Starting Solids and Weaning

Posted by  | Monday, March 22, 2010  at 12:00 AM  
Did you realize that when you begin giving your baby solids this is considered the beginning stages of weaning? That made me sad when I learned this in one of my courses, but I guess it really is true. . . although "weaning" could still be year(s) away!

I first wrote about this topic a little over two years ago. I don't want to recreate the wheel and think the advice I wrote there is still what I'd say today. Since I've been able to breastfeed my children, I've found figuring out when to introduce solids to be challenging (since I wanted their primary nutrition to be breastmilk the first year). With Lydia, I felt pressure from everyone - family back home and friends where we live - to feed her, and feed her early. Even when I started trying to feed her (around 7 1/2 months), though, she never really cared much for it until pretty close to a year. I went back and re-read my advice when I was thinking of starting solids with the boys and then decided to wait a little longer (they just seemed so small!!. . .well, they were, but, little did I know, one was also READY).

I started solids with the boys at 8 1/2 months. The only reason really that I started solids was that they had increased the number of times they were nursing a day from 6 to anywhere between 8-10 each. While I do love nursing, I also vividly remember several occasions where I just felt like a cow. Since by adjusted age they were still under 7 months and they really didn't show other readiness signs, I really didn't think introducing food would solve my problem. But, in stark contrast from Lydia, Luke loved food from the first time the spoon hit his mouth. (James was more like Lydia and it took a couple more months for him to start eating.) The second neat thing happened (in addition to me no longer having to nurse so much) was their growth curve shot straight up. While my boys are small (they are 13 months old and 17.5 pounds for example) they had always followed THEIR growth curve, which is really all that matters. But when I introduced food their chart almost went straight up!

Other advice I had written to myself with Lydia was not to make batches of baby food to freeze. Rather, do simple things I could mash easily and try to give her what we're eating. This was very hard to do with the boys. Pretty early on, they started eating a large quantity. And, James had a gag reflex (this is totally undiagnosed but I do think he had some low muscle tone issues) and his food had to be the consistency of yogurt if he was going to eat it - definitely not as simple as mashing it with a fork. And Luke really liked food this consistency as well. About this time, my brother sent me the most thoughtful gift anyone's ever gotten me - a BEABA Babycook. (I will talk about this more on our featured products week coming up next month.) Suffice it to say, it has made cooking for my boys SO.MUCH.EASIER.

So, here's a couple more links and thoughts. I found this baby food book and have thoroughly enjoyed it: Simply Natural Baby Food by Cathe Olson.

I am, again, SO thankful I gave my children cultured dairy (plain, whole milk yogurt/kefir/buttermilk) early on so they would develop a love for this nutritious food. All of my children love plain yogurt and kefir.

I like Dr. Jack Newman's article on introducing solids although one point he says is just to let your child try whatever is on your plate. Of course, you all know me with nutrition. . . I agree, as long as it's healthy :).

Happy feeding babies!

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