Starting solids: some info I'd like to share...

[deleted account] ( 6 moms have responded )

Disclaimer: I originally wrote this thread for the Breastfeeding Moms board so to all you FFing moms, please don't take offense if I have not mentioned formula. Much of this info can still be useful to you too. I have made this thread on the Young Moms aged 20-30 board too and I've gotta say, it wasn't nearly as well received as it was on the Breastfeeding Moms board! I have a feeling, that sadly, it won't be all that well received here either. So I'm going to ask that if you want to argue, please keep it to yourself. You have likely done something different with your child and they have, "turned out just fine". And I'm sure they have. But it doesn't mean that you need to defend yourself and your decisions because this is not an attack. I just hope that there are some moms out there who will appreciate this information and possibly put some of it to use with their own babies. OK, so now that that has been said, here's the post...

It has come to my attention, through reading the CoM boards, that many moms seem to be somewhat uninformed when it comes to their baby and solid foods. I've been responding to quite a few threads regarding or related to the topic of solids but I figured maybe I could reach a wider range of people if I actually made my own thread. I'm by no means a professional or an expert on the subject but I have done a lot of research and it has become a passion of mine to ensure that my baby is getting the best that I can offer him. I've acquired a good handful of knowledge along the way that I would like to share, and I hope I can bring about some awareness on a few matters.

For starters, I want to talk about the initial introduction to solids. So many times I've heard/read of moms saying that they started their baby on solids at around 3 months because their baby just wasn't being satisfied by breast milk anymore. At around 3 months there is a pretty significant growth spurt that occurs and it causes babies to feed more frequently. There is absolutely no need to introduce solids at this point. In fact, this is actually bad because babies can not get all the nutrients that they need from solid foods at such a young age. Not only can they not properly digest it, but it just plain does not have what they need. Breast milk does though. And by nursing on demand during these times (and always, of course), your milk will naturally increase. Here's a link with a little bit of info on breastfeeding and growth spurts...

A second link I would like to share is this one here...

It talks about delaying solids till 6 months and what the benefits of doing so are.

I would also like to talk about how to introduce solids. I could go into a lot of depth on this topic but I'll try to keep it brief. Popular to contrary belief, it's not absolutely necessary to start with rice cereal, and it's also not absolutely necessary to start with purees.
The main reason people start with rice cereal is because there is a concern that baby is in desperate need of iron. But a healthy, full term baby's iron stores only JUST begin to deplete at around 6 months. So really it's not a huge concern. Especially when you take into consideration how little of the rice cereal (or any other solid for that matter) should be consumed at that age. I should also mention that rice cereal has very little nutritional value otherwise. And it has quite the rep for causing constipation.
Here's a great link that talks about iron and even gives a list of other iron rich foods...

Be sure to browse that whole site too and not just the specific link. It's a goody.

So, you may or may not have heard of baby-led weaning. This is an approach to solids where purees are skipped and solid chunks of fruits, veg, and meat and other whole foods(and by whole foods I mean unprocessed, and unrefined foods) are your baby's first taste of real food (aside from what they've sampled through mommy's milk). By 6 months of age a baby is perfectly capable of picking up chunks of food, putting it in his/her mouth, and learning to chew and swallow...even without teeth! Gums are surprisingly sufficient at mashing up food as long as it's fairly soft to begin with. Purees made sense back in the day when it was common place for people to start their little ones on solids at 2 and 3 months of age. But like I said, it's not really necessary if you wait till 6 months. Here's a link to a site about baby-led weaning...

I also want to talk about nutrition and what is in the food we give to our babies. Again, I could go on and on. My main concern is people being fooled by marketing. You would think that if something has a baby on the package well then it must be good for babies, right?! Not exactly. Next time you're at the grocery store, take a walk through the baby aisle and read some of the ingredient labels. You may be surprised at some of the crap they put in that stuff. I have never bought my son any foods marketed towards babies and there's no reason for anyone to. In almost every case, the food is no better for baby than the adult alternative. Often it's worse. Here's a link I recently read and found interesting, but sadly, not surprising...

And the last thing I want to discuss before my brain begins to fry (hehe) is water, and juice. Parents are often concerned about how much water or juice their little one is drinking once they start solids. But really, they don't need any. The main reason to introduce water when you introduce solids is just for practice and the experience. Just a couple sips a day is fine. They should be getting all the hydration they need from breast milk. Many parents introduce juice at a very young age. Some, in an attempt to convince their little one that they should drink this "stuff" from a cup. But really, why? There is no reason to introduce juice. Even with constipation, there are other avenues that should be explored before trying juice. Some parents argue that juice is giving their babies extra vitamins. But how much of that juice are they really drinking anyways? I would hope that it would be fairly small amounts. And in that case, the amount of vits is very minute. Fruit juice does not compare to whole fruit. Once again, another link...

I'm not saying that juice is the devil. It's by far, not the worst thing you could give your baby. But it's not necessary, so what's the point?

When it comes to feeding my son, I figure, why give him a bunch of crap that he doesn't need? He's still a baby and he's quite content eating what I offer. While I am completely, and entirely in charge of what goes in his belly, I want it to be THE BEST! :)

I hope some of you learned something new from the info I had to share and maybe it will make some people think twice about what they're feeding their babies. Thanks for taking the time to read what I had to say (if you actually even made it all the way through haha). Take care all you mamas!

peace and love,

PS - "food for fun until they're one". I think it's such a wonderful, easy to remember little saying to help all of us moms remember that breast milk should be the primary source of nutrition within the first year. Please try to stick to it and don't rush your babes. They'll be grown up before you know it :)


View replies by

Catherine - posted on 02/17/2010




Katie, thank you so much for that information. I am 43 and have a 13 month old that is still breastfeeding. She did not take solids nor rice cereal. She is not interested in spoons or bottles. She does some solids which she loves. I am her 24 hour cafe. she breastfeeds on demand including through the night. She has yet to be sick or have constipation. I have a 13 year old son that I did not breastfeed due to my job. I am so relieved to know that I am doing fine with her and that she is not abnormal that she does not want to eat from a spoon or bottle. Great information. Thanks so much. I really pray that all new moms give breastfeeding a try. It truly is a gift of love to your child.

Jess - posted on 02/17/2010




Wow... You have done your research !!! It was great to read it and actually realise that what I was doing all along was right ! My daughter hates commercial baby food... so I make all her food. She hates puree's she likes her food thick and chunky, she won't take juice, she hates that too ! So we mashed vegies and a lot of finger foods.... generally whatever I'm eating and her bottles as normal..... my supply dried up at 3 months :( I was rather upset !!!

But thanks for taking the time to write that post. Im not sure why anyone would take offence or how it could cause fights....I'm thinking writing that line "food for fun until they're one" on some paper and putting it up next to my daughters high chair to remind myself its ok if she doesn't eat it all !!!

Lisamarie - posted on 02/17/2010




Hey, I'm a formula feeding mummy, (I didn't take any offence, by the way) Anyway, I think it's great you put this up for new mums (I have 2) and I think it's really down to the health proffesionals not keeping parents well enough informed. I was told to start my 3 yr old daughter on solids at 4 months because she was a hungrier baby and she hated it, everytime I fed he she spat it all out and choked on it! When I asked my health visitor when to start feeding my son solids, she told me six months, so I did, he's seven months now and absolutely loves it.
Although, and don't by any means take this personally, I may not use some of the techniques and advice you give here, I would like to congratulate you on bringing all the new and maybe even second time mummies up to date with this topic. Well done. :)

[deleted account]

Wow! such a great thorough post. With my first baby I was so uncertain about starting solids, at four months he was interested in what was on our plates, and liked to play with the food, but wasnt really interested in taking very much. By 6mths I was starting to feed him solids, but he would end up constipated, so I just dropped the whole lot. Under some criticism from my mum I spoke to LLL mums and they were just so lovely and encouraging of my ability to provide through breastfeeding that I didnt feel the need to start him on any particular routine feeding, so would provide a 'mini' meal of our meals at mealtimes and lots of fruit inbetween. He would choose what he wanted to eat and leave the rest. I remember eating a lot of his left over food and thinking how much I was eating, but it was all good fresh food. By the time he was 1yr old he was still a fairly picky eater by other peoples standard, but what I have seen since is that he now has the ability to eat only what he needs. It was not until he was 2yrs that we diagnosed a diary allergy, and because I continued breastfeeding, he has never missed out on the nutrients he would have, had I started him on dairy milk or soy milk.

Having confidence to trust in your babies ability to regulate themselves by your support through breastfeeding is just the best feeling.

Renae - posted on 01/22/2010




Hi Katie,

Thank you for the info. I'm not in the category of new mum you are targeting (I dont think!! lol) but it was very nice of you to go to the effort to post that information. I am having a look at the links myself as its nice to be well informed.

I know how you feel about continually posting the same things. I have posted the same response about 300 times (I am not exaggerating) on a topic I am very well informed about. I think it would be a good idea for people to be able to easily search for previously asked questions so we are not continually repeating ourselves. But hey, we do it because we want to help, right?

Well done.

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