breastfeeding causing constipation what can I do Update

Mel - posted on 03/28/2011 ( 119 moms have responded )

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I found out breast feeding is what is causing my babys constipation, but Im not ready to stop even though everyone is telling me to do the right thing by her. She is already on lactulose probiotics prune juice and sugar , and extra water and juice with her meals which also I give lots of fruits and veges but nothing nothing helps. She was formula fed for 8 days with no problems the second I breast fed shes back to having problems. Anything else I can possibly do before Im forced to switch her over to bottles? Any help greatly apprecitaed

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Erin - posted on 03/31/2011

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She doesn't need the juice for fluid intake. She needs your breastmilk. Water or juice should NEVER replace a milk feeding in a child under 12 months. Put her to the breast before a feed of solids, and then again after if she is willing. That way she is having all the milk she wants and needs, but still has the opportunity to play with some solids. Because that's all it really should be at this point.. play.

Jodi - posted on 03/30/2011

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Mel, as has been suggested several times, one way of getting more fluid into her diet is to cut back on the amount of solid foods you have been feeding, and breastfeed her more. That way, she is still getting the nutrients, but her fluid content will be higher. This would be the best way to do it. If you fill her full of other fluids, she will be full of emptier calories, she won't be hungry and may not get enough nutrients.

Stifler's - posted on 03/29/2011

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The problem actually sounds really simple to me. Too much solids + not enough fluids = constipation.

Tara - posted on 03/29/2011

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I would still say that she should be getting most of her nutritional needs through breastmilk, reducing the amount of solids, and eliminating extra water, juice, sugar etc. from her diet, breastmilk does not cause constipation. Using suppositories, laxatives, too many solids, too little breastmilk, empty liquid calories like prune juice and sugar water, are all going against nature.



Nature dictates that babies receive breastmilk until at least age 12 months as their primary source of nutrition and fluids.



I totally understand the frustration of having a constipated child. My oldest daughter is now 11 and finally is being treated for Neurogenic Bowel Dysfunction, as a result of long term constipation because I received a lot of conflicting information and took everything said to me at face value without look further and learning more about babies and bowels and breastmilk.



She suffered horribly as a toddler and a child. She was on Lactolose (sp?) Sennakot, suppositories, had an enema, etc. and it started when we were told to introduce rice cereal at 4 months, and then told to switch to wheat and then told to supplement with formula at 9 months, which we did for 3 weeks and she developed a fissure her constipation was so bad.

We switched doctors, went to to a ped. and he put her on lactolose for 6 months, she leaked orange liquid from her butt after the first 3 months, and still didn't go as often.

When she was about 10 months I talked to a new friend who happened to be a midwife, she suggested I reduce solids, cut out the formula and nurse more often. I did and within weeks she was pooping normally for a breastfed baby.



Which incidentally is not necessarily every day.

She went like clock work every 4 days or so, pediatrician thought it was great, cause she didn't fit the definition of constipated, stools were soft, and normal size etc. just not every day.

This was how it was till she was weaned and then it all started again.



And now because of it, she has to be on a PEG preparation every night for about a year to undo the damage done to her colon during her childhood.



Really Melissa you have been so concerned about this, we are all experienced mothers who know what we are talking about. If you did trust the medical community you say you are using for your advice etc. why come here to get another opinion?



My guess is your gut is telling you different.

Well, my gut says nature knows best and you have inadvertently and unintentionally messed with nature and the best thing to do is go right back to square one.



Increase your fluids, reduce your own consumption of dairy and nurse her more often. And remember pooping infrequently does not constitute nor equate with being constipated.

With all the best intentions, take our advice not as criticism but as the helpful and knowledgeable assistance that you asked for and have received.

[deleted account]

Why the heck are you asking for advice when you are adamantly refusing to attempt any of the GOOD ideas that have been suggested?

This conversation has been closed to further comments

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Mel - posted on 03/31/2011

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update for anyone interested finally got hold of child health, she said not to reduce solids as she needs them for her growth and the give her them until she starts showing signs of not being hungry take out fruit juice and prune juice, but make sure to give plenty of extra water, give lactulose twice a day, give the fruits and veges like you guys said, and that custard is fine but mix it with some fruit, and most importantly to see a doctor a good doctor because it sounds like her bowl just needs retraining. also fibresure helped so much today first time she didnt cry or have too much trouble. Thankyou all for offering your help and advice until I could speak to someone over here, I know alot of you tried to help but unfortunately it turned out that, alot of your advice wasnt something that is considered safe where Im from. Thanks again :)

Mel - posted on 03/31/2011

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@ Kathy - ABA told me on the phone a few weeks ago. Alot of people have differnet opinions. If anyone has anything else helpful can you please PM me Im going to lock this to avoid the pointless comments. Thanks so much

[deleted account]

Mel, like Jodi I'm stunned by your assertion that ABA says dairy is required from 9 months! Where on earth did you find that?

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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you do realise that all this crap like fibresure and prune juice are not actually resolving the constipation but simply treating the symptoms ?


so while they might help her poop, there is still something binding her up like crazy. You should atleast be willing to try eliminating things, or going back to basics and reintroducing solids.

why you are insistant on prolonging this constipation issue is confusing.

and by giving her all this constipation remedies while fiddling with her diet, your not going to be able to determine exactly what is helping and isnt because your giving her all this stuff to make her poop, instead of adjusting her diet so that she can do it naturally.

Mel - posted on 03/31/2011

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someone mentioned half piece of toast so instead ot the whole thing Ill give half with lunch then maybe some fruit , hopefully reducing it this much works, if not I will take it back a little more

Mel - posted on 03/31/2011

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hey Kim, I pretty much know its not an allergy because she was fine while away, so thats why I know its just getting more fluids :) thats why Im not eliminating it. Before I went away ABA told me that because they couldnt be sure of anything back then. Shes having a very big sleep this morning so Im guessing for once she got enough this morning I gave half a big tin of fruit musli with a bottle of water for brekky, that was it and she has had 3 breast feeds.

I looked at the site quickly, would I be better off phoning them or emailing. I switch sides while nursing when she stops on one side. I dont seem to have time to get full anymore sincw Im feeding alot. Ive made up her prune juice for the day and put fibresure in it, just to see if it works. I looked at the back it does say 12 months, but I also recall with first daughter they said alot of this stuff was ok before 12 months, in a smaller dosage, although Im not going to use the parachoc just yet.

Lisa would be good if they gave you a source of where the info came from, yes one lady said its now been proven theres no such thing as a growth spurt babies take the same amount of milk from 6 weeks to 6 months, the reason they go through periods of feeding constantly or waking in the night are because they have started a new activity like rolling over or something, apparently. It amde a little sense to me, but everyone else still says growth spurts exist.

My child health nurse doesnt do appointments very often she just texts or calls me to see if I am home, or just comes by.

Kim - posted on 03/31/2011

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I wouldn't take the whole they need dairy thing to heart. My son is 4 and when he was a baby I was told to not give any dairy until 1 year and now with my daughter I was told she should be having it now. With my son I was told no strawberries or eggs until 1 and now it's fine to start whenever. The recommendations change all the time and it's up to you to decide whether they are working for your child or not. They are just a general guideline to help parents know the approximate age their child may be ready not to say they have to be ready by then. I have given my daughter minimal amounts of cheese and yogurt and it seems to make her gassy,cranky and slightly constipated. If I know this then why would I continue giving her something that makes her feel yucky. I don't think she is lactose or anything I just think the dairy is to much for her little body to process. Every once in awhile I try her on it again to see if she is ready but if not it's not a big deal. She will be ready eventually but I'm not going to continue forcing something that makes her tummy upset. If you knew something made you feel sick, you wouldn't continue eating it so why would you force it on your daughter or at least not try to eliminate it and see if that works. Wouldn't it make you feel better if it was as easy as holding off on something for a little while until her body develops more?

The health nurses don't know everything and if you talk to several I'm sure you would get conflicting advice. No one has been able to help you with this problem so far so I would think it is time to take it into your own hands and try something new since what you are doing obviously isn't working. I would either eliminate all solids and start back from the beginning keeping track of her poop or at least start with the dairy if you don't want to get rid of all the solids. I would stop the juice and just give water in a sippy for her to learn with.(I take the stopper out of my daughters so it's easier for her to drink) Breastfeed before every meal and after. Offer it in between and mabye try expressing some and putting it in her sippy as well. Her tummy can only handle so much and the only way you will get more breastmilk into her is if you reduce the amount of solids and eliminate the juice.

Minnie - posted on 03/31/2011

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Just want to throw this out there, Mel:



http://www.llli.org/nb/nbjulaug02p129.ht...



Do you switch sides while nursing frequently, or does she drain the first side very well, to the point that you can't easily squeeze milk out? Perhaps the reason that she did not have a problem while on formula when you were away was because there wasn't an issue of foremilk vs. hindmilk.



But toss it completely if you don't have this issue.



Of course, it still does sound like the breastmilk intake needs to increase and juice needs to decrease.

Minnie - posted on 03/31/2011

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Perhaps you should be seeing people who provide evidence-based current breastfeeding information. One thing that is great about seeking help from a LLL Leader is that as she's giving you information she'll show you or tell you where she gets it. So you know the source of that information.

ME - posted on 03/31/2011

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I took my baby to a GI specialist when she was three months old for this exact issue. He said that BFing doesn't cause constipation...I would ask for a referral to a specialist!

[deleted account]

No such thing as growth spurts? I'd be finding myself a new place to get medical advice from.... and fast.

Mel - posted on 03/31/2011

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I spoke to them about the constipation issue just before I left for phuket, which is when they said take out the dairy because its not necessary until 9 months of age. I find alot of the women there have different views. One told me there was no such thing as growth spurts etc. I took in what she said as I take in whate everyone says and I use what makes sense to me, hence the reason you guys may think I have not taken things in but I have, and I am doing what I consider to be safe, until I can present all the information to child health, which is reducing juice, reducing solids, breast feeding before and after feeds, and going to puree up the prunes and have cut out custards, reduced meat to once a day. Will check out the website then be back later today

Minnie - posted on 03/31/2011

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Mel, are you gaining these tidbits of info from your health visitor? Is she saying that the ABA says such and such?

Jodi - posted on 03/31/2011

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I have found NOWHERE that the ABA says dairy is required from 9 months......I've never heard that one with my kids either. It sounds totally ridiculous to me that a breastfed baby would need dairy.

[deleted account]

And I always heard that as long as baby/child was having 4 or more breastfeeds/day that no dairy was needed at all... The only reason I ever gave my son dairy as a young toddler was cuz he liked it. He most certainly didn't need it as he was nursing WAY more than 4 times/day.

Minnie - posted on 03/31/2011

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The ABA says that dairy is NEEDED from nine months?

I dunno, I didn't realize we were cows...

Stifler's - posted on 03/31/2011

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Try lactose free dairy. Lots of kids are lactose intolerant and it causes bowel problems like constipation.

Mel - posted on 03/31/2011

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@ Carolyn thats what I was told about the juice, the pharmcist said she had just done a 3 month course on the whole issue and she said anything to irritate the bowls straight orange juice or apple juice, this was about 3 months ago, unfortunately it didnt work for Paige

Mel - posted on 03/31/2011

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yes, in answer to your question we are told sugar and juice help, apple juice and organise juice are reccomended for constipation. I wish I could stop the prune juice :( But at the present time I cant afford for her to get even more bound up and prune juice is highly reccomended for constipation. I add a teaspoon of sugar to it. I use the juice boxes for fluid intake - shes spitting all the water. She needs them with the solids, but Ill reduce the amount of that if I can during meals, and I got some prunes last night. Will puree them up and fingers crossed they work. thanks.

KIm, thats really helpful, thanks. I gave up on the water becuase she drinks minimal amounts from a bottle but not from a cup. I got told by my friend to pump before feeds to measure, but she doesnt drink expressed milk froma bottle. I expressed for when I was away and she wouldnt drink it either. Wouild be nice to know how much she is getting. My advice from my friend ver here was to know exactly how much milk she was having while I was away and then make sure she gets the exact same amount of fluids with me and she will be perfect, hard to know with breast feeding.

Unfortunately cant eliminate dairy because its needed from 9 months of age according to ABA :( it would be a short term thing of about 2 weeks if I eliminated it

Kim - posted on 03/31/2011

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My daughter is 9 months old and on formula and this is roughly what she eats a day. It might help you figure out amounts. She wakes up and has a 6oz bottle, 30 mins later breakfast which is usually 2 tsp of cut up fruit and half a piece of toast or some oatmeal/cream of wheat. I will give her a sippy cup of water she will drink about an ounce or 2. For lunch she will have a tsp of a veggie and tsp or so of fruit and sometimes a couple of cheerios with a sippy of water. She will have another 6 oz bottle an hour or so after that. When she wakes from her nap she has about 2-3 oz formula in her sippy cup. For dinner she will have 1-2 tsp veggie, 1 tsp of a starch(rice,potato,pasta) and about every 2-3 night she will have a tsp of meat. Before bed she has an 8 oz bottle.



I know your breastfeeding so you can't measure amounts but mabye you can try pumping and feeding her breastmilk from a bottle for a while to make sure she is getting enough fluids. I also try and give my daughter peaches,pears, and plums a few times a week. I find they help keep her poop soft. The general rule that I have heard is approx 1 tsp of each food group per year. Since your daughter is not even 1 think of how little solids she really needs. My daughter can not handle dairy yet so I would also try eliminating that.

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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Laura sugar can actually really irritate the bowels. which is why some people think juice in general will help constipation. It doesnt help move stuff through, it irritates the shit out of your bowels, literally.



Where i work ( detox) diarrhea is a common symptom of withdrawal for alcoholism and opiates. Many people crave sugar as well, which in turn only makes the diarrhea worse and can lead to dehydration.



prunes, in any form, are what helps. making them a juice is just an easier method for some to consume the prunes, but if im not mistaken, a small amount prune puree will accomplish the same thing, without replacing other necessary liquid intake, and would probably be more concentrated ( im assuming) than watered down prune juice.





crap, i told myself i wouldnt read this thread.

Erin - posted on 03/31/2011

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Cut out all that juice, Mel. There is some information that small amounts of prune juice can help with constipation, but in Paige's case it obviously isn't or you wouldn't still be having this problem. And a juice box sure won't. Seriously, please forget about the juice.

Minnie - posted on 03/31/2011

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Half a box of juice is a TON for an eight month old. I mean- if I drink a small juice box I feel full for at least a couple of hours. Seriously.

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

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Is sugar supposed to help digestion? I thought sugar is bad for you.... It's not exactly a health food, is it commonly advised for constipation?

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

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Personal experience, my son had no solids til 6 months, then he had about three bites of jar food a day until he was 9 months. Then he would eat about 7-10 bites a day of single ingredient foods, bread cheese yogurt fruit beans, and maybe a sip or two of water a day. No juice.

Then at about a year he had more solids, a bit more water but never more then about an ounce or two of water a day. And never more then a few bites of solids a day, but after a year I offered solids two or three times a day.

This whole time he breastfed about 12 times a day and night. Until a year he bf about three times a night. After a year it was two times a night.

He was never constipated, he didn't poop much, but never constipated.

Idk, I just feel like babies need breastmilk, and solids are little extras,I mean what good is a piece of bread to a baby? Especially compared to breastmilk that has a complete mixture of every nutrient and liquid.

Have you talked to a la leche league leader? They are breastfeeding experts and they would have alot resources available to help figure this out. The health nurse could have some great advise but I'd seek a second and third opinion to get a full look on the picture. Peopledont know everything, and nurses defiantly don't know much about breastfeeding unless they seek out the info on their own.

Merry - posted on 03/31/2011

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I honestly worry about all that juice, I always have been told that juice is absolutely unnecessary and usually very unhealthy for anyone! Especially a baby. I was told never to give juice before a year, and even then only an ounce a day or less! I know different places different recommnedations, but I think it makes a ton of sence that juice is just watery fruits without any fiber!

Fiber is what they need to pass properpoop so juice is filling and sugary and NO fiber!

Sounds like juice is a major constipator. Meat too I'd think is a bad thing for constipation, I mean we don't need to eat meat anyways! Our bodies have a hard time digesting meat and babies honestly don't need meat! No one does. There's plenty of healthy vegetarians and vegans. And babies especially under a year don't need much of anything except breastmilk. Try beans, they are great for iron, and much healthier then meats.

Carolyn - posted on 03/31/2011

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there are a billion things you can give her for finger foods.... you can steam/bae/boil carrots, sweet potatoes, green beans , pretty well any vegetable and cut it up for her to pick up with her fingers. You can also do soft fruits that are easily gummed and mashed. Bread is not the only finger food at 8 months...

You cant get her to nurse because you are stuffing her full of juice and other crap that she doesnt need and that are screwing with her digestif system.

How you cant see this is beyond me. Go back to square one and start from scratch with solids.

I really need to stop reading this thread i think.

April - posted on 03/31/2011

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you spent a great deal of time keeping up your milk supply while you were away. 8 days is a long time to be away from your infant and you were very dedicated to making sure she still had access to breastmilk when you returned. That tells me that you would still like to continue your nursing relationship with her. In all honesty, i do not think breastmilk is making her constipated. It sounds like her little tummy is getting overloaded with solids and juice and it's all just too much for her system. She is also on vitamins and medications? Both of those could be the culprit. How often does she poo? How are you defining constipation?

Mel - posted on 03/31/2011

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limit carbs breads the only finger food she can really have and she loves it, but I got the high fibre one will that be ok. Shes had no custards practically all week now pretty much just the fruits and veges and some meat . Shes not in daycare sorry Im confusing my oldest goes to daycare so its when I pick her up, Pasige gets offered something to eat or drink (the 8 month old)

I expressed while away. I bought an electric pump as I was getting nothing from hand one prior to leaving on the plane I got nothing all day I was so full by the end of it as hadnt breast fed since 5am. Every other day I expressed 4-6 times a day, literally my days were spent expressing about 3-5 hours a day to get the amount of milk I wanted to keep up supply. I could only get 50 mills by the arvo to night time thought even after trying to express an hour and a half.

See how we go with the less solids, and more breast milk.

Tara - posted on 03/31/2011

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Again Mel,
Too much solid food, and juice. Breastmilk is 80% water. Juice is loaded with sugar which actually messes up a babies natural gut flora. Juice is never necessary. Juice is going to cause more problems with her bowels and only fill her up with unnecessary carbs and sugar,
Breast milk before all feedings, no additional fluids and limit carbs like bread and things, stick to fruits and veggies, eliminate dairy.
More breastmilk is the answer to your problem. At this point in her life, you could cut out all but one serving of solids (and only because she is in daycare) and the rest of the time just giver her breastmilk, she will be fine!

Jenn - posted on 03/31/2011

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Just a thought I had. How long were you away for and what did you do during that time - did you pump or no? I was thinking that your supply could be low and she is not getting enough milk from you which could cause you to think the milk itself is causing constipation. I don't know - I guess I never had these issues so I really don't know what else to say. When we started solids, it was a few bites after breast feeding, then when they were closer to a year old it was food before breast feeding - they never ever had juice though.

Mel - posted on 03/31/2011

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I feel like Im feeding constantly the medicine is a bitch I tell you. Wouldnt feed again tonight, too full from other stuff she needs, the juice, and the meds mixed with juice. I think she did alright at lunch time but think I gave her too much to eat tonight. Whats too much? at lunch I gave her 2 cubes and yogurt then toop up breast feed again, daycare lady gave her rice cracker at 4pm, tonight dinner was half juice box (only given for help iwth the constipation), piece of toast, 3 grapes, 2 spoons sweet potato and some pureed fruit. We werent sure what point to stop spoon feeding, but after te prune juice, the juice box and the meds I really coulndt get her to breast feed. I keep trying to think in 4 months time she can have the fibresure and parachoc so will be fine but I wouldnt want her to suffer til then, I have to do the right thing by her, so keep trying smaller meals, tonight was obviously too much. Im learning. I dont have alot of experience with solids and breast feeding. Would be really nice if my child health nurse had phoned me back so I could discuss all this with her everything from you guys anyhow

Kylie - posted on 03/30/2011

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My kids didn't eat much food in the first 12 months of life, I'd say their diet was 90% breast milk. They are both healthy and were never constipated. So I'd consider Lisa's advice and cut the solids out and slowly re introduce them. Good luck!

Mel - posted on 03/30/2011

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gave her breast feed before lunch then 2x ice cubes a yogurt and breast feed hopefully with the breast feed after it was enough her for to have a good sleep now

Alyssa - posted on 03/30/2011

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Reduce solids, breastfeed, breastfeed, breastfeed!

I'm not sure if it has been pointed out but a BF baby may pass a stool several times a day or once a week! this is all still completely normal. It is the texture that needs to be looked at....soft ok, hard pebbles - constipated. Don't take any notice of how regular they are

Mel - posted on 03/30/2011

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thanks Krissy for the input, I understand not wanting to read that much lol, since she was fine while I was away and being fed the same things we figured it was not the food just the fact that shes not getting enough fluids so I just have to find ways to add more fluid into her diet :) There is no history of any kind of food allergies in my family so its probably unlikely theres any intollerance

Krissy - posted on 03/30/2011

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ok, I'm not reading 4 pages... sorry... I just have a suggestion and if some one else made it then ignore me... LOL!

Have you had your child tested for food allergies, and maybe yourself tested???

I have a friend that just had part of her intestines removed because of having them stopped up and blocked so bad they couldn't get them unclogged without taking out a stretch of them.

She was still having probs, and they discovered that she's got problems with any wheat products. They put her on gluten free meals and she suddenly made big improvements....

So... my thought is... maybe your child is allergic to something...

[deleted account]

Nevermind. I'm posting some not very nice things on a post where you are trying to get 'help'.... I'll try to stay away from this post, so I don't flip out.

Noreen - posted on 03/30/2011

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Breastfeeding DOES NOT cause constipation. It is normal for babies to go up to a month with out a bowel movement when they are exclusivly breastfed. Breastmilk has hardly any waste is in, all the nutrients are being absorbed. My daughter would go a week with out pooping befrore she started on solids and her poo was always like pumpkin guts. (atleast that's what it looked liked)

As long as it is soft, and not pellets, your baby isnt constipated.

Mel - posted on 03/30/2011

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I think your spot on Emma. I dont know why I went into any other possible reasons in my head. Im gathering since she was fine for one week whilw I was away it isnt the food it is the fluids. Im going to find out how many bottles, and how much food they were giving her but Im assuming it was to my instruction, they dont like to go against what I tell them with the kids. Glad she had the night breast feeds last night suppository has worked today so we're starting over now

[deleted account]

Breast fed babies don't need excess iron, their body has natural iron stores so they don't need an excessive amount of iron until at least 6 months to a year. Everything they need is in breast milk, thats what its there for, to provide the baby with a complete balanced meal.

Nadia - posted on 03/29/2011

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It's fine to start solids anywhere between 4 and 6 months of age. And if you feel your baby needs the food then she probably does. you don't want her to start losing weight. That being said... it might be an idea to start back at square one to see which food is constipating her. Are you feedin her rice cereals? if so, try switching to oatmeal cereal. my second baby got constipated from rice and within a day of switching to oatmeal she started pooping again. Also, is she lactose intolerant? i'm going to assume no, cuz she was fine until you strted solids, but its something to keep in mind. my first was lactose intolerant and i couldn't BF her (i cried for days cuz i had to formula feed). Also, i've been told that you should NOT give iron-fortified/enriched foods/formulas cuz babies don't need it and it can contribute to constipation. I hope you can figure out what's wrong... i know all too well how difficult it is to have a baby that is always constipated! My heart goes out to you!!!!

Mel - posted on 03/29/2011

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hey Jodi thats fine I know everyone has different opinions. I went through my book now it says basically somewhere between 4-6 months. I think its pretty much up to the parent. I just went iwth my doctor. We'd only given her tastes before 4 months, but when we went in for her 4 month needles they told us to start her on rice cereal (big mistake with rice cereal). So we felt we'd been given the ok and started her on that. I think alot depends baby to baby. Theres those rules that say baby has to sit up and al sorts but so many babies cant sit up at 6 months, yet if solids arent intorudced at 6 months then baby isnt getting everyhting she needs for growth and development. Paige isnt sitting or crawling yet unfortunately. Anyhow Just going to work on trying to get extra fluids in. I try to put her back on over and over and she takes a little more each time, so Im wondering if thats what I have to keep doing while feeding. Ive cut out the custards and jst gviing fruit for dessert now but I dont think the food makes a difference I think its more she needs enough fluid which she isnt getting enough

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