Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Breastfeeding and Introducing Solids



As I mentioned last week I am still exclusively breastfeeding and finally at the point where neither of us really has to think about it anymore; we can sit down just about anywhere and Natalie knows what to do. Though at first the 30-45 minute nursing sessions were time-consuming and limiting, I actually miss them a little bit now! All of a sudden, she started eating in 10-15 minutes at the most and then was done! One of two things happened when she turned 4 months:

1) She became so efficient at nursing and so much stronger that she was able to get the milk much faster than before. Now she's like "Ok, I got this, I know what I'm doing, and I can be done here in 10 minutes so I can go back to playing, and you can go back to singing to me."

2) Also, she became SO easily distracted! Every single thing started to distract her during feeding sessions. If I so much as scratched my nose, she would come off and just stare at my nose for the longest time as if she was discovering it. If the phone rang, if Zoey barks, if Chris walks into the room, if I drink water from a cup, she often stops and pretty much forgets that she was in the middle of eating. Sometimes, it's funny. Nothing warms my heart more when her eyes get big, and she just all of a sudden stops nursing to stare at my face with the most inquisitive expression for a few minutes. But other times, like when we have to be somewhere, it's annoying. I would seriously be late for work every single day if I still had to be out the door by 8:30 am every morning.

Sometimes, she's so distracted that she doesn't want to continue feeding, and I know that she only ate enough to take the edge off. At those times, she usually wants to eat again within the hour. When we're home with no commitments, that's not a problem, but if we're out, or have to be somewhere, she could all of a sudden get in her cranky "I need to eat" stage.

We also went through one week where she thought it was funny to stop nursing and just bite down on my nipple every feeding session. Sometimes I would immediately react "OW!" but I try very hard not to let her see a reaction from me because I think that's what she wants, and it would only encourage it. When that happens, I end the feeding session, put her down somewhere, and then come back to continue about 5 minutes later. She hasn't done that again in a few weeks.
And then there's the subject of introducing solids. Ohhhh this subject...how it haunted me for weeks. I was very surprised when my pediatrician told me I could start her on rice cereal, oatmeal, and then barley at her 4 month check up. Everything I had read online said not to start any food until 6 months. There's all sorts of conflicting opinions/philosophies on this out there. For everything I read that said to wait until 6 months, I read another article that said it's ok to start at 4. For every article I read that said DON'T feed your child rice cereal, I read another article that said it's perfectly fine. So, I kind of did a "pseudo" introducing solids plan. At 4 months, 2 weeks: we started 1 tablespoon of rice cereal every other day for 2 weeks (and she hasn't had it again since). Then I did 1-2 tablespoons of oatmeal every other day for 2 weeks (she LOVED this). I haven't been able to find the barley at the store yet, but at 5 months, 2 weeks, I started her on pureed banana, then homemade pureed apple, and right now we are on homemade puree pear and prunes.

I think if you're on the fence about when to start solids, somewhere in the 5th month is a good compromise to slowly start introducing them. I started slightly earlier than I thought I would, because Natalie was showing interest in my food, and she was reaching out for everything. She puts her hand on my glass when I drink water, and she's fascinated by watching me eat. So I sort did a combination of both ideas - starting solids at 4 months...but very small amounts, and only a handful of times during the week.

Now that she's so close to 6 months, I've been doing 1 Tablespoon of oatmeal mixed with 1 Tablespoon of pureed fruit twice a day. She LOVES eating, and it's cute and fun to see her get excited over it.

I used to think "oh my goodness it will be so much easier once I can feed her food!" and I'm sure to an extent that's right - but right now, the thought of introducing food into our everyday routine is surprisingly daunting. I'm so used to our routine: Stopping every 2-3 hours, no matter where we are, and I can just sit down and feed her on the spot. But now starting her on foods, a certain amount of pre-planning has to be involved in that. Preparing the food, having a bowl, spoon and bib ready, having pumped milk on hand to mix with her oatmeal. And it's not like I can just hand her a spoon and she's good to go: Feeding her can be messy. It involves a lot of cleanup and it's something that, for now, is just much easier to handle at home.

I went to a La Leche League meeting last week and they told me this little saying: "Food before 1, just for fun". Meaning, they should still primarily get their nutrition from breast-milk or formula before the age of 1. Feeding them food is just to start getting them used to the idea of eating and introduce them to new tastes, but it is not to fill them up, or replace a full meal. Here's a little video montage of what it's like to feed her. It's been fun introducing her to all these new tastes, and to see her enjoy it.

17 comments:

  1. Oh, what fun! Wait till she throws food or just plays with her food. That's always fun to watch. Don't you wish you could play with your food and people would think it's cute? Love the expressions on her face in the video.

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    1. she's quite an expressive little lady!

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  2. Her expressions are about the cutest thing I have ever seen! She looks like she is about to loose her mind when she see's that spoon coming. Jeanette is the same way with her bottle (breast feeding didn't work out too well for me), she see's that bottle and starts huffing and puffing and reaching out for it. The pediatrician said we could try rice cereal before her 4 month appointment which is on the 29th. I'm excited to start trying new things with her. She loves to watch us eat so I think she will enjoy trying food, or at least I hope so!

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    1. Yea, it's definitely fun. Right now, Natalie is obsessssed with cups. All she wants is cups and to pretend she's drinking from them just like her mommy and daddy do! So cute!

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  3. What a cute video! The info about when to introduce solids, etc., is new to me, so definitely helpful to store in my brain for the future.

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    1. When the time comes, I'm your go-to gal when you have questions or need advice! ;)

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  4. The faces she makes kills me!

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  5. Man that gal loves banana! That video is hysterical! Jack has had such issues eating. He is such a wonderful boy but eating has always been a problem. It took him 3.5 months to actually latch so I pumped for a full 3.5 months. Now he has gotten much better at latching but is very easily distracted and the sessions range from 10 minutes to 40. He usually falls asleep halfway through and then needs to eat again in an hour making for night time feedings tough. I'm a total zombie!!!

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    1. Your dedication to Breastfeeding is so admirable, I wish everyone was dedicated as you. I'm glad that Jack has gotten better at latching. I'm sure that's much more enjoyable for you than pumping. Natalie is still very very easily distracted, but I've learned that she is actually getting a full meal in 8-10 minutes cause if I pump afterward, there's nothing left! natalie falls asleep while eating a lot of the times too

      How often are you getting up in the night with him?

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  6. We started Hunter on rice cereal (which he hated) right at 4 months, he had such a big appetite I thought it would help take some of the pressure off of me with milk production. We slowly introduced purees and he LOVED them and gobbled them up and always showed an interest in our food. It wasn't until probably 18 months that he started getting really picky with his food.

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    1. I felt the same way but I kind of feel like introducing her to food hasn't changed her appetite at all!

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  7. Starting my daughter on foods was so exciting! Her dad and I are both such food lovers we couldn't wait to get her going on the "good" stuff... haha. But we went at it about the same way you did. Now that she's 10 months she's up to a small yogurt in the morning, a lunch serving and a dinner serving still with nursing about four times during the day and twice or so at night.
    It's just so fun to share something you love, even food, with your new little one, right?!

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    1. Yes! It's been so fun and with each new food it's another exciting adventure!

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  8. Laura, I'm another one of your 'silent followers', I actually worked with your mom and you and I were pregnant at the same time! (Our girls are about a month apart) I love your blog because it seems like everything you go through with Natalie I experience with my little lady at the same time. We've started sporadic rice cereal, and barley will be next. I was also going to wait till 6 mos.and was surprised by my peds. "Go ahead" on solids at her 4 no check up. Same as Natalie, Laurel was showing interest in what I was eating so I started. Any thoughts on Baby Led Weaning, some friend have had great success and after some research I might try it. Just curious if BLW was something you have come across yet!

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    1. Hi Jen, thank you so much for leaving a comment. I definitely know who you are through my mom, congrats on your little one! I can't find barley ANYWHERE!! Not even online - have you found it?!

      I have heard about BLW and I'm curious - for one, I wouldn't start that before the recommended 6 months of age. My biggest concern is her choking. If I give her actual pieces of food, and she has no teeth whatsoever, what is she chokes?? I don't know - I think I may wait a few months before I let her feed herself....what are your thoughts?

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    2. Yes, I found pearl barley in the organic section at Wegmans! I think I'm going to give BLW a try at the six month mark. I think you still cut everything up super small but not puréed so you're not using a spoon. And I think you make sure to give them softer versions, like extra steamed so its pretty mushy. I still need to do some more research on it myself, but right now Laurel thinks she should use her hands to get the cereal in her mouth! Haha!

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