Waiting to Introduce Solids

Waiting to Introduce SolidsI hear from time to time that babies need something “more filling” that only solids can provide. Rather, it’s scientifically documented that babies require numerous feedings in those first six months. Breast milk or formula serves to adequately address babe’s nutritional needs for most of the babe’s first year of life, especially the first six months. Additionally, breast milk offers increased immunity and reductions in a variety of health issues from pneumonia and diarrhea to diabetes and obesity.

I also often hear a baby will sleep better with a solid cereal. Maybe this seemingly worked for some families. It may also be coincidence as some babies begin sleeping for longer stretches in the 3 to 6 month range. Actually, baby’s digestive tract just isn’t ready for more complex food than milk or formula. A baby’s gut is not entirely closed to adequately address the needs of digesting solid foods.

The benefits continue for both mom and baby in the comfort of bonding and suckling. Considering the fourth trimester, a baby is barely into this world at 4 to 6 months. The comfort and ease of feeding milk versus the mess of a young baby attempting solid foods helps make the decision to wait less messy! Some mothers find breastfeeding also helps balance their hormones and effectively lose excess baby-related weight.

If baby is not sleeping as long as you’d like, find a few supportive friends and family to help get you a few nights of rest. When you find yourself getting excited about the next milestone of starting solid foods and all the messy pictures that will excite your memories for years to come, remember you’ve got just these few short months to be your baby’s whole nutritional world, whether by breast or bottle. If you have well-meaning advisors who suggest introducing food, educate them or just politely nod as you see fit and remind yourself that you are your baby’s primary advocate and line of defense!

Complimentary feeding not only can wait until six months, but for a variety of reasons it is strongly encouraged by a variety of well-reputed, scientifically-based, pediatric- and health-focused organizations. Use this time to read about and prepare for those first meals of bananas, avocados, or whatever “first food” you’ll end up writing down in your child’s baby book… at six months!

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 1 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Tags: Breastfeeding, infants, la leche league, nursing, solid foods, table foods

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