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Thread: Advice for a friend - six month old and solids

  1. #1

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    Apr 2009
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    Default Advice for a friend - six month old and solids

    Hi

    Just looking for some advice for a friend of mine with a six month old who is showing no interest in solids. She is exclusively breast feeding (he refuses to take the bottle either with EBM or formula). He has always been a boobie monster and is she is currently breast feeding about every 3 to 4 hours including during the night. When he was younger he used cluster feed from 5 through to 11 or so and even now will often snack on BM through the evening for several hours. He probably slightly bigger baby than average but not abnormally so being on about 75%. She had been hanging out for him to turn 4 months so she could try him solids to see if he would but cut down on his milk feeds but although he did "eat" for the first few days he started refusing solids after a week or so. (I had tried warning her that this might happen). She since left it and started trying solids again 2 weeks ago when he turned 6 months but tells me he has no interest.

    She is getting fairly stressed about it as she is finding the constant feeding very tiring. It also means she can't leave him with anyone as he refuses to take a bottle. She really believes the only way that he will reduce his desire for milk is by eating solids. She tells me he is showing all the signs of wanting solids - starting at her when she is eating, trying to grab food from her plate. But she can only get a tsp into him at best before he refuses.



    I am not really sure what advice I should be giving her as I had the opposite problem in relation to breast feeding, with a baby who took a long while to get the hang of it, and once he did never went through that much cluster feeding or feeding through night as he got older. My little man took to solids reasonably well in the begining and we were able to build up the amount he ate over the weeks (though like everyone we've had our ups and downs since then - I'll scare the pants off her if I go through whats ahead when they become fussy and refuse to eat!!!!.)

    Given that he appears to be interested in food I am wondering if she would be best off trying BLS? Any good books/articles that she could refer to to help her? Also should she ease off slightly on the breast feeding? Would he be getting too full on milk which is why he has no interest in eating solids?

    Any advice you can give which I can pass on to her would be appreciated. I don't want to just tell her it might take several more months before he will be interested or ready for solids in case there is something she can do.

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    I think her baby is quite clever and knows what he needs.
    I honestly don't think solids are really the answer to her problems (and it's pretty hard to force anything on a baby in any case). It does sound like she needs a break, however.
    Does she get any time out? Why not just a few hours out with friends - her boy will be fine without her. He'll just wait till she gets home for a feed. Or, if he's desperate, he will take a bottle.

  3. #3

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    Your friend must be feeling quite tired, and ready for some time to herself. Her little one is obviously a great little bfer, which is great for him, but can take its toll on his mum at times.

    Often people mistake the signs of readiness for solids. Babies will watch everything and try and grab at everything. Doing this with food doesn't necessarily mean they are ready to eat. This is one of the great things about Baby Led Solids however - you don't need to know when your baby is ready. At 6 months you can start putting finger foods in front of him and he will eat them when he's ready. Usually this is a gradual process - first he'll touch, then play, then smell, then taste, and then when he's ready, he'll eat. You can try googling Baby Led Solids or Infant Led Weaning for more information, or there is a good video clip by Gill Rapley (who was the first to call this Baby Led Solids) here - YouTube - Baby-led Weaning - A Developmental Approach to the Introduction of Solid Foods.

    As your friend is hoping, solids will replace milk feeds. While this might seem appealing however, it is not always a good thing, especially if it happens too quickly. Milk is still the main nutrition source needed for growth and development until 12 months or so of age. Babies who start eating too much solids won't drink enough milk and often start waking more often in the night to try and make up for it. Starting slowly is a good idea.

    In the meantime, your friend might have some luck with offering (or with having someone else offer) Expressed Breast Milk (EBM) or even water in a sippy cup, so that your friend can take some time out. Breastfed babies are usually able to drink from a sippy cup from 3 months of age, by 6 months he can probably also manage a straw cup. Even if that fails, all babies can drink from a cup held to their mouths from birth, so there are other ways for your friend's DS to drink if she wants or needs to go out. Also, as marcellus has said, babies at that age can manage for a few hours without a feed during the day every now and then, and if he is thirsty he will drink what is offered.

    Hopefully this will help her to have the confidence to take a much deserved break!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcellus View Post
    I think her baby is quite clever and knows what he needs.
    I honestly don't think solids are really the answer to her problems (and it's pretty hard to force anything on a baby in any case). It does sound like she needs a break, however.
    Does she get any time out? Why not just a few hours out with friends - her boy will be fine without her. He'll just wait till she gets home for a feed. Or, if he's desperate, he will take a bottle.
    I agree!

  5. #5

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    My now 9 month old son is very like this. He basically followed what MantaRay laid out: he took EBM from a sippy cup only after a lot of struggling. (Is your friend giving him the cup herself? My baby will never take one from me. Get a carer to try.) We began offering him solids in the baby led style from 6 months and I thought he would dig in. Not so. His childcare centre (who were giving him puree) said that it took him a month after that to even begin to swallow puree and he also didn't swallow the finger food we gave him until after 7 months. He is still extremely dependant on BM for most of his nutrition.

    But the sippy cup (we use the Take and Toss ones, so that there's no need to suck to get milk out: he had trouble sucking on the ones with the valves) has been very helpful for getting caretakers to feed him and he is in daycare 2 days every week. And since 7 months or so his sleep has really improved, he is down to one or no night wakings too. So a baby does not have to be really switched to solids to be sleeping better, hopefully your friend's baby will improve in sleep anyway.

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