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Thread: Breastfeeding question :)
August 26th, 2013 02:46 PM #6Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
On the solids question: My understanding is that you don't want to introduce solids earlier than six months, b.c their little digestive systems are not ready yet. However, sometimes babies will need to start earlier b.c they are having trouble gaining weight. I have a couple of friends whose babies had to start solids at four months b.c they weren't gaining weight.
But generally, the child needs to be six months old AND showing signs of readiness for solids- able to sit up, able to grab food and put it in his mouth, interest in food, etc. So if you have a six month old who can't do those things yet, he probably isn't ready for food yet.
But you don't want to put off introductions solids for too long b.c babies can develop an oral aversion and then refuse to eat solids. This happened with one of my nephews- his mom EBF'd w. no solids till he was a year (not under a doctor's supervision or anything- it was not a good idea at all) They actually had to take him to a feeding therapist and then he would only eat stage one purees for a long time and he is still quite underweight.
There can actually be good reason to do that- doctors will occasionally recommend exclusive breastfeeding no solids for a year in order to deal with specific health issues. But I wouldn't just do it unless you had a compelling reason to. Solids are really important. And it is really fun to give a baby food for the first time!
We just gave our son bits of our regular table food- not puréed or anything. We started at six months. You don't actually have to introduce just one food a week, only if you have allergies in your family. The only food we were told to not give our son was honey for the first year. And you should limit salt. We just add salt after cooking our food so that his can be salt-free. Everything else is fine. We never spoon-fed him either, just let him feed himself from the beginning. At first, the baby is not really relying on the food for nutrition b.c he is still getting everything he needs from milk. I guess we did Baby Led Weaning, but we never read the book or anything. We just fed our son the way that our parents fed us.
Many of my breastfeeding mom friends continued nursing until the child lost interest. A lot of times, this happened when the mom got pregnant again. Apparently, this can change the taste of your milk. Also toddlers just get busy and aren't always interested in staying still long enough to nurse. Many of the older toddlers (18 months and older) that I know nurse only at night before bedtime or if they need comfort. It's not an all day long thing and your supply adjusts accordingly.
You also really don't have to decide now how long your child will nurse. You can just take things a day at a time. A lot will depend on his disposition and how much you end up really enjoying nursing and so on.
I would caution you against nursing your baby to sleep- this is really bad for their teeth. Toddlers are very susceptible to nursing caries. I know that some breastfeeding advocates say that breastmilk will not rot teeth, but I also know that our pediatric dentist sees a LOT of toddlers with cavities who are breastfed to sleep. It is really important to brush their teeth after they nurse before bed.
August 26th, 2013 04:22 PM #8Senior Member
- Join Date
- Apr 2013
I originally planned to nurse my baby until 1 at least, barring needing medication. I haven't had to go on meds, but breastfeeding is HARD. We're not exclusively bf-ing and I'm not sure we ever will be . Right now I'm hoping we can make it to 6 months - which is when we'll start solidsLillian Elizabeth 6.16.13
August 26th, 2013 04:35 PM #10
Most people I know (myself included) started giving their babies solid foods somewhere between 4-6 months. Six months is usually the recommended age but each baby is different and some are just ready for solids earlier than others. Anyway, even when you start your baby on solids, you still have to breastfeed or give them formula. Your doctor should be able to advise you on when you can stop breastfeeding completely. My daughter is seven months old and right now and she has solids three times a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and breastfeeds/has bottles inbetween (I've never been able to produce enough breastmilk, so we've always supplemented with formula).
August 26th, 2013 05:36 PM #12
I didn't completely read everyone else's responses, so I apologise if I'm repeating a lot that's been said. Here's my take on it (as a first time mom whose baby is now over a year...I breastfed her for 14 months, she literally just weaned the other day)...
It's a bad bad BAD idea to introduce solids too soon...but from spending time on BabyCenter and other forums like that, I've come to realise many people misinterpret what that really means. Research has shown that introducing any foods besides breast milk or formula before 4 months of age can be detrimental. Most pediatricians recommend waiting until 6 months. Sometimes well-meaning moms and grandmas will tell you to start feeding cereal earlier (or worse, put it in the baby's bottle!) to help them stay fuller and sleep longer at night. There is no evidence that this works and it's just not a good idea. They could choke. They're digestive system isn't mature enough yet. Lots of reasons.
On the other hand, a lot of super-duper-pro-breastfeeding moms on BabyCenter will use this phrase: "food before 1 is just for fun". It's totally true, but I have a problem with it. Here's the problem: they think it means you don't need to offer your baby their 1st bite of food before the age of 1...that is not true! It is "just for fun", meaning it's not the baby's main source of nutrition and it's okay if they spit it out, refuse it, squish it, throw it on the floor, whatever. But you absolutely should offer food, real food, in some form around 6-9 months of age. It's a learning experience your child needs to have. It takes time for them to learn to move the food in their mouth, chew, get used to the textures and flavors of different foods, etc. Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, you won't be reducing the amount of breast milk or formula they get. The food will be in addition to approximately 25 oz of milk. There were a number of women in my birth group on BabyCenter who whole-heartedly bought into the "breast milk is all a baby needs" thing and their babies ended up underweight or anemic (breast milk doesn't contain any iron, but babies are born with stores of iron that last until around 6 months - that's why cereals are usually given as first foods, because they're fortified with iron) or just extremely picky and rejecting all foods. It's very stressful to them now that they're baby is supposed to be eating food and isn't as open to the idea as they may have been months ago. They have a lot of guilt.
As far as when to wean, that's totally up to you (and your baby, as I've found out). I decided to start weaning her off the daytime feedings because I'm going back to work this school year and don't want to have to pump at school (it's damn near impossible anyway with my job - there is no time). Anyway, I was planning on keeping the before-bed and wake-up nursing sessions until she was 2, but the other day I offered and she kept pulling my shirt back down...so, we're done. It was a little sad for me, but she just doesn't need it anymore. To wean her, I just stated offering her cows milk in a sippy cup during the day so she wouldn't be hungry for "mommy milk". She used to nurse before naptime, so I changed up our routine and fed her a snack and then read her a story before her nap. Since she wasn't taking as much milk when I did nurse her, my supply gradually went down to the point where she just didn't bother asking for it anymore. I know some women do it faster and sometimes struggle with engourgment while weaning, but it happened so gradually with us I was never uncomfortable.
If you have any other questions or want me to clarify anything I've said, feel free to send me a message. I'd love to help anyway I can. I'm super-duper-pro-breastfeeding, too, I'm just realistic about it.Mommy to...Maura Lucille and Patrick Donley (coming soon!)
If we have another...
Seamus Arthur or Brigid Ellen
August 26th, 2013 06:11 PM #14
Congratulations on your pregnancy!
I'm expecting my 5th and I've breastfed all of them so far. The FIRST thing to know about nursing is...when you read all that stuff about when/how/blahblahblah about introducing solids, smile nicely, file it somewhere in the back of your mind, and don't go insane trying to read it all.
Basically, your baby's doctor will be able to advise you best on when the time is right for YOUR child (which will certainly not be before 4 months). Also, your child will let you know when he/she really WANTS the Big Person Food. Before that time it's just a big mess (and yes potentially dangerous), and after they have decided they are ready, good luck keeping them from attacking your spoon every time they see you eat, haha!
My mom nursed her kids until they were 2 1/2 or older, so I was totally expecting to do the same, but I've only been able to keep it up until about 14 months with any of mine. With my first, I was only able to nurse through about 10 months; I just couldn't make enough milk for him and he nursed off every spare ounce on my body, until even the pediatrician looked at me and said I needed to supplement with formula and solids. After that I got smart and started making sure to drink plenty of water and eat tons of extra calories, and I've been able to nurse the other kids longer. Until they get all mobile and don't want to sit around with Mommy anymore. :-P
Best wishes! Don't worry. I found all the advice books/sites/articles way more stressful than the actual parenting. When you see your OWN child, and how THAT child is developing, it's a lot easier. Get yourself a really good pediatrician you trust, with nice nurses who can take your (occasionally panicked) phone calls, and you'll be fine! Also if there is a Lactation Nurse/consultant available to help you at the birthing center/hospital, be sure to talk to her and be in touch if you have any questions at all. They are VERY helpful people!Mama to Caspian, Zephan, Eve, Peregrine & Dulcinea