How do you add other foods to baby while still breastfeeding for baby as well. Let’s talk about how to do that safely with Samantha Radford.
Today’s guest is Samantha Radford. She has a PhD in Chemistry from Emory University (Atlanta, GA). She is an exposure scientist who focuses on maternal-child health. Samantha has years of research into learning about how chemical exposures affect both unborn babies and children, as well as how toxicants and medications are passed through breastmilk.
Samantha also studies the effect of exposure to hormones induced by personal experiences, for example, cortisol in babies who are stressed or oxytocin in mothers bonding to their infants.
Through the years, Samantha has expanded her academic and personal studies to how exposures to different parenting styles affect the mental and physical health of children as they grow to adulthood.
Most importantly, Samantha is a busy mother of four kids 7 and under. She loves to empower other moms through combining science and wellness.
Samantha has been trying to bring back the banana clip since 1998, and is the mommy behind Evidence-Based Mommy. She has a whole course on safe chemical usage for families. I love that she has the science to tell us what’s safest for our families. She also has her own Evidence-Based Mommy Podcast.
She also has a post on gently weaning.
Big thanks to our sponsor Family Routines — if you’re looking for household life to feel easier, it’s the course for you!
In this episode
How to know your baby is ready for solid foods.
What to feed your baby early on.
How Samantha’s Course can help you feed your baby.
Other things that might interest you
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other parenting podcasts:
[00:00:00.000] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys. Welcome back, to the Pulling Curls podcast. Today on Episode 111. That’s right. 111. We’re talking about feeding babies. I think we get in the zone where we feed them one thing. But how do you change the Lane? Let’s untangle it.
[00:00:23.850] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, I’m Hilary Erickson, the Curly Head behind the Pulling Curls podcast. We untangle pregnancy, parenting, home and even travel. We know there’s no right answer for every family, but hopefully we can spark some ideas that will work for yours. Life’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:47.160] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, before we get started, I know a lot of you guys find these podcasts on my blog, but did you know that you can subscribe and you can get every single episode? It’s like the Disneyland of podcasts. Definitely subscribe on your favorite podcast player. And while you’re there, leave a review, leave some stars. Leave some words. It really makes a difference.
[00:01:04.560] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, so today’s guest is Evidence Based Mommy. She’s actually been on the podcast a few times. She knows all about the chemicals that we need to keep in or out of our lives in order to keep ourselves and our family safe. I want to introduce my friend Samantha Radford.
[00:01:24.620] – Hilary Erickson
Are you overwhelmed by all there is to do around your house? As a new mom, I felt overwhelmed at every turn. Fortunately, I turned to systems to make a change, whether it’s mornings, dinner time, or even just to climb out of a pile of kids clothes. My course, family routines can save you. I hold your hand as we smooth out these rough patches, making every day easier so we can more easily handle when your preschooler tells you they can use their urine like a lightsaber. Parenting is always going to be a wild ride. Routines are just your seatbelt and they can support you. Use coupon code UNTANGLED to save 15% at checkout, link in the show notes.
[00:02:02.850] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, Samantha, welcome to the Pulling Curls podcast.
[00:02:05.430] – Samantha Radford
Hey, Hilary, how are you?
[00:02:06.810] – Hilary Erickson
So good. So good. I’m not in the space because I hate giving baby, so it’s so much easier to sit on the couch and give him a bottle.
[00:02:15.700] – Samantha Radford
That’s true. We’ve got a couple dogs, so they kind of help clean up whenever he throw stuff, you know? So.
[00:02:22.950] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, that’s true. No, I just had a vacuum. Yeah, it’s just messy. Like it’s fun to see them, like trying new things and all those kind of things. It’s messy and it takes time.
[00:02:33.060] – Samantha Radford
Yeah, yeah, that’s true. With the older ones, I can make yourself a sandwich. And there was something to be said for that.
[00:02:38.910] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah, they don’t make a sandwich. They just go get chips. That actually. Yeah.
[00:02:43.710] – Samantha Radford
Okay, that’s also true.
[00:02:45.770] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, so you’ve had a baby. They’ve been breastfeeding or formula feeding for a while. How do you recommend? Now, I know you’re talking just from a mom point of view because you don’t have a big degree on breastfeeding. Although I don’t even know what that degree would be.
[00:03:00.670] – Samantha Radford
I mean, like aging consultants and stuff. I’ve done a lot of research as far as learning about chemicals and all that, but that’s a whole nother.
[00:03:08.040] – Hilary Erickson
[00:03:08.290] – Samantha Radford
This is just kind of from the mom perspective today.
[00:03:10.590] – Hilary Erickson
It’s just stopping that baby making their main source of nutrients, breast or formula. What’s the good plan?
[00:03:18.490] – Samantha Radford
So I wouldn’t even look at it as, like, stopping them from that so much is it’s like a slow, gradual process. So for one thing, the CDC tells us, don’t give your child any solids until six months. So just keep them on just formula or breast milk until six months of age. And it’s concerning, because even now, there are plenty of pediatricians out there who will try to tell you to put your child on rice, cereal or whatever much younger than that. But you don’t need to.
[00:03:48.040] – Samantha Radford
So basically, you want to wait. You want to see that your child is at least six months or they’re about and that they can sit up on their own, maybe not perfectly. But if they’re kind of just slouching over and their high chair and about to fall over, that means they’re not ready yet, because there’s a tie between how well they sit up and how developed their digestive system is.
[00:04:07.980] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, interesting. Yeah. I had a kid that was just not ready to be in the high chair. So.
[00:04:12.930] – Samantha Radford
[00:04:13.320] – Hilary Erickson
And the beauty is it’s like in a couple of weeks, they may well be.
[00:04:16.780] – Samantha Radford
[00:04:17.080] – Hilary Erickson
It’s not like you’re gonna be waiting months for that baby to get that muscle control.
[00:04:21.360] – Samantha Radford
It feels like forever when they’re tiny, especially the first time around. But then all of a sudden, a couple months later.
[00:04:28.080] – Hilary Erickson
[00:04:28.390] – Samantha Radford
They’re eating everything. The other thing, before they’re ready, they’ll have a reflex, like to thrust reflex where if you’re trying to shovel baby food in their mouth and they’re not ready yet, they’ll poke their little tongue out and try to get it out of their mouth, like their body is protecting them from choking.
[00:04:44.800] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Thank goodness for that, right?
[00:04:46.360] – Samantha Radford
Yeah. Exactly. Because then eventually they just put everything in their mouth instead. So if it’s not working, I don’t try to push it and just wait.
[00:04:54.870] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. That’s such good advice. So on my first one, I waited longer. Then I probably should have. I would recommend giving it a whirl at six months, because I think I waited until nine months, and he wanted nothing. He just wanted that bottle every meal. He wanted nothing to do with anything else. Yeah, I ruined him.
[00:05:12.600] – Samantha Radford
I mean, different kids take, like, my two girls. The older ones took to solids really quickly. But my little boy and I start them at the same time, like in six months. And he didn’t really get to where he was interested in food until he was, like, a year. And it’s not that I did anything different. It was just that he was different, you know?
[00:05:32.110] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. Also, I felt like on my third, I didn’t have time for baby food. I just smushed up whatever I made, and I stuck it in her mouth.
[00:05:40.960] – Samantha Radford
I actually I never did baby food. So have you heard of babyled weaning?
[00:05:45.490] – Hilary Erickson
I mean, I’ve heard of it, but it wasn’t really a thing back in 2000 when I started being a mom.
[00:05:51.260] – Samantha Radford
Okay, yeah. So the premise is that instead of either buying the jarred stuff, which gets expensive, or the little packets that they have nowadays, or trying to squish up your own food, because that just sounds like way too much effort for a mom who already has kids and maybe a job and a house and all that kind of stuff, you pretty much take whatever you’re going to be eating. You don’t add salt, you could add any other seasonings, but just, like, lay off the salt, and you pretty much just put it in front of their kids kids and let them try.
[00:06:22.500] – Samantha Radford
So my kids like some of their first foods for banana. You can kind of squeeze a banana to get it to come out in the third or little slices of avocado, and it works really well.
[00:06:33.630] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. So with that one, are you also done just watching? Because you probably don’t want to give them, like, a whole thing of, like, a penne pasta.
[00:06:39.040] – Samantha Radford
[00:06:39.280] – Hilary Erickson
Because if they get the whole thing in their mouth that are not ready to chew it well.
[00:06:42.790] – Samantha Radford
Okay. So anything, you’d be surprised how strong their little gums are, even if they don’t have cheat yet. So anything you can smush between your thumb and your four finger, you’re good to go. In fact, like, be careful. Like, if they just have those little front teeth, don’t give them something crunchy because they might be able to bite that off, but then not grind it up with their Muller because they don’t have Muellers. Uh, what was the question?
[00:07:03.990] – Hilary Erickson
Just like choking hazards. Like, how do you mitigate?
[00:07:07.090] – Samantha Radford
So they remember they have that tongue thrust reflex. And a lot of times one of the things, like, my mom used to get really stressed watching my baby eat because she was scared to death that she choke. But they don’t. They they might gag a little bit, but that’s actually a good thing. So you just wait and they kind of get it out themselves. It’s better to let them sort of work through that than to try to fish something out because you might actually shove something further down their throat.
[00:07:33.040] – Hilary Erickson
I will say that I think all moms of toddlers should learn CPR. Well, I think all people should learn CPR, but I’ve definitely yanked the kid out of the high chair and done it because they aren’t moving air. Now, if your kids coughing or gagging, they’re moving air.
[00:07:48.150] – Samantha Radford
Yeah. You’re okay there? So fortunately, I haven’t dealt with that. I should renew. It has been years, and I’m not in the medical field like you are to me, where I’m into that kind of stuff more often.
[00:07:58.170] – Hilary Erickson
I will say that infant and toddler very rarely changes. Like, what we do at the hospital with CPR does change, and it is great to get a refresher or something like that. But really, infant and child CPR is pretty much the same, and so much of it is choking or drowning if you’re in or something.
[00:08:15.280] – Samantha Radford
Yeah, that’s about that time.
[00:08:17.190] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, so I think that’s awesome because I did full on Jarred baby food with child number one, which is probably not unusual because you don’t know what you’re doing at all. And that’s what they marketed. And then by number three, I just didn’t have the time. Although we still had some of the jars around. We had a few packets or I just open a thing of Apple sauce and shove it in her mouth sometimes.
[00:08:37.770] – Samantha Radford
Yeah. There’s nothing wrong.
[00:08:39.600] – Hilary Erickson
I will say we were so worried about allergies my mom is celiac intolerant on my phone. First kid, they were like, don’t feed them wheat. Second kid, they were like, we don’t know. Third kid, they were like, fear wheat.
[00:08:50.040] – Samantha Radford
Yeah. Mine all had. Of course, we don’t have any of that running in our family, but mine all had wheat pretty early, because another thing, like, if you just give them bread, you know how bread kind of gets to wear it sticks to the top of your mouth sometimes. That’s less than ideal. But if you toast it first and you can cut it into little sticks, that’s another thing. With babyled weaning sticks are easier than, like, small little bits of food, because if you cut it into, like, little piece, they’re not able to grab stuff with their finger and thumb.
[00:09:17.890] – Samantha Radford
That’s called the pincer grip. They don’t have that to eight months. But if you make something like, say, like sweet potatoes that you roasted in the oven, if you have that cut into sticks, they can grab on with their little fist and gnaw on it while they’re holding on to it.
[00:09:31.650] – Hilary Erickson
Oh, interesting. That’s a good point. Yeah. Because, like, Cheerios, which was what we gave number one, those are hard to pick up. You really have to have a lot of fine motor skills in order to be able to pick that up.
[00:09:41.550] – Samantha Radford
It’s like eight to ten months before they can really handle that.
[00:09:44.340] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. I mean, Mother Nature did what’s right, because that is a real choker.
[00:09:48.690] – Samantha Radford
Exactly. Yeah. Once again, there’s reasons for these reflexes coming into play when they do, but it makes things a little bit. You have to think ahead sometimes.
[00:09:56.820] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Okay. So you’re all about the pesticides and the things that we should be eating. Is there anything like, should we be making our own? I have ground baby food before. Usually if we had a lot from the garden or something with, like, super on sale, I would do carrots. Yeah, I know. I’m such a great mom.
[00:10:12.600] – Samantha Radford
[00:10:13.590] – Hilary Erickson
But do you think any better than just, like, squishing a polls on that I’m going to have and putting it in her mouth.
[00:10:20.370] – Samantha Radford
I’m all for giving my children lasagna and spaghetti and stuff those make for the best pictures anyways.
[00:10:25.440] – Hilary Erickson
[00:10:25.740] – Samantha Radford
But with that said, so, for example, you asked about pesticides and that’s kind of a thing a lot of times, which you’ll hear more of is heavy metals. So, like lead or arsenic or something like that in baby food. And like, every so years, like, an article will come out that’ll be like, there’s lead in baby food, and everyone will flip out, and moms will swear that they’re only going to make their own baby food like you were doing. And then we all forget about it. And then an article comes out again and we freak out again.
[00:10:54.540] – Samantha Radford
And so the deal with that is that the lead or the cadmium or whatever it is you’re concerned about is just like it’s in the soil. And so it’s already there. And there’s really, unfortunately, not much you can do about it. And so whether you buy Jarred baby food or buy your own produce, it’s going to be there because they’re growing the sweet shaders that they use to make their Jarred baby food in the same place that they’re getting sweet shaders to put in the grocery store.
[00:11:23.030] – Hilary Erickson
So I don’t break well. And there are some of those remember learning a nursing coal that we have our snick in our body. We need just a tiny little bit of our stock just to Smith it, and it’s just in our bodies. So we all live with that.
[00:11:37.620] – Samantha Radford
Yeah. I mean, like with lead, for example, there’s no safe level lead. But I’m sure we all have some lead, but, I mean, there’s little switches you can make. It’s not so much about whether you do Jarred baby food or make your own baby food or babyled. Weaning even it’s more about which food you choose. So for example, I mentioned sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes tend to store lead and cadmium in them as they were growing. And so, you know, it’s not like you can never give your baby a sweet potato, but you don’t want that to be the main thing they go for.
[00:12:09.480] – Samantha Radford
So switch to say like butternut squash. So butternut squash or Acorn squash actually is much less likely to have those heavy metals in them. And it tastes really similar. So it’s a win win.
[00:12:19.680] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. Well, and really just trying to give them a variety.
[00:12:22.740] – Samantha Radford
Yes, that’s true, too. And it’s all those little tips and tricks, like most people wouldn’t just know, sweet potato versus butternut squash. That’s the kind of stuff that I talk about in my course.
[00:12:34.100] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. Cool. So do you talk about what, toddlers or I guess their baby is still at that point, what they should be eating. I mean, some.
[00:12:41.780] – Samantha Radford
Yeah. So I talk about, like, we talked about the pesticides or heavy metals or whatever, and baby food. I talk about my thoughts on rice cereal, which spoiler alert. I’m not really a fan, but yeah, there’s a lot of stuff about eating and even how you store your food. Do you use glass or plastic? How you Cook your food? Like, there’s so much related to food and avoiding toxic chemicals.
[00:13:04.320] – Hilary Erickson
Well, and it sounds like there are just small changes we can make that could make a difference.
[00:13:08.820] – Samantha Radford
Yeah. Simple changes.
[00:13:10.190] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. And you guys will have her course link in the show notes, so check it out in there. Well, this is helpful. Anything else to add about babyled weaning and feeding little babies?
[00:13:19.550] – Samantha Radford
I mean, just kind of have fun with it. Make it easy for you. So if the jars are easier for you, like, go for it. Okay. But babyled weaning has advantages. Like, I’m able to eat my meal while my baby eats a meal and he’s happy. And I’m happy because I’m not having the wait to eat it’s good. It gives the kids a chance to try all these different textures and flavors, like you were talking about with variety. There’s a lot of advantages to it. So just try it.
[00:13:48.450] – Samantha Radford
Basically, if you have a food that I squishiness and you just want to let your trial try it, that’s all you have to do. It doesn’t have to be.
[00:13:55.110] – Hilary Erickson
Like a big production. Yeah. Yeah. And I think because with my first I noted what we were feeding him and then what reaction he had. And I don’t know if some of that was because of my mom’s eating issues, but I didn’t do that at all. It was baby number three, which isn’t shocking. I mean, there’s so many things I didn’t do with all that.
[00:14:12.540] – Samantha Radford
[00:14:12.840] – Hilary Erickson
[00:14:13.110] – Samantha Radford
I always go crazy. You do and all that. You don’t want to make things so stressful that it’s a drawer or just just have fun. It’s fun to watch kids try stuff. No fun. Be fun.
[00:14:25.140] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And if you see a reaction, then you should backtrack. Probably. Right.
[00:14:29.560] – Samantha Radford
[00:14:30.920] – Hilary Erickson
Xyz happen. Let’s try. And I will say there’s definitely a time for Jar baby food. When you’re at a restaurant and you’re with I don’t know, you just decide what works for you. But we’re not saying that Jar baby food bad, but it is definitely not super convenient when they’re so small and they take up so much room. Yeah.
[00:14:49.100] – Samantha Radford
[00:14:49.940] – Hilary Erickson
Great advice, guys. I say go early, try it at about six, but you don’t have to make it like a big deal. Just stick them in the high chair so they can enjoy meal time with you. And it can be a fun time for your family. Great advice.
[00:15:01.370] – Samantha Radford
[00:15:02.000] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, guys. Hopefully you guys found that helpful. Actually, after I stop pushing record. She’s doing a summit where she’s talking about, like, Toddler weaning and I do see a lot on TikTok. There’s moms who are like, I want to stop breastfeeding, but I literally don’t know how. Because you’re that baby’s main thing. So there’s lots of information out there. I’ll try and throw a few links in here. Also, if you’re looking to be done with breastfeeding, obviously, solids are just an addition to breastfeeding for that first year. But after that, you can start thinking about getting your body back if that’s what you want. Some people don’t. That’s totally up to you. Like I say in the intro, no solution’s right for every family, but hopefully you can try something that works for you.
[00:15:39.420] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. We know you have lots of options for your ears, and we are glad that you chose us. We drop episodes weekly. And until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.