We decided to introduce Adeline to solids at 4 months . 4 months is generally the youngest age suggested for starting solids by the American Association of Pediatrics. This is a great article about starting solid foods (and some of the “signs” to let you know that baby might be ready): Switching to Solid Foods (HealthyChildren.org). If you’re thinking about starting solids, speak with your child’s pediatrician to get the go-ahead.
We’re not stopping breastfeeding, yet. First off- breastfeeding is a lot of work. It takes its toll physically, but also mentally and emotionally. I have enjoyed being able to provide Adeline with nutrition that is formulated specifically for her, but I don’t know if I’m one of those moms who absolutely LOVES breastfeeding and wants to do it foreverandeverandever.
Is it convenient? Yes. Is it inexpensive? Yes. I definitely feel blessed to have made it this far in our nursing journey, and I still plan on breastfeeding as long as possible. I’m setting a short-term goal of breastfeeding until 6 months, with hopes in continuing until her first birthday (and perhaps beyond).
We actually had “fed” Adeline a few bites and tastes of different things before her 4 month appointment with her pediatrician (I know, I know, horrible parents). I searched for a guide to starting solids and found this handy chart from Design-Kat.com that we now have hanging on our fridge.
Weaning Chart from Design-Kat.com
The first food Adeline tried was peaches! She wasn’t too sure about them at first, but she seemed to like them! She ate about 2 teaspoons a day (at one sitting), and I’m pretty sure we just offered them to her every other day in the beginning.
She then tried banana, and we just let her gnaw on a hunk of banana that we held in our hands. She barely got anything off by gumming the banana the first time, but when I offered some banana yesterday (3 weeks later), she was pretty successful in getting some little bits off by herself! Beware of banana poop- I definitely found myself Googling “black squiggly lines in baby poop” and these dark, thread-like filaments are a natural result of the banana being digested. I thought she had worms or something equally as disgusting at first!
Now, we are feeding Adeline rice cereal once a day. We started out with the “recommended” amount of one tablespoon of cereal and 4-5 tablespoons of breastmilk. That made a pretty runny cereal but Adeline seems to like the rice cereal best when it is prepared to be thicker.
We’re using Gerber Organic Brown Rice Cereal and pumped breastmilk. She can really put back the rice cereal, but she will refuse it when she’s bored or too full. I’d guess we make 2-3TB of rice cereal (with enough breastmilk to get it to the proper thickness) and she usually finishes it!
She has also tried sweet potato (mixed with breastmilk), but didn’t care for that at all. She ate some avocado yesterday, scooped straight out of the avocado. We’re being intentional about introducing just one “new” food at a time. So in addition to her rice cereal in the evening, I may let her try a bit of banana during the daytime for a few days. The suggested guidelines are to wait 2-3 days before introducing new foods (to pinpoint allergies).
I’m also only offering food right now as a “treat” in addition to her nursing sessions. We’re not replacing any of her nursing sessions with meals, we’re simply letting her try new foods. Our typical “mealtime” is around 5:30 (when Daniel gets home from work), and on the few nights that we have fed her around that time, she has slept SO WELL at night! She’ll eat her rice cereal, we’ll play and read to her for a while, and then she nurses before bed at 7pm. I don’t know if it’s because the cereal takes longer to digest or if we’re just getting into some longer sleep rhythms, but we’re gonna keep up the evening food time!
Since I have Celiac Disease (gluten intolerance), we do plan on keeping Adeline gluten-free for quite some time. We’re going to stick with brown rice cereal, and as we move on to biscuits or puffs, I’ll make suer to select ones that are free of oats and wheat (or I’ll attempt to make my own). I just don’t want to cause her any discomfort if she is sensitive to gluten. Her pediatrician doesn’t seem to think it will be an issue, but this is one of those things that I’d like to be cautious about.
In addition to breastfeeding, we still plan on doing one “meal” a day, probably in the evening for the next few months. I really think that a Baby Led Weaning approach is one that I want to take with introducing even more foods to Adeline. I’ll continue to offer her hunks of foods (like banana) that she can hold and chew. Right now, she’s not interested in holding any foods and chewing them (which is odd to me because ALL toys/clothes/anything goes straight into her mouth). I’m guessing that one day it will just “click” but for now, we are okay with feeding her from a spoon or our hands. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as our world of solids expands!
I was a little bit nervous about telling others that we had started solids, since babies typically don’t start until around 6 months of age. But, I wanted to share where we started, since starting around 4 months is kind of young and there aren’t a whole lot of resources out there.
I’m still a little bit unsure about our decision to start solids because of some of the research and recommendations from trusted sources:
I realize that we don’t fall into the categories for the increased risk of obesity (we’re not stopping breastfeeding), but it still just scares me a bit that my actions and choices today will affect Adeline later in life. I guess that’s just being a parent though! We plan on following her cues. If she doesn’t want to eat solids for a week, that’s fine by me. If she just wants a nibble or two, that is okay as well. It’s refreshing to think that soon enough, she won’t be 100% dependent on me for all of her nutrition (again, waiting until 6+ months to actually “replace” some of her nursing sessions with food).
When did you start solids? Any advice for beginners? Baby’s favorite food?