is it ok to only breastfeed till 9 or so months and not give solids, any opinions?
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Tracey - posted on 11/30/2011
My older daughter is now age 12. She absolutely didn't want solids until she was 13 months old, so she was totally breastfed to that point. So I've had 12, almost 13 years to see what this would do. My younger daughter just turned 7, and she didn't want solids until 11 months.
These girls are rarely sick. My older one in particular seems to be made of iron and can be around really sick people without ever catching what they have. The only time she's been sick that I can remember was a couple of years ago, and she was *so* confused by it because she's used to being very healthy!
My older one also is active in sports and is in pre-professional ballet training. When she was 7 and playing flag football, she was the surprise of the season. She had blonde curls down to her waist, "Bella" on the back of her jersey, looked like a little fairy, and absolutely couldn't be gotten through or knocked down or held back. Most teams made the mistake of putting their small kids across from her, and as the game progressed would put larger and larger kids to block her. The next time her team would play that team, they'd go straight blocking her with the big guys. It's like she has more occupying her space, like she's made of iron. All three of my kids are like that: people would pick them up when they were little and say things like "Oof! Are you wearing lead shoes or something?"
Really, your milk is far more complete than any substitute. The study that has looked at the health benefits the longest stopped tracking results at 36 months, and found health benefits all the way through to 36 months. My iron ballerina nursed until not quite 36 months. There are certain enzymes babies don't develop until later anyhow, like the ones to digest grains (so why the heck do docs say to give them cereal first?? Because they don't keep up with nutrition journals), so keeping your baby on just your milk is fine.
Terra - posted on 11/22/2011
Think of it this way. What did mamas and babies do before formula companies created baby food? They breastfed their babies until their babies were old enough to eat what everyone else in the family ate. Our society has been brainwashed by these companies to believe that our babies will suffer if we don't stuff them full of their over processed, nutritionally void foods. Humanity didn't develop with these foods because they are NOT needed. Breast milk is a perfect and complete food. If you are worried about what your child is taking in then you need to evaluate YOUR diet and not your babies. Make sure you are taking a good multivitamin (prenatals are perfect) and that you are eating a good diet yourself. Your child will let you know when she is ready for food. Watching you eat is NOT a sign of readiness all babies watch what we are doing as that is how they learn. Give her a spoon to play with and you'll most likely see that she was really only interested in the spoon anyway. Once she is really, truly ready for food then you can skip cereals and "baby food" all together and start giving your little one real food to experiment with. Pieces of avocado, banana, pasta, shredded chicken, beans, etc. Basically anything your child can feed herself. The goal before one year of age is to introduce your child to food, let them experiment and play. It was never intended to be a large part of their diet and their nutrition should still be coming from breast milk at this point (after a year of age a baby can still thrive on breast milk but is also capable of getting more of their nutrition from other foods). A baby that suddenly becomes fussy and is nursing more frequently (or every hour as other have mentioned) are most likely going through a growth spurt and are doing what they are supposed to in order to increase the milk supply for their growing needs.
Those happen at 4 and 6 months so doctors are easily able to convince mamas that their babies aren't getting enough because of this behavior when that is simply, in most cases, not true. Stick with YOUR instincts and go ahead and wait to introduce solids until you and she are ready. She will be just fine without them. Breast milk does not just stop being enough at 6 months. That is a myth that has been supported by the formula companies that want you to stop nursing and switch to paying for their foods (they pay for the studies that are "finding" that breast milk isn't enough. Kinda shady right!).
Jenny - posted on 12/07/2011
I think the recomendations are for the earliest times to start solids, every baby is different, some want solids as early as 6 months, but if you baby is content, it is perfectly okay to wait! I asked my WIC nutritionist the same question and she said nutritionally all your baby needs for the first YEAR is breastmilk! Of course every baby and mom is different, so depending on your supply and his appetite sometimes it is helpful to start solids if they are just ravenous! But DON"T feel guilty about following your babies cues! If baby is pushing the food out of his mouth, he isn't ready! Solid food is a very fun new experience for babies! They like to touch and taste it, but don't usually get much of it in the tummy! So feel free to let him expereiment, but know that he is getting all the important stuff from you!!!!
Elizabeth - posted on 11/29/2011
My daughter was a 6-week preemie, EBF, and our doctor specifically asked us to NOT introduce solids before 9mos for her. we actually held off until 11mos. She is very healthy eats great now at 22mos. because i had good nutrition, so did she. If her growth is good and there are no concerns about her nutrition, there is no reason that she needs solids before 1 year, except as eating "practice" (as long as her iron levels are ok. If they are iffy but you don't feel the baby is ready you can use iron containing baby vitamin drops) and even now, she is 50% breastfed. She has gone from 25th percentile in growth a year ago, to 75th percentile before we even started solids. However, eating different textures by mouth is very important for language development, so by 12mos you should introduce something.
Jenny - posted on 12/07/2011
Okay one more thing! Just for the record, the longer you wait to introduce wheat and cows milk, the LESS likely your baby is to have an allergy! (Ever noticed how much more common those allergies are now days?? Might have something to do with us being encouraged to start solids early!) Also I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist...but the processed babyfood is made by the same people that make formula...and the sooner you start solids, the more likely you are to stop breastfeeding sooner. Just sayin. :)
Sharon - posted on 11/30/2011
There are so many varied opinions on this that the best advice you could really get is from a lactation consultant, and WHO. There is a lot of training and research in this area, and in my experience, although most Mum's think they did the right thing - they usually didn't. Just because someone's kids turned out healthy does not mean the best choices were made for them.
Elizabeth - posted on 11/29/2011
also - my now 4 year old weaned at 22mos after being exclusively breastfed until 12mos. We got her just introduced to enough allergy-potential foods in time to eat birthday cake on her first birthday. She is 99% percentile on all charts, great appetite, will eat anything, healthy, not chubby but not skinny (she was a mega chubster until about 18mos when she shot up tall). We got to skip all the gross baby food, except for a little baby cereal in her first few months on solids, and she has only ever eaten table food. She doesn't just eat from the kiddie menu (hot dogs/mac n cheese/nuggets), but loves all the same food the grown ups eat and eats whatever we do. This girl will eat anything that we suggest and will sooner eat strawberries and carrots than candy. :-) We never pushed any food or made it an issue. we just slowly introduced her to solids, new flavors and textures until she got used to them, and waiting until we were sure she was ready. We could have started sooner, but she preferred to BF and her growth and iron levels were fine so her doc was fine with the schedule.
Olivia - posted on 11/25/2011
breastfeeding till 2 or even all the way to 5years old in some parents opinions if it works for baby and mommy. Now solids are not nutritionally necessary till one year of age. The only reason to start giving solids at 6 months other then a little extra full feeling (which sometimes isn't necessary). The other and main reason to start feeding solids is to start your little one tasting flavor. If you want to just give your baby taste of different foods (one food at a time for 4-7 days) you can do a spoonful here and there. Again nutritionally solid food is not beneficial to a baby until 12 months of age. Hope this helps
Lise - posted on 11/16/2011
You can. If you are worried about iron, YOU can consume more to increase the iron in your milk. While yes, breastmilk has less iron than other forms, absorption is better with iron in breastmilk (http://kellymom.com/nutrition/vitamins/i...) - about 50-70% is absorbed with breastmilk while only 4-10% is absorbed through iron-fortified cereals. My daughter never had had cereal and when her iron was tested at 18 months, she was fine - just some personal experience. She was only eating about 1 tbsp of food until she was around 10 months old.
Nikki - posted on 01/20/2010
I personally think waiting til nine months is really not in the best interest of your child. A breastfed baby needs iron which is why they have baby cereal. Your child needs more then just breastmilk in their diet. We started my son at 4 months b/c he made it perfectly clear formula was not enough if we had waited til nine months he'd probably be drinking a tin a day. Now at 7 months he eats veggies fruits and all meats. I think you should really consult with your doctor before making that decision. I think your child needs to learn how to digest solids and 6 months is the recommended time , back in the day was 2 months. I think if you wait til 9 it will be very difficult to introduce them to solids and they may have dificulties accepting them. This is such a huge developmental milestone in your childs life, why take that away from them??
Christina - posted on 01/20/2010
I would talk to your dr before you decide to do this. We were told that after 6 months, while breastmilk gives enough calories, the iron amount is not enough as breastmilk has less iron then formula. If you dr is okay with you only offering milk they will probably put baby on some sort of suppliment. As well, they saying the later you introduce things the harder it is for babies to be okay with it. In my experience my dtr is breastfed and starting solids, and it has been kinda fun watching her experience new things and seeing her get excited when certain foods come out. Whatever you decide to do though you should discuss with your dr to get all of the pro's and con's for both sides. Good luck!
Shavon - posted on 01/20/2010
Why would you want to delay solids for 9 months? They are a building block to teach baby how to chew and swallow solids. They are also a good source of vitamins and such. I just don't see a upside to delaying for so long. They are not meant to be baby's main source of food though. Breastmilk or Formula should be the main event but the solids are a fun and messy side show: )
Anna - posted on 01/20/2010
I recommend giving baby food before 9 months. I have been told by my ped that your baby can reject solids if you wait to long and it will be difficult for them to get used to it. I would continue nursing though. Solids supliment breastmilk and the older the child gets, breastmilk will supliment the solids. I would continue nursing until the baby is at least 12 months.
Shandra - posted on 01/20/2010
Ack! Iron in fortified cereals and food is vastly different than that in breastmilk. http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/vitami...
We want our babies to grow up with a healthy relationship with food. Let your little one show you what they are ready for.
Hi Rene, the short answer is that no, your baby is not getting EVERYTHING she needs from your milk alone. The reason it is recommended that solids are introduced at around 6 months is because it is at that time that babies iron stores start to run out. They can't get as much iron as they need from breastmilk alone. Many baby formulas factor this into 'follow on' formulas (6mo+) but there's really no way to guarantee your baby is getting enough iron from you. I would recommend iron-enriched rice cereals and slowly introducing some veggies. Yes, we all love nourishing our babies from our own bodies and the bond we have doing that, but for babies, food is FUN and you should let your baby explore this exciting step in growing up :-)
Alicia - posted on 01/06/2010
Baby Dr. said we could start our daughter at 6 months. I asked if I had to start then or could wait until after the holiday chaos. He replied that there was a fad of exclusively breastfeeding for the first year and that those babies survived and were fine. He recommended starting earlier, but his point was not to be terrified about waiting too long. His policy is that if baby's head is growing (i.e., she is making brain), then she is getting enough nutrition and not to worry. Solids at 6-9 months are supposed to be more about playing with tastes and textures (and maybe testing for allergies) than providing nutrition. So even if you do introduce solids, you don't have to give very much. A single mashed pea on your finger once a day gives baby the taste and texture. All this to say, if baby is healthy and happy, don't worry too much.
Anna - posted on 01/03/2010
After doing some research, Health Canada, AAP, and WHO all recommend introducing solids at 6 months. So I might have to start it after all. Although, he continues to gain weight well on just my milk so now I'm not sure what to do either.
Ashley - posted on 01/03/2010
Breastmilk is simply not enough when baby reaches six months of age. My little man is seven months... He has Beech Nut Oatmeal for breakfast and a Gerber 1st Food Veggie (Squash, Green Beans, Carrots, Peas, Sweet Potatos, etc...) in the evening with my milk all throughout. They are both quick and easy to prepare they love it. Go for it! Don't forget to try one food at a time for a week to watch out for allergies.
Anna - posted on 01/03/2010
I've heard it's fine. I tried to start my ODS on food at 4 months, that's what the dr.s were saying to do back then. He spat it all out and didn't really eat food until 6 or 7 months. I'm not in a hurry to give YDS any food. Frankly, I'm too busy/lazy to go to all the work to make food for him, as long as my breastmilk is working fine. If he starts nursing every hour or waking up a lot at night, then I'll try giving him some food.
Larissa - posted on 01/02/2010
I speak with a lactation specialist every few weeks and breast milk has everything they need. Bananas and sweet potatoes (mashed of course) are safe, but they really don't need solids or water.
My baby is in the 90% percentile and looks like an 8 month old baby. He is in perfect health.
Kate - posted on 12/28/2009
I think it's fine, depending on the baby, and that the babies are good at letting their parents know what they're ready for. My daughter wanted nothing but her mama milk until 7-8 months, then started really slowly on solids. My son would've started eating solids at 3 months, I bet, if I had offered - but I held off until 4 1/2 or so, because he was healthy/gaining and happy, and I really believe in the health boosting properties of breastmilk. I think starting slow is a great idea, and will be a fun adventure for your little girl! Good luck!
I have to go back to work soon, so breastfeeding exclusively is not an option for me. Also, I found that my son grew very irritated the last weeks, and fed almost every hour. I started him on some cereal and he is SO much happier. He still breastfeeds at least 6-8 times a day, but the cereal is definitely a must for him.
I would say its up to you on when u want to start them on food. My son, Gunner, born on June 5 is still nursing as well as eating baby foods. He was wanting to eat more often so I started him on food and he loves its. He eats fruit, veggies, and baby meat. He is very healthy...weighs 20 lbs and 29 in long but not fat just big and strong boy!! So again its up to you but do research before you make you decision. =)
Jill - posted on 12/26/2009
My baby is 6 months old and I'm planning to nurse for the first year. At my last pediatrician appt. he said as long as Gavin is gaining weight, nursing exclusively is fine. However if I wanted to start feeding him cereal, veggies, and fruit I could. The babysitter does feed him some during the day but I really don't when he's with me. He's plenty plump and thriving. I'd say as long as your baby is thriving, go for the nursing!
Rene - posted on 12/26/2009
oh wow. thanks for that Elanor. it means the world to hear this, yesterday a friend of mine's mom said that the older generation people used to start their 6 week old babies on solids, i was horified. a baby doesnt have the proper digestive 'skils' yet to digest milk even properly if i look at how my oldest bottle fed babies fared. my youngest and third of my brood is only on breastmilk. i have given her some smooshy pumpkin today and she liked it but then didnt want anything more but her boob. thanks again for the comment.
Elanor - posted on 12/26/2009
YES YES YES! Although, I would try to offer baby some finger foods. Also get a book called Baby led Weaning by Gill Rapley - it is FAB. My 2nd son is 6 months old and we have just started Baby Led Weaning - it's brill (No purees).
Between 6-8 months a baby gets 97% of it's calorific intake from breastmilk, between 9-11 months it gets 93% of it's calorific intake from breastmilk. So you can see that we are as a society obsessed by weaning them too young. My friend is a pedeatric nurse, she sees many poorly babies, simply because the have been given solid foods too young.
Most Baby Led weaned babies don't really start 'eating' until about 8-9 months. My son has just started swallowing (but I don't really think he's digesting yet) You are doing a fab job - I highly recommend the book too, it's a mine of information.
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