Wednesday, March 14, 2012

on starting solids

B is six months old!  It's time to start solids, but I've been feeling rather lazy about the whole thing.  I get asked quite often what he's eating.  When I respond, "still just breast milk," people react with surprise, though his doctor said it's perfectly fine to continue as we are for a little while longer.

I know a lot of parents who start solids around four or five months because they're excited to move on to the next stage.  I understand that.  I'm excited to have first food pictures and videos, but I'm not so thrilled about the mess of solids.  And don't even get me started on the change in poop when a baby switches from breast only to breast and solids.  I like three to five day stretches with no dirty diapers.

I like the ease of breastfeeding, the simplicity of leaving the house without snacks and bibs and three changes of clothes.  Well, we still need three changes of clothes, but we don't have to haul much else.  I was going to start him on avocado next week, but now I think I may wait one more week.

I've heard babies sleep better once they start solids.  That alone makes me want to start.  But I recently read that's actually a myth, some babies just sleep better than others.

This time of nursing exclusively is so wonderful and short and sweet, I want to prolong it, hold on to it as long as I can.  It's not like starting solids means he is weaning, but it is a big change.  I'm happy we've made it to six months with breast milk as his only food.  I hope to nurse until he's at least a year, eighteen months would be ideal, I think.  Though you never know when baby is going to decide to wean!

Here is a list of foods to start with from our naturopath.

4-5 months
breastmilk, sips of water
6 months
Sweet potato, squash, peas, pumpkin, avocado, banana (raw) , apricot, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums (all other fruit steamed)
7 months
Zucchini, mango, pear, papaya (all raw), Iron fortified rice cereal if baby is anemic, otherwise un-necessary
8 months
Asparagus, carrots, green beans, nectarines, peaches, pears , plums (all raw), apples (steamed), homemade porridge (brown rice, millet, oats), tofu, hard or soft boiled egg yolk. Begin allowing baby to feed self with spoon and finger foods.
9 months
Broccoli, parsley, okra, apricot, apples, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwi, plums, watermelon, peeled and cut grapes (all raw), barley added to homemade porridge, tahini, ground nuts/seeds, organic chicken and turkey, brewer’s yeast, powdered kelp, spirulina (if baby is iron deficient).  Consistency of food should begin to be thicker with small chunks.
10 months
Cauliflower, snow peas, spinach, brussel sprouts, kale, rutabaga, turnips, ground sprouts, coconut milk, rhubarb (steamed), pinto, black, white, navy beans, lentils.
11 months
Artichokes, beets, corn, cucumbers, onion, green and sweet peppers, dates, pineapple, prunes (all raw), rice, organic lean lamb, buffalo, thinned nut butters (not peanut butter), organic yogurt, cottage cheese, hard cheeses.
12 months
Eggplant, white potatoes, berries, cherries, citrus fruits, tomatoes (all raw), wheat, organic lean beef, organic whole milk, egg whites, wheat germ, honey.

Maybe we'll dive in soon.

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  1. Aww 6 months already! Soo fast. Growing baby boy! I'm hoping to wait until 8months before solids if I can but we shall see /: i too am scared of the poop changes! Haha (:

  2. I don't know why but I thought you'd said you were doing baby led weaning? It seem to fit in with your philosophy on doing things, have you considered it?
    The NHS in the UK now says not to bother with purees and to let your baby feed themselves right from the start.

  3. If I ever have another, I'll probably wait until at least 8 months to start solids. We started at 6 months in earnest because we were "supposed to" and it was really too soon for Eliyana. (Every baby is different though! What I learned about mine might be totally different than B.)

    Here's how it went: at 6 months she was playing with the food and making a mess, every. single. meal. It was SO much work - puree food, strip her down to diaper, spoon feed, give her a bath, wash entire high chair . . . after almost every meal. SOOO much work, so many stained clothes. At about 8 months it was like somebody flipped a switch and she one day she suddenly started showing genuine and intense interest in the food on my plate, along with the hand coordination necessary to grab it and feed herself. Interestingly, she didn't make messes much after that - I was able to figure out appropriate sized servings and she ate the food instead of smearing it in her hair and over every available surface. (We never pureed anything after that point either - she was ready and eager for cooked black beans, chunks of banana and avocado, blueberries, chunks of cooked carrots and yams, lots of foods - no pureeing necessary.)

    I've seen this with almost every baby I've known - no matter when you introduce solids, somewhere around the 7, 8 or 9 month mark the switch gets flipped and you won't be able to stop them from eating solids, even if you wanted to. :) My other mama mistake was giving her rice cereal, which I think made her blood sugar go out of whack (as evidenced by how grumpy she got a couple hours after eating it). Fortunately you already know better than I did at the time. :)

  4. I was never in a rush to start solids, either. I believe the old adage goes "Under 1, just for fun." He's still getting everything he needs from your milk, anyway. I never knew solids to affect Eli's sleep, either, I think eventually he just needed to nurse less and therefore he slept longer, you know?

  5. Oh I should say... I was really scared about the change in poo. This is another bonus to baby led weaning, at least IMO :) a) If his gut isn't ready yet he won't eat = no change :) b) finger food tends to come out pretty much unchanged at first :) whereas purees also come out unchanged but aren't as pleasant ;) c) if you let him set the pace the odds are he'll keep nursing a lot and the more bm he has the slower his nappies will change ;D

    Two more links and I promise I'll stop!!

  6. I've looked into baby led weaning, it seems smart. I think we'll probably do a combo of baby led weaning and traditinoal purees. He is definitely ready for food. He mimics our mouth movements when we eat :) He gets carrots to gnaw on at table right now, and I've let him play with bananas before.

  7. :) I had all the same concerns about starting but love it, honestly :)

  8. Oh my goodness...I just got back from Kaia's pediatrican who had a 'distressed' face when I told her Kaia wasn't eatting solids. As I walked home, I was miffed and composing a whole post about starting solids in my head. I think I might just have to go ahead and write it. But I have a lot of the same concerns as you, so it's probably no surprise that I back you 100% on not rushing into the solids. Like every baby's not a race to see who can 'do it' first! Sheesh!

  9. From experience with my two, solids made no difference to sleep! Angus started at five months, Juliet a day or two shy of six months. I was like you, always getting questions about what she was eating. No one believed it was breast milk alone that got her so chubby! I've taken MUCH more relaxed approach to solids this time and am having a bit more fun with it. It is a bit more work, you do have to cart food around but soon it will all become part of your routine.
    Juliet had her first taste of beetroot last night, so I'm not looking forward to that nappy! (diaper!)

  10. I really think you should read up on Baby Led Weaning or Baby Led Solids. It is only called weaning, because technically once you start solids you are weaning, but really, it is just semantics. There are babies who eat solids and nurse happily well into toddler years. Baby Led Weaning means basically that you give the baby safe foods and let them have at it.

    Really, solids before the age of one are just practice. And you are right, it is a myth that babies sleep better once you start solids or that they are more full. Rice may be heavier than breast milk, but it doesn't have the same calories, fat, or nutritive value.

    So, the best time to start is really when B is ready. That means when he is practically ripping the food out of your hand. If that is five months so be it, if it is seven months, that is good too. Avocado is a wonderful first food. It has great nutients and fat. If you want to do BLW, instead of mashing it up and feeding it to him, just give him a nice large hunk of it, sit in front of him and enjoy the show. So are spears of banana, spears of baked sweet potato, steamed broccoli, steamed cauliflower).

    I did a mix of BLW and traditional feeding. (like I just noticed you mentioned below). Sometimes I just didn't have the time and/or patience to deal with the mess. Also, in our case, for some reason my milk wasn't satisfying him enough, and we found that with added solids two to three times a day (sooner than we were really ready) he was fuller (without decreasing BFing)but only with me feeding him (because he wouldn't get as much in when feeding himself).

  11. I so understand. I'm right there with you, except a month behind. And how does your exclusively breastfed baby only poop once every few days? Mine poops at every single feeding, usually up the back out of his diaper, no matter what brand I use.

    I'm not sure if it is because Coen is going to be our last baby, or because we were robbed of all this with Adelyn, but I'm finding that I want him to stay a baby, more so than I did with my first.

    Totally agree on the messy solids thing...not looking forward to it either!


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