Too early of an interest in solids? Just curiosity or is he hungry? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was reading the earlier thread about intros to solids, but has anyone dealt with a baby who seemed to be showing an interest in solids before you were comfortable introducing them?

I had planned to wait until around 6 months, then see where my little one was at, maybe offer one thing that he could hold if he was interested, basically trying to do the BLW method skipping the purees and cereals. He's at five months now though, and already seems fascinated with our food. Whenever we eat, he stares intently at us and will make a grab for whatever we have on our plates. I wasn't paying attention for a second the other night and he grabbed a piece of boiled potato right off my plate, started to bring it to his mouth. Five months is too young for solids, right? I don't want to discourage his curiosity, but I don't want to mess with his insides or for him to choke. He's EBF on demand and I'd thought to keep it that way for a while longer...but should I consider trying out some barley cereal or something? Any advice from the more experienced mamas out there?
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#2 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 04:17 PM
 
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Well, what are his other signs of readiness? Is he sitting independently? Does he still have the infant tongue thrust? If he seems otherwise ready, I would skip cereals entirey, and let him play around with solids. He probably won't eat much of it, especially not at first, but a soft chunk of potato, a cooked carrot stick, etc. are fine to play with.

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#3 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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I personally think it is too early for solids but I do not spport giving any before 6 months and bavy having all readiness signs.

Both of my boys were fascinated with meal times. They loved banging around cups and spoons and mimicing us eating.

I would also give them breastmilk slushies in a bowl and spoon feed them that. They loved it!

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#4 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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I think that's a pretty common scenario-- a baby 5-ish months old who is really intently interested in solids, but not six months yet. We spend so much of our time engaged in this activity-- eating-- and it's natural that they're curious, and want to understand what it's all about. I would wait until six months, honestly-- the evidence is pretty good that it's best for baby's long-term digestive health, prevention of allergy, etc. But there are things you can do to content baby and satisfy baby's curiosity about food, in the meantime.

We tried freezing some breastmilk into slush, and offering that to baby. My kids LOVED it. We also experimented with making breastmilk yogurt-- it's really not that difficult at all. Another thing you might try is offering baby an empty bowl, plate, and spoon to play with. Sometimes it's the PROCESS of eating that interests them, and they're happy for awhile longer just imitating your use of utensils. This might also be a nice time to introduce a cup-- with some breastmilk, or a small amount of water-- and let baby learn to drink from it.

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#5 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 04:23 PM
 
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I woudln't worry if he managed to shove a handful of food into his own mouth- eagerness to do so IS one of the readiness signs. The 6 month recomendation is just a guideline- some kids are ready a bit younger than that, others not for a while after.

But I would do everything in my power to discourage a 5mo from eating solids. Sit him in the high chair during meals and give him stuff to play with: an empty bowl and spoon to bang around, a cup of water to learn how to drink from. I'd have no inhibitions about giving plain water to a 5mo- if he's drinking it himself (vs being fed it via bottle) he won't take in more than his body can handle, and he's likely to wear more than he drinks.

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#6 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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i think one of the senses we neglect is the sense of taste. dd has been curious since she was 3 months old when i would give her pinky dips to taste. she loved that. at around 6 months she showed the usual signs of readiness - watching, wanting, putting food in her mouth. however she still wasnt ready to eat and didnt till she was 9 months old.

but this is a child who needed more sensory input. so she would put food in her mouth and push it out with her tongue. so i wouldnt call it 'eating' but playing with her mouth - needing a variety of textures to feel with her tongue and lips.

we sorta totally passed the mushy baby food. we never bought baby food and she was eating chunky from day 1. she never touched any kind of baby cereal and devoured avacado.

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#7 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 05:32 PM
 
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I agree with the sense of taste thing.

My DD showed many signs of readiness at about 5 months. At just under 5.5 months we started letting her play with some solids. But very very very little made it to her mouth before 6 months. She's just now starting to eat enough to affect her poop at all.

I was very comfortable with that decision.

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#8 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 07:36 PM
 
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In response to your question curiosity or hunger, I read the other day that perceived interest in solids (or the spoon or plate) is often a young baby's general curiosity in the world around him-sampling the environment too.
It also can be a a search for teething relief (such as grasping a hunk of steak) yet often doesn't lead to ingesting food. The hunger though can be displayed early on if eating solids offers some relief to a diet the baby may associate with discomfort (such as a milk protein allergy in formula).
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#9 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is all great advice, thank you! I didn't want to ask our ped because I was sure he'd just say give him cereal. I think my little guy is just very curious about the world around him - he's been a busy bee since he "woke up" around 12 weeks. I tried giving him some slushy breast milk on a spoon this evening and he loved it. I think the texture, the coldness and the novelty of a spoon were all exciting to him. We'll keep going with things like this until solids are more appropriate. Thanks again!
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#10 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 08:47 PM
 
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I personally think showing an interest in what we're eating is one of the weakest signs of readiness.

1) I don't believe she is able to identify the link between her feelings of hunger and what we're doing with those interesting things in front of us. Her only experience of food so far is what comes out of Mama

and

2) She is interested in everything DH and I hold/pay attention to and everything goes in her mouth. She will grab my phone if I am holding it and put it straight in her mouth. Same with keys, sunglasses, books etc etc. I have absolutely no doubt that, if I gave her a chunk of food, it would go straight in her mouth.

I really think it's just the stage of development. It's helping her to get ready to eat, definitely but, IMO, it doesn't equal readiness.

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#11 of 30 Old 10-22-2010, 08:55 PM
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I tend to agree, babies are interested in EVERYthing we have, but we don't let them drive the car I like keeping a gut virgin for the first half year, too. BUT if a kid is showing ALL the signs of readiness, then I'd let them suck on a whole apple or lick mashed sweet potatoes off their hand, that sort of thing, from foods I was eating. I think there are variances in development!
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#12 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 02:35 AM
 
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I let my baby play with food from five months.

I never planned to allow solids before six months, but she literally took food from my plate. We have followed the BLW idea that what a baby can physically pick up and put in her mouth she is probably ready to eat. She hasn't had cereals or purees or anything, just sticks/chunks/pieces of food from our plates.

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#13 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 03:47 PM
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My kids have all started showing an interest at 3-4 mos. I let my oldest start at 5 mos. and he got food allergies. Obviously there's no way of knowing if waiting until 6 mos. would have made a difference but I wished I'd waited (he's outgrown them now so it's not a huge regret, but still). I waited until 6 mos. with my second although he grabbed a few bites on the sly before then (he was sitting, crawling, cruising, and climbing before 6 mos. and I had a 3 yr. old so my best wasn't quite enough). He's never had any allergies. I'll wait until 6 mos. with my now 3 mo. old although she is showing interest already and close to sitting independently. I will let her have a sippy with water or breastmilk at 4-5 mos. and will let her have breastmilk slush on a spoon if needed to get through a meal without a tantrum.
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#14 of 30 Old 10-23-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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Anothing thing that worked well for Cecilia before she was ready to play with solids was frozen breastmilk cubes in a mesh feeder. She loved that! And it was great because she could do it herself.

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#15 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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My good friend would always retort the, " He was just STARING at our food and lunging for it. He really WANTED the food we were eating" with...." If you were having a glass of wine, would you have given it to him? He REALLy wanted it!" because of course, you wouldn't give your baby wine...lol.

They are just naturally curious about what WE are doing of course...it's not the biggest sign of readiness...at all. Sitting up unassisted and no tongue thrust is what I look for in terms of readiness. And that isn't until at least 6 months. No hurry for me either. I hate solid diaper changes and it is so much eaiser when they are on breastmilk alone!

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#16 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 03:32 PM
 
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Sitting up unassisted and no tongue thrust is what I look for in terms of readiness. And that isn't until at least 6 months. No hurry for me either. I hate solid diaper changes and it is so much eaiser when they are on breastmilk alone!
It's not unheard of for sitting unassisted and loss of tongue thrust to occur before 6 months, just as an FYI. 6 months is the average time for those to occur, not the earliest. I agree with waiting until after 6 months to start solids personally, but my daughter had 3 of the 4 criteria by 5 months 2 weeks-- she was sitting unassisted, she was able to pick things up and put them in her mouth, and she showed interest. I waited until she lost the tongue thrust, which was just after 6 months.

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#17 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 03:41 PM
 
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Sorry to hijack but my DD1 didn't sit independently until she was 9months, should i have waited that long? I actually gave her solids from 5.5 months, because in other ways she seemed ready and was already having formula to supplement my poor supply so she didn't have a virgin gut anyway. Obviously i don't know if DD2 will sit later or earlier than that, but really? 9 months before ANY solids? She's already making chewing faces when we are eating and grabs anything and shoves it straight in her mouth (never food yet, but any toy/clothing/hand/objects within reach). I don't know if she has the tongue thrust as i don't know how to check without putting food in her mouth and she's not 5 months yet (i'm waiting until 6 at any rate).
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#18 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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Some people would for sure say yes, wait until sitting independently at whatever age that is. Personally, my thought on it is, if you put a dab of avocado or mashed sweet potato or something like that in your baby's mouth after 6 months and she doesn't have the infant tongue thrust, she's able to self-feed, and she's interested in food, then propped sitting is probably ok. But that's just my opinion. I would think that she would at least need to be able to remain in a sitting position propped up for a good while before I would try.

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#19 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 03:55 PM
 
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Well, my experience is different from most mamas here. I started my DS on oatmeal mixed with breastmilk, and then peas mixed with oatmeal, at four months. He was already a big boy and advanced for his age. He never had any trouble with eating or digestion and gobbled up whatever he was offered even though he continued nursing. So YMMV (your mileage may vary.)
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#20 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 03:57 PM
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While showing all the signs are a good indicator, I wouldn't say "sitting unassisted". Maybe "sitting without wobbling with back straight" or something?

Because DD didn't sit until she was nearly 9 months old. By 5 months she was pulling herself up on furniture , and cruising them. She certainly had body control. But if we sat her down anywhere except our laps she just fell/rolled herself over (and either pulled herself up on something, or screamed her head off).

She's been self-feeding since a week before 6 months. She wasn't ready before that, we tried a few times (pushed by ped and LC as DD was very underweight, and not gaining well - on any chart), and while she could even spoon-feed herself at 5 months, everything just fell out, she had no idea how to manipulate food, and just laughed. But at six months she fed herself with a spoon, and ate whole pieces that she picked up herself and ate.

But I can't say when she could sit un-assisted, as she didn't until she sat down after she started crawling, at nearly 9 months.
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#21 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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I've let both of my kids have solids at 5 months, I personally laugh when people say "well would you give them x,y,z...if they reach for it?" For me both my kids cried, and I mean screaming crying at dinner because we were eating. It wasn't about anything but food. I guess for me I felt I was listening to them, did they "eat" not really, but they felt included and in turn stopped fussing at dinner. I tried all the other tricks, give them a spoon, cup, etc...they wanted food. DD ripped a sandwich out of my hand and started chomping on it, I took that as she was ready

Now are they messed up, well no, DD is an amazing eater and has zero issues. DS does have an allergy to sesame which he may grow out of, but that wasn't discovered until he was almost 1. did I cause that because he ate food a month before 6 months when he magically wouldn't have IDK? There are studies that show delaying too long leads to allergies, too early leads to allergies.

I'm just more of a go with the flow mama.

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#22 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 04:05 PM
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Just wanted to add:

At the same time I've got a friend, who actually was the one who told me about BLW, which she had done with her older child. He started at 4 months, which I thought seemed early, when she told me. but later I saw her with her second child. Baby was only 3 months old, and mother was insisting she was self-feeding, and that she was ready - the mother held the baby in arms, AND held a large cookie in baby's mouth.

And I've known others, who didn't necessarily do BLW, but who insisted their child demanded food, which showed that the child was ready ("She screams for toast!"), at 4 months.
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#23 of 30 Old 10-24-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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Well, my experience is different from most mamas here. I started my DS on oatmeal mixed with breastmilk, and then peas mixed with oatmeal, at four months. He was already a big boy and advanced for his age. He never had any trouble with eating or digestion and gobbled up whatever he was offered even though he continued nursing. So YMMV (your mileage may vary.)
Our experience is the same. We started DD on solids at 4 months. I agree with the poster who said that the ability to sit unassisted can come very late for some children. Also, the pincer grasps can come late as well. DD could *not* have waited that long for solid food. She was showing other signs of readiness that I have read in some baby books--the ability to sit well assisted, good head and neck control with the ability to turn the head at will, being dissatisfied with breastmilk (or formula) alone, and the loss of the tongue thrust reflex. The idea is that the baby should be able to let you know when he/she is full, either by keeping the mouth closed or turning the head. DD was showing the above signs of readiness (particularly not getting full on breastmilk alone--she was *always* hungry), so we gave solids a try. She is now 6 months, and things are going great. She eats (and loves) anything and everything! And she still nurses like a champ. We also have the advantage of not having a history of food alergies on either side of the family, so that works to our advantage as well.

I guess I'm saying that I would not get so stuck on looking at the calendar when it comes to solids. Follow your baby's lead. Also, the AAP does recommend that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, but the also say that solids can be introduced anytime from 4-6 months, which seems a bit contradictory, so I just try to follow DD's lead and do what seems right for her as she develops.
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#24 of 30 Old 10-25-2010, 09:05 AM
 
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Both my DKs showed signs of being interested in foods at about 5 months. With DS (my second) I held off until 6 months because I had read a lot about the infant virgin gut, and wanted to maintain that for as long as possible. That was more important to me that whether he was interested or not up until 6 months or so.

With DD I was a first-time mother and eager, so I started her on purees just before 5 months. I can't see that it hurt her, although she does have issues with dairy now.

Neither child actually ATE much until about 7 or 8 months though. They seemed interested, but didn't actually want to eat. And yeah, I don't believe that 6-month-olds who've never had food know that it will sate their hunger. How could they?

My opinion, after my experience, is that if a child still needs cereal/purees because they can't handle solids, they're not ready for more than milk feeds, regardless of interest. Around 6 months, I feel it's time to start offering some solids and see if they can handle them.

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#25 of 30 Old 10-25-2010, 10:03 AM
 
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My opinion, after my experience, is that if a child still needs cereal/purees because they can't handle solids, they're not ready for more than milk feeds, regardless of interest. Around 6 months, I feel it's time to start offering some solids and see if they can handle them.

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#26 of 30 Old 10-25-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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Yes, neither DD slumped if sat propped from 3-4 months (i have very strong girls, able to support their weight and stand if supported for balance, from birth) just the balance to sit unassisted takes a good bit longer. i'm really excited to see dd2 eating actually..will she like thai curry like her sister? will she devour dhal, chow down chilli, love my banana lollies (cut one ripe banana in half, wrap in greaseproof paper, freeze, partially unwrap and hand out as required ) it's an exciting phase for sure i'm going to try the breastmilk slush too, and does anyone have a breastmilk yogurt recipe? i can't use cowmilk yogurt to culture, right? what does one use?
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#27 of 30 Old 10-25-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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Just like some children start walking at 10 months, others at 15, some children will be ready for solids before others. There is no magical biological switch in the human body that says that any child is automatically ready for solids right at that 6 month mark. Some will be ready before, some will be ready after, that's just the nature of human babies.
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#28 of 30 Old 10-25-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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I guess I do disagree with some posters. The point, along with readiness cues, is internal development. There isn't an external marker for internal development. Just because your child can sit doesn't mean their gut is mature enough for solid foods.

I'd sit a 5 month old in a high chair with a bowl and spoon and let them play around with it. I would not start solids until my child showed readiness signs, interest, AND was at least 6 months old.
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#29 of 30 Old 10-25-2010, 02:57 PM
 
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With my first child I stressed myself out trying to do things at the right time according to these somewhat arbitrary markers.

With this child I have just learned to follow her cues. She was grabbing at our plates at 4 months so, thinking she might be wanting to try some solids I warmed up some cereal (regular cereal not baby cereal) and offered ti to her. It was a no go so I dropped it. At 5 months she started actually grabbing food of the plate successfully and eating it, so I went ahead and got a food grinder and ground up what we were eating, and spoon fed it to her. Not only did she sleep better than she had in weeks that night, she stopped screaming adn crying at the dinner table.

At 6 months she is nursing all day and night on demand, probably 8-10 times a day, at least, and eating two meals a day. Usually at breakfast I will mash up some banana, or mango, and give her that with a few cheerios. Self feeding is huge for her so we don't really don't any spoon feeding except for yogurt and applesauce. I just mash it and put it on her booster tray.

at dinner time I use the food grinder to get whatever we are eating to a decent consistency for her and she happily eats with ehr hands and is included with the family at the table. Over the last couple weeks since she has started eating consistently at dinner we have had chicken in various forms, shark, pork chops, potatoes, sweet potatoes, every veggie you can imagine, beans, rice, pastelillos (like beef patties), fruit salad, soups/stews, and a lot more, and she has loved it all.

i will say that I believe in my method because I did the same thing with ds (just started later) and he is not picky. He is just as likely to eat sushi as fried chicken while most of his peers are stuck on mac n cheese and pizza rolls (ew)

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#30 of 30 Old 10-25-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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My youngest started asking for solids at 4 months, right around when he started sitting independently. No, not getting into a sitting position, but I could sit him up and move away and he'd sit straight up and reach for toys.

I did not give him solids until a week or so after 5 months, by which time he was crawling and sitting up himself. He was also clearly hungry. He'd cry his hungry cry and refuse to nurse, instead reaching for food. His first meal I sat him in the high chair and put sliced avocado on the tray. When I saw he couldn't get the pieces up because they were stickign ot hte tray, I held them in my hand for him to grab from me. He ate more than 1/2 an avocado his first meal. Later that day he had a whole banana. He was HUNGRY. I felt the need to justify, justify, justify, but at the end of the day, I think I waited too long. He was sitting independently, had a pincer grasp, and no tongue thrust for weeks already.
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