At what age to add solids to breastfeeding...

Ja'Nise - posted on 04/27/2009 ( 17 moms have responded )

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what age did you start adding solids? I want to breastfeed exclusively for as long as possible but babys dad wants him to have food to 'stick to his ribs'. I hear it decreases your supply. i wanted to wait to 6 months. what do you recommend?

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Solids shouldn't be added until 6 months because their digestive tract isn't developed enough, but they should start solids by 6 months (if they're showing the signs) another sign is reaching for food from your plate, they need the added iron in their diet at 6 months of age, rice cereal & other baby cereals are iron fortified for them. You can start them on any type of food (except egg whites & peanut butter & honey) unless your family has food allergy problems. Just make sure veggies & fruits are mashed up or cut small & cook meat until it's very tender & mash it up as well. Your supply will adapt to the lost feedings, but they only really need 2 meals per day with bf between etc.....if you're wanting to introduce food because your baby isn't sleeping through the night yet, it doesn't mean it will work, I have an 8 1/2 month old right now who's been on solids since she was 6 months old & she wakes as often as every 2 hours, lol! Good Luck!

Martha - posted on 04/28/2009

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From "Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense" by Ellyn Satter:

"Start when your baby is ready. Go by what your baby can do, not by how old he is. Your baby will give you signs to let you know when he's ready for solid foods, signs that for most babies appear somewhere in the age range of 5 to 7 months. How does your baby tell you he's ready to start solids? You'll know the time is right when your baby can play an active part in feeding. He'll be able to do that when he can

* Sit up, alone or with support
* Use the muscles in his neck to hold his head up straight
* Mouth his fingers and toys
* Open his mouth when he sees something coming
* Turn his head away if he doesn't want it
* Stay opened up if he does want it
* Keep his tongue flat and low so you can put in the spoon
* Close his lips over the spoon
* Scrape food from the spoon with his lips
* Keep the food in his mouth rather than squeezing it back out onto his chin

Don't start solid foods too early. Your baby will be far more interested in solid foods and you will both enjoy the process a lot more if you wait until he can be an active participant."

I highly recommend this book. My mother, a registered dietitian, gave it to me. There is tons more information about feeding in it. I just quoted this part to answer your specific question, but once you get started there is lots more to know!

Crystal - posted on 04/28/2009

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Why Delay Solids? Here is a site for you
http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fusea...

Beast milk should be a babies main source of nutrition until a year. Any solids that are given before a year should be for practice because they don't hold much nutritional value. As far as what age to introduce solids, no two babies are alike, and parents should watch their baby for cues. My baby is almost 8mo and is only given Beast Milk only

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Anna - posted on 05/03/2009

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I can sort of understand why my post was marked as 'This is not recommended and should not be taken as advice' by Chelsea S. but it should be noted that i did discuss begining solids with my bubs doctor who said that bubs do not 'need' the food until their iron stores beging to deplete at around 5 months, anything before that is just 'practice for the big event' so that when needed the bub will get max benefit. The amount they ingest whilst they still have the tounge reflex is negligable...its mainly the experience of new textures and flavours that bub gets. Since my husband and i both have no history of food allergies my doc and pead saw no harm in going for it....obviously staying away from peanuts, shellfish, citrus, dairy...etc....
So take all the advice you get. no 1 person is more correct then the next. Everyone's bub is different. Mine was the last in a large group to start semi-solids...all bubs are well, healthy and happy. Only you know your baby, do what you think is right. dont be so quick to write people off, just filter the info as it comes.
As for my 2cents not being appropriate, i was started on solids at 4months, my husband at 3, my brother at 3..no-one i know has waited till 6 months...none of us have allergies...not even hayfever. So i don't appreciate being singled out like that. I am not a bad mum and i dont give bad advice. I just took what others said and tweaked it to suit my family. Everyone has good intentions.

Heather - posted on 04/30/2009

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I waited until he was 6 months not only to keep breastfeeding but also because I had read research that suggested babies who eat solids at a younger age have a higher incidence of adult onset diabetes. My little guy did just fine and has always been in the 90th percentile for height and weight, you should do what you feel is right for you little one. :)

Stacey - posted on 04/29/2009

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Our pediatrician said to start him at 5 months since I too was breastfeeding exclusively, other wise she would have started him at 4 months. It doesn't mess with your supply at all because they still eat the same amount of breastmilk you are just adding solids. My son ate a little cereal and tried all the veggies and stuff but it wasn't until about 7 months that he REALLY ate the solids.

Chelseaszidik - posted on 04/28/2009

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Quoting Tara:

Solids shouldn't be added until 6 months because their digestive tract isn't developed enough, but they should start solids by 6 months (if they're showing the signs) another sign is reaching for food from your plate, they need the added iron in their diet at 6 months of age, rice cereal & other baby cereals are iron fortified for them. You can start them on any type of food (except egg whites & peanut butter & honey) unless your family has food allergy problems. Just make sure veggies & fruits are mashed up or cut small & cook meat until it's very tender & mash it up as well. Your supply will adapt to the lost feedings, but they only really need 2 meals per day with bf between etc.....if you're wanting to introduce food because your baby isn't sleeping through the night yet, it doesn't mean it will work, I have an 8 1/2 month old right now who's been on solids since she was 6 months old & she wakes as often as every 2 hours, lol! Good Luck!


I agree with you Tara that you should wait until your infant is 6 months of age but you included a lot of misconceptions about starting solids.  



Firstly- reaching for food from anothers plate is only on sign of being ready for solids there are many more.  Sitting up unsupported and no tongue reflex are two more signs of being ready for solids.  



Secondly- Infants do not need the added iron of food until 9 months of age. I learned this from my lactation consultant at breastfeeding support group meeting geared toward starting solids.  Starting at 6 months is for introduction not for nutrition.  They begin to need the nutrition at 9 months of age.  



Thirdly- You cannot start them on anything except egg whites, peanut butter and honey.  It is not recommended to introduce meat, protein, dairy or sugar until an infant is 8-9 monhts of age.  Frist foods should be easy to digest and either a fruit, veggie or a cereal (oatmeal, rice etc.).  Some great first are avacado, banana, pear, apple, green beans.



 



You were also right that it doesn't help an infant sleep through the right.  

Chelseaszidik - posted on 04/28/2009

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Quoting Anna:

I am also curios. My girl is 4months 3 weeks and i wanted to exclusivley breastfeed for 6 months....but she was so curious about eating that i tried her on farex mixed with breastmilk. She was so excited and happy afterwards, even though it went everwhere but her mouth! I still b/f her before a feed to make sure my supply stays up and she is well fed. Its been 3 days and all is well. If she bub does miss a b/f express into a clean container or bottle and put in the fridge for mixing with food...or freeze for emergencies. It is so cute and funny to watch them try to eat!


This is not recommended and should not be taken as advice.  

Chelseaszidik - posted on 04/28/2009

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IT WILL ACTUALLY HAVE THE OPPOSITE TO BEGIN SOLIDS TO "STICK TO HIS RIBS". BREASTMILK HAS MANY MORE CALORIES THAN SOLIDS AND THEREFORE BREASTFEEDING MORE OFTEN WILL BE THE ONLY BET ON GETTING HIM TO GAIN MORE WEIGHT.
THERE ARE MANY REASONS TO WAIT UNTIL SIX MONTHS TO START SOLIDS:

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM IS READY TO HANDLE FOODS SO THERE IS A MUCH BETTER CHANCE THAT YOUR SON WILL NOT GET CONSTIPATED OR GASSY FROM FOODS OR HAVE STOMACH UPSET.

THE TONGUE THRUST REFELEX WILL BE GONE OR GOING SO YOU WILL BE ABLE TO FEED YOUR SON WITHOUT HIM SPITTING I ALL OUT

HE WILL HAVE LESS OF A CHANCE OF DEVELOPING FOOD ALLERGIES

WAITING UNTIL 6 MONTHS TO INTRODUCE ANYTHING OTHER THAN BREASTMILK IS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS THE BEST DECISION DON'T LET ANYONE OVERRIDE YOUR MOTHERLY INSTINCT TO WAIT.

Anna - posted on 04/28/2009

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I am also curios. My girl is 4months 3 weeks and i wanted to exclusivley breastfeed for 6 months....but she was so curious about eating that i tried her on farex mixed with breastmilk. She was so excited and happy afterwards, even though it went everwhere but her mouth! I still b/f her before a feed to make sure my supply stays up and she is well fed. Its been 3 days and all is well. If she bub does miss a b/f express into a clean container or bottle and put in the fridge for mixing with food...or freeze for emergencies. It is so cute and funny to watch them try to eat!

Kat - posted on 04/28/2009

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4-6 months is the recommended but no later than 6 months. There are many developmental reasons for this. Breast feeding should still be the priority meal until 1yr or how ever long you decide to breast feed. The solids shouldn't take away from this, they are complimentary. I personally bf my daughter 1st & then give her solids afterwards. This works for us, & for me it makes sure she has a full bf & isn't filled up with solid food 1st. My supply has not been affected at all. Just introduce 1 meal a day using Rice Cereal or the like. Initially they have very little. You might give to bub & bub show's no interest or quite yet have the ability. Let bub let you know when they are ready - not Hubby or even yourself. Don't let it become an emotional decision.
Good Luck. It's a fun time......

[deleted account]

I started my son on solids at about 5 and a half months. I was told that you should wait as long as possible and that your baby would let you know when they were ready. Until about 5 months my son had been sleeping through the night since about 2 months old and then all of a sudden he was waking up at night. At first he would just go right back to sleep with the pacifier but pretty soon he wouldn't go back to sleep until I nursed him and then he started waking up 2 and 3 times at night. That was when I decided to start the solids because I knew he was just sooo hungry.

I'd say wait as long as possible. You can tell your husband that it's a ton of work to feed a baby three times a day and once you start there's no turning back.

Arlene - posted on 04/28/2009

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I just started my soon to be 5month old on rice cereal. he loves it. i didnt give it to him because he is hungrier, i started to see what it would be like! so far it has been two weeks and he is doing great. I have just started giving him some at supper. only because he sits there and watches us eat, he gets pissed off and opens his mouth like he wants something!! lol. i still BF about 4-5 times a day, and every 2-3 hours. my supply has changed a bit, but if were to decrease alot, i will breastfeed more!!



oh, and the poop? its rancid...lol

Cynthia - posted on 04/27/2009

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We started both kids at 6 months. It is the recommended age for introducing solids here in Canada. Their digestive system hasn`t had the chance to fully develop before this age there fore their could be more harm than good if you introduce earlier.

When you are introducing solids you start with one to two tablespoons per feed twice a day. We`d introduce a cereal one hour or so after his morning feed. We kept this up for a few weeks to introduce all cereals one at a time (oat, rice, barley, wheat). Then we added a veggie an hour after his late afternoon feed. Again only one to two tablespoons at a time. Our second born is a happy eater and wanted more so we are up to anywhere from a quarter to a third of a cup per session. As baby keeps growing he doesn`t seem to be reducing his feeds. And the ones he misses (in the morning he used to feed both breasts, now only one) I simply pump and use that pumping the next day to mix in with his cereal. I also add breastmilk in with all his solids to make them thinner versus thick. initially I start out mixing his solids thin until he gets the ability to swallow the food instead of pushing them out of his mouth with his tongue, which is the normal way their tongue moves when they breastfeed.

They should also be able to sit up by themselves before introducing solids ( reduces choking hazards and increases ability to swallow properly).

they should also be showing interest when you are eating. We had our second son always sit in a feeding chair with us at the table. We`d give him small toys to play with and then spoons closer to his 6 month mark. ONce feeding solids we don`t give him anything except a spoon to play with and I will drop a blob of the food he`s eating on the tray for him to play with in his fingers(tactile relationship with his food is good). Otherwise that worked for us. Hope it helps.

Cynthia - posted on 04/27/2009

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We started both kids at 6 months. It is the recommended age for introducing solids here in Canada. Their digestive system hasn`t had the chance to fully develop before this age there fore their could be more harm than good if you introduce earlier.

When you are introducing solids you start with one to two tablespoons per feed twice a day. We`d introduce a cereal one hour or so after his morning feed. We kept this up for a few weeks to introduce all cereals one at a time (oat, rice, barley, wheat). Then we added a veggie an hour after his late afternoon feed. Again only one to two tablespoons at a time. Our second born is a happy eater and wanted more so we are up to anywhere from a quarter to a third of a cup per session. As baby keeps growing he doesn`t seem to be reducing his feeds. And the ones he misses (in the morning he used to feed both breasts, now only one) I simply pump and use that pumping the next day to mix in with his cereal. I also add breastmilk in with all his solids to make them thinner versus thick. initially I start out mixing his solids thin until he gets the ability to swallow the food instead of pushing them out of his mouth with his tongue, which is the normal way their tongue moves when they breastfeed.

They should also be able to sit up by themselves before introducing solids ( reduces choking hazards and increases ability to swallow properly).

they should also be showing interest when you are eating. We had our second son always sit in a feeding chair with us at the table. We`d give him small toys to play with and then spoons closer to his 6 month mark. ONce feeding solids we don`t give him anything except a spoon to play with and I will drop a blob of the food he`s eating on the tray for him to play with in his fingers(tactile relationship with his food is good). Otherwise that worked for us. Hope it helps.

Cynthia - posted on 04/27/2009

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We started both kids at 6 months. It is the recommended age for introducing solids here in Canada. Their digestive system hasn`t had the chance to fully develop before this age there fore their could be more harm than good if you introduce earlier.

When you are introducing solids you start with one to two tablespoons per feed twice a day. We`d introduce a cereal one hour or so after his morning feed. We kept this up for a few weeks to introduce all cereals one at a time (oat, rice, barley, wheat). Then we added a veggie an hour after his late afternoon feed. Again only one to two tablespoons at a time. Our second born is a happy eater and wanted more so we are up to anywhere from a quarter to a third of a cup per session. As baby keeps growing he doesn`t seem to be reducing his feeds. And the ones he misses (in the morning he used to feed both breasts, now only one) I simply pump and use that pumping the next day to mix in with his cereal. I also add breastmilk in with all his solids to make them thinner versus thick. initially I start out mixing his solids thin until he gets the ability to swallow the food instead of pushing them out of his mouth with his tongue, which is the normal way their tongue moves when they breastfeed.

They should also be able to sit up by themselves before introducing solids ( reduces choking hazards and increases ability to swallow properly).

they should also be showing interest when you are eating. We had our second son always sit in a feeding chair with us at the table. We`d give him small toys to play with and then spoons closer to his 6 month mark. ONce feeding solids we don`t give him anything except a spoon to play with and I will drop a blob of the food he`s eating on the tray for him to play with in his fingers(tactile relationship with his food is good). Otherwise that worked for us. Hope it helps.

Roxann - posted on 04/27/2009

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I started both my children on cereals at 4months, and maintained a healthy milk supply, My youngest is now 7 months old and still nurses 4 to 5 times a day. Daddy's just like when their children start eating solids because they can join in the fun of feeding baby! It's your call, go with your gut, but the doctors do say babies start to need solids at around 6 months.

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