FAQ - Starting Solid FoodsThese questions and answers are from the GCM message board. Names of children have been removed, and emoticons have not been included. If you see something you have written on here, and you want it to be removed, please email Jeri at email@example.com.
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My son is 9.5 months and still isn't really interested. He nurses very frequently (always has) throughout the day and night. We offer him solids at least twice a day (starting sometime after 6 months). At most, he'll eat maybe a TOTAL of 1.5 jars/per day, and he only likes the jarred foods! He doesn't like any table foods at all, not even mashed banana or sweet potato. He also doesn't do finger foods yet. You can put little Cheerios or other soft finger foods, and he will NOT put them in his mouth, even though he CAN pick them up. If you try to show him by putting them in his mouth for him, he just clamps his mouth shut. His favorite thing to do is to play hockey with the Cheerios and his spoon! The ped said he must just be sensitive to textures. That's not too surprising, considering he's a high-need baby!
Anyway, do you think he'll get more interested the closer he gets to a year, or will he be getting all his nutrition from me until he leaves for college?
A: It's really common for high-need babies to not want solids until they hit fifteen months or later, even. I think they have a more delicate constitution and it's one of God's ways of protecting them from allergies. That's just a theory, though, and unsubstantiated at that! I know it's frustrating, but my son started eating several meals a day around 20 months.
A: Very interesting...my only "needs" child is the only one who didn't start eating well till after his first birthday. He is very small and nursed ALL the time. He is 27 months now and still doesn't digest well at all. We have to be very carefull what he eats 'cause there is just so much that tears him up. Interesting how different "personality" types have different traits...
A: From what I know my son is not a high need baby, but he wasn't real interested in solids until after a year old. He still eats like a bird. This really baffled his ped. too because he wanted me to start my son on solids around 4 months. He ate solids until he learned to clamp his mouth shut, unless "woo bee" was being offered.
Q: Starting Solids, I'm not ready!
Dh thinks that our 5 1/2 month old is ready to start solids! Just because ds has been showing interest in my food on my plate during dinner. I told him this is normal but that I am not really interested in starting ds on solids until spring/summer. I told him that with ds being totally bf that ds will get my antibodies which is great, especially through the winter. My doctor will probably go along with what I am saying, but dh isn't.
Plus to tell you the truth, I am just not ready emotionally to start ds on solids.
~ moomoos mama
A: Well, he'll still get the antibodies, and probably just as much... Most 5.5 months old kids use solids as a two-teaspoon adjunct to their nursing, not as a replacement for a nursing session. I understand not being ready to start on them, though! Maybe you could try telling your dh that the longer you delay solids, the less likely it is that your little one will develop food allergies.
A: Here are a couple websites with some good info...
http://www.geocities.com/jvanlaanen/solids.html [please note: url no longer works]
I know what you mean! My little girl will be seven months old in about a week, and we haven't started solids yet. We're doing so well without them that I hate to ruin the beautiful simplicity of it all.
I think I'll wait at least until the holidays are over to start them. She doesn't seem like she's going through a growth spurt. I didn't even notice a six month growth spurt. She just seems to be nursing a normal amount. Acutally, she often gets distracted during the day while nursing and I admit I'm afraid that she will nurse even less during the day if she starts solids now.
I think I read somewhere that when babies nurse less often, the antibodies become more concentrated.
My suggestion is to give her a spoon to chew on and perhaps consider putting her in a highchair if/when she seems ready.
A: I understand how you feel. My dh was pressuring me to start our son on solids a little early, because he was so completely SURE that he must be starving because he nursed so much. Well, I held out until 6 months, but our son held out until 10 months! He wasn't interested in solids at all until then! Now, at 13.5 months, he really likes solids, but he still prefers nursing.
A: My daughter's over 10 months old and only had a few bits of mama's dinner given to her and that's it. She's still nursing 95% of the time and completely happy and healthy!
Update: We have decided to wait until he can sit up completely by himself and possibly longer than that because I read that teeth coming in show that he can digest different foods. DS doesnt have any teeth coming in yet. I told DH this and so we will wait awhile. I am more comfortable with this.
Yes, I believe that my first son wasn't real interested until about 9 months or so! I guess I shouldn't be so protective but this baby will be our last (planned, anyway) so I want to treasure this time!
~ moomoos mama
Q: He's not eating food!!
Argh. Is this normal? Please tell me it is. First time mom, can ya tell? DS is 15 mos. old. We delayed solids till 8 mos. old and he's never really been interested, especially in spoon-fed baby food, which we made. So we do the finger food thing, all the time. This is about all he eats: dry cereal, sharks (I know, I know, not the most nutrious), whole wheat crackers from Trader Joes, grapes, melon, apples, strawberries, oranges, sucks lemons and carrots but doesn't really eat them.. If he sees me eating trader joes potato chips, he BEGS for them, so I have to give in.. it just won't be right, so I shamefully admit that he loves chips too. And I wanted him to be in love with avacado and broccoli!
He hardley eats or drinks anything all day, including nursing! This is what he ate today: about 20 pieces of dry cereal, a bite of a WW cracker (which is whole wheat, not watch weighters), one piece of melon, and some sharks.. dunno how many as MIL fed him.
I don't know what he lives on! BUT, this is a huge BUT, he nurses ALL night. Like maybe 3-4 times in a night, or more. It's almost as though he's got his night/days confused!
This cannot be healthy! What about fat for his brain development? Is this normal? It drives me crazy that he has little interest in food. I -love- food. I -love- eating.. he should too!!
~ Mama Tater
A: Sounds about right to me!
My dd didn't start eating something every single day (and by something I mean at least 3-4 bites of anything) until she was around 15 months old. She's now a very happy almost 2 year old and is much bigger then her brother was at this age.
A: Yes, that sounds normal to me. Just keep offering him bits of food that you guys are eating... put on his plate bits of sweet potato, regular pototo, brown rice, asparagus, ww noodles, etc., (healthy stuff)... and if he eats it, great, if not, then offer it again another day. He may eventually like it. Finger foods are great! I think you can trust him to eat what he needs.
Perhaps if you want you could try to tank him up on breastmilk as much as possible during the day to see if he'll nurse less at night, but I believe it's common for nursing toddlers to be too busy for that during the day and make up for it at night.
Add good fats to your diet like flax oil, and it will go through the breastmilk to him, and breastmilk has DHA that is great for brain development.
A: Mama Tater, This is normal toddler behavior. Bottle-feeding moms I know have the same problem. Toddlers are two busy to eat so they don't! Plus their growing has slowed down and they don't need as much to eat.
Your little guy is getting alot of his nourishment from his nightly nursing marathon.
2.) If the night time nursing bothers you, you could try Jeri's suggestion about tankin him up before going to bed. My 13 month old is a night time nurser. He is too busy to nurse much during the day and so he makes up for it at night.
Update: Oohhh, I like the drive thru idea!!
Okay, thanks guys, now I feel much better. MIL was over yesterday and she got me worrying. I told her that he knows when he's hungry and will eat when he is, but I didn't even feel confident in that! She bottlefed, so she was saying that he should be eating regular meals like us by now.
But thanks for the encouragement. I worry about him starving to death. I know that sounds so exaggerated but sometimes I can't possibly understand how he continues to live with so little food. He must be nursing a lot more than I know of!!
~ Mama Tater
A: I know there have been some days when my son eats like a bird and I wonder where he gets the energy!! But then a couple days later he is eating everything in site!! It is truly amazing how they grow and play on so little some days, isn't it?
Q: Jeri3, have you started solids yet?
Anyone can answer this question as well, but I directed it to Jeri3 because her baby is just a few weeks older than mine. Anyway, I have not started yet. Has anyone just given their babies food on the tray instead of "feeding" them? I don't like the act of feeding them and they don't seem to either. Also, what about iron? is it necessary?
A: No, we haven't started (she's seven months old now). I'm going to offer some soon... not sure when... any day now.
I'll probably give her a taste of pear or banana and see how she likes it. Our son's first food was Cheerios when he was seven months old.
As a baby our little boy used (and still uses) a portable high chair, and when he first started solids we usually put bits of food on the table or a plate (amazingly he didn't take his plate and throw it on the floor... he's always loved the food on the plate too much to do that). We didn't feed him food except for every once in a while like if we especially wanted him to stay clean... perhaps if we were going somewhere soon after. He has always loved to feed himself. We're going to do that with this baby, too.
We don't have a high chair for her yet, though, and hopefully we can buy one soon. Then I'll probably be more likely to give her solids foods. Right now she sits in my lap or John's while we eat and chews on a spoon. That really keeps her happy!!
I had plenty of iron while I was pregnant, so she should have a good store of it. They say their store of iron begins to wain somewhere around six months, but I know the iron in breastmilk is highly absorbable, so I'm not really worried. I'm going to give her whole grains instead of baby cereal or other fortified cereals whenever we start solids.
Okay, I'm a little worried... but not too worried. lol I'll write more later. Gotta go. !
A: My baby is just about to break a tooth through. I am so glad that others have successfully gone the "give your baby little bits of real food and let him do it himself" route. It just seems more natural
A: Our baby still hasn't gotten any teeth yet, but I went ahead and gave her a little bit of food. So far I've given her a tiny teensy bit of banana a couple times, and also a rice cake to gnaw on twice (and kept a good eye on her... it mostly turns to mush, but I take away pieces that come off). So anyway, it's just for fun so far... and to see how she likes it and let her taste something new. She likes it so far. And it seems like she's nursing more right now which I'm glad for; perhaps she's going through a growth spurt.?
About iron... My oldest child started solids at four month (rice cereal). She didn't really care for solids much until she was seven months old. She started three solid food meals a day at eight months old--she ate quite a lot of jarred food. She was iron defficient when she was tested at about ten months old. I gave her iron drops, but I don't think I gave her the full dose and tried to give her food with iron in it. And she was fine when tested a couple months later.
My second child started solids at seven months old and mostly just fed himself (and one of the foods he ate was iron-fortified cheerios). He was also iron deficient when he was tested at around ten months old or so. I didn't supplement, and he was fine.
Anyway, so I just don't know what to think about the iron issue!! I can't decided whether or not to have my baby tested in a few months. I'll probably just try to give her food with iron in it along with vit. C rich foods to help increase absorption. And if she isn't eating much solid food by then... well, I feel that breastmilk will be adequate because the iron in breastmilk is used by the body so well.
Q: ?? about delaying solids
I have a couple questions about delaying solids. Charissa isn't on solids yet at all and is wearing 18 mos. size clothes -- she's certainly not starving! Sometimes when she's fussy I wonder if I should be starting her on solids, even though I'm trying to wait until abt. 1 yr. It's a little bit of a struggle for me with myself because by now my boys were not only eating solids by this time but were fully weaned. Even though I know this is a good thing I'm worried abt. her being hungry. So tell me why delaying solids is great!!
Last night we went out to eat with my husband's parents. I gave her a couple tiny tastes of jello (pre-chewed so it was mushy) and applesauce -- not even a single spoonful. We also gave her a dinner roll to hold and gum while we were eating (she couldn't get a real bite of it and seems uninterested in actually eating it). She enjoyed all that. But then after we got home she started vomiting. WOW! I didn't know that little body could have that much in it! She hurled rather enthusiastically 4 times (with just enough delay between for me to change both our clothes thinking we were done!) Then she went to sleep and slept hard. During the night and throughout the day today she's only nursed one side at a time. More often but not as much, if that makes sense. Did I just really screw up last night? Or was it a coincidence?
A: Probably coincidence in my opinion. I don't really understand delaying solids until a year. There was no way that I could do that with my kids. My first child started very early on doctor's orders but I wouldn't do that again. My second son was around 6-7 months and my third son was around 10 months. They made it pretty clear when they were ready for more and in my opinion that is more important than what the latest study says. Sorry I can't help you more!
~ Mother of Sons
A: Well, jello is sugariffic and has food coloring in it, so that's probably not the best first solid food--but I'm sure you knew that already. As for wheat, I would *definitely* not give her rolls, etc. until she's over a year old since you have a family history of food allergies and wheat is pretty allergenic. Apples have stuff in them that can hurt little tummies and of course applesauce has sugar.
But, having said all that, it still definitely could've been coincidence.
The good thing about delaying solids as I understand it (although I didn't do this with my son so that's my disclaimer) is that the longer you delay it, the less likely they are to form food allergies. Here's a good website: http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/solids-when.html
Since she also doesn't have any teeth, I would take that as her body's way of telling you she's not ready for food other than breastmilk.
A: Around 6 or 7 months my son would follow the fork to our mouths. Now he screams when he sees our food. We couldn't delay solids if we wanted to.
I've known a few women that went to a year and their babies thrived.
I don't know if the fussiness is related, unless it happens when you eat?
A: My daughter was 15 months before she began solids, she really had no interest in food until then. Even then it was around 3-4 bites a day to start with. We followed her lead, if she was interested in something we'd offer it.
I am glad she waited so long, today she does have allergies and oral defensiveness, it could be much worse if she was pushed into eating before she was ready.
A: This is just my opinion...so please I don't want anyone to take offense. I'm new and I don't want to rock any boats
I think that a childs teeth is a HUGE indication on whether they are ready for solids yet. I mean, why would you give a child food if they can't chew it? I just look to nature with most things and it just makes sense to me not to feed solids until they can take real food (not mashed and purred, like baby food) and eat it. My ds shows tons of intrest in food, he always wants what I'm eating...but when I let him have a taste (ie, a carrot stick, bite of an orange, always straight up fruit or veggie) he'll just scrape his bottom teeth on it, and then normally spit whatever he has in his mouth out. He has 2 bottom teeth and he just isn't ready for solids yet. So in my opinion, if your little one doesn't have any teeth yet, she's probably not ready. Espeically for grains as well....they don't have the enzyme to digest grains until 18months. I hope she does better next time though!
Q: When should I start to be concerned...
About my son not eating solids? He's ten months and absolutely refuses to eat anything on a spoon or on a tray in front of him. He'll occassionally eat a cheerio or fishy cracker or bits of other cracker. I make my own baby food and am upset that he won't eat anything that I lovingly prepare for him! I was adamant about not starting until six months. And now people say I waited too late! I waited until six months with my first and he LOVED solid foods! So I don't believe this.
~ AMY HOYT
A: I wouldn't worry at all! I know it's a bit disappointing when they don't want to eat what you prepare, so for now I would just not prepare anything till he starts showing more interest. Your breastmilk is wonderful nutrition for the first 12 months.
A: My ds wasn't interested in solids until closer to 18months. I didn't worry about it. Of course, other people worried, and I just brushed them off. He's fine now, and loves to eat. Don't worry, when he's ready, he'll eat.
A: The AAP recommends waiting to give them solids until six months, so you didn't wait too long even according to those doctors! I waited until seven months to offer with my second and I think closer to eight months with my third.
BM does have iron in it. It is highly bio-available (I hope that's hte right term ). It has a smaller amount that is in formula, but the iron in breastmilk is far more highly-absorbed than the iron in formula.
My pastor's wife says five of her seven children didn't start solids until they turned a year old.
I think it's okay that he's not interested in solids yet. (I personally would avoid the crackers, though. and would avoid juice, too, if you give him that...)
A: Oh, I feel better reading this. Sophie is 10 months and doesn't care for much solids either, especially anything on a spoon. She loves mommy's milk though. I guess it must be pretty common.
With children so young food aversions are usually a sign of allergies or potential allergies. I would never force solids in a - they will eat them when they are ready. In the first year they are just practice, breastmilk or formul-ugh is supposed to be the PRIMARY source of nutrition.
A: My second one wasn't interested in solids until about 16 months or so. He is 23 months old now and has some dairy allergies, so maybe that was just a natural way to protect his little body for longer.
~ moomoos mama
A: I think you are doing great! Follow your littlle guys lead. My DD was exclusively breastfed for 18 months. She was just not interested in food. She was and is as healthy as can be. My Super Baby Food Grinder collected dust! On another note, it is just SOOO much easier to exclusively breastfeed. I never worried about packing food or making sure she was eating enough etc... I knew she was being well nourished. She is now 26 months and breatmilk is still a large part of her diet but she also eats a variety of food.
Edited to add: I agree with Jeri. I would avoid crackers. They have little to no nutritional value and often contain hydrogenated oils and artificial additives.
A: I wanted to share my experience too.
Both my boys might have tasted food before they were 1 year, but they certainly weren't interested in eating it. My guys want the spoon or the cup or to make a mess with the foods, but they don't want to eat them.
More along the age of the 16-18 months they start to eat some foods. Eli at 20 months would still much prefer to "na" than eat anything! Sometimes I feel like a food pusher, ecspecially at night when I'm like, "EAT SOMETHING PLEASE SO WE DON'T HAVE TO NURSE ALL NIGHT! ".
Anyway, breastmilk is the perfect food. I look at *any* of food that a baby eats in the first year as less nutritional i.e. *junk food* in a sense, even a bananna meets less of the nutritional requirements of a baby ounce for ounce than breastmilk.
So eat the bananna yourself and nurse your baby happily that are the best for your baby!
~ L Chaim ~ To Life
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