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Thread: Confused about when to start solids and what to feed first

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Default Confused about when to start solids and what to feed first

    My son is 5.5 months, so with the big 6 month milestone approaching, we are starting to think about introducing solids. Our daycare provider and pediatrician are very anxious for us to get on with it - they both ask constantly if we've begun. My dilemma is that DS doesn't seem very interested in solids. When I hold him on my lap at dinner, he likes to squish around on my plate but never puts anything in his mouth. If I let him lead, I think he's telling me he's not really all that ready. But I've also read that the longer you delay, the more chance there will be problems with food allergies.

    That brings me to my next question. What are the first foods that are ideal when you are dealing with potential allergies? DS has a horrible time when I consume dairy - eczema and spitting up; my daughter does not tolerate soy at the age of 3; and I have a gluten sensitivity. I don't know if this predisposes him to allergies or not. Bearing all of this in mind, I don't know if I should begin with rice cereal or with fruit/veggies. Our pediatrician is big on the rice cereal and sweet veggies, but I am still on the fence. Should I skip all of this and just let him continue to play on my plate (keeping his away from fish, eggs, dairy, etc) until the day he opts to put anything into his mouth?



    Thank you for advising!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,107

    Default Re: Confused about when to start solids and what to feed fir

    Having family members with allergies does indicate that you will have a higher likelihood of having allergies yourself. However, specific allergies do not seem to be heritable. So, for example, mom might be allergic to pollen while baby is allergic to eggs, or dad to soy and baby to strawberries.

    I think the most important things to remember when it comes to solids are, first, that for the baby's first 12 months, breastmilk alone can meet all the baby's nutritional needs, and second, that until 12 months breastmilk is supposed to make up the majority of the baby's diet, with solids only "complementing" but not replacing milk in the baby's diet. After 12 months (or thereabouts), solids start to become a necessary element of a baby's diet, but the transition from needing only mama's milk to needing a lot of solids is often a slow one, with many babies not eating a large amount of solid food until well into their second year. So while I do think that it is a good idea to introduce solids at around 6 months, I don't think you have to stress over them. Just letting baby play with and taste the foods on your plate- that does count as introducing food, particularly with such a young baby who just doesn't have a nutritional need for solids.

    The data on allergies do seem to show some protective effect to earlier introduction of certain allergenic foods, particularly wheat. But the data seems to be quite preliminary and I personally don't think you need to use it to guide your selection of solids for your child. If you want to, you can always just let baby play with a piece of toast or have a spoonful of cereal here and there- that should be sufficient to count as an introduction.

    All that being said, if you have a strong allergy predisposition in your family, it might make sense to go slow and careful with solids. Start with low-allergy foods like sweet potatoes, rice, and carrots. Rather than allowing baby to eat from your plate, where there are many ingredients all mixed together, give him single foods for several days in a row, watching carefully for reactions. That way, if he h a reaction to something, you'll know exactly what the culprit was. You won't be wondering "was it the beans or the cucumbers or the butter or the mango or the ketchup..."
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  3. #3
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    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Confused about when to start solids and what to feed fir

    I am starting to sound like a broken record around here but that is nothing new...I cannot recommend strongly enough the book My Child Won’t Eat by Carlos Gonzalez. Get the new (2012) edition if you can. I SOOO wish I had this book before starting solids with my two older kids.

    Gonzalez covers all the various 'official' starting sold recommendations from the various child health organizations and explains what recommendations the current research actually indicates are 'needed' or at least strongly suggested when introducing solids. (New research about gluten introduction might be particularly important to you.)

    The book is not about giving parents a step by step approach to the introduction of solid foods. I guess it is more about options- what is real and what is not as far as medical or expert recommendations go, what we know, what we still just do not know, and about treating children with respect when it comes to food and eating.

    just an aside- Your child could probably go his entire life happily never tasting rice cereal. imo. My eldest had constipation for months due to that stuff. Ugh.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    80

    Default Re: Confused about when to start solids and what to feed fir

    I am proud to report that at your recommendation I borrowed that book from a neighboring library. It was a great read and actually gave some great pointers that I can use for both my preschooler and my almost 6-monther. Thanks to that book I've stopped obsessing about his weight gain and intake. I let him and his body lead! The one thing the book didn't help me resolve is when to start. I know i don't have to worry about whether he eats, and that is reassuring. But when to offer that first bite? DS has interest in food - but only for squeezing and not tasting. He hasn't doubled his birthweight. He grasps but he doesn't do a pincher for small objects. Do I break out the puréed sweet potatoes and avocados to see what he thinks, or wait until he takes the food he steals to squish and puts it in his mouth?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    21,107

    Default Re: Confused about when to start solids and what to feed fir

    It's really up to you. If you want, you can wait for your kid to make the first move and take the first bite. If you'd rather not wait- and that's really 100,000% up to you!- give him some purée. There's no wrong choice.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Default Re: Confused about when to start solids and what to feed fir

    Well, I offered my now 9 month old her first bite just when she turned 7 months. She may have been ready earlier but I was not! I started perhaps a bit earlier than I would have otherwise because it made sense to me to start after reading baby led weaning (sorry, another book! They also have a website) Basically, I felt that with the baby led weaning 'approach' she would only eat what she wanted and only eat when ready, no matter what or when I offered.

    Anyway, my baby definitely did not have a pincher grip when we started, she is just now getting there. She could grab something in her fist and chew it (gum it.) I started (and continue) with ripe pear, ripe avocado, soft steamed carrots and sweet potato, plain rice cakes, toast or toasted bagel, chicken (she loves gnawing the drumstick bone, stripped of splinter bones and gristle.) Most of this is the same we did with the older two, but then I mashed or used the food grinder with everything and spoon fed. With this baby, I cut everything into thin but 'firm enough to hold' strips (about pencil or crayon width, maybe, with some things, a bit thicker?) that she can hold in her fist and gnaw on, sometimes breaking off a small piece she can swallow.

    My signs she was 'ready' was that she could stay sitting up on her own and most importantly, could grab food and bring it to her mouth, put it in, gum or 'chew' and swallow. Not a lot, she got maybe a thimbleful of food past the gullet each day at first-if that. But I was not concerned with her getting a lot.

    I do offer mushy stuff in a spoon sometimes too, or more usually, on my finger. But I do not put it into her mouth. I hold it in front of her and now (if she wants it) she will grab my hand and bring my finger tip with the food on it into her mouth, suck it off, and swallow. At first she would kind of lean forward and open her mouth when she wanted it.

    Kelly mom goes into the 'when, how to start' question a bit here- http://kellymom.com/nutrition/starti...ds/solids-how/
    If you have the most recent copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding that goes into this question as well.

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