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Thread: The Great Solid Food Debate

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Red face The Great Solid Food Debate

    So my husband and I are debating when to start single grain cereal for our 4 month old. He is doing great with BF and gaining weight and is very healthy. Husband thinks we should start cereal now because he went from sleeping all night at 8 weeks to waking up again. I think we have had some schedule changes with starting daycare and he had a cold, and that's why he is waking up again. I'm not convinced that it's because he's not getting enough to eat. He settled back down last week and slept through the night a couple of times, but not every night.

    When did you start cereal for your little ones? If anyone gave cereal just as a supplement before bed, when did you start that?

    My mom is a LC, and she thinks we should wait until 6 months for the allergy reasons and because she thinks he is getting everything he needs from me. I asked our pediatrician, and he said go for it, give him cereal or applesauce, and the people who say starting solids too early causes allergies are full of it. Then again, he is an old fashioned doctor who thinks bicycle helmets are stupid. So I'm at a loss.... I thought I had won the argument with my husband until the doctor said go for it, so now I'm trying to figure out whether we really should wait or just start cereal.

    Thoughts??? Experience?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: The Great Solid Food Debate

    We did BLS (baby-led solids) beginning when my son was 6 months old. We did some rice cereal, but because it doesn't have much nutritional value, pretty much focused on "real" food. His first food was avocado, and we gradually added things like banana, mashed sweet potato, broccoli, (you get the idea ).

    I had never heard of BLS before, but I liked that he controlled what he ate because he was the one who ate it--we did spoon feed occasionally, but generally we put it in front of him and he took it from there.

    There are some recommendations about starting solids that I think apply whether you do BLS or not (but hopefully someone will come along and know for sure )--baby should be able to sit unassisted, should have lost the tongue thrust reflex, and should have developed a pincer grasp. (There may be more, but those are the ones I remember.)

    We chose to wait for 6 months for general readiness reasons--sitting, etc--and it worked great for us. It was really messy, but a lot of fun!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: The Great Solid Food Debate

    There is far more fat and calories in breast milk than cereal.

    Trust me, your baby is going to go thru the next 2 years on a roller coaster of sleeping thru the night and then not.

    His night wakings now may be due to teething, and they just keep coming

    Not saying that it's going to hurt to give your lo a bit of food here and there, but not as a nutritional replacement and it certainly is not going to make him sleep thru the night.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: The Great Solid Food Debate

    Those are some of the reasons I want to wait. While he is getting better at sitting up, he can't do it alone yet, and he doesn't have a pincer grasp. But here's a question: until you try to give him something solid or use a spoon, how will you ever know if he's lost the tongue thrust reflex?? Seems to me you have to try to feed him something and see whether he can swallow it before you know that one. ??

    And Shannon75 has a good point to--I think he wakes up for various other reasons, but he does eat once he's awake. But I don't want to risk giving him food too early just to find out that it doesn't help him sleep any better and instead he gets food allergies or something. Any thoughts on convincing the husband??? ha ha!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    miles from nowhere

    Default Re: The Great Solid Food Debate

    I believe the AAP recently changed their recommendations as far as delaying solids for allergy reasons, but they did not change their recommendations on how long your should exclusively breastfeed for and that is 6 months.

    There are many other reasons to wait to start solid foods (of any kind) other than allergies. Your child needs to be developmentally ready to eat. Kellymom has a great article about how to know your child is ready for solids. From that article:

    Signs that indicate baby is developmentally ready for solids include:

    * Baby can sit up well without support.
    * Baby has lost the tongue-thrust reflex and does not automatically push solids out of his mouth with his tongue.
    * Baby is ready and willing to chew.
    * Baby is developing a “pincer” grasp, where he picks up food or other objects between thumb and forefinger. Using the fingers and scraping the food into the palm of the hand (palmar grasp) does not substitute for pincer grasp development.
    * Baby is eager to participate in mealtime and may try to grab food and put it in his mouth.
    I watched the baby rather than the calendar and both of mine were ready around 6 months.

    We also started with 'real' foods rather than cereals or purees. Here's a great article about baby led solids if you're interested.

    ETA: just saw your last post, it looks like you already read that article
    “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.”

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: The Great Solid Food Debate

    We do BLS as well. No rice cereal there's no point. for 'cereal' we do regular old oatmeal, with a fruit he's had mixed in sometimes.

    Wait until 6 mo let your LO's digestive system mature, he's getting everything he needs from you and you don't even HAVE to start at 6 mo, right now it's just for play/learning anyways.

    Wife to Ray (09/07/07)and Mama to:
    Xander (01/19/07) nursed for 30 months
    Liam (12/12/09) still nursing through the night and in the mornings!
    Sebastian (7/29/12) my newest little nursling who graciously shares his milk with big brother!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default Re: The Great Solid Food Debate

    You've gotten good info already but I just thought I'd chime in that solids do not make a baby sleep any better. Breastmilk is about as high in calories and fat as you can get and few solid foods even come close. My DS has rarely slept longer than 4 or 5 hours at a stretch and starting solids has certainly not changed that. He's even waking up MORE now a lot of nights because of teething. He sleeps the same on nights he gets solids for dinner as nights that we skip the solids.

    On another note, we've been doing some BLS but even though he enjoys tasting and chewing that way, he hasn't quite figured out how to swallow chunks yet (at 7.5 months) so we've backed off the self-feeding and are doing some thinner purees for a while to help him figure out the mechanics of swallowing. He does love eating and has been eagerly swallowing the purees. I'll just make it thicker and chunkier until he connects it with self-feeding and swallowing. I have a very sensitive gag reflex so I'm not surprised that he does too. But we've completely skipped the rice cereal since it has negligible nutritional value.

    I would wait to start solids of any kind until 6 months unless your baby is showing ALL the signs of readiness. Solids are also kind of a hassle. Exclusive breastfeeding is much simpler and since he's still so young, I don't even give mine solids every day. Especially on busy or stressful days, we just nurse. We've got plenty of time to introduce foods, there's no reason to hurry.
    SAHM to my boys:
    Z, my land-lubber born 11/09
    Nursed for 22 months, 18 of those with a tongue and lip tie
    Allergies to peanuts and tree nuts

    E, my water baby born 05/12
    Currently nursing through the aftermath of a tongue and lip tie revision, still trying to work it out

    We , , and !

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Alberta, Canada

    Default Re: The Great Solid Food Debate

    I have a friend with a baby a week younger than mine. She was desperate for her baby to sleep longer (and she was formula feeding too, just goes to show that formula doesn't guarantee a longer sleep either). She gave her baby rice cereal in the bottle at about 8 or 10 weeks old, and continued on with it. (I don't agree with this, but for our friendship's sake couldn't say anything ). Anyways, the rice cereal had NO EFFECT on her baby's sleeping patterns . So that's my only experience with starting rice cereal early. Putting it in a bottle is worse than spoon feeding it IMHO, because baby can't regulater their intake, but that's a whole other issue! I'm skipping the rice cereal also, and am starting with mashed banana.
    I my LLL meetings and this forum! Without them I wouldn't have been able to deal with poor latch, mastitis, over supply or thrush. Make a goal and stick with it! After many hurdles, I my baby boy, born all naturally 01/23/2010.

    Birth Weight: 7lbs 15ozs
    6 Weeks: 11lbs 2ozs
    9 Weeks: 14lbs 0oz
    12 Weeks: 15lbs 3ozs
    4 Months: 16lbs 10ozs
    5.5 Months: 19lbs 1oz
    6.5 Months: 20lbs 0oz

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Central VA

    Default Re: The Great Solid Food Debate

    Frequent nightwaking is normal and developmentally appropriate. Their brains and bodies are growing so fast that they *need* breastmilk at night.

    Four months is a typical "wake up" period where babies who may have STTN start waking very frequently. It might end someday and if not, most do eventually move out of the house.


    I wouldn't start solids at 4mo. We waited until all the developmental signs of readiness were in place and then we went with baby-led solids--he self fed, often from our plates, eventually from his own. We never did rice cereal and he really only had purees if that's what we were eating (curried squash soup, for example). His favorite foods around 10-11mo were spicy curries, brown rice, and guacamole.
    Mum to DS (04/07)
    EPing for former 28 weeker (03/12)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: The Great Solid Food Debate

    Gut development is the primary reason to wait until six months (or close too at least). Other developmental signs already noted prior are important as well, but your pedi saying people are "full of it" is clinging to his old methods and not paying attention to current research. Tell your husband you are following the AAP guidelines, which is the American authority on infant nutrition and care, and they recommend not starting solids until six months. Tell him if he can produce a scientifically based argument on why you should ignore their advice you'd love to hear it. He won't be able to, and maybe he'll read up a little in the search (in my experience, most people challenged like that decline to do the research though).
    "Old" first time ma (38) to Athena (May 17, 09) Oh my G-d, I'm nursing a toddler!!

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