When is the right age to start a baby on food, water and/ or juice? My baby is 20 weeks old.

Bethany - posted on 11/17/2009 ( 107 moms have responded )

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My baby is 20 weeks old and just seems to need so much more to eat. She eats more then what she should be (I'm breastfeeding, although she does get formula once in a while), she can sit up with assistance, she mouths when she sees me eat, puts everything in her mouth, and can hold toys and even pass them between hands. However the doctors and wic say no food or cereal until 6 months. I, however, started giving her some cereal a week ago and just now started adding a bit of baby food to it. I was wondering what other mom did...

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Christina - posted on 11/18/2009

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Reading over the replies I, as both an expectant mother and a child development specialist, am utterly shocked about how misinformed many mothers are. For a child to develop appropriately they need to be breastfed for as long as possible. That is the BEST THING IN THE WORLD for a child. Also, for a baby at the age of 20 weeks, they are NOT capable of handling solid foods. Wait until 6 months, like your pediatrician said, to introduce solid foods. There is a reason they have a degree in pediatric medicine and you don't. If you don't feel like your baby is getting enough to eat, talk to a lactation consultant, there may be something off in that department. And if you're too lazy to get up a breast feed throughout the night, pump and store. That way you just have to grab a bottle. Babies shouldn't be expected to sleep throughout the night like an older child.

Joanne - posted on 03/11/2013

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My daughter is 20 weeks old and I started her on baby rice at 8 weeks old. She's now having three meals a day plus yoghurts although her milk intake us little at the moment. You do what you think is best yoy know your own child. My health visitor was fine with it she was older and was told to do that with her children. I have two other happy healthy girls at ten and six and it didn't harm them. And I would dread meeting christina lol a child development specialist who calls mums who dnt breastfeed lazy. Professional.

[deleted account]

Bethany what do you mean by "She eats more than what she should be"? Babies go through a growth spurt at around 20 weeks when they feed much more frequently, this might be why your baby is eating a lot. Please don't start your baby on solids before 6 months unless it has been recommended by your paediatrician for a specific condition such as reflux. There is no discernable benefit, and some very well researched risks.

Hope this helps.

Laura - posted on 11/20/2009

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I breastfed all 4 of my kids. Breastmilk is all that they NEED to have until about one year old. IF you start foods before they are ready, it will mess with their digestive system. None of my children ever had baby formula, baby ceral, or baby food. They went straight to table food. A little at a time. They sat at the table & I would place a couple of green beans on their tray or offer a spoonful of gravy, etc. Here & there, a little at a time. Young (new) mothers, PLEASE, for the sake of their digestive & immune system, be patient & do not rush things. Breastfed babies are a little more demanding but it is well worth it. I also have children that I did not birth & were bottle fed plus I have babysat most of the infants in our family. Breastfed is best, more demanding but well worth it. My kid's cousins all had breathing & digestive issues. etc. My kids never even had a cold until about 2 years old. And never had bowel issues or the other health problems of the family. My oldest breastfed baby is 17, my youngest breatfed baby is 11. Hope that helps.

Dawn - posted on 11/17/2009

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Your bf'ing and that is *all* your baby needs right now. Mouthing etc is your babies way of getting ready and a completely natural stage. 4 months is too soon to feed a baby solids the World Health Organisation (WHO) state your baby should be 6 months before introducing solids and here's why:



Your babies digestive system is not able to cope with solids at this stage.



Kramer and Kakuma in 2002 conducted 16 studies in (0 in developed and 7 in developing countries) they found that delaying solids to 6 months had no effect on growth.



Kramer in 2000 found that delaying solids for bf'ing babies had no significant growth difference.



Your babies iron reserves after 6 months are depleted but the iron in your breast milk is more bio-available and will be fully absorbed.



Feeding your child wheat and other foods before 6 months increases the risk of them being intolerant to and or allergic to the foods given.



The best time to wean your baby is when they start to reach for food themselves. This shows that your baby is ready to be weaned and can happen before 6 months (although usually at 6 months or just after).



There is no evidence - and there have been a LOT of studies - to support giving your child solids will help them sleep.



Can I suggest you try baby led weaning? This doesn't work for everyone but it is really working for us - I bf'd as well. It cuts out the puree stage and goes straight to eating the food you eat. I've included some web sites for you to have a look at. It makes sense to me - how do women in developing countries mush food? How did people mush food before electricity etc.? They don't and didn't!



http://babyledweaning.com/

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/baby/startin...

http://www.baby-led.com/ the book is very good btw and makes absolute sense to my ymmv

http://www.babyworld.co.uk/information/b...

http://www.babybanana.biz/



Please note these are all risks not absolutes, it's your decision in the end when to feed your child solids, what solids to feed and what risks you feel comfortable taking. IMO you need to make this decision based on facts - not what other mothers are doing.



Should you decide to go baby led (BLW) give me a shout we'll swap notes;)



Hope everything works out for you, in the end as long as your baby is happy and healthy that's all that matters.



dxx

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Angela - posted on 11/23/2009

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hi bethany im a mum of three boys 12, 9,and 7. i started all of them on baby rice at 12 weeks all had the taste of boiled water from when they were born and the oldest 2 had juice before they were 6months needless to say they have a sweet tooth my youngest got nothing other than pureed veg and very rarley got anything sweet before he was 12months. and he is the only one who will pass up a bar of chocolate and take a piece of fruit instead. they were all ready for their solids at that stage but i also took them of powdered milk at 5 months and put them on shop bought milk after that and they happy to take it. i listened to alot of older womens advice who told us we were brought up on unpasturised no additives milk. so i couldnt see anything wrong on giving them it so young.

Michelle - posted on 11/22/2009

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I would mix about a tablespoon or cereal in a 4oz bottle of formula. Its a little thicker so I used a higher flow or Y-cut nibbles(super fast good when thicker mix)

This seemed to be enough to keep her belly full a lot longer... She was about 3mos and if she woke up fussy I found that the gas drops solved the problem!

Tami Lynn - posted on 11/21/2009

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I started my son on baby cereal at about 5wks. I know the dr say not to start til they are older, but if they are hungry, you have keep them happy. :-) The formula wasn't enough for my baby and he is getting cereal once in the evening, sometimes in the morning depending on how hungry he is. And it's only about a tablespoon or so. (just enough to fill his belly)

Pam - posted on 11/21/2009

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I feed my son rice cereal at 5 months. I just added more milk/water to it so it was a little runny and he ate it. Introduce things slowly and you can gradually make the rice cereal thicker too. Sweet potato, prunes (good source of iron), apple sauce were all a big hit. Make sure you wait 3 days before introducing another new food in case your baby is allergic to anything. A friend of mine's baby hated infant cereal so she sprinkled a little cinnamon on it and he ate it. He was 4 months old Good luck.

[deleted account]

I have been told, by many mothers, about baby rice. Some, with the Health Advisor's support do suggest this if you feel that your baby is constantly hungry. You are able to give baby rice from 4 months old, some parents have been known to give it earlier. All babies are different and so they require different things.
If your baby is hungry feed her.

Jaclyn - posted on 11/21/2009

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I think it depends. According to my daughters ped 4 months is good to start on rice cereal and fruits. But everyone tells me 7 months is better because food takes away from them nursing and that is the best for them. A natural doctor I met said to wait as well since nursing is the best. I am torn because my little one refuses a bottle and she wants to be there for comfort. I might try cereal to try and keep her from wanting the comfort in the night but we'll see. I have to go back Jan 4 so I have to do something. But nursing is the best so that should remain as the primary form of food.

Ja'Ronda - posted on 11/21/2009

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I breastfed my baby as well, I started him in cereal at 4 months I believe. It's nothing wrong with that. Your baby is five months old, she's going to need more than milk now. The Dr. can't tell you when your baby is hungry, so listen to her & keep doing what you're doing! :)

Oh yeah, my baby started drinking juice out of a sippy cup around 6 months. He already had about 6 teeth so we were preparing for the transition early. He's still on the bottle but he is used to his cup.

Jenny - posted on 11/21/2009

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Hi Bethany the answer to ur question is YES u can i have had six children adn i got 5 grandkids hun and i know form personal experience that if ur child is hungry all the time then u n its time to give them more just do a bit at a time and she will gradually want more i can promise u that it wont halm her it will do her good to staart eating solids

Lane - posted on 11/20/2009

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I started feeding my daughter baby food when she was 4 months old she eats like a horse! Also her dr told me to start her on juice in a sippie cup at 6 months old. Hope this helps.

Rachel - posted on 11/20/2009

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I listened more to the cues that my daughter was ready for it. I gave her plain rice cereal with my milk at first (she was about 4 and a half months) because she just stared when people would eat around her, she would sit up when lightly supported, she had more than doubled her birth weight and was drinking way too much formula. It really made things easier all around and we're all happier now for it. YOU know your baby better than anyone =-) Best of luck to you.

Melissa - posted on 11/20/2009

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My nephew was the same way, and my sister put oatmeal or rice cereal in his bottle. Just enough to give the extra something that filled him up. I know that about 6 months she introduced stage one fruits and some cereal to him.

Amy - posted on 11/20/2009

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Hi, my baby is 20 weeks today and sounds exactly the same as ur baby. I started her on baby rice every nyt the feed before her last bottle and she has been on that for 1 week and a half, next weknd i ill start her dy by giving her porridge and the a jar of food at night. The health visitor also sed I started too early but my baby was eating way too much and all he signs were there.
The only thing I won't give her until she is on 3 meals a day is juice, I do give her water between feds only if she needs it though as at the moment she is still feeding every 3 hours.
I hope this helps.
Amy

Chasity - posted on 11/20/2009

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Well i had the wiseness of my mother in law, then. she actually started my baby on cereal when she was only 2 months! call me crazy but my baby seemed fuller and more satisfied with it. it eventually lead to her getting off her bottle at like 6-7months.and then on to gerber graduates. so i say go with you gut instinct you know your baby better than anybody else.

Haley - posted on 11/20/2009

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wait about another months but if shes gumming things then maybe start he out with sum mashed potatoes very little bites but she still needs tha formula a lot of it

Jennifer - posted on 11/20/2009

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Quoting Bethany:

When is the right age to start a baby on food, water and/ or juice? My baby is 20 weeks old.

My baby is 20 weeks old and just seems to need so much more to eat. She eats more then what she should be (I'm breastfeeding, although she does get formula once in a while), she can sit up with assistance, she mouths when she sees me eat, puts everything in her mouth, and can hold toys and even pass them between hands. However the doctors and wic say no food or cereal until 6 months. I, however, started giving her some cereal a week ago and just now started adding a bit of baby food to it. I was wondering what other mom did...



With my first I stuck to the books and what doctors said. But with my second I was more relaxed. My son was 5 months old and I gave him the baby oatmeal cereal. Also I then started him on babyfood. Just make sure you try and wait at least 3-5 days between introducing new foods. But the eay I look at it. There wasn't this strict way of dealing with food alergies when we were all babys. Just gotta go with your instincts. You know your baby better than the doctors and WIC. They only see them once a month if that. They only know what they have learned in school. Hope that came out the right way. And that it was helpful. Have a blessed day. :)

Shallon - posted on 11/20/2009

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What most doctors don't tell you, is that they don't want you to start baby food too early, because you don't need to give your baby solids instead of formula. A little baby food in between bottles is fine, but not instead of. Until your baby is 6months, they need the extra calories in formula, that baby food doesn't have. As long as your baby is still getting at leasat 30 oz of formula or breastmilk every day in addition to the food, then you are ok.

Erica - posted on 11/20/2009

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The right age is when your baby "tells" you she is ready for food. At one month old, my brother couldn't stay full on just a bottle, so my mother began to give him cereal. My son began to eat cereal at 12 weeks, and quickly took to stage 1 foods. He slept better during the night, and kept me a happy mommy because his tummy was full.

[deleted account]

i also started my son at 4 months, i started with the baby cereal mixed with breastmilk, i only breastfeed, then moved into baby food in jars or pureed my own, by the time he was 61/2 months old he was eating 3 meals a day, plus snacks and nursing i had to switch to formula by then cus he start to wake more often than usual (alot more often) then switch to formula and he slept more to his normal schedule, alot of people weere surprised that i started so early but i don't think its a problem (he was eating dinner with us by 6- 7 months), keep your eye on the child and introduce new foods slowly, like every 3-5 days, just in case there is an alllergy, so that way you know what foods the child had and which ones he would be allergic to if an allergy was to develop. i can't remember which foods to avoid till they are one, but you can talk to a doc or research yourself, cus i do know that certain foods that have higher chance of developing an allergy, here is one link to foods to avoid for babies
http://www.easybabylife.com/foods-to-avo...

Jamie - posted on 11/19/2009

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I started both my kids on baby food mixed with formula when they were about a month old. They were taking 4 ounces every three hours. They did fine with it and slept through the night before 6 weeks. My doctor was fine with it.

Allisia - posted on 11/19/2009

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It's notrecommended because want to reduce the % allergy reaction and also thebaby gut systemnot yet grown perfectly. Yes, you can start early but it's a burden for the baby digestive system. So better start at 6 mths. Just 1 more mth only,it's the best to ur baby.

Christine - posted on 11/19/2009

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your baby should be eating and drinking that by now.. 4-6 months is when you introduce them to rice cereal, baby food such as sweet potato, green beans, etc... more of water then juice.. I would do half and half if you give her juice....

Cat - posted on 11/19/2009

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Dont listen to the doctors your child is hungry, my son is 1yr 8months was spoon fed at 8wks and on extra hungry formula milk, i had to stop breastfeedin as he was starving, mashed up rusks in her milk, cerals and wheatabix things like that. If i listened to the doctors i wouldnt have had a nights sleep until he was six months old, do what you feel is right shes your child.



Putting her on baby food is the easiest way to monitor how much she is eating, just aslong as she is getting plenty of fluids.

Amanda - posted on 11/19/2009

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My son is almost three months old and strickly breastfed. I am also debating when to start giving him something a little more solid. I was told to start giving him food when he was 4-6 months, but his dad thinks he could start having cereal now. I think I have decided to start him on cereal when he is three to three and a half months. With all the signs your daughter is showing it sounds like she is definently ready.

AUDREY - posted on 11/19/2009

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I started around 5months a lillte at a time. i started with cereal in her bottle at night. then a small jar of friut. and water 4 oz every other day.

Bethany - posted on 11/19/2009

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Another thing I wanted to add is that when I have my baby on my lap or near me, she will reach into my dish and try to steal some of my food. I've had to stop her a few times. Now i know not to have her on my lap while I eat. Also I really think there is something to be said about a mother knows best. My own doctor told me that and said that call being a doctor "practicing medicine" for a reason. They do have a lot more information then us, but they mother will always know their child better then the doctor does. My baby got a viral infection at 7 weeks old and the doctors kept saying their was nothing wrong. I finally went to the ER and refused to leave and I saved her life. Always listen to your gut, you will know if something isn't right.

Samantha - posted on 11/19/2009

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My doctor recommended absolutely no foods including cereal before 5 months. Anytime after that it is okay to start with 2-3 weeks of rice cereal followed by introducting a vegetable every 3-5 days and then fruits 3-5 days apart. My daugher turns 5 months tomorrow and is breastfed. She is beginning to show interest in food (staring at us while we eat, reaching for food, and mouthing everything), but I haven't decided when I will introduce her to the cereal because she is doing fine on just breast milk for now.
.
I believe every child is different and there is no set rule. My suggestion is to talk to your doctor and breastfeed if possible for as long as you and your baby can.

Lexy - posted on 11/19/2009

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I was told that the minimum age we could give them solids is 17 weeks... but they prefer you to wait until 6 months if you can... =)

Michele - posted on 11/19/2009

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okay, so this is what my doctor told me when my son was a baby (he's now 17), he had an irregular reflux but the doctor said it was the same advise he gave every new mother.
If the child can eat it off the spoon give it to them. If you have to put the food in a bottle don't. My son ate the mess out of cereal at 3 weeks old!!! My daughter didn't eat food until she was almost 6 mos old.

Cassi - posted on 11/19/2009

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Generally people start feeding their babies food around 4-6 months. Some say that you should wait until your child gets its first tooth as that is a sign from nature that they are able to digest food. My first son was feed around 6 months and my second son not until he was about 8 months. Each child is different. Breast feeding is great and if they are constantly eating that is ok. Just use your best judgment. The reason they ask you to wait until 4-6 months is because babies digestive systems are still developing. I would ask your pediatrician. You can try some food but if he/she seems to have difficulty then stop and wait another month before trying it again. And if you do feed your baby food only do rice cereal mixed with breast milk. If you feed them other foods too early they may develop allergies.

Kelly - posted on 11/19/2009

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Hi Bethany my oldest daughter who is 10 now was always hungry so by the time she was 6 mths old she was off the formula & on to solids like mashed potatoes & broccoli or cheese. It really filled her up and I had no problems at all. I also did the same thing with my 7 year old I wouldn't take any notice of doctors their just going by a book your the mum so believe me you'll know whats right to give your baby and at what age. Good luck.

Leanna - posted on 11/19/2009

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Mothers intuition is not always best. Doctors tell us things because it has been researched. Far too often we decide that we want to go with the group and do as they do. But your childs health is far more important then listening to your mother, sister, neighbor etc... Just because someone else did it and it was fine does not guarantee the same results for you.
The response to your child needing more to eat should be to breast feed your child more, not feed them something else. Please consult with your doctor, not us, if you do not trust what your doctor says find a new one. That is what they are there for!
It is great that there is a forum for us to use to bounce ideas and questions around, but it is opinion and hopefully your doctor is working off from something a little bit more sure then opinion.

Sara - posted on 11/19/2009

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Quoting Christina:

Reading over the replies I, as both an expectant mother and a child development specialist, am utterly shocked about how misinformed many mothers are. For a child to develop appropriately they need to be breastfed for as long as possible. That is the BEST THING IN THE WORLD for a child. Also, for a baby at the age of 20 weeks, they are NOT capable of handling solid foods. Wait until 6 months, like your pediatrician said, to introduce solid foods. There is a reason they have a degree in pediatric medicine and you don't. If you don't feel like your baby is getting enough to eat, talk to a lactation consultant, there may be something off in that department. And if you're too lazy to get up a breast feed throughout the night, pump and store. That way you just have to grab a bottle. Babies shouldn't be expected to sleep throughout the night like an older child.


Such a professional response.  I certainly hope you don't treat your clients with that attitude.



 



The AAP's recommendation is to introduce solids between 4 and 6 months based upon if your child is showing signs of being ready, such as the loss of the tongue-pushing reflex.  All babies are different, and that's why this is a guideline.  But hey, what does the AAP know?

Esther - posted on 11/19/2009

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Solids at 6 months, water at around 1 year and juice .... there is really no good reason for juice other than it tastes good so I would give juice as late as you can. It's just sugar water really.

Corrie - posted on 11/19/2009

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In order to minimize allergies, we are starting our son on rice cereal at 7 months, although I haven't had enough milk for all his feedings, and we needed to supplement one feeding with formula. I know of several moms who started their baby on solids much earlier, and their little ones have a lot of allergies.

Dawn - posted on 11/19/2009

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The level of information on here about breastmilk has worried me.

Breastmilk changes it's composition to meet your babies needs - regardless of your location. If your baby is dehydrated breastmilk will be come more watery, if your baby requires more nutrition your breastmilk will alter to meet those needs to. Breastmilk is an awesome food for your child.

Exclusively breastfed babies regardless of your location do not require water because of this. If you need the studies in India etc. to back this up I can find you links - may take a while as they are on my laptop.

As for not 'having enough milk' this is another falicy, after milk comes in feeding your baby by breast is like having a restaurant booking and an all you can eat buffet at the same time. When your baby settles into an eating pattern your boobs know this and will deliver accordingly, should your baby require food outside of this pattern your breasts actually produce milk for your baby whilst they are feeding.

Please, take note of the facts that have been quoted to you and do some of your own research before making any decisions. That way you can make the best informed decision you can make for your baby.

Cluster feeding isn't unusual regardless of breast or formula feeds. 20 weeks does have a growth spurt.

Nakita - posted on 11/18/2009

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i started my daugter on baby food at 3mos. she was on cerel for a month before that. If you baby is giving you signs they need more then just the milk then go for it! Wic and the dr said the same thing a first but shes so much happy and alert now its amazing. Just make sure you sick with one food at a time for awhile do no less then a week and watch when there eating if they move the food around with there toung thats a huge sign if there ready! another hint is stick with veggies first and dont let them have very many bottles or they will start to preferr the bottle to the breast and once that happens its hard to get them back to the breast. but give them half the container of the first foods then milk and just use you best judgement.. mother ALWAYS knows best.. even my husband was against feeding her and she was ready... another thing check there gums if it feels like they could be teething (screw what the experts say my daughters been teething for a month now at 21 weeks)...

Aisa - posted on 11/18/2009

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i started my son on water at 3 days, because i live in the tropics my milk wasn't enough to keep him hydrated, as with solids my son has been very interested in food since he was just short of 2 months he has tried some soups and juices from a strifry and wanted more, he is currently 10 weeks and i will be starting him on rice porridge in 2 weeks time. Dr's go with the text book, but i think as a mother you know when your child is ready, reading this it sounds like she is ready to try solids.

Lavena - posted on 11/18/2009

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What they mean by that is, no fruit, veg, meats, etc. You are supposed to start feeding your little one just a little bit of rice cereal at 4 mo. unless otherwise noted by the doctor. Plus mothers intuiton always trumps what the docotor says!

Lavena - posted on 11/18/2009

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I started both of my kids on solids at 3 mo. Just a little bit of very watery rice cereal once a day (preferably in the morning) will get your little peanut used to eating and it's not too much of a shock on her digestive system. Oh yeah, make sure you use breast milk or formula to make the cereal.

Dana - posted on 11/18/2009

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They recommend waiting until 6 months because it's easier on your child to digest and less likely for them to have allergies. After many years of obesity, digestion issues and allergies, I wonder why so many people still question what doctors say is best....

Leanna - posted on 11/18/2009

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A breastfeeding baby will go through eating spurts..also called cluster feeding. With the cluster feeds they are trying to boost the amount of milk you make because they will be going through a growth spurt. If you are feeding solids (that their digestion is not developed for) then they will not be hungry enough to breast feed and boost your supply. I say stick with the breast feeding because in the end it is something that you can look back on and think that you did the best for your child's health. It is easy on their system and tailor made just for them.
I hope this helps and good luck.

Kylie - posted on 11/18/2009

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Evry child is different, my son was feeding evry 2hrs exclusively breastmilk, i spoke to other mums and my doc wen he was 2.5 mths, my doc suggested rice cereal for 4mth olds 1/day at night to help him sleep. Im not sure if u know a brand called Heinz, they have a rice cereal for 4mth olds, if ur not sure talk to ur doc. i had regular c/u wiv my doc for the 1st few weeks of startin food to make sure there were no problems 4 my son, he thrived and my doc was quite happy 4 me to continue with this. 2.5 mths is really early to start i no, ur girl is 4-5 mths old so she is at the startin point of food intro, If u feel this is wat u want to do, do it, if u notice any reactions or differences see a doc. GL with it

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Breastmilk is the healthiest option. All other foods, solids and formula, are second rate. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months for a reason. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for 2 years actually. Sure, you can feed your baby other stuff, but your body was made to produce milk for your baby. Don't underestimate the power of your body. I am a chiropractor and very interested in holistic nutrition and pediatric health and have done TONS of research in this area. They have found stem cells in breastmilk!!! There are so many things in breastmilk that you wouldn't even believe. Give your baby the best start to life!

Casi - posted on 11/18/2009

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i did the same thing with my son when he was 4 months old. he's 14 months old now and hasn't had any problems from eating early. just try to stick to the cereals for a while. if you do mix anything in with it you're suposed to feed them that same thing for a few days to determine if she's allergic to it. as far as water i wouldnt start that yet. juice is okay occasionly but i always deluted it a lot. i totally know what you're going through though. hope this helps.

[deleted account]

Hi, follow your instincts because they are normally right when it comes to starting your baby on solids and my Paediatrician said that anytime from 4 months of age is fine even though breastmilk is all they need until 6 months of age. However if your baby is developing quickly like mine has, I started mine on Farex (rice cereal) mixed with expressed breastmilk until six months of age. You can change the texture and consistency of it if she wants a new challenge and even add some pureed pear or apple but I'd be hesitant to do any more than that prior to six months. Giving cooled boiled water is fine too but breastmilk is still the best and demand feeding is normal at that age. Hope this helps, Sue :)

Bethany - posted on 11/18/2009

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Thanks Helen, That makes sense. My husband is in the military and I live away from family so it's not like I can just get help a lot. I like the idea of not giving her juice yet. I don't want her to refuse water. I have the same plan with cookies:) Hold out as long as possible.

Helen - posted on 11/18/2009

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Hi, my daughter was on the 95th centile too and had a growth spurt just after she was 4 months old. We tried weaning but she rejected all food and just wanted more milk, so we just gave her more formula (I was unable to breastfed beyond 3 months due to my health problems). We waited until she was 6 months old and then tried baby led weaning (as suggested by Dawn earlier). It worked great with her (she's now 3) and has been fantastic with my son too (now 9 months). He sits in his highchair and picks what he wants to eat - some days it's all fruit, other days meat with some carbs but it all balances out over time and he is regulating what he eat (same as with breastfeeding where your baby chooses when to feed and when to stop).
As for the water, we started offering water as soon as we gave any solid food (no matter how runny or liquid). Your baby will drink only what she wants and the water won't displace the breastmilk. Please don't give your baby juice until you have to (i.e. when they realise there's more to lief than water!). Our daughter still only drinks water and milk at age 3 1/2 and our dentist says to keep it that way as long as we can. She eats plenty of fruit and I'm told eating the whole fruit is nutritionally better than the juice as well as protecting her teeth.
BTW, I was very lucky and both of my children slept through from about 3-4 months old, prior to any weaning.
I'm sure it's exhausting for you feeding so often but if you can persevere just another few weeks, then please try and do so. Can your partner or family/friends help with the baby during the day so you can rest, as that is very important in maintaining good milk production? Or can you express a bottle so that someone else does some of the night feeding so you get a block of a few hours sleep at night? According to the World Health Organisation (and lots of research) exclusive breastfeeding to 6 months will protect your child from the risk of allergies (not that they will have allergies if you don't, but the statistical risk is increased).
Notwithstanding all of the above, she is your child and you must decide what is right for her and for you.
Good luck

Kimber - posted on 11/18/2009

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Personally I would not feed my babies anything before 6 months -- that is the earliest. I actually wait even longer for my kids. It's not worth the risk. According to all of the research out there, if their digestive systems is not ready, you could cause digestive issues for the rest of their life.

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