We fed our DS solids for the first time today. I read about BLS just after pureeing all this food we got out of our garden, so we won't be doing that for a bit, until the pureed food is gone at least. I have a few questions. I apologize in advance for the length and appreciate anyone who is willing to read through the book so I can find out the answers.
first, when DS was eating, he gagged a lot. It didn't seem to be from the taste, because he didn't do it until after a few bites. Then I thought maybe what I was feeding him (sweet potatoes that were thinned out already with formula - because I was worried about wasting breast milk if he doesn't like it) was too thick, so I thinned it out. He doesn't seem to realize he needs to swallow. He just let it all sit in his mouth and was rolling it around with his tongue (although it was really thin at the time so a lot came sloshing out of his mouth). He finally gagged and sort of threw up, so I stopped trying. When does he get the hang of actually swallowing? Also, can I thin out the food with water rather than milk or formula or should I still thin it out with those substances?
Also, DS went to the Dr today for his 6 month check up (1 mo late because dr rescheduled for a vacation). DH brought him because I had a meeting. DH is very anti solids and he is partly why we waited until today to feed him solids (I was fine with it, but didn't want to wait until 8 months like he wished to). When DS was weighed and measured he went down from 39 percentile to 14 percentile (he dropped that much in both weight and height so he isn't skinny, he is proportioned for his height). DH said Dr wasn't overly concerned, but said that DS did need to be eating solids and she was glad we were starting today. She gave DH a packet about foods and it says that he should be eating solids 4 times a day, every 4 hours and should have 3-9 tbsp of cereal, 1/4-1/2 cup of each fruits and veggies in addition to 24-30 ounces of milk each day. That seems like a lot to me, but maybe that is why DS has lost so many percentile points, because I was thinking breast feeding was enough. How much solids and how often should he be eating them at this point? I want to make sure DS gets all that he needs to be healthy and grow the way he should, but don't want him to be obese.
So basically, my questions are these: When should my baby get to the point where he realizes he needs to swallow his food rather than play with it in his mouth? Does him playing with his food mean he isn't ready? Can I thin out his food with water rather than breast milk or formula? How much should I be feeding him to make sure he doesn't lose more weight and to help him grow taller and gain more?
Thanks in advance for any help.
Re: solids questions
You are right in thinking that Breastmilk is enough. Breastmilk provides all the nutrients that your baby needs until about the year mark. After that solids become much more important. It is important to begin solids well before the year point though because it will take lots of practice for baby to learn what flavours, textures, etc, that he likes so that when solids become more important he will have a wide variety of healthy foods that he will eat.
The concept of Baby Led Solids in essence is that when baby is able to pick up food and bring it to his mouth, he is ready to chew and swallow - but even then, there is gagging which is normal.
Gagging is your baby's way of not choking. Keep in mind that gagging is NOT choking, it is your baby preventing food from getting trapped in his airway. He is learning how to chew and swallow, and a gag reflex is necessary because essentially pieces of food that are bigger get gagged back up and chewed some more if they are too large to swallow safely.
Also, keep in mind that this is a learning process and that he wont be a pro at solid foods right away. Food should be fun so when he starts to lose interest that's your signal to stop. Also, if he is pushing food out of his mouth it means that he hasn't lost his tongue thrust reflux and he probably isn't ready yet. Moving food around INSIDE of his mouth however, isn't anything to be concerned about - he is figuring it out, playing with the tastes and texture - all normal for purees :) He will learn to chew and swallow in time. Playing with it is just as important as swallowing in the early stages because you want him to begin to eat solids at his own pace. Ensuring that meal times are stress free will begin to create good eating habits and reduce food anxiety.
I wouldn't thin out the food with water because their tummies are so tiny that every calorie counts. Also, it's important to nurse first before offering solids until the year point, then you can offer solids first if you want to. As for eating 3-4 times a day - that sounds like a LOT to me. My son wasn't eating 3-4 times until around 10 months (I think? it's been a while, lol). We started with once a day and when he showed interest we moved it to twice and on from there. The nutrients and fat in an ounce of breastmilk are far more than those founds in say an ounce of pureed peas - and fat is very important for brain development. Not to say that peas aren't good for baby, they are, but that they shouldn't replace breastmilk - but they should instead supplement nursing.
To keep him gaining weight, keep nursing. Always nurse first and offer foods that are high in nutrients and good fats. Adding avocado puree to other puree's is a quick way to increase the good fat. Avocados are a superfood, much like sweet potatoes, but they are much higher in fat. I think there are 30 grams of fat in a medium avocado so adding a little to things that he likes will increase the calories as well.
You're doing a great job mama!
Re: solids questions
He was enjoying himself the entire time, smiling and giggling. Even when he gagged, he would smile after. He didn't spit any out, or push it out with his tongue, it sort of fell out because he wasn't closing his mouth, just churning the stuff with his tongue with a huge, wide mouth grin.
So do you think I should continue to thin the puree I made, but with formula or breast milk? Again, I worry about wasting my BM, but got SEVERAL containers of formula and thought I could get some use out of it. But maybe that makes the food taste yucky (although how would he know the difference, come to think of it).
My MIL says that the size of one of the ice cubes in an ice cube tray is about how much to feed them, so I froze all my food in that size, is that a correct amount? He didn't eat even half of that (of course, I had thinned it out so there was more).
Another question, how do you get the food heated up if you can't microwave it. I don't want it to go bad and have it in the fridge, but he doesn't like it cold.
Re: solids questions
Gagging is totally normal, but always made me nervous too! :shudder You could try giving smaller amounts. Really, as the PP said, he's just learning how to chew and swallow, and some gagging is part of that.
I went to BLS not out of philosophical reasons, but because my baby wouldn't let me spoon feed him! For some kids, it takes a long while before they are interested in solids and can eat them well. But it does happen. Just keep trying and don't feel like you need to rush it.
Re: solids questions
Ice cubes trays are a great way to measure, but don't be surprised if he doesn't eat all of it right away. He will in time, but maybe not initially. I would start with a tablespoon or so and heat more as needed. It shouldn't take long to work up to an ice cube sized serving. I did BLS and steamed or baked most foods right before serving, however I would think that the best way to heat frozen purees would be to heat them in a small sauce pan on the stove? Maybe someone who did purees will come along and answer that one for you. I would thin with breastmilk if you have extra, however I completely understand not wanting to waste breastmilk. I would definitely just mix a tablespoon of puree with a little breastmilk at one time, mixing more as you need it. If you don't have extra breastmilk or you aren't sure how much he will eat just yet, I would use formula instead of water. It wont be long and you will be able to gauge how much he will eat at one sitting and then you will waste considerably less.
How many cubes of purees did you make? you could always offer whole foods in addition to purees to see if he likes different textures. It will also help him learn how to chew AND it eliminates the need to mix anything with it.
Re: solids questions
Couldn't agree more. And my pediatrician would agree, too: she always tells me that until one, solids are just for fun. Although she is a big believer in vitamins- has your LO had his iron checked? Anemia can sometimes crop up later in the first year, and cause growth to slow more than it ordinarily would. And it generally does slow down! As a brestfed baby becomes mobile, he wil typically drop some percentiles on the charts, as all the calories that used to get turned into fat get turned into motion, instead. My pediatrician recently told me that she thinks that breastfed babies get lean at this point in part because "they aren't walking around with a bottle hanging out of their mouth all day."
Originally Posted by @llli*sch.mommy
What chart is your pediatrician using? The old charts, developed using data from formula-fed babies, or the new WHO charts for breastfed babies? When you plot a breastfed baby on the formula charts, the baby often seems to be growing "too fast" during the first half of the first year, and "too slow" during the second half of the first year. But really the breastfed baby is exhibiting what we should consider to be the normal, baseline growth pattern.