I'm new to the online Mothering but, back in the day, I was a subscriber. I'm an expectant mom, due at the end of July. I also have three older children, ages 13, 11 and 9. I obviously haven't done this in a while:)
While at a pregnant mom's group at our local birthing center, I asked one of the midwives about the length of time I should be breastfeeding exclusively. I immediately followed up my question with my past experience so that it didn't seem like I was trying to shoot for the shortest length of time possible:) I breastfed my oldest exclusively (absolutely nothing else except for a bit of formula supplementing when he was days old because of sever jaundice) for one year. I was sort of crazy about it...on his first birthday I freaked out because I didn't want the sugary birthday cake and frosting to be his first "other" food:) I continued to breastfeed after that as well but he weened himself when I got pregnant a few months later. My younger two were exclusively breastfed for at least six months and even though other foods were introduced, they continued past two year (though at the end it was mostly at night).
Back to my original story...the midwife seemed a bit shocked that I would consider exclusively breastfeeding for the entire first year. She said it's best to start introducing solids around six months. She mentioned something about a vitamin D issue?
I'm in a position that I feel I'm able to do the entire year (I know it can be taxing) and would like to. After quite a bit of research, I'm torn. What are your thoughts? It seems there is quite a bit of controversy out there. I would love to hear your thoughts/ideas and opinions.
Thanks so much!
My opinion is to follow baby's cues. All children are different so it's hard to stick to one thing. My DS (now 11) I nursed until 16 mos. He wasn't really interested in solids except for peas and bananas. Two of my DDs (now 7 and 4) didn't want ANYthing until after about 15 months and they both nursed until about 24 months. My now 16 mo old DD seemed like she couldn't get enough food (still can't lol). She loved nursing but she also loved her formula, all baby food, our food...
So I really think the best thing is to follow baby's cues. If you offer baby food and he/she refuses, no biggie. If they love it, great! I believe that as long as nursing continues it's ok to feed them 'normal' food.
We follow the WHO goals and bf exclusively until six months, introduce nutrititious solids as play foods and as a minor supplement. My goal is to nurse at least two years for "optimal infant nutrition" and anything after that is gravy. At a year, breast milk should still make up the majority of calories. I work full time and pump for seemingly forever. Cow's milk is never a big part of their diet.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
My kids were both offered solid foods via "baby led weaning" after 6 months but didn't eat much till well over 1 yr. DD in fact didn't eat much till left at the baby sitter at 19 months and DS after I initiated partial weaning at 16 months.
DD loved experimenting with solids at 6 months and would grab my food away but DS didn't really get into it till a few months later. Neither used solids as a way to satisfy hunger till BM wasn't an option. I would not worry that solids will replace BM before 1 year. I don't see any reason to rush solids if baby isn't interested... however it is important Ive always heard that an extra source of iron is offered. (ideally starting with vegetables?) I would agree with Pp that your baby will let you know when it's time.
Glad you posted, I've been wondering the same! Baby Girl is nearing 6 months, and I want to exclusively bf as loooong as possible. I give her vitamin D supplements via dropper at ped's recommendation, so not really worried about that. I don't want to stunt her development, but I find it hard to believe that grabbing at food or watching me eat are signs of digestive readiness...she's 5 1/2 months old, she watches and grabs everything!! :) Also, I like the idea of her eating as close to "normal" food at possible.
The idea is that while you introduce some foods at around 6 months, they're not really eating much of that and still getting most of their nutrition from breastmilk. But my son loves to grab at food and chew on it and try all the different tastes! Why would I deny him that? We started solids at 5 months, but mainly he just has a little cereal or applesauce, and gums at a cucumber slice or two. It's not really a lot of food, but it's sort of for fun.
I'm not sure people have to be that hardcore about when to start solids. Do what the baby seems to want! And keep nursing, of course.