In recent decades, the optimal feeding of toddlers has been the subject of much debate. Attention has focused mainly on the timing of the introduction of foods other than breast milk or infant formula, on the foods that should be given or avoided at various ages, and on the rate of progression from first tastes to shared family meals. Much of the research has centered on the development of food preferences and, specifically, on ways to encourage infants’ consumption of vegetables.
With the establishment of six months as the recommended age, worldwide, for the introduction of complementary foods (WHO/UNICEF, 2003), interest in “baby-led weaning” (BLW) – an approach in which the infant feeds himself from the outset with graspable pieces of food (Rapley, 2013) – has grown. Evidence has accrued that pureed foods and spoon feeding may not be essential steps following the move away from full milk feeding, and that the feeding method may have an impact on food preferences.
In a study by Townsend and Pitchford (2012), infants fed using a baby-led approach showed a greater preference for non-sugary carbohydrates in the toddler years (20-78 months) than spoon-fed infants. What has not been explored is why this may be, and specifically whether there is something in the nature of the difference between the two feeding methods – as experienced by the infant – that may explain it.
There is a general assumption that the benefits of giving pureed food to infants by spoon is evidence-based, but it is difficult to find justification for this view. Rather, it seems that it has simply become common practice in industrialized societies (Rapley, 2016a, 2016b). And yet neither the consistency of the food nor the means by which it finds its way to the infant’s mouth has been considered as a confounding variable, even in the most recent studies relating to the introduction of solid foods.
But under these discussions, one of the crucial questions many new mother have is: Can I use pate in my toddler’s diet? (Read: Healthly diet for my baby.) Pate is a food that, at first glance, many may say is not for a toddler’s diet. But if you consult with your paediatric doctor, you will learn that your baby needs iron, vitamins, and minerals. Homemade chicken liver pate is actually very healthy for your toddler and provides all of these things.
So at first you might be wondering why you would offer liver pate to your baby. The answer is because babies need lots of iron. Since their iron needs are so high, it’s difficult for babies to consume enough iron every day. Chicken liver is extraordinarily high in iron, selenium, Vitamin A, and most of the B vitamins. It also contains all nine of the essential amino acids toddlers’ bodies need. Lastly, chicken liver contains a fair amount of Vitamin C, which other non-organ meats generally do not have. What makes chicken liver so unbelievably nutritious for babies is its dense combination of all of these nutrients, which babies need for optimal growth.
However, please keep in mind that chicken liver is extraordinarily high in Vitamin A, which babies need, but can be toxic in certain quantities. For this reason, limit your baby to one serving of chicken liver a week.
How To Use Chicken Liver Pate in Your Child’s Diet
From 6 to 12 months old: Offer sliced, sautéed liver for baby to eat as finger food, or blend cooked liver with breast milk, formula, or cream and spread on baby crackers or thin, low sodium rice cakes.
From 12 to 18 months old: Continue to make a liver spread for thin rice cakes and offer thinly sliced cooked liver as a finger food. If your baby’s pincer grasp (where the thumb and pointer finger meet) has developed, move on to bite-size pieces of liver.
From 18 to 24 months old: At this age your baby will take great interest in practicing with a fork, so you can also offer small, bite-size pieces of liver to spear on a fork.
Toddlers Eat Pate
How to Prepare Chicken Liver Pate
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 apple, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 small shallot, chopped
- 1/2 lb liver, cut into cubes
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- Place two tablespoons of coconut oil into a pan on medium heat. Add apple slices and allspice and cook until soft. Add the garlic and shallot and cook for three minutes.
- Add the liver, thyme, and two more tablespoons of coconut oil to the pan. Cook until the liver is pink inside and no longer raw.
- Pour everything into a blender. Blend until smooth. Store in small jars.