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Introducing Solid

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I had this elaborate post that detailed everything but my computer decided that it would be a great time to freeze, so I lost it. Here's the short and sweet:


Mila's not sleeping anymore and waking up crying every 1-1.5 hours at night and it's making me crazy. She's (freshly, as of Monday) 5 months now and, according to the lists online, she has all the characteristics of a baby who's ready for solids (able to sit unassisted, reaches for things and puts them in her mouth, more than doubled her birth weight) and is giving me cues that she wants to, like mimicking chewing motions while we eat and trying to swipe my food. However, when I emailed the public health nurse about it, she advised against introducing any solids (even runny cereal) before 6 months and getting in to my doctor in the summer is like trying to catch a unicorn.


I'm having some difficulty understanding what the problem might be in trying her out with some cereal drenched in breastmilk and I feel like it might help her lack of sleeping at night. Is there some kind of special fairy that comes at night between the baby's last day of 5 months and first day of 6 that changes everything? I've heard about potentially causing allergies by introducing solids too early but I don't plan to start out with peanut butter or anything. Obviously, I'll suffer through the sleeplessness if introducing cereal is hazardous, but I'd hate to think of being miserable for a month without needing to be.




As an aside: it says "Welcome to the April 2013 DDC" in the new heading... whoops

post #2 of 29
There is a theory about the "open gut" which is more-or-less closed by 6 months. Also, cereal won't (statistically speaking) help babies sleep through the night. I am being lazy and have had wine tonight, so my suggestion is to Google or search Mothering for open gut and cereal sleep through the night. HTH

My personal opinion is that it is probably NBD to start at 5.5 months or so, but we are waiting until at least 6 months and doing BLW, so no "cereal" for us, regardless. Rice cereal in general is not the debbil or whatever, but it's empty, basically nutritionless calories, and bland, and textureless (I am trying to avoid an eater as picky as myself, FWIW).
post #3 of 29
Our Dr and Naturopath were both insistant on waiting till 6 months. My Dr is particularily concerned with the introduction of cereal happening last. He says 9 months for that.
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm so frustrated with this situation. there appears to be two different camps on the matter and most people are firmly in one or the other, and both include doctors.

I'm not committed to cereal as a first food, for the record, it was just the first thing I thought of. There would be some investigation on the matter before it goes in her mouth. She was also 11 days late, so her adjusted age is more like 5.5 months and neither DH or I have any food allergies (or any allergies, for that matter)

argh. My gut is telling me she's ready but as a ftm I'm not very good at trusting that. The sleeping thing definitely isn't getting better either and I'm at my wits end without more than 1.5 consecutive hours of sleep in a week.
post #5 of 29
Clarissa went through that same thing for a week not too long ago. I think it wasa growth spurt. However if they get into the habit of waking up that often it can be hard to reset. She always sleeps like a log on my DH so he slept with her for a night and that helped get her back to sleeping more.

I don't really know the answer though! I guess it can't hurt to try if your gut is telling you to. You can always stop if it doesn't help.

I know what a week of no sleep is like - its rough!!
post #6 of 29

sorry for the lack of sleep, teles. 


naomi has been fighting food and sleep but i just rock her in my arms in nursing position and hold her firmly while walking around and she eventually stops yelling and latches on and passes out.


what i've been doing for food with her is letting her suck on watermelon and strawberries. she also loves grapefruit. i mostly just hold them so she can try them, but i got a mesh food holder thing that she loves to suck on and make a big sticky mess. she tried baked sweet potato in it this morning and LOVED it. 

i know that people are either for or against giving babies foods, but i personally am going with my gut and letting her try things since she wants to. 


she really likes food, and wants to do more than what she is capable of, which i'm sure will be the case for a while. tries to crawl, but faceplants into the bed/carpet/whatever is in front of her. she is pulling herself up into a sitting position now, thanks to my clothing and sometimes my neck skin. god that hurts. 


just do what you think is best for mila. 

post #7 of 29
Hugs, Teles. I'd say these are two separate issues (sleep and solids). I don't know if it's the famed 4-month sleep regression or if her sleep has always been that fitful, but you might find any or all of these links helpful...




Just to add a data point, Miss L has been mimicking us eating for a while and of course grabbing everything she can (we don't let her near our food) and putting it in her mouth-- it's developmental for her. She also wants to eat the cat's tail, and she mimics us doing a lot of things it isn't safe/possible for her to really do yet. We take turns actually eating dinner and the other parent sits with baby and watches the Mommy/Daddy Eating Channel, as we call it-- her favorite-- but we don't see any advantage to solids now, and in fact, since we're planning baby-led, I can't imagine she'll get any appreciable calories from solids for a few months after we start them (at least!) I fully expect to find 25%-digested pieces of food in her poo between 6-8 months... In fact, I think if people feed purées, they believe more is being digested, but AFAIK it's really because purees already look, well, "digested" when they're going in. I don't think baby GI tracts are great at getting nutrients from non-milk sources for a little while... Of course, we're happy to give her practice after 6 months or so, though!

I also don't think a serious amount of harm will come from introducing solids between 4-6 months, but for me, like I said, I don't see any advantage either, so that's the side I'm erring on. Hope that was helpful in some way, and hope you get more sleep soon!
post #8 of 29
Oops, this is probably the most relevant link on solids...


Particularly the "what if my 4-5 m.o. seems ready" part.
post #9 of 29
I have had 4 babies now who seemed ready around 4-5 months - I only gave food to the first one (at about 5 mo) boy did I learn my lesson! I did the baby food/cereal thing, her sleep was horrid she was nursing more often, she was sitting and grabbing and even making chewing motions, she also had teeth - but food messed her up soo bad, we had vomit in the night, gas and HORRIBLE constipation - we ended up going back to ebfing at 7 mo and then did baby led weaning starting at 8 mo with great success (My poor oldest now has multiple food allergies, I think they were already there as she was horribly colicy as a newborn and NOW we know that dh has food allergies, we had no idea at the time) with #2 & #3 and we started solids when they were crawling belly off the floor, sitting unassisted, had at least one tooth and a pincher grasp (would have been 9 mo with #1 which was when she got the hang of solids, was 8 and 7 mo with #3 & 2)

Solids have NEVER solved a problem for me - they haven't made baby happier, haven't made them sleep more or longer, haven't made them nurse less often - babies eventually do need to be fed food but food leads to gross diapers, stomach issues (as they adjust, if they eat too much too fast, get constipated etc), WORSE sleep, a mess, more work , etc i know it's not like that for everyone .. But I felt like I needed to say it ..
post #10 of 29

I've been thinking about this too because Lou is showing signs that he's ready and wants food. But with my older two I waited. We actually gave my oldest sweet potatoes around 6 months but he didn't really eat it... and then didn't show interest in food until a year old. Then with our second (after reading more about baby-led-weaning and delaying solids) we waiting until around a year again. Neither one was really filling up on food until they were more like a year and a half. 


I'm more on the "go with your gut" side. Teles if you try solids with her and she has a bad reaction, you can always stop. And it seems like she's acting more like a 6 month old so I'd probably just do it.

post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 

Alright, so last night I was eating strawberries while she tried to swipe them as per usual so I held one and let her taste it. She immediately started trying to chew it the moment it was in her mouth and then was lunging at my hand with her mouth open as I tried to take it away. It's been 24 hours and no negative reactions of any kind, so I'd say that was a success.


I realize now that strawberries are supposed to be one of those "high allergic reaction" foods, but she doesn't appear to be allergic and I have no regrets. Next up: frozen banana in the mesh thing.


Thanks for your input ladies, but I think this is going to be one for the gut


Also, I think maybe the sleep thing is due to teething :(

post #12 of 29
Yeah the comfort from the nipple for teething is huge. Clarissa has been in a lot of pain for weeks now and I have broken down and give her baby Motrin at night. I hope the teeth make an appearance soon.

I'm a little nervous to start solids since she had bad gas and tummy issues until she was 3 months. And I still have to stay off dairy it seems. So I don't know when we will start.
post #13 of 29
Margot's been interested in food for at least a month. (She's five months tomorrow.) We want to delay solids as much as possible but did give her a bit of plain mashed sweet potato with breast milk yesterday, out of curiosity. She loved loved loved it and showed no adverse reaction- but I think I'll wait another month at least before letting her have another go. Just my comfort level- I want to make sure her gut is good to go. Jenny, we had TONS of gastro upset for the first four months and things have calmed since I went off of dairy+soy+peanuts+egg (whites).... We're being extra cautious over here, too!
post #14 of 29

Teles- I agree to go with your gut, but I am adding this for other mom's who are debating and trying to figure it out.


I have heard that babies show full readiness when they can: 

Sit up UNASSISTED, like, fully, without wobbling or falling over after some time, they can control when they sit up and get down (mine do it just around 6 months)

Have teeth

can use a pincher grasp (thumb and first finger) to pick up food and put it in their mouths (this one happens closer to 8 months)


All of this and we only do baby led (small chunks of soft food put in front of them on the tray and they only get what they can feed themselves).  Food before 12 months is just for fun... should not be many of their calories and formula or breast milk should be just about everything they have to that point.  


My kids woke every 2 (sometimes more, sometimes less) or so hours until they were 12 months old and then slowly they decreased to about 2-3 wakings at 20-22 months when I night weaned.  


I also found that solids were no good that early for DD1 (vomited food and had bad gas issues and slept so much worse) when we tried food at 7, 8 months, she was ready at 9.  DD2 had weight gain issued and didn't want to introduce anything that would take place of high calorie BM, so we waited till 9 months again then started with super calorie and fat dense foods.


check out first foods.... avocado is high in fat and calories and traditional food people do soft boiled egg yolk (yolk only, whites are highly allergic)


Anyways, everyone has to find their own way, but I personally think waiting has been better for our family.  Poop from solid foods is GROSS, and I don't want to deal with that and the extra laundry and possible reactions and having to actually sit and feed them, so I like to wait.... since it is really just for fun anyways, there is no need in my eyes until they can do it all alone, safely.


Good luck everyone who is trying to decide.  

post #15 of 29


my best sleeper didn't eat solids until 15 months old.  by that point, i was in my 2nd trimester w/ baby number 2.  


go figure.


i have to confess around this age i often drop spinach, cilantro, parsley or other greens around the floor/walker and let the baby gnaw on handfuls.  my little ones don't actually SWALLOW solids until closer to 7 months.  so i never try to feed them.  my DS1 and I were visiting my in-laws around this age, and my SIL had to feed him the garden fresh tomatoes on the counter b/c he kept swiping them.  he had teeth, and would gnaw a little hole and then suck on tomatoes like some veggie breast.  my dr laughed at me and mentioned that the tomatoes and strawberries my son first started eating were NOT the most ideal first foods.  that said, my son still loves fresh produce.  i didn't make it a priority to feed him at all, and around 7-8 months he was grabbing and eating everything i offered.  


my DD1 (my2nd) avoided and wouldn't touch any and all foods until 15 months.  everytime someone HAD to feed her (aaaaah, do-gooders), she literally couldn't/wouldn't swallow.  at 14 months i got one bite of butternut squash puree in her, and rejoiced and then she threw it up.  she's still a pickier eater.  but she loves a variety of foods so i don't worry.


DD2 and DD3 all also started eating around 8-9 months, pincer grasp.  i've never fed my babies, but started feeding them appropriate finger foods when they were interested.  i remember putting 10 grains of brown rice down on the chair/floor and letting them go to town trying to grab them and then maneuver them into the mouth.  i don't think anyone was really eating eating til 10 months, but man, they wanted to play eat.  and their fine motor skills were slowly developed.


so DS2 has managed to gum at 1/4 of a grape, but i doubt he ate it, and crumble the edges of a sourdough brown rice pancake.  he swallowed none, and his bm's aren't showing any foods or problems.  he's also nursing a lot more.


i'm a big 'go with your gut' person, and then there's nothing wrong with saying 'oh, that didn't work!'


as for sleeping, around the time my kids started eating, anyone who was a good sleeper STOPPED sleeping, and my bad sleepers were further impaired in their rest.  i think it's developmental- they're interested in eating b/c so much is going on in their heads.  and resting w/ so much going on is hard.  and also growth spurts can disrupt sleep.  


so w/ my history of food allergies, GAPS diet for myself, this has worked out great.  none of my kids are truly picky, they're all healthy, and none seem to have gut issues at all.  i attribute some of that to making sure that sauerkraut and kimchi are also in the first foods list.  they love soured/fermented foods, bitter foods, savory foods, sweet foods (complained once when they tried commercial chinese), and have no allergies.  

post #16 of 29

So after all this talk and delaying solids with the girlst till 9 months, DS tried watermellon (before 6 months.... yikes)


So, we were at a family bbq and I wast eating watermelon.  DS grabbed my hand and pulled it in to his mouth.  He sucked and gummed it.  So I tried to pull it away and he screamed and tried to grab it back.  I let him grab my hand again and he just sucked and gummed it for another few minutes.  I finally had to take it away since he seemed he was going to start getting chunks.   He was MAD.  I am not ready, but he may be.... Although, he doesn't show other signs of being ready (still not steady with sitting up... only 1 little nub and I don't think he has doubled his weight yet.)

post #17 of 29
Clarissa does that too. If I'm holding her and eating she lunges towards the food with her mouth open whenever I take a bite. I think it's just teething though and a desperate attempt to find relief. I've only given her a carrot to gnaw on so she doesn't ingest any. She's also not sitting up by herself yet so I don't want to start too early.
post #18 of 29

I think it's developmental.  I am definitely having to keep things out of reach when I'm holding her, etc. (not just food, but I figure if she sees something going in OUR mouths, she ESPECIALLY wants to put it in her mouth-- moreso than usual, LOL).  We will definitely give it a shot right exactly at 6 months (she's 5 months today!), since she's showing all the readiness signs, but for GI-issues' sake, I'd like to make it that long, at least. 

post #19 of 29

Teles hows it going?  Si went through a horrible sleep week at around 5 months.  Then he got better,  and now he's awesome.  He's sleeping 4 to 5 straight hours.  I'm sure if I let him he'd sleep longer.  I get up to change his diaper as I'm not having it with diaper rash.  Luckily he hasn't had it yet. 


I did start out with bb food at around 5 months when he would scream at every one with food.  I think my middle child gave him some mushed up banana and let him have a bit of watermelon.  She's sneaky.  Any way he loved it and wanted more.  Now it's a battle because all he does is watch our mouths to see if we're eating something we're not sharing.  I try to keep something he can have with me when I eat around him.  So far he hates avocado but loves sweet potato.  I wish he liked avocado though it's easy to get at restaurants here. 

post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Teles hows it going?  Si went through a horrible sleep week at around 5 months.  Then he got better,  and now he's awesome.  He's sleeping 4 to 5 straight hours.  I'm sure if I let him he'd sleep longer.  I get up to change his diaper as I'm not having it with diaper rash.  Luckily he hasn't had it yet. 


I actually realized that there was a correlation between when she was waking up crying at night and trying to get her to take her naps in her crib in the day (which she would often be upset about and would wake up screaming from literally every time). I suspect that she may not have been ready for that change quite yet, so we have the crib side railed in the bedroom instead and will revisit this idea later. It's very possible that it was just teething or a growth spurt or something unrelated, but once we stopped with the crib she started sleeping through the night again so I'm not messing with something that's working.


In terms of food, we've been trying out all kinds of single-ingredient things (reasonably spaced to test for allergies) mixed with breastmilk or spring water or put in the mesh food thing. So far we've tried sweet potatoes, avocado, strawberry, papaya, apple, and mango. The squishy favorite is sweet potato and the chunky is mango - likely because it's frozen and feels good on her teeth.

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