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What is the longest I can safely put off solids?
By Jane Squires, RN, IBCLC
Q. My son is seven months and is pretty much still exclusively breastfed. I try to give him a bit of rice cereal here and there (about 2 - 3 times a week), but he is not interested in it at all! I have tried bananas, sweet potatoes, pears, and squash. He really doesn't like any of them. He just blows raspberries or leaves his mouth hanging open to let it all fall out. I can get him to eat a few Cheerios. Pretty much he just likes his Mama!
My daughter has severe food allergies, so I am trying to take food very slowly with him. He is already milk sensitive. But, this is REALLY slow. I have heard that breastmilk is all a baby really needs until a year of age. Is that true? What about iron?
A. I went to a conference recently in Washington DC. It was a conference put on by pediatricians who are breastfeeding friendly. They said that breastmilk has all the nutrition needed for a baby until they are a year old. Most people try solids between four and six months of age, but some babies are just not ready to handle food yet. So you can safely continue to breastfeed exclusively, as long as baby continues to gain weight. Then when you are eating dinner, there is a good chance that baby will want to reach out for some of your food. That is great. If you can avoid the messy, baby mush, cereal stage, and go straight to "real" food, you will save yourself a lot of hassles. Anyway, when you do begin to introduce foods, make sure that you only introduce one food at a time, in case there is an allergic reaction. Then at least you will not have to second guess what the food was that caused that reaction.
They will do an iron test on the baby when he is nine months old. Then you will know if he needs iron. Keep taking your prenatal vitamins, and he will get iron from that.
Our bodies are pretty smart, and I firmly believe that we produce what the baby needs. The fact that your son does not take food is a clear indication that he is not ready. He will be some day.
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