The information provided in this post may not be suitable for all babies.
Traditionally made bone broth is a wonderful food to offer your baby! It is incredibly rich in nutrients, is restorative, strengthening, healing, and deeply nourishing to the digestive tract. It is indeed one of my favourite first foods for babies!
Babies are born with a completely open and permeable intestinal system (GI) which allows the nutrients and antibodies from mama’s milk (or formula) to enter the bloodstream with very little digestive activity. This is nature’s perfect design, and is impressively efficient.
Over the next six months, a thin but extraordinary cellular barrier slowly develops separating the GI tract from the bloodstream. This layer becomes the medium that will ultimately govern the nutrients baby absorbs from solid food, since let’s face it, we (sadly) can’t breastfeed forever.
Food introductions are ideal around 6-months of age since this is typically when that important barrier has formed and baby’s digestive system is mature enough to handle solids. If this lining has not fully developed, large and often undigested food particles enter the baby’s body which can put the immune system on high alert.
In such cases we may begin to see the early presentation of a food sensitivity, digestive distress or unwelcome irritation. The body is very protective and incredibly wise when it comes to digestion – in a perfect world all nutrients would be effectively broken down before entering the bloodstream.
But baby’s digestive system is brand-new, and just warming up! There is a tremendous adjustment to be had with the introduction of solid food revealing the importance of introducing gentle, nutrient-dense foods that are age-appropriate and kind to baby’s impressionable gut.
Bone broth (also known as stock) is considered a ‘traditional food’, with our ancestors offering it to babies as young as 4-months old. Though I prefer to wait until closer to 6-months as a benchmark, it is always interesting and useful to look at nutrition from the past, for wisdom and guidance when we piece together modern solutions for nutrition.
Broth contains some superb and influential nutrients which not only nourish baby on a deep, cellular level due to it’s rich (!!!) mineral content, but also because of it’s ability to strengthen that gut-lining which ultimately reduces the potential for food sensitivities or food allergies to occur. Making broth from scratch requires very little time or effort, for maximum gain.
Need broth in a pinch? Check out two of my most beloved broth suppliers in YYC!
Bone Broth Baby
- 2 – 3 lbs chicken bones, or carcass from whole chicken
- 3+ carrots
- 3+ celery
- 1 onion or leek
- 1/2 TBSP quality, unrefined salt (sea salt or Himalayan sea salt)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 fresh springs of thyme (can use dried also)
- 1″ strip kombu seaweed
- Garlic cloves
- Portobello mushroom
- Place ingredients in pot or slow cooker
- Cover with water
- If using pot bring to a boil
- Reduce heat then simmer on low for 24 hours
- If using slow cooker set on low for 24 – 36 hours
- Once cooked, strain + season as desired with preferred herbs.
- For baby, mix into purees, as a soup base, or offer straight up!
Source high-quality bones for stock – ideally pasture-raised from a farm with organic practices. Many health food stores sell bones from quality, local farms. If available, these will be found in the freezer section.
If you’re a broth buff you’ll notice the removal of the standard acid medium from the above recipe. Although the jury is still out on this for some, there is a compelling conversation happening about how the inclusion of ACV may impact the protein structures within the broth, increasing the glutamic acid content and potentially causing gut issues for highly sensitive individuals. Babies + children included. I encourage you to listen to your gut when making choices in health, since each of us have unique bodies + priorities. For more information, click here.