Solids & the breastfed baby - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 05-18-2004, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I keep seeing a theme repeatedly in different threads... that breastfed babies can do just fine with primarily breastmilk the first year, & that solids are really not necessary for nurtition... what has confused my thinking is hearing what other moms (primarily forumula-feeding moms on another board) are feeding their babies, which is A LOT of solids imo, and also reading books like Super Baby Food, which has a rather ambitious feeding schedule.

Just to clarify this for myself, is this discrepancy (solids are no biggies the first year vs. starting solids pretty seriously) because exclusively formula-fed babies really do need extra nutrition from solids, but breast-fed babies don't? It just seems like there are two really different perspectives here, & I'm trying to get straight why there are these differences.

This relates even to signs of readiness... I read (I think in Dr. Sears) that nursing a lot for 4-5 days could be a sign that they are ready for solids, but couldn't this also be a 6-month growth spurt? The latter makes more sense, b/c when you first start solids, I don't think that much extra nutrition is really gained.

Sorry if this is a "no-duh" kinda question... just trying to make sure I'm not misinterpreting things, now that I've decided to take the "laid-back" approach to introducing solids. I love not having anxiety worrying about her nutitional intake too much by continuing with the nursing.

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#2 of 13 Old 05-18-2004, 06:12 PM
 
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For breastfed babies, it is recommended that solids are started during the second half of the first year (not "at six months"). During this time, solids are more practice than nutrition. Serving sizes are INCREDIBLY small ... as small as a tablespoon for a full serving of veggies, if I remember correctly. Practice includes tasting new things, coordination and fine motor skills, chewing, etc.

Signs of readiness for solids including sitting up unassisted w/ good head control, being able to pick up something between thumb and forefinger and bring it to mouth, a shown interest in solids other family members are eating, loss of tongue-thrust reflex and ablility to swallow solids. If food put in baby's mouth comes right back out (tongue-thrust), baby isn't ready. Babies/toddlers shouldn't eat in a reclined position.

Formula-fed babies need solids earlier for several reasons. First, they need the added nutrition, such as iron. (Breastfed babies who eat iron-fortified foods actually absorb LESS iron because the iron-fortification blocks the absorbtion of the naturally occuring iron in breastmilk...iron in breastmilk is much more readily absorbed than iron from other sources.). They also need to start exploring different flavors, since for the first 6 months, they have been consuming the same bland flavor, every meal, every day. Breastfed babies get to experience many different flavors, as our breastmilk changes in flavor depending on what we eat. Formula, unlike breastmilk, doesn't change according to the child's specific needs, and those needs need to be met through solids.

HTH!

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#3 of 13 Old 05-18-2004, 07:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Amanda, that is very helpful! It just gets confusing, b/c it is not always made clear when the recommendations are for breast vs. bottle-fed babies, but your explanation makes perfect sense. It annoys & confuses me when starting solids is treated like "one-size fits all".

An extrovert, married to my introverted dh since '01, mothering my girls C (2003) and G (2006).

 

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#4 of 13 Old 05-18-2004, 07:43 PM
 
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Besides that, formula is Expensive! Every FF mom I've ever spoken with wanted to get her child off that and on to regular foods as soon as possible.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#5 of 13 Old 05-18-2004, 07:58 PM
 
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i know, doesn't it seem like just MASSIVE amounts of food that is "recommended" for our kids' age? i am constantly amazed when i hear how much food other babies jas's age are eating. she is 14 months old and i think eats less than alot of 6 month olds. i believe most recommendations for solid food amounts are given with the thought in mind that most people wean their babies between 9-12 months, or are on formula. it's hard to find a good recommendation for children who are still being nursed on demand.

this is a pretty good link: http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/so...s.html#howmuch it says that the maximum amount of solids you really want a 12 month old to be eating is about 25% of their diet, and it's even okay if a 12 month old still isn't eating at all. every kid is so different.

it just amazes me that some kids her age are eating like grilled cheese sandwiches and hot dogs (blech) etc etc...and jasmyn is eating nowhere near that amount of food.

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#6 of 13 Old 05-18-2004, 08:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meiri
Besides that, formula is Expensive! Every FF mom I've ever spoken with wanted to get her child off that and on to regular foods as soon as possible.
I think that is a big reason why a lot of exclusive FF feeding parents like to go to solids because they will save a lot of money.

For us DD is 10 months. I breastfeed and she gets solids about once a day and here and there if you count the occasional cheerio or gerber biter biscuit she has 8 teeth.

I have not pushed solids because I do not want to lose my milk supply for one and DD hasn't slowed down on nursing at all. However, we cannot eat anything without her being interested and wanting a taste. This does not mean she eats a lot at that instance but she is definitely interested in solids.

Also I have known many people who have not given their breastfed babies solids until well after one year. I actually know one mother whose daughter is going to be 2 later this year and last I saw her her DD was basically refusing solids and just wanting to nurse.

It can be confusing especially since every baby is supposed to be the same right? I say follow what your baby does. A poster above gave great examples to look for ex:finger to thumb. I basically just go on interest for our DD.

HTH

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#7 of 13 Old 05-18-2004, 09:56 PM
 
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Wow, I'm glad to see this thread. Today at my DD's 6 month check up, the doc was giving me a hard time about not introducing solids. I was listing off the various reasons why she's not ready, and tongue thrust was one of them. The doctor argued that no, all babies do that when they learn to eat solids.

So frustrating. Sometimes it seems like the entire medical community is just an off-shoot of baby food companies.
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#8 of 13 Old 05-18-2004, 11:28 PM
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yes, i get very bothered when someone on my birth month board (mainstream) asks for advice on solids and someone posts the link to the gerber site... i mean c'mon people- they're trying to get you to BUY the stuff. that info is not going to be objective!!! i think one woman even posted that she was giving her 4 mo baby juice... JUICE! b/c the gerber site "said she could".

i am very glad to see this thread and have learned alot. we were thinking of giving dd some homemade cereal this weekend, but now i'm thinking differently. she isn't close to sitting up on her own and altho she has lost the tongue thrust and is showing and interest, i think we'll stick to ebm for another month or so.
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#9 of 13 Old 05-19-2004, 12:05 AM
 
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I think another thing is that a lot of moms (especially first time moms) are excited to give their baby solids. It's a milestone. With my first, we tried solids at 6 months...he spit everything out. Tried again every few weeks (I made my own baby food) and it wasn't until around 10 months that he really actually got anything into his body. He's my VERY picky eater.

My second had bad intolerances, so we kept him off solids as long as he would let us. He started at around 9 months, very limited (we mashed up what we had on our plates and I made some baby food), and by a year would eat anything he could get his hands on and hasn't stopped since. He will try anything, and has thus far (he's almost 4) met one food he doesn't like.

My third has never had babyfood. She ate what was on our plates when she was ready. No mashing. She, too, eats anything. She wasn't all that interested, except in the pay value, until around 11 months.

Just as I believe in listening to my children in other areas and trusting that they'll grow, develop and wean at their own pace, in their own time, I believe in following their cues as far as solids go, too. My sister's daughter was grabbing food off her plate and eating it at 6 months old. A friend's son didn't eat solids until 15 months, still having a tongue-thrust reflex.

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#10 of 13 Old 05-19-2004, 12:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2threenurslings
Signs of readiness for solids including sitting up unassisted w/ good head control, being able to pick up something between thumb and forefinger and bring it to mouth, a shown interest in solids other family members are eating, loss of tongue-thrust reflex and ablility to swallow solids. If food put in baby's mouth comes right back out (tongue-thrust), baby isn't ready. Babies/toddlers shouldn't eat in a reclined position.
I'm so glad to see this thread! One of the things that has confused me greatly on this topic is the above list of "signs." My son had all of those things by about 4 months except the thumb & forefinger thing which he developed a bit later abou 5 months. Actually, he had some head control even in his first couple of months of life and it developed really quickly into good control by month three. (note he is not particularly large or ahead of the curve in other areas, he is still working on rolling from tummy to back though he has been able to do back to tummy for a long time and he is nowhere near crawling though my sweetie tries so hard to wriggle himself forward on his stomach when toys are out of his reach!)

I've been reading the Dr. Sears book which convinced me to put off solids but the book also said that a sign that babies should not start earlier than six months is that they don't cut teeth until at least that age. But my son started teething a few days before his 4 month birthday. He got two very rapidly and then has not gotten any since. So anyway, I've been ignoring these signs for almost two months, but I'm worried that I have been depriving him especially since he sits in my lap or in the sling for most of my meals & he tries so hard to grab food off my plate or off my utensils. He seems to be eyeing the grownups and older babies at the table so hungrily but maybe I am projecting my own worries onto the baby and all he has really wanted is to play with the food.

any thoughts. Do I go by the signs or by the age? thanks
cj
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#11 of 13 Old 05-19-2004, 10:14 AM
 
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I posted about this before, but a local free parenting paper ran a story by a registered dietician about when to start solids, and she definitely lumped BF and FF babies together in her recommendations. She suggested starting introducing solids at 4 months (instead of 6 months), and the amounts and types of food on her list were pretty ambitious. What really irked me was that she prefaced the list by saying "BF or FF on demand, about 4 to 7x a day". I suppose if a 4 month old baby is only nursed 4x a day it would be pretty hungry for solids, eh?

Anyway, I wrote a letter to the editor and it will be published in the next issue.
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#12 of 13 Old 05-19-2004, 10:18 AM
 
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In that case I would go by age....it is - during the second half of the first year AND with the readiness signs. Both criteria should be met.

Another thing is to realize that the gastric flora need to mature before the introduction of solids. Baby's system is designed to digest breastmilk only for at least the first six months. An early introduction of solids can increase chances of allergies and intolerances.

Mama to A (12), Z (11), H (9), C (5), A (3) and 4 angels. 

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#13 of 13 Old 05-19-2004, 10:37 AM
 
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When my ds was 6 months old my mom wanted to shovel the food into his mouth. He kept spitting it out and she said oh you just have to scoop it back in there! Um, Mom, he's not ready! Then I realized, this is how she fed us! We weren't bf so she probably started solids at 4 months! Anyway, ds didn't really start eating until about 1 year old, which is fine! He was nursing a lot!
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