Breastfeeding and Introducing Solids
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.
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.