Breastfeeding babies don’t have to miss out on any fun at the dinner table. Breastmilk popsicles, or momsicles as they are often called, can help your baby to feel included at meal time and can do wonders for soothing a teething baby’s sore gums.
Momsicles are very easy to make and even the youngest baby can enjoy them as part of a nutritious snack. Alter the recipe for your formula fed baby by making a formula popsicle.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting to start solid foods until your baby is at least 6 months old to lower the possibility of triggering food allergies and to be sure that your baby is developmentally ready to digest solid foods.
Momsicles For Babies Ages 6-8 Months
Younger babies may have a difficult time holding onto a breastmilk popsicle that is made using a large mold. Many of the freezer molds are tall and could be difficult for a younger baby to balance. Use a pacifier and any small container to make a baby sized momsicle. This is a great way for busy moms to keep baby entertained while cooking dinner or helping older siblings with homework.
Bottle lids make an excellent momsicle mold. Be sure that your bottle lid does not have an air hole or the breastmilk will leak out as soon as it is poured into the lid. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way so I found a small “egg cup” that was small enough for the pacifier to balance on the top of the cup and create a momsicle that was easy for a young baby to handle. Any container that allows the pacifier to rest on the top and will create a momsicle small enough for a younger baby to easily suck on will work well.
When you have found an appropriate container, fill it with expressed breastmilk and balance the pacifier on top of the container so that the nipple is resting in the breastmilk. Place the container in the freezer for several hours until frozen. When you are ready to give your momsicle to your baby, remove it from the freezer and run the outside of the container under warm water for several seconds until the frozen breastmilk is easily removed from the container without pulling the pacifier out.
You may have to help younger babies enjoy their momsicle the first few times. As your baby learns to enjoy his momsicle he can practice important small motor skills as he masters getting the momsicle to his mouth.
An alternative to the traditional momsicle can be made by filling a clean ice-cub tray with expressed breastmilk. When the breastmilk is frozen (or mostly frozen, depending on what your baby enjoys), remove it from the tray and place it inside a teething feeder. Teething feeders are easy for younger babies to hold and will allow your baby to experience a new food texture without introducing anything new into his diet.
To create a fun frozen treat for your baby and give him some practice with the mechanics of eating without introducing foods too early, partially freeze a cube of breastmilk. When the breastmilk is partially frozen, remove it from the freezer and break it up with a spoon so it creates a loose slush. If needed, allow the breastmilk to thaw at room temperature for a few minutes. Use an infant spoon to feed the breastmilk slush to your infant. Breastmilk slush lets your baby experiment with new textures and get some exposure to the spoon without adding solid foods to his diet too early.
Momsicles For Babies Ages 9 Months and Older
Babies 9 months and older, or babies who have the ability to hold larger objects can be given full size momsicles. Popsicle Molds can be filled with expressed breastmilk and frozen to create a larger momsicle. When you are shopping for popsicle molds, be sure and purchase one that does not have a pointed tip and has a short handle with no embellishments that are likely to break off and create a choking hazard.
If you would like to use popsicle molds to make shorter momsicles, simply fill the mold half way with water and freeze it solid. Remove the half filled popsicle molds from the freezer and fill it with a thin layer of banana puree. Fill the rest of the popsicle mold with expressed breast milk and return it to the freezer. When the momsicle is frozen, remove the entire popsicle from the mold and break the frozen water off. The banana puree should make the momsicle break easier where it transitions from water to breastmilk and will give your older baby an additional frozen treat.
Variations of the Momsicle
As your baby begins to experiment with different flavors and textures, you can add some additional ingredients to the basic momsicle. Stir a banana puree into expressed breastmilk and freeze for a mild treat. Freeze a mixture of thin rice cereal (made with breastmilk) and homemade applesauce for a nutrient rich snack. Any of your baby’s favorite foods can be turned into a frozen treat.