Our baby girl will be 6 months old on the 21st. I feel like she will be ready, but we'll see. She still wakes up 1-3 times in the night to eat. I'm hoping the solids will help her to sleep more soundly. I want to do some BLW in the sense of regular food being mashed up and put down in front of her for her to play with, but also some purees, because I am seriously scared of choking. I've given her a baby spoon to play with a couple of times, and put it in her mouth with no food on it, and she didn't push it out with her tongue, but chewed on it. She is interested in our food and reaches for it. I want to start with fruits and veggies, but would also like to do whole grain organic rice cereal, once a day at bedtime. Would that be okay? She is EBM fed, so is used to a bottle, so I was thinking of just putting a couple of tablespoons into a bottle for her.
Question About Solid Foods
I think that if you add cereal to the bottle, babies end up taking in a bunch more calories than otherwise. Also, the act of eating from a spoon is an important developmental step.
I read that babies' sleep isn't associated with being hungry and 6-month-olds can go 12 hours without eating. Is it possible that your baby is needing comfort more than food during the night?
My 10 month old still eats once during the night, and really seems to need it. She is not into comfort nursing, and often it is a bottle during the night. Her dad has a very fast metabolism, and I think she got inherited it. I started adding cereal to her bedtime bottle a few months ago and it made a big difference in her sleep.She is otherwise breastfed, does eat solids, and it seems like she needs the extra calories. She is not fat, actually a little skinny for her height. There are lots of cereal types you can buy that are whole grain, organic, etc.
As for solids, I understood BLW to mean follow the babies wants and needs, and that ends up being different for everyone. My daughter had a harder time with finger foods at first, and loved purees, so we did that. Around 6 months she practiced with brown rice cereal for a couple days (really runny) and then moved on to fruit and veg purees. You can make the cereal runny almost like milk, and gradually make it thicker as she practices swallowing if you are scared of her choking. DD practices with the spoon some, but lots of times I feed her myself. I don't believe this is ruining her and that she will be the only 12 year old to not be able to use utensils.
To get the hang of feeding herself with her hands, I used those rice crackers (Baby Mum Mums is the brand) and she liked holding those and gumming them for weeks. Then we started with mushed veggies and other things. I gave her a raw carrot to chew and practice hand to mouth motions.
She will eat in the middle of the night. Granted, it's not always a lot. I don't believe that she needs to eat EVERY time she wakes up, but I think she does at least one of the times. I guess she probably mostly doesn't wake up BECAUSE she is hungry, but it's like she has to eat to go back to sleep.
I am planning on doing the whole grain organic rice cereal. So, BabyDust... you put yours in the bottle? I don't want to make her overweight, but it seems like she'd consume more and sleep better if I went the bottle route. Of course, she will also be getting other foods soon, so it's not like she won't be practicing eating with a spoon/her hands. Is there no way to portion it right in the bottle so that she doesn't consume too much?
Thank you for your responses! They're very helpful.
I am adverse to giving babies cereal, just an intuitive thing. I would try some egg yolks mixed with a little coconut oil, I feel that the fat would be easier to digest, more filling and nutritious and you get the bonus of the lauric acid in the coconut oil. I would hard boil the egg until just cooked, mash up the yolk and add just a little CO.
My DD would always have to nurse back to sleep, and like you said, I doubted she was actually that hungry each time but just had to nurse. When we started with the bottle during the night that changed. The bottles with the fast flow nipples go quick, and she ended up just eating a lot more in one sitting and then slept longer. Yes, I add the cereal to the bottle. My approach has been to give her as much as possible before bed and during the night feedings. She's not a dog, she can determine how full she is and it has worked fine. I guess if your baby was massive and you had concerns it might make sense to think about the portions, but I haven't had a problem. She is breast fed during the day and eats whatever solids she wants, and she seems to have fine control over her intake. Sometimes she finishes the bottle, sometimes leaves some. I figure getting her calories in a fashion that is conducive to sleep for all of us is not a bad thing. At first it was really a pain to prepare the bottle during the night, but we got a system down and it has helped all of us get much needed rest.
I started my LO on solids around 5 months. He was very interested in eating with a spoon and loved it as soon as we started. Unfortunately it didn't really effect his night time wakings (still wakes up 3-4 times a night at 6.5 months) and he also seems to need to eat to go back to sleep. I asked my dr. about it and he said that nighttime feedings won't make the baby overweight, babies don't over eat and will stop when they are full. but cereal can often help with keeping your LO more full at night and help them sleep better, it just didn't with my guy :) My nephiew has cereal in his bottle before naps and he likes it and has no weight problems and it helps him sleep.
also, I thought babies weren't supposed to have eggs until 9-12 months at least?
element2012 suggested yolks only, no whites (which are the most allergenic portion of the egg). Hard or soft boiling them makes it easy to separate the white from the yolk. Coconut oil is a very good recommendation. I mix our egg yolks with avocado, coconut butter, or sweet potato.
I'm not necessarily adverse to cereal, if it's whole grain organic like I am going to use. I plan to feed her lots of other healthy things as well. I will probably also take your guys' yolk recipe recommendations, as well, though :-) If she starts to develop a weight problem, then we will adjust as needed. She has always been on the small side, though (for length and weight), for her age, so I'm not overly concerned. I find it kind of hard to believe that they eat based on volume rather than when they are full, which is what I read somewhere.
I have heard that the cereal/solids help some babies sleep better at night, and also that it doesn't. Just depends on who you ask. I'll be interested to see what effect it has on our LO. She is 5 days away from 6 months old and I am soooooo tempted to start now instead of waiting until EXACTLY 6 months. I can't decide if it makes a big difference or not, and she is eating so much lately that I am struggling to keep up with her (pumping).
The first day I fed my baby solids, he slept from 8pm to 4am (normally he would wake up 3x/night to nurse). I actually started with mixed vegetable puree with egg yolk at 3 months; in my culture babies start solids earlier and don't go through the "one food at a time" phase. It was beautiful from the beginning, and solids have continued to be a blessing because my milk just wasn't satisfying him (and I had TONS of milk). Follow your instinct, you know when your child is ready better than any pediatrician because you know your child better. BM is awesome, but once babies start showing interest in foods, it's time to follow their drive - nature is talking and we need to be listening!
What do you think about cereal vs oatmeal? We are getting ready to start in a few weeks, bc her excema is finally cleared up!
Thanks for the responses! Yeah, I think that young babies can breathe in the rice cereal, but a 6 month old wouldn't have that problem.
Oatmeal is supposed to be better for them, and I actually looked for some today. I didn't find anything too impressive at the store I checked. Nothing whole grain. 1 gram of protein more. It was like 2g protein and <1g fiber. Not too impressed, really. The rice cereal has even less. I am now thinking that I won't use it as a first food. May or may not use it at all. I will probably check other places for oatmeal. I found some adult oatmeal, just whole grain oats, that was much more nutritious, but obviously the oats were whole. I didn't know if it was okay, so I put it back. I wonder if I could just blend it into smaller pieces and use that instead of "baby" oatmeal?
I wouldn't start with whole grain oats, even blended up. I can tell you from experience that babies have a hard time digesting fiber from grains, and it makes for some messy poop! If you're going to go that route, the best thing to do is to grind up the oats in a coffee grinder (well-cleaned of course), cook 'em in water, and then push them through a strainer to catch the fibery part. Your baby can digest fiber from fruits and vegetables much better, so go with that for his fiber needs (for my 6 month old's breakfast I use oatmeal cereal for babies, applesauce, and a 4-min. egg yolk all mixed up, and it's been great - tastes just like regular oatmeal with a protein and vitamin punch!).
I had the same fear, but reading the BLW weaning book, coupled with taking an infant first aid/cpr class did wonders. There are choking risks at any stage of little ones learning to eat, even with purees - we found with our little guy that while he gagged occasionally (when he literally bit off more than he could chew!) he also instinctively knew how to push the food out of his mouth; the gag reflex being so far forward in a six month old helps prevent choking.
And the class we took had us feel very prepared in case anything did happen (or will in the future; Alex just turned 1). Plus our instructor put our fear into perspective - as an EMT, of almost all of the parents he knew who's kid had started choking, the whack on the back (step one of baby choking response) easily cleared the issue. He only knew two parents who had to do step two of flipping the kid over and giving another whack, and then that was successful immediately. So once we realized that actual choking was quite unlikely, and 'fixable' if we were supervising, we let Alex go to town on food. And he did! It's been incredible to watch him learn "how food works," and let him control what, how, and how much he eats.
I'm not sure solids did much for his nighttime sleep schedule, though; if I recall correctly, he was already down to a bedtime feed, an 11 pm feed, and then a 6/7am feed at that point - and still does that, even on nights like tonight where he ate almost as much lasagna as I did.
I was really scared of choking too but we just started with solid bits of banana and really, as long as it is the baby putting things in to their mouth and not you, it's fine. A few times she gagged at first and it did freak me out but I just hovered and she was fine. That gag reflex really does teach them when they are ready or not.
We never did any puree or spoon-feeding and it turned out fab, it was easy and a smooth transition and I never worried about her not eating enough as I could see just how far she had come in deciding for herself how much to eat (and when).
I hope that helps give you another idea of how it can go!