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Starting Solid Foods
~ A Message Board Archive

storkHere I go again. I am freaking out because I took my baby for his 5 month check-up ~ my monthly freak out. I finally leveled with the doctor by telling him that I wasn't giving David the iron he prescribed because David was throwing up a lot. In my opinion, his low weight at his last check-up was due to a lack of holding food in his stomach. I also told him that I wasn't giving the baby the juice he recommended due to what I read from the AAP and La Leche League. I also told him that I wasn't going to start any type of food until the baby was six months. Since this is a little more than three weeks away, he gave me the paper that he distributes telling moms how to proceed. It is so different than anything else I've read. His paper states to make a soup of three pureed vegetables. Dr. Dixon, Dr. Brazelton, and several other doctors in the States recommend starting one food at a time, each new food for between 3 to 5 days in order to see if there are allergies. When I left the doctor's office, the doctor looked tired and annoyed. Has anyone else encountered this type of information? ~ Ilene

storkIt sounds like you are right on the ball and this guy, well, this guy is not. The soup sounds fine, AFTER introducing each of the veggies (as you said) to make sure there aren't any allergy issues. That is common sense. And I have always been instructed to start baby on cereal first, rice being most common, but it does taste like wallpaper paste. I would follow your gut instinct on this one. Is this your only option in healthcare for your baby??? Let him be annoyed ~ you are doing what is best for your baby. Sometimes we don't agree with our pediatricians, but in this case, I would really be concerned. You did the right thing Ilene, just remember that. Hang in there. ~ Leigh

storkI am lucky in the fact that the doctor who checked David out right after delivery said that I could call him in an emergency, but I really cannot wear out my welcome. My husband called him the first three months in a row. My husband gets very nervous very quickly when it comes to his son. I cannot wait to be back in the States to have this American doctor look at my baby boy. I am a first time Mom who is trying to do her very best without help. I love my husband, but he is no help. I really want to do everything right. I really want my baby to get the best start possible in life. Different sources say different things about starting solids and this doctor is way out in left field. I really want to avoid allergies, rashes, etc. Adding solids seems so overwhelming for some reason. Nothing else overwhelmed me so much and I have no idea why it is affecting me so much. Maybe it is just stupid mommy worries. ~ Ilene

storkHi Ilene, I am going to suggest something that I have been known to do in the past when stuck with a pediatrician I didn't agree with. I don't recommend doing it often, but when you feel strongly about something that YOU know is right and the doctor is way off in left field, you have to look out for the best thing for your child. What I have done is to not tell the doctor what I am doing/not doing. In other words, lie if you must (and truly only if it is something that you are sure about, and not life threatening . . . feeding solids the RIGHT way would fit with that, I think!) In my case it was related to dealing with an intact penis on my son. The doctor wanted me to retract the foreskin, whereas everything I had read on that said not to touch it. So when he asked if I was, I said yes. Yes, that is a lie, but for my son's health it was the right thing to do. Current research on this says that is the right thing, as do my current doctors. (This incident was nearly 15 years ago and the doctors are more knowledgeable now). Take care, and best wishes as you deal with this issue! ~ Heidi

storkHi Ilene, I could just cry too! Why is it that (it sure seems sometimes) the health profession is hell bent on making early parenthood as difficult as possible? Everything you have said is contrary to general recommendations. I hope he hasn't told you to quit breastfeeding. You are right in following your own advice. Experience has taught me that it is important not to be "walked over." The doctor doesn't live in your house with your family, he isn't a dietician and remember that many MANY doctors of MEDICINE feel it is entirely appropriate to give out advice about PARENTING. Childhood is not an illness! Someone on a parenting newsgroup likened this to an Ob-Gyn giving out marriage/relationship advice. I thought it was a good analogy. ~ Cath

storkI sat there quietly until the last appointment. I just get worried that I could encounter a problem and really need help, so I prefer to counter by citing AAP, Dr. Brazelton, Dr. Dixon, La Leche, other org., and doctors. His reply to me (and this is a translated quote) "It is difficult to get Brazilians to breastfeed." The full impact and anger at that statement didn't hit me until after I wrote my initial posting. Gee, how would that make you feel? ~ Ilene

storkHere is an article by Dr. Jack Newman concerning Starting Solids . . . in general I usually agree with his advice and recommendations, but please feel free to disregard any information that you disagree with. Here is another of his articles, called Breastfeeding and Other Foods which includes some information on vitamins, iron, etc. The entire listing of his articles is at Dr. Jack Newman's Articles. You've received some excellent suggestions so far, and I think you are handling things WONDERFULLY under the less than ideal circumstances. *HUGGS* ~ Elaine

storkHi all! I've been doing some reading on adding solids and the information really varies from one expert to another. I was wondering if you could share your personal experience with me. Which solids did your children's systems accept most easily? Which solids were more difficult? Thank you, ~ Ilene

storkRice cereal with my two children was the easiest to digest. It mixes easily with breastmilk as a first food. It is also the least allergenic. On the other end of the spectrum, corn passes through their little systems almost untouched. It can also cause a lot of allergy problems. I was concerned about allergies with my two so I made a lot of their baby food (I still do since my daughter is 9.5 months) and I wrote down everything they ate. I used a book called "Mommy Made." Not only did it give me recipes and how to puree stuff, it also gave me a guide on when to introduce certain foods and what to look for if allergies were a concern. Lots of luck - ~ Karen

storkI gave both of my kids baby oatmeal. It seemed a little less constipating than rice cereal, but that usually isn't a problem with breastfed babies anyway. *lol* Skye hasn't really shown that much interest in 'real' foods. She mostly nurses, eats a little cereal and fruit (pears are her favorite) and an occasional vegetable, but green beans make her GAG and green peas gave her a terrible rash!!! I know we need to be concerned about giving our babies nutritious food but really, as long as the majority of their nutrition is coming from breastmilk, the foods they eat aren't *as* important. They're more just to help them get used to eating solids and to introduce them to new textures and flavors so I wouldn't be too worried about the solids yet. Just offer them, but don't worry if they aren't eaten. I may be being too 'laid back' about things, but my experience with David was that he'd eat when he was hungry. A kid won't starve themselves as long as food is available. (Of course it's a good idea to make sure that the food available is 'healthy' instead of things like candy & sweets.) I try to avoid anything with a 'tough' skin like Kayren mentioned. Corn doesn't get chewed or digested well yet though I suppose you could puree it. And when preparing 'table' foods for Skye, I try to avoid adding anything like salt, butter, sugar, oils, etc. *HUGGS* ~ Elaine

storkMy son is eating solids (only veggies and cereal 2X a day). Whenever I am drinking from a cup, he screams until I give him a taste (usually water!) We have been putting him at the table with us at dinnertime. He usually is okay with his food but lately he wants mine too! I give him little 'tastes'. Also, if I am eating or snacking during the day, he screams for some. He has tried breads, plums, nectarines and others. Is this okay? He is not starving . . . 21.5 lbs, 27 1/2" long. Also, no trouble with breastfeeding. He nurses WELL and FREQUENTLY!!! Thanks in advance ~ TICAMAMI

storkI think it's perfectly fine! It shows that he is interested in solids and wants to learn to eat like the 'big people' ... My only cautions would be to make sure that the things he eats are small enough that he can't choke on then, and soft enough that he can chew or gum them. (Whole kernel corn tends to pass straight through a baby's system and doesn't digest well.) And to use common sense ... nothing too spicy, or acidic, no alcohol, no raw meat, etc. But as long as we use good judgement I don't see any reason NOT to let our babies try 'real' foods as they begin to show an interest in them. *HUGGS* ~ Elaine

storkI went to a GREAT day course on introducing solids and it was the most productive day I had for a long time! The dietician basically said canned/jarred baby food is a BIG rip off as babies can eat practically any table food and it only needs to be fork mashed. I had already bought an electric mini grinder and it was barely used. I ended up mainly making salsa in it, as I fork mashed all my children's food. Of course, allergenic foods need to be kept out of their diet, but basically once they have been started on a selection of foods and allergies to certain groups have been ruled out, they can eat what everyone else eats. Bill was eating curry before a year! (One thing she suggested, which I thought was excellent was to reserve a portion for the baby and rinse the sauce off under running water so it won't taste too strong) Now the boys will eat anything and everything. They LOVE fruit and veggies and have good appetites. They're also not afraid to try new foods, even if they look "yucky" Good luck! ~ Cath

storkHey There! DS is 7 months now. He's been eating cereal for about 3 weeks only. But he also wants to try everything we have. I just give him a plain taste, no butter or seasonings on stuff. He loves plain pasta, most everything he's tasted actually. I was VERY hesitant to have him start solids, really didn't want to, guess part of it was just that it made him less dependent on me, selfish, I guess. But he loves big people food! We just don't try too much in one day, just one or two plain foods once in a while, some days he just has me, his cereal, and some fruit or something. I plan to make all his food, I agree, those babyfood jars are a rip off! I got one of those small hand grinders at Toys R Us for only $10. It's great for taking out if we're somewhere eating out. I just keep it in the diaper bag. I have a food processor and once he starts really eating more regularly I plan to make larger amounts of things and freezing them in ice cube trays for individual servings. Happy food exploring!! ~ Jules

storkI am curious to how long any of you have JUST breastfed your babies before introducing solids? My mother was telling me that when she nursed my sister, she had no solid food till she was 1yr. Only breastmilk for a year! Is that OK? I mean when do you think it is a good time to start to introduce foods? Thank you! By the way, I just want to thank Elaine and everyone else here at Storknet. I have had many questions answered and have spent a lot of time reading helpful breastfeeding info. As I am a first time mom, I am new to all of this, and you have helped me a great deal. It is not easy when only a few family members 'really' support breastfeeding. Thank you so much! ~ Stephanie

storkI'm a first time Mom as well, and I was told by a lactation consultant at my job, that it was okay (I used her office to pump in twice a day and she has since set up a permanent spot for me). My son Christian will be six months old Saturday, and we JUST started giving him a tiny bit of cereal and applesauce about two weeks ago. He doesn't like the cereal at all and when I asked the doctor on Christians' last visit, what if Christian NEVER liked the cereal, she said a long as Christian was healthy, she saw no reason why breastmilk wouldn't be enough for him. It's funny you should ask this question because just last night, I decided I was going to stop giving Christian cereal, because though I finally found one he seemed to tolerate (Earth's Baby), it doesn't seem to agree with him. He throws it up, and when I say throw up, I mean heaving and choking until it comes up!!! (believe me, it's a scary sight) So from one first time Mom to another, I would advise you to do what I did . . . talk to your baby's pediatrician. The only time Christian has fruit is at daycare, and from then on, it's me and my milk. My hours are such that I am home by 2:45 in the afternoon, so between 7:30 and 2:30, Christian has slept at least 4 to 5 of those hours. I won't stop giving him the fruit, but he really seems to be full and satisfied from just the breastmilk. But in the back of my mind, I don't want him to be "food challenged" (?) either. I'll just take it day by day. ~ Kenyatta

storkI know that it is a personal preference, but which worked best for your baby -- solids or breast first? We'll be starting solids in a little over a week. ~ Ilene

storkIlene, I'll be starting my daughter soon, too. I have tried some cereal in the evening, but if I nurse her first, she may be too sleepy for cereal. I'll give her the breast first and then try solids, just for the adventure of it. ~ Lynne

storkSince Skye pretty much refuses to eat cereal or food when I'm around preferring to nurse instead, I really haven't dealt with the "which one first" issue. I've read several suggestions to nurse first so that the baby doesn't fill up and not get the breastmilk but like Lynne said, I'd think the baby would go to sleep or might just not want the food. So if getting the baby to eat the solids is a priority, I would think offering them first would be best. Just my opinion . . . *HUGGS* ~ Elaine

storkI usually nurse Kaylyn before I give her solids and this has been working fine. ~ Sandy

storkMy little girl will be 4 months old tomorrow and I have just started her with cereal. I only gave her a little bit (1 tsp cereal and 3 tsp breastmilk). She really likes it, but I don't know how much to feed her. I wasn't really keen on the idea of introducing solids so early, but when I had her weighed yesterday, she had only gained 4 ounces in 3.5 weeks. The health nurse wasn't concerned; she said it was either the hot weather we have been having, or a period in between growth spurts. I'm also wondering if her slow weight gain this month has been from her starting to sleep through the night. (Ellie started sleeping through the night almost a month ago.) Ellie was 7 lbs 12 oz when she was born and at her 8 week appointment, she was up to 11 pounds 15 oz. Any ideas? I would love to keep with just breastmilk, for now, if I can. My family has a history of allergies and I was hoping to postpone solids until she was at least 6 months of age. Thanks ~ Heather

storkPersonally, I wait until the baby demands solids - snatching the breakfast toast and jamming it into their mouth is usually how my boys tell me they are ready for solids. It so happens that this has usually occurred around the 4 month mark for all of them. With allergy prone families, I believe that it is recommended that you wait a little longer than four months - about six - but this is not gospel. From the look of your weights, she is doing okay for that age - babies, particularly those that are breastfed, often display jerky growth patterns and she is probably in between growth spurts. They particularly drop the growth rate when they are starting something like a developmental milestone e.g. crawling or rolling over, teething etc. I wouldn't worry yet if you think she isn't ready for solids and I certainly wouldn't push them too much. At this age they get very little nutrition from them anyway - breastmilk is still best for them. If you are worried about her nutritional intake, try breastfeeding her a bit more - if she needs it she will feed more and your problems will be solved. ~ Ngaire

storkI worried as well when my son Christian reached the four month mark because he seemed to be hungry all of the time, but unlike Ellie, Christian hated the cereal so I didn't try anymore; I just continued with the breastmilk. Christian has gained weight and inches steadily on breastmilk alone, and his pediatrician said breastmilk was fine. Christian is six months (tomorrow), and even now, I only give him about a tablespoon and a half of cereal, and some fruit (applesauce or pears), but he eats that at daycare. The majority of his nutrition is my milk, and I still feed him on demand. I think you follow Ellie's lead, Christian was 7 lbs 4 ounces at birth, and he too, by his two month appointment was 11 pounds. I have severe food allergies (citrus and nuts), so I am holding off on a lot of foods and that was also a major reason why I decided to wait until his six/seven month mark to introduce solids. I'm not an expert (I'm a newbie Mom), but it looks to me like you're doing just fine. ~ Kenyatta

storkThere are so many 'trains of thought' on introducing solids (especially when to do it) and even conflicting opinions of whether cereal is beneficial or not. Some experts seem to feel that cereal has little nutritional benefit and serves just as 'filler' for our babies tummies and that they would be better off filling their tummies with breastmilk or other foods. I really do believe that breastmilk *IS* the optimal nutritional choice and that cereal and other foods aren't necessary as long as the baby is allowed to nurse (or have EBM) as much and as often as needed. I really believe in following the baby's lead, and doing what YOU feel is right for your child. Unusual medical cases might make it necessary to follow a more strict feeding regimen or to follow a doctor's specific instructions. But for most healthy babies, I really feel like we all have to do what we feel is best. Skye refused to take bottles so when I returned to work, it was a real struggle to keep her fed and happy. I was leaving work at least twice to feed her, and the daycare was going nuts trying every type of bottle, sippy cup, and even medicine dropper they could find to TRY to get her to eat. Eventually she adjusted her schedule (reverse cycled) so that she ate more in the evenings and at night and didn't need to eat as much during the day when I wasn't around to feed her. I had wanted to wait till she was 6 months to begin solids, but I still felt like she needed SOMETHING in her tummy between nursing sessions. So at around 5 months, I began to let the daycare give her babyfood oatmeal mixed THINLY with breastmilk mid-morning and mid-afternoon. That way she got SOME milk into her system, and her tummy didn't sit empty for as long. She's 10.5 mths now and is happy and healthy and active. She's a bit smaller than many babies her age but I honestly am beginning to believe the idea that breastfed babies aren't smaller than normal but that formula fed babies in general are 'heavier' than normal. Anyway, I say do what you feel is best and as long as your daughter is healthy, growing (even slowly) and happy that you don't have to worry about encouraging her to eat solids, but at the same time, you don't have to feel as if you CAN'T give her cereal if you want to. *HUGGS* ~ Elaine

storkI give Kaylyn around 4 to 6 tablespoons of cereal; with fruit and or veggies. This has worked so far and I plan to continue to do this. ~ Sandy

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