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Thread: what to expect with starting solids

  1. #1
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    Default what to expect with starting solids

    My baby is turning 6 months old soon and so we're starting to think about starting solids. I know it will be a gradual process and it will take a while before solids make up a significant part of her diet. I also know that until she turns 1, she will need breast milk during the day so I'll be pumping at work at least that long.

    But I'm curious about what I can expect over the next few months. Currently, she takes 2 bottles at daycare--I nurse when I drop her off, she gets a mid-morning bottle, I nurse around lunch time, she gets and afternoon bottle, and I pick her up and nurse when we get home.

    As she starts to take some solids at day care, will she take smaller bottles? Will she eventually drop a bottle so that I only have to pump once at work? Is it possible that there be a point before the one-year mark where a lunchtime nursing is all she needs and she has morning and afternoon snacks of just solids?

    Or am I dreaming????

    I'd love to hear your experiences! Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: what to expect with starting solids

    Hi sprocket! Up until a year your milk will continue to be baby's primary source of nourishment. From 6 months to a year solids are about baby learning about tastes, textures, and handling of non-milk foods, sort of a transition period to get ready for when solids will become baby's main source of nutrition. Obviously as baby gets closer that one year mark her intake of solids may increase - or it may not! Babies are variable in how well they take to solids. Some don't have much interest, others more. Either way, though, you shouldn't expect solids to make up a significant portion of baby's caloric intake anytime soon. So no, don't expect a big difference in terms of her milk intake.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: what to expect with starting solids

    Thanks. I have heard this before, but I guess I was hoping for a little bit more information. I don't understand how this works. I hear that until baby is 12 months old, breast milk is baby's primary source of nutrition. But then I also understand that after 12 months, solid foods often are. I know that many babies continue to breastfeed often into their first year, but LOTS of moms wean at 1 year, and formula-fed babies are almost always eating solids exclusively (no formula) starting at 1 year. I'm not saying that it's BEST to wean at a year (I definitely plan to breastfeed well beyond that if my baby will have me!) but even the moms here generally seem to pump wean at work at the 1-year point and their babies are no longer offered breast milk during the time they are away at work.

    It doesn't seem likely that my baby will go from eating 4 full feedings of breast milk in the 9-hour period while I'm at work one day to eating solids and no breast milk during the same period the next day. Isn't it more gradual than that?

    Maybe the answer is, as you point out, that every baby is different, and there is no telling what to expect. But I'd be interested in hearing various experiences to get an idea of how it worked for some different moms/babies. Thanks!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: what to expect with starting solids

    Oh, you're totally right, it's not like there's a switch at one year where baby suddenly goes from mostly milk to mostly solids. The idea is to gradually get your LO to the point of eating three meals a day plus snacks. But it's a gradual transition - more gradual for some than for others! The way I think of it is that at one year is when you start getting serious about LO reaching that point. But, LO will still be drinking milk during that time, too - either yours or, for moms who decide to wean, cow's milk. But cow's milk isn't needed if you're still nursing 3-5 times/24 hours, which, if you're still nursing, she may well be doing, even after you pump wean (and I don't think there's any reason NOT to pump wean at a year).

  5. #5
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    Default Re: what to expect with starting solids

    I found this graphic to be helpful when trying to understand the transition from breastmilk to solids. From this article.



    As far as your question regarding the amount of breastmilk you would leave for your baby after a year, typically you don't have to leave any if you are still nursing 3-5 times per day your baby doesn't need it nutritionally. And in the absence of the breastmilk feedings you would expect them to eat more solids to replace it. Because they are hungrier. However if you have one of those babies that just doesn't eat a lot of solids you would probably want to continue leaving breastmilk (or replace the breastmilk with a milk alternative- cows milk, formula, etc).

    Experiences around here vary, but I can tell you with my daughter she was a big solids eater and started refusing bottles of breastmilk by around 12-13 mos old. I took her cue on that and stopped pumping at that time, trusting that her varied diet of solids and continued frequent nursing at night and on weekends would meet her nutritional needs.

    That's one of the great things about continuing to nurse past a year, IMO. Most toddlers are picky eaters, or at least go through picky stages. I never worried about it. I never worried whether she was eating enough dinner or whether I should offer more of the less healthy things that she liked just to get her to eat. I was able to be less concerned about her solids intake because I knew that whatever she was missing in solids, she was making up for with breast milk.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  6. #6
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    Default Re: what to expect with starting solids

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sprocket View Post
    I know that many babies continue to breastfeed often into their first year, but LOTS of moms wean at 1 year, and formula-fed babies are almost always eating solids exclusively (no formula) starting at 1 year.
    I think that when a mom weans to solids on day 365 of her baby's life, she may have pushed the transition to solids more than is ideal. And that's true whether she's weaning from the breast or from formula. There are certainly babies who self-wean at a year or less, eating so much solid food that it replaces breastmilk/formula. But most babies will nurse far longer than a year, if mom continues to be open to it.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: what to expect with starting solids

    thanks, this helps a lot when I try to picture how it will go. I won't be thinking about packing away the pump anytime soon I guess...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: what to expect with starting solids

    Every baby is different and some take to solids more enthusiastically than others. With my daughter solids were mainly for playing until she turned 11 months: her milk intake remained exactly the same. She is now 13 months and now I can really see that solids are actual food for her and she is nursing a lot less.

    In general, you shouldn't expect to see a decrease in milk intake until 8-9 months or so in the very least.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: what to expect with starting solids

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sprocket View Post
    Thanks. I have heard this before, but I guess I was hoping for a little bit more information. I don't understand how this works. I hear that until baby is 12 months old, breast milk is baby's primary source of nutrition. But then I also understand that after 12 months, solid foods often are.
    It doesn't seem likely that my baby will go from eating 4 full feedings of breast milk in the 9-hour period while I'm at work one day to eating solids and no breast milk during the same period the next day. Isn't it more gradual than that?
    I think the bolded is the crux of a bunch of misinformation that is based on the AAP reccomendation which is almost always misread or misunderstood. The way the AAP recommendation is worded is that the year point would be the MINIMUM amount of time you would breastfeed and that the year point is where weaning BEGINS. Not where it happens. If you are diligently working on foods, which I did, my son would still nurse as often as ever well past the year point. But I went back to work at 14months and at that point I never pumped to give bottles of breastmilk. He would drink water out of a sippy while away from me and eat solid foods and we would nurse on demand while together. I think that at the point that a child is offered solids of any kind that REPLACES breastmilk, weaning has begun. So in terms of it being gradual, at the point you are sending food during the day that you expect to REPLACE a bottle feeding, that is where you can expect to see a change in her intake.

    Way too lazy for formula

  10. #10
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    Default Re: what to expect with starting solids

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*sprocket View Post
    thanks, this helps a lot when I try to picture how it will go. I won't be thinking about packing away the pump anytime soon I guess...
    You shouldn't think about packing it away unto after the year point for sure.

    Way too lazy for formula

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