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#1 of 22 Old 01-03-2011, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We had our 6 month well baby check the other day and our new ped recommended starting iron fortified cereal soon.  Stating that babies who don't start soon then are more likely for anemia in the short term and diabetes in the long term.  

 

Can anyone share something that substantiates this?  I really would prefer to wait until 8-9 months and start with a whole food like avocados or banana like we did with DS.  This is what our old ped recommended and we felt like it made more sense.

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#2 of 22 Old 01-03-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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here's what kellymom has to say smile.gif

 

http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/iron.html

 

and

 

http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/first-foods.html

 

The second one states that you do not have to start with cereal at all.

 

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#3 of 22 Old 01-03-2011, 04:09 PM
 
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 No cereal, no iron supps or concerns here. My ped told us to start at 4 months, we just smiled.

http://thebabybond.com/Iron%20Supplements.html 

 

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#5 of 22 Old 01-03-2011, 07:22 PM
 
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What I find interesting about your ped's diabetes comment is that my ped swears it's the exact opposite. She told us to hold off on grains until over 1, as there is a digestive enzyme that doesn't come to full maturity until after 1. In our case, I am diabetic and both of my husband's parents are diabetic, so she has it coming at her from both sides.

 

As far as iron goes, while it is true that babies don't get much iron from breastmilk, it is also true that the iron they do get is insanely soluble and gets absorbed very easily, whereas the iron from fortified cereal is not absorbed well. If there is a real worry about anemia, the baby can be tested. Here I believe it is done routinely at a year old.


There is also a new campaign by a pediatrician to "get the white out," as in, stop recommending cereal for first foods. More info can be found here and here.

 

Oh, and as far as starting solids in general goes-- some babies are ready at 6 months. Some aren't ready until over a year. Many fall somewhere in between. You can look for certain signs to see if your baby is ready, including loss of the infant tongue thrust, being able to sit well independently and an interest in food. For us, this was a little after 6 months, although at 9 months Cecilia eats very little food. She is game to try anything but doesn't consume more than a chunk or so (we do BLW). And I am just fine with that! Breastmilk is still the best thing for her nutritionally, and solids this early shouldn't generally replace it!


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#6 of 22 Old 01-03-2011, 08:26 PM
 
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You DEFINITELY don't have to do cereal. Banana is a great first food, as is sweet potato (that was our first). Start with a teaspoon of it and see how it goes. We started food at around 5 months because it seemed right for us and at this point (6 months) he does eat a tablespoon of oatmeal each morning to round out his breakfast. If I didn't feed him the oatmeal, he'd probably eat 3-4 ounces of fruit happily and greedily and then get a big tummy ache followed by a lot of pooping because of all the fruit (he loves to eat). Rice cereal is pretty useless so I wouldn't do it at all.

 

My opinion of solids is that it's a skill that baby needs to learn, just like they had to learn how to nurse correctly and meet other milestones. Learning to take food of a mushy texture on a spoon is a milestone. You don't need to feed him huge amounts of food, and you certainly don't need to do it because your breastmilk isn't giving iron, but I think it's something to try just because she's the right age to learn how to do this particular trick.


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#7 of 22 Old 01-03-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleRain View Post
Learning to take food of a mushy texture on a spoon is a milestone. You don't need to feed him huge amounts of food, and you certainly don't need to do it because your breastmilk isn't giving iron, but I think it's something to try just because she's the right age to learn how to do this particular trick.


I'm assuming what you mean by this is that eating solids in general is a milestone, because not all babies take mushy food on a spoon, of course. Cecilia certainly never has. As far as it being a learned skill, I agree to a point, but I don't think that it should be something that is started solely based on age. Just because she's 6 months doesn't necessarily mean that she's ready for solid food.


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#8 of 22 Old 01-03-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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DS2 is 6.5 months and is not yet ready for solids (not interested, has not lost the tongue thrust reflex).  We haven't fed rice cereal to our first three and certainly won't be feeding it to DS2 either!  When they were ready to eat they would pick up little bits of food and feed it to themselves.  They were never fed mushy food on a spoon, so I guess that's a "milestone" or "trick" they skipped until they were feeding themselves with a spoon. 


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#9 of 22 Old 01-03-2011, 10:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecilia's Mama View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleRain View Post
Learning to take food of a mushy texture on a spoon is a milestone. You don't need to feed him huge amounts of food, and you certainly don't need to do it because your breastmilk isn't giving iron, but I think it's something to try just because she's the right age to learn how to do this particular trick.


I'm assuming what you mean by this is that eating solids in general is a milestone, because not all babies take mushy food on a spoon, of course. Cecilia certainly never has. As far as it being a learned skill, I agree to a point, but I don't think that it should be something that is started solely based on age. Just because she's 6 months doesn't necessarily mean that she's ready for solid food.


Yes you're right, I meant the action of eating food, i.e. processing foods that aren't liquids. I know that 6 months is kind of arbitrary and that some babies do things early and some do things late, but just like every milestone, you keep working at it until they get it at their own pace. Daniel is 6 months and doesn't sit as well unassisted as my other friends with 6 month olds whose babies seem to have met that milestone at 4 months or 5 months. Even though he wasn't quite ready, I kept sitting on the floor and propping him up and taking away my hands and most of the time he'd topple over onto my lap, but we were still working on it because its an important skill and as his mama, it's my job to help him learn to do that stuff. I think it's the same thing about eating. Once a kid gets to the right age range, you should start offering food in whatever way you want to do it. Put it on a spoon and feed baby and if baby spits it out, no big deal, try again next week. You could put some chunks in front of baby and see if baby eats it and if they don't, you try again next week. But I hear all the time on this board that people start their babies really late to solids and I wonder if they're doing their babies a disservice. Obviously breastmilk is the perfect nutrition for 12 months and beyond, but the action of eating food is really an important skill to master since you can't eat a liquid diet forever.


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#10 of 22 Old 01-04-2011, 03:41 AM
 
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We also aren't doing grains until 1 year or so. In order to get iron, it's important to give iron-rich foods, for us as vegetarians I give DS sweet potatoes and spinach so far. It's also recommended to give those foods with a source of vitamin C to aid absorption of the iron. I think pediatricians, like many doctors, don't have much of an education in nutrition and just sort of go with the mainstream common beliefs, however outdated or inaccurate they may be. Our ped is wonderful, but she of course recommended starting DS on mushy cereal and I just nodded and went "uh-huh".

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#11 of 22 Old 01-04-2011, 06:55 AM
 
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 No cereal, no iron supps or concerns here. My ped told us to start at 4 months, we just smiled.

http://thebabybond.com/Iron%20Supplements.html 

 




I think it is unclear whether babes need iron supp at any point. The kellymom link and this article give good reasons to avoid iron supps in normal babies,

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#12 of 22 Old 01-04-2011, 12:28 PM
 
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We were told at 4 m we had to start cereal and then there was this complicated list of when to introduce which purees.  I smiled and nodded.  DS started table foods at 6 months when he was ready.  He played with them and maybe ate a few bites of banana or avocado here and there.  By 7.5 months he was actually consuming what we were giving him.  He's never gotten cereal.  Wait, take that back.  Probably a week or so ago I started giving him rice Chex :)  Also, had an iron check at his 9m check up and his iron was perfectly fine with no supplements and mainly just getting mama's milk.  Go with what you're comfortable with!!

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#13 of 22 Old 01-04-2011, 01:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cecilia's Mama View Post

What I find interesting about your ped's diabetes comment is that my ped swears it's the exact opposite. She told us to hold off on grains until over 1, as there is a digestive enzyme that doesn't come to full maturity until after 1. In our case, I am diabetic and both of my husband's parents are diabetic, so she has it coming at her from both sides.

 

As far as iron goes, while it is true that babies don't get much iron from breastmilk, it is also true that the iron they do get is insanely soluble and gets absorbed very easily, whereas the iron from fortified cereal is not absorbed well. If there is a real worry about anemia, the baby can be tested. Here I believe it is done routinely at a year old.


There is also a new campaign by a pediatrician to "get the white out," as in, stop recommending cereal for first foods. More info can be found here and here.

 

Oh, and as far as starting solids in general goes-- some babies are ready at 6 months. Some aren't ready until over a year. Many fall somewhere in between. You can look for certain signs to see if your baby is ready, including loss of the infant tongue thrust, being able to sit well independently and an interest in food. For us, this was a little after 6 months, although at 9 months Cecilia eats very little food. She is game to try anything but doesn't consume more than a chunk or so (we do BLW). And I am just fine with that! Breastmilk is still the best thing for her nutritionally, and solids this early shouldn't generally replace it!

It seems that new research is finding that introducing grains earlier can actually decrease the risk of diabetes and celiac desease. He' a quote from the 2008 ESPGHAN paper on feeding solids:

 

Quote:
Recent studies seem to suggest that the introduction of
food antigens (including gluten) while infants are still
breast-fed, even if the infant is younger than 6 months,
may have lasting protective effects against the development
of CD and type 1 diabetes mellitus, and that this
may be more important than the absolute time of
exposure. An early introduction of gluten (<3 months)
seems to be linked to an increased risk for the development
of islet cell autoantibodies in infants at risk for type
1 diabetes mellitus (87,88), and 1 study also found
an increased risk in infants first exposed to gluten at
7 months or later (88).

 

http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/news/?p=1150 (study linked at the bottom of the page)
 


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#14 of 22 Old 01-04-2011, 02:29 PM
 
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The reason I'd rather delay grains and especially wheat and rice is that it is empty starchy calories. For now I want my baby to learn about food and how to eat by giving him veggies and a little fruit, but he still gets most of his calories and nutrition from breast milk. Soon enough we'll phase in whole grains, but rice cereal just seems like starchy, processed calories and besides who wants to eat that?

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#15 of 22 Old 01-04-2011, 02:55 PM
 
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Well, it's an individual decision and I don't like people telling me what to do, so I try and do the same to them. 

 

However, IMO, it doesn't make sense that delaying grains would prevent allergies. If you think about the 1950s, when babies were stuffed with rice cereal very very early, you didn't see nearly the number of allergies you see today. When I was a kid (the 80s and 90s), we didn't have peanut free zones and kids toting epi pens. 

 

I'm not advocating going back to that (super early solids), as I think that waiting to between 4-6 months is a good idea, but I think the increase in allergies today is from trying to avoid exposure to so many things. For instance, I chowed down on peanut butter and strawberries while pregnant, but I've heard some women avoid them. 

 

But who knows? I'm no scientist. 

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Originally Posted by Hannah32 View Post

Well, it's an individual decision and I don't like people telling me what to do, so I try and do the same to them. 

 

However, IMO, it doesn't make sense that delaying grains would prevent allergies. If you think about the 1950s, when babies were stuffed with rice cereal very very early, you didn't see nearly the number of allergies you see today. When I was a kid (the 80s and 90s), we didn't have peanut free zones and kids toting epi pens. 

 

I'm not advocating going back to that (super early solids), as I think that waiting to between 4-6 months is a good idea, but I think the increase in allergies today is from trying to avoid exposure to so many things. For instance, I chowed down on peanut butter and strawberries while pregnant, but I've heard some women avoid them. 

 

But who knows? I'm no scientist. 


I think  you're right. We've tried so hard to make allergies into a science that we forget that food allergies used to be quite rare compared to now when we have lots of food allergies and lots of rules on how to feed babies.


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#17 of 22 Old 01-05-2011, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So many good comment, Thanks.

 

I been doing a bit of research so I have something to take with me to the peds office.  But I"m a bit more confused.

 

I read that the iron stores at birth are mainly from the last weeks of gestation and cord blood.  Well, I know my baby got all his cord blood, but he was 3.5 weeks early.  So, I feel I may need to be a bit more proactive on this. DS1 had a toe stick @ 12mo and was low. So I took a high quality ionic iron and at his next check, they retested and he was within range. This had been my plan of action if DS2 showed low iron stores.  But then, I  read that supplementation of the mother does not help raise the iron levels in the babe.  It just doesn't make sense to me.  If the iron supplement is bio-available then it should work.

 

I also read that the introduction of an iron supplement in baby makes the iron from breast milk less absorbed. So it seems like a catch 22 situation.  I I wonder if the introduction of iron rich foods also has the same affect. I could feed DS2 organic chicken livers like one article suggests.  Anyone have any thoughts.

 

Just read that the avoidance of allergen causing foods has no correlation to actually developing that allergy.  So, the common practice of avoiding certain foods probably has caused the food sensitivities that are so prevalent today.

 

Here's the links that I've been reading along with the Kellymom ones listed above.

http://www.nancymohrbacher.com/blog/2010/11/29/do-breastfeeding-babies-need-extra-iron-at-4-months.html

http://www.pediatricnews.com/article/S0031-398X%2809%2970296-6/fulltext

http://www.aap.org/pressroom/aappr-nutrition-issuekit.htm     'Effects of Early Nutritional Interventions'

 

I did clarify, possibly on a link from kellymom, the diabetes thing is for children at risk for type I diabetes.  So this does not apply to us.

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#18 of 22 Old 01-05-2011, 08:02 PM
 
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So much interesting info here.  The research I've done - internet, mamas, midwives, etc - is showing no rice cereal as first foods...bananas, squash, avo, etc are best.  Also, it's not necessarily a "milestone" in that their progress is based on it...rather, IMHO, something to make note of.  Some are "ready" at 4 months, some not til they're 2 years old...yes, many are EBF til then or after and thrive.  It just depends on the baby and baby/mama combo. 

 

As far as gluten and generally all food allergies- for me this is of special interest as DH and I both are involved in holistic nutrition and see many people that have undiagnosed digestion issues - there were FAR fewer allergies and digestion related problems during the 50's and thereabouts, but IMO that is hugely due to the way our food supply was raised back then.  We use so many chemicals and other junk now that it is impossible for the food supply to be uncontaminated even if it is organic.  That said, feeding cereals to a very young digestive system seems unwise (grains, soy, corn, and possibly imported produce are said to be the most contaminated).

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#19 of 22 Old 01-06-2011, 04:37 AM
 
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So, this is slightly unrelated...but, here we go.

On iron-fortified cereals:

 

When I was a kid, I did a science experiment at school, which you could easily replicate with your own children (not babies, of course, but 4+). We took Special K (I think any iron-fortified cereal would work) and put it in a blender with a lot of water. We pureed it into a slurry, then poured it out in a cookie sheet. When we ran a magnet through it, iron filings collected on the magnet--it looked like Wooly Willie!

 

Tried the same thing with spinach (an iron-rich food), and ... no filings.

 

And THIS, my friends, is why "iron-fortified" foods don't have easily absorbable dietary iron. Because they put IRON FILINGS in it. Yep. The experiment made a big impression on me. I never wanted to eat any iron-enriched foods after that! Every time I've given blood, they've been impressed with my iron levels--even back in my vegetarian days. Why? Because I eat spinach like it's going out of style.

 

My baby is NOT getting that rice cereal! :)


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#20 of 22 Old 01-06-2011, 05:02 AM
 
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And let's also not forget the industry's part in this. I see the baby cereal industry similar to the formula industry (lo and behold aren't they the same companies selling them?)~ pushing something most babies do not need by getting doctors and mamas alike to believe it's good and maybe even necessary. I just can't see that a baby would require this product -one that mind you humans have evolved and grown up without until very recently- in order to maintain health. Even if anemic, I would far prefer to give my baby supplements than starchy rice mush.

 

But sadly, most people do what they're told and don't bother to question the dominant mindset.


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#21 of 22 Old 01-06-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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Very good point P.J.


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#22 of 22 Old 01-06-2011, 08:22 AM
 
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Yes, I think if one is worried about anemia it would be a better idea to supplement with iron rich whole foods rather than fortified cereal. Think about it, if I was anemic (and I was extremely anemic right before I got pregnant) I would not eat fortified Wonder Bread to get my levels up. I would eat spinach and meat and other veggies. On the other hand, I don't necessarily think cereals and grains are evil, my son gets a tablespoon of multigrain cereal every morning with his fruit. But I looked at a feeding chart recently and saw that apparently he's supposed to eat 12 tablespoons (!!!) of cereal every morning along with half a jar to a whole jar of fruit AND veggies, which seems like a ton of food for a 6 months old.


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