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Thread: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

  1. #1
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    Default Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    My son Noah is days away from turning 6 months old, and up until this point he has been fed only through EP without any solids or formula. My pediatrician practically ordered me at his 4 month well-baby to start solids in the next two months, but I've heard it's possible to wait a little longer so that baby can start out by self-feeding.

    Has anyone else let their baby try this out, and if so, how does it work? I'm desperate for information on this, because everywhere I look people seem to think the only option is forcing purees into unwilling mouths until they get the hang of it. I'd like to wait until he's ready to start eating, but I don't even know how to recognize that.

    Help please!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    Both my kids have been self-feeders from their earliest tastes of solids. My first was a self-feeder because she hated the spoon. If I brought it near her mouth, she would bat it away and send mashed carrots flying. My second kid didn't hate the spoon, but self-feeding (a.k.a. baby-led solids) had been so successful with her older sister that I never bothered spoon-feeding her.

    One thing that I think a lot of people- even pediatricians- get wrong is that they confuse introducing solids with giving a baby massive amounts of solids and beginning to reduce the baby's intake via breast or bottle. Luckily, I had a great pediatrician who told me that "Until the first birthday, breastmilk or formula are capable of meeting all of a baby's nutritional needs, and solids are only for experimenting with new tastes, textures, and motor skills." What this translates to is that a baby's first tastes of solid foods should be small. A teaspoon or two a day in amount, offered after breast or bottle, and really just for fun with a new taste and a new skill. If baby eats some of her solids, great. If she tastes them and then spits them out, still great- at least she tried. And if she refuses to eat them and merely smushed them around with her hands, still great- she had a fun learning experience and that's really all that is necessary.

    Allowing a baby to self-feed does not necessitate waiting longer than 6 months. You can introduce self-feeding pretty much as soon as baby can sit unsupported in a high chair, grasp food and bring it to his mouth, and has lost his tongue thrust reflex.

    Is there a reason why your pediatrician is pushing solids so hard?
    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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    Default Re: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    Thanks for the explanation; that was really helpful!

    My pediatrician is just one of those who thinks every baby follows a set schedule and anytime I try to challenge her on something small, like my baby self-feeding, she gets kind of arrogant and treats me like I don't know how to take care of my baby. Since it's my first child and I'm only 20, that's really hurtful and has been damaging my confidence as a mother, even though Noah is growing at a perfect rate and is very active and alert. We've decided after his 6-moth (which is this week) to move to a new pediatrician; hopefully one who recognizes that every baby is different and that breastmilk really is more important than a steady diet of solids in the first year.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*noahandme View Post
    Thanks for the explanation; that was really helpful!

    My pediatrician is just one of those who thinks every baby follows a set schedule and anytime I try to challenge her on something small, like my baby self-feeding, she gets kind of arrogant and treats me like I don't know how to take care of my baby. Since it's my first child and I'm only 20, that's really hurtful and has been damaging my confidence as a mother, even though Noah is growing at a perfect rate and is very active and alert. We've decided after his 6-moth (which is this week) to move to a new pediatrician; hopefully one who recognizes that every baby is different and that breastmilk really is more important than a steady diet of solids in the first year.
    We did self feeding, too. And yes, definitely just move to a new pediatrician! I'm so sorry that she treats you that way. Ours did too, but she doesn't any more now that it's my 2nd healthy kid. I challenged ours on the infant cereal thing. She accepted it after thinking it over...I just explained that my baby doesn't want a spoon, so I'm not really sure what other option I had. We never did cereal and my pedi just said that leafy greens and beans, meats, tofu should be enough. At this point it is.

    I think it's been hard to get used to the idea that self feeding is actually a very healthy, easy, normal way for babies to learn to eat. She's 11 months now, and we started at 6 months. She didn't eat the food for at least a few months, now she feeds herself lots of foods...just in tiny quantities! Maybe 1/2 cup of food per day, maybe a bit more.
    and Mama to two little girls

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    I think that smart moms and smart pediatricians learn to avoid controversy. My pediatrician nods and smiles about my homebirth (which I know she thinks was risky to the point of negligence) and I nod and smile when she mentions sleep training young babies (which I would never do). Disagreements about solids can be managed in the same way. The pediatrician advises you to start solids, and you smile and say "Yes, we're planning to start soon!" You don't need to mention that "soon" means "sometime in the next few months". Or the pediatrician asks you how baby is doing with solids, and you smile and say "Great! She's really enjoying them." You don't need to mention that she's enjoying watching you eat, or that she really prefers to drop things on the floor instead of putting them in her mouth.
    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
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    Default Re: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    Yeah I just stay away from certain topics and have never gotten upset at my family doctor. He did ask at 3 yrs if DD slept in her own bed and I said no and he said his kids sleep with him too and said something about how it's healthy and in most cultures very normal.
    Nursed my sweet daughter 3 years, 3 mos.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    "Until the first birthday, breastmilk or formula are capable of meeting all of a baby's nutritional needs, and solids are only for experimenting with new tastes, textures, and motor skills."
    This quote is very comforting because my baby doesn't seem to like solid foods much!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    I know, right? I still remember when my pediatrician tossed that particular line off- my daughter was around 8 months old and had pretty much zero interest in solid food. I thought something was wrong, or that I was doing something wrong. But the pediatrician totally reassured me, so much so that her exact phrasing has stuck with me for 7 years!
    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!"

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*mommal View Post
    I think that smart moms and smart pediatricians learn to avoid controversy. My pediatrician nods and smiles about my homebirth (which I know she thinks was risky to the point of negligence) and I nod and smile when she mentions sleep training young babies (which I would never do). Disagreements about solids can be managed in the same way. The pediatrician advises you to start solids, and you smile and say "Yes, we're planning to start soon!" You don't need to mention that "soon" means "sometime in the next few months". Or the pediatrician asks you how baby is doing with solids, and you smile and say "Great! She's really enjoying them." You don't need to mention that she's enjoying watching you eat, or that she really prefers to drop things on the floor instead of putting them in her mouth.
    If we can't find a better pediatrician, we're definitely going to try that approach! I always feel this obligation to justify my choices to my pediatrician, but now that I'm thinking about it, he's my baby and the choices I make don't affect her so I guess she really doesn't need to know our exact plans with solids if it means an argument. Thanks

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Waiting for Baby to self-feed..need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by @llli*krystine View Post
    Yeah I just stay away from certain topics and have never gotten upset at my family doctor. He did ask at 3 yrs if DD slept in her own bed and I said no and he said his kids sleep with him too and said something about how it's healthy and in most cultures very normal.
    That's so sweet I have a friend whose baby girl turns 2 in a couple of weeks and they still sleep together. She gets a lot of grief for it, but I'll probably just show her this and maybe she'll feel better.

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