order of introduction.  *= actually ate more than a few spoonfuls.

  • steamed zucchini with raw butter
  • avocado with lightly cooked egg yolk
  • *egg yolk with lamb heart
  • *egg yolk with salmon and raw butter
  • carrots with butter
  • *egg yolk and breastmilk
  • avocado slices (didn't eat them)
  • green beans and carrots with butter
  • *green beans and salmon with coconut oil
  • sweet potato with butter
  • sweet potato with salmon
  • salmon with coconut milk and dill
  • *mahi mahi with butter and breastmilk
  • *lamb liver with spinach, butter and mint

So far, he seems to prefer the protein meals instead of the veggies.  When I try to give him avocado, he looks both confused and repulsed.  He didn't even like sweet potatoes with butter, to my great surprise.  His faves have been the egg yolk, pureed lamb heart, lamb liver, and pureed salmon mixed with veggies.

I bought the book Bebe Gourmet for some new puree ideas.  The combinations are creative and elegant!  Elegant baby food- it's possible. I use the book more as inspiration, since many of the recipes are not paleo.

I truly hope we are raising another awesome eater!  You just do what you can and hope it all works out.