Thursday, November 29, 2007

Starting Solids

A friend just asked for my opinions and advise on starting a baby on solid foods while maintaining a strong nursing relationship. Other friends have asked for the same information in the past, so rather than digging up the links again for the next time, here it is for all posterity:

There are two fantastic websites for such information ( and the La Leche League International) -- both are research based and nursing-supportive, as opposed to the majority of what is in parenting websites, books and magazines. Here are the best links from those sites on the topic:

My best advice is to read these sites and listen to them.

Also, throw away the rice cereal :) -- it's really devoid of real nutrition and is more difficult to digest for a baby just starting to eat solids than vegetables like cooked squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, mashed up bananas, etc. And if you want to give her grains, just give her whole grain cereal like oatmeal or overcooked brown rice. There's really no need for special "baby" foods.

And don't worry about the whole process. Solids in the first year are just for the taste and feel and experience of it, not as a primary means of nutrition. Your milk has everything she needs, so as long as she's getting it several times a day, there's no need to worry that she's not getting enough solids. For example: J went on a solids strike for 3 months when E was born. He was 16 - 19 months old then, and I worried like crazy, but he GAINED weight, all from my milk. Granted, I had more milk at that time because of having a newborn -- but the whole milk system is demand and supply.

You can also just wait until Baby picks up the food by herself. There's no real need to do the strained vegetables/mushy cereal phase of baby feeding. Truly it's a little fun, but mainly messy, and not necessary for their nutritive needs. We did that with E -- she had the tongue thrust reflex until her 8th or 9th month. So, we would try it periodically, but she didn't really start until then. And when she did, it was with gusto!

So, lot's of opinions! :) Really though, I very highly recommend the above links. Always nurse first, and just follow Baby's lead.