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Thread: Oh the guilt... to start solids or not?

  1. #1

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    Question Oh the guilt... to start solids or not?

    Hi all,
    This is my first post here and i really need some advice.
    I have a beautiful four and a half month old son who is fully breastfed and feeds well. I was determined not to start him on solids until he was at least 6 months old. I was getting pressure from certain family members to start him on solids as early as six weeks (mind you, this was from the same person who told me to 'just let him cry' when he was only 3 days old!) but have resisted the pressure with much grace...
    But I'm starting to think he might need some solid food. This is being backed up by a lot of other mothers I know, many of whom waited themselves until their babies were older to start solids, but they have observed his behaviour and are telling me "This baby wants food!!".
    So... he's waking more frequently at night than he was (our five hour sleep has gone down to four, then three, now two hours) and feeding more frequently during the day. he is grumpy and unsettled between feeds when he was quite happy and contented only a few weeks ago. He tries to grab my hand when I'm eating and tries to shove the food in his mouth. He watches every bit of food we eat like a hawk. And, the real kicker, the last few days he has been getting very grumpy and frustrated when he sits near us at mealtimes.
    I have plenty of milk and he's steadily putting on weight... but I feel like I just can't keep up this feeding pattern much longer and I'm torn here... the guilt of not feeding him solids when he seems to want it vs the guilt of not waiting until he's at least six months old!
    Anyone got any advice?? Any insight is much appreciated!!


  2. #2

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    hi
    I started My 9 month old on solids when he was 3 months old as i was sick of him screaming n mouthing everytime we sat down for meals and he has loved his foods since.... try bubs on farex and see how he goes you can only try and if that doesnt solve your problem then you can try something else.... but sounds like he is ready for solids..... back when i had DD i was told to start her on solids when she was 4 months old (that was 7 years ago) and now with DS i was told not to till he was atleast 6 months but i went with my gut feeling and wat my DS was telling me

    best of luck

    Sarah

  3. #3

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    Oh what a tough situation!
    Are you able to try not eating in front of bub?
    And maybe offer more feeds in the evening to try and fill his tummy so he sleeps longer?
    I'm sorry i really can't help, hopefully someone more experienced will pop in again soon.
    Good luck and welcome to BellyBelly!

  4. #4

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    Hi and welcome to BB. When was your son born ? You might want to check out your baby buddies group, it helps to see what other babies the same age are up to

    I would be more inclined to suggest that your little man is going through a growth spurt. Pretty much all the babies in my baby buddie group (here on BB) are going through the very same thing atm. We are just coming out of it (hopefully) It is perfectly normal to start wanting more feeds and feeding more often. The night wake ups have been happening to us all too.

    My daughter is nearly 5 months old, she is constantly shoving a hand or our hands into her mouth. This too is a developmental milestone. Babies explore everything with their mouths. Added to the fact that my baby is teething and this gives her some comfort to chew on something firm.

    Babies don't "really" understand what we are doing when eating as such. It's not like they have tried it so they aren't jealous. LOL. I think it's more us feeling guilty for eating when they are watching us.

    I guess it has to be a personal choice, mine is to not start my babies on any solids until atleast 6 months. My second born was 8 months old. Every baby is different. Digestive systems can be too. But as a general rule they aren't really ready for foods so early. Also you run the risk of allergic reactions.

    Just my 2 cents worth. You have to make the choice for yourself.

  5. #5

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    It is hard isn't it? One thing I know for sure is, babies often send us very mixed signals when it comes to solids - we think that they are ready and that they need food, but the reality is that they don't and they aren't missing out if they don't get it. There are a few things that could explain your DS's behaviour lately - teething is one and at 4mths they go through a huge developmental leap too (often called wonder weeking) - they are getting more mobile, are more aware of the world around them and are are more interactive than they were before. In some babies this can make them very unsettled and they go back to night waking and disturbed sleep. But this is not a sign of them needing food at all. My DS was the same about that age, but it wasn't food he wanted, he just wanted to be involved in what we were doing at meal times. Also with him watching you eat and looking like he wants some - babies are curious creatures and their little minds are like sponges - them watching you is part of them learning. It's not the food they want because you could pick anything up and give it to them and it will go straight to their mouth - again this is develpmental and is how they learn.

    Give him extra feeds if you think he is hungry - milk is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT thing in their diet until they are 12mths old. And starting solids wont make him sleep better at night - if anything it can make it worse as his tiny tummy gets used to digesting solid food. You can also run into problems with constipation too as being a fully BF babe (which is easy to digest) to having a belly full of solid food may even give him belly aches. Until around 6mths of age their gut is still quite immature, even if they are showing *signs* that they are ready for solids, this can lead to further implications for allergies and food intolerances down the track too.

    To try to help at meal times, put him in a highchair if you have one and make him at your level, you could even give him a cold teething ring to chew on or a toy to play with.

    At the end of the day though, you are the one who knows your baby the best, but it does help a lot if we understand some of the 'science' behind why they do what they do.

  6. #6

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    Great advice Trillian. I have to go "share the love" first

  7. #7

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    Ok I can feel my resolve strengthening with those last two posts... we can tough this out...

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    When you think about it - the magical 6mths is only 6wks away and trust me - it really does fly. With my youngest baby, I didn't want to start him until 6mths old as he already had eczema and I didn't want to push the friendship with that and by the time 6mths came round I wasn't ready at all LOL - it snuck up on me so quickly. So we've only just been having solids for the past 4wks now. I started my first three babies early and waiting was the best thing I ever did.

    And thanks Trish

  9. #9
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    I started DD on solids when she was 5months and 3weeks, so a week or two early. To be honest it made zero difference to anything with her. She eats well enough but she took her milk well enough too. For me i'd had to start using formula so i felt the "spell" of fully BF was broken for us anyway, she seemed hungry, i went for it.

    I wanted to chime in here though and say...here comes some slummy mummy advice...for ME the easiest bit of parenthood has been the time between getting good at BFing (6 weeks) and starting to use formula (5months). It is WORK making food up, it is WORK feeding it to them. The nappies get yucky, you have a lot more washing to do, mealtimes take more time. I could go on...

    I would say, don't wish this magical time away. In all likelihood solids will make NO difference to his behaviour and you'll have a bunch more work to do for, well, nothing. All too soon your little one will NEED his food and the year following that is one of cooking and smooshing and spooning and wiping up and washing and more washing and even more washing. Try giving him a clean spoon or teether to chomp on during your meals and include him in your conversations, he's probably just nosy and growing.

    I think the most important things are to remember that things you regret NOT doing you can always do, but things that you regret doing you CAN'T undo, and to have full confidence in your milk. I know a few babies who went on thriving on breastmilk and only a little bit of food (LITERALLY a dessert-spoonful or two a day) until they were almost a year old!

    Bx

  10. #10

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    Hi,

    I recently came across this article on one of my fave sites, Kellymom. It describes perfectly a lot of 4 month olds I have known! There might be something in it you can relate to as well. kellymom.com ::Wakeful 4 Month Olds by Jan Barger, RN, MA, IBCLC
    It can be really confusing when you are being pressured in so many directions. I have often found that (in any age or phase) doing a little research, and talking to other well informed mums helps a lot. Then, take the bit between our teeth and forge on. You are a great, thoughtful and caring mum - nothing to feel guilty about!
    Warm Regards
    Barb

  11. #11

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    I must admit, I have only skim-read some of the replies to your question, Lorirae, so my thoughts may be repeats of others.....

    But when my DD was 4 ish months we were having a terrible time of it... now a little wiser, I believe this is common and just something to ride out....

    Despite being fully and very happily BF, and despite my thoughts that i would wait till the magic 6 months, I started her on solids at 5months on the dot, thinking that i had seen signs from her that she was ready.....

    In hindsite, she wasn't really ready and i don't think starting early made any difference to some of the other difficulties we were having. She didn't even really eat a reasonable amount until well after 6 months - she knew what was best even if i didn't!

    It's late and I hope this makes some sense..... like most people will tell you - you are the expert on your child (well, second to them anyway!) and if you feel the time's right then you won't be doing any damage, but this was just my experience and if i had my time over (and hopefully if i am blessed with another in the future) i wouldn't start early.

  12. #12

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    Excellent article Barb! Describes my daughter exactly! LOL. Distracted little feeder through the day, and a piggy by night

    I've been told to wait until DD is corrected 6 months (she was prem) so she'll be 7 1/2 months. She's showing a lot of interest in food at the moment, but she shows interest in everything else too.

    I've actually read that introducing solids increases their appetite, so they could actually increase their breastfeeds once you start solids! Just try to ride it out, it's an age thing, not a food thing And I completely agree that solids is a pain in the bum - so much work! Why start all that early? hehe.

  13. #13

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    I'm in the same boat as you LoriRae. Do I, or don't I?? He's just turned 4 months this week and it's confusing as my eldest who is now 7 was started on solids at 4 months as it was the recommended age back then. He has no allergies, isn't a fussy eater, has always had a great appetite etc.

    Jack has formula at daycare which is 4 days a week, then Fridays and all weekend I try to BF him solely. Come Monday afternoon after work - I'm engorged!! He's started the night waking again, but I'm going to read that article that Barb posted the link about to see what it's all about before I make the decision. I even bought him a spoon/bowl combo and some Farex last night....just in case I decided to start this weekend.

  14. #14

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    Glad I found this thread! I've just read the article Barb linked and have to agree it is my DS down to a tea! Was sleeping through now doesn't, is almost 5 months and people are telling me to put him on solids. He's a big boy so even our GP had suggested it. Neither DH nor I have a history of allergies ourselves, but our siblings do, so we're a little cautious anyway. BUT I've also noticed the tongue thrust reflex is still well in place, so figure it's not time yet. Ultimately I've decided for us it's best to keep going without solids for 2 reasons besides the allergy/intolerance and WHO recommendation. 1 - I have plenty of milk and with a paranoia re mastitis I don't care too much that I'm feeding DS at night again and 2 - I can't be stuffed making the food for him anyway. I reckon the best thing about breastmilk is that I don't have to do anything except give him the boob! In the meantime I sometimes give him a plastic spoon, teething ring or wet face washer to play with/suck on/chomp on when we're eating... it keeps him occupied if nothing else.

  15. #15

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    Well done LM. You are so good at understanding your DS's cues. I am sure you will know when the time is right. And I agree with you on bfing being easier - I think that's the easiest time with them, before they are on food. I often wonder why people are in such a hurry to make their lives more difficult!

  16. #16

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    wow. I loved that article, thanks.

  17. #17

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    I also loved that article. It really describes my daughter. Distracted half feeds in the day. Both boobs and efficient feeds at night!

    I am currently at the 'will I or won't I start feeding aswell'

    What is interesting is hearing that there is new research about starting solids and allergies- there was someone on a day time chat show last week talking about it, and my sil took her 2 year old to the allergist last week, to follow up with his egg and peanut allergy. He told her that new research is to start bubs between 4 and 6 months- a slow introduction of foods if you like so that by 6 months they are 'starting feeding'. a study had apparently shown that waiting till after 6 months was not actually preventing allergies- allergy rates have increased. I googled this and read a lot of the information.

    I personally feel my daughter is not displaying any signs of 'wanting' to eat. unlike your son!!

    I have decided that at 5 months I will try for the spoon a day introduction- after breast, but will not force the issue. Apparently its all learning and they barely consume anything anyway!

    Food for thought!

  18. #18

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    Seeing as this has been bumped, I'll give you guys the update... we started solids at five months and one week and are loving it- my GP actually ended up recomending it due to the intense feeding schedule that was taking it's toll on my mental health!!
    Hawksey, I've seen that research too, especially concerning peanuts- some experts are saying that waiting till 24 months is increasing the risk of allergies, not decreasig. But I'm not sure I'm ready to push it that far as yet!!
    Thanks for all your help and opinions Good old BB- what would I do without it?

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