Solidarity

Saturday, February 19, 2011

When Nora was born, my intention was to exclusively breastfeed her until she is six months old, as that is the current recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), etc. I knew that realistically, we might not make it all the way to six months, but I figured it was a good goal to have.

Then, when we were at Nora's four-month pediatrician appointment in January, our doctor told us that she was very happy that Nora was doing so well with the breastfeeding. She asked how long I intended to nurse her, and I told her six months, which she was very pleased with. However, she recommended starting some solid foods before I originally planned. Her reasoning is that apparently, the "very few" babies who do make it all of the way to six months without starting solids tend to have problems accepting solids. So, our doctor encouraged us to start rice or oatmeal cereal once a day between five and six months old, just to get her used to the idea of eating solids prior to six months of age.

Alrighty, simple enough.

Despite her recommendations, we weren't in a huge hurry to start solids. For one, breastfeeding has been really EASY, and to add another activity (like preparing and feeding Nora solids) into our daily routine is OK, but not something I was dying to do. Secondly, THE POOP. I was not looking forward to changes in Nora's poop--especially since we cloth diaper. Breastfed baby poo is no big deal, easy to handle, easy to clean... *sigh* Change is hard, y'all.

Anyway, on Thursday, when Nora was about 5 months and 1 week old, we figured we better bite the bullet and start working on solids with Nora. And frankly, we had reason to suspect she was ready. For weeks, she has been OBSESSED with watching us eat, trying to grab our food, putting anything and everything into her mouth, etc.

When we got home from work and daycare, she seemed to be in a good mood, so I mixed up some baby oatmeal cereal with some breast milk. (We are skipping rice cereal... at least the white rice variety. Interested in knowing why? We are following the philosophy of the "WhiteOut" campaign.) As I approached her with it, she seemed pretty interested, and even opened her mouth as I moved the spoon toward her lips.


As you can see, she had a perplexed look on her face, but she didn't react negatively. She swallowed most of it, so I repeated with another spoonful. Then another.

And then she even smiled! I thought... SUCCESS.

As we got further into the feeding, she was spitting out more and more of it, until ultimately she was refusing it altogether. But she had consumed several spoonfuls (tiny spoonfuls, but still), so we were happy. We figured that for her first time, she had done fantastically! We were feeling pretty good about the situation.

Then came Friday night. I mixed up the oatmeal exactly as I had on Thursday, except she WOULD.NOT.EAT.IT. I placed the first spoonful in her mouth, she spit it out, made a face, and cried. Then refused to take anymore. We figured maybe she was not feeling it that night, but I was surprised because it just seemed like she suddenly HATED it.

After asking for some advice on Facebook, several friends told us that maybe she just doesn't care for the taste of the oatmeal. "Have you tried it? It tastes like cardboard," one of my friends said. A few people suggested mixing some fruit (banana or applesauce) in with the oatmeal to see if she would take it that way. So, tonight, we tried a little banana in with the oatmeal.

FAIL. Complete fail.

Nora started crying as soon as the spoon came toward her lips, and refused to even really taste it. She pursed her little lips together and would not even let me get the spoon in there! I'm not really sure where to go from here...

We're toying around with trying some other "beginner" foods, like sweet potato or pears.
I picked up some whole grain rice cereal; maybe she'll prefer that over oatmeal.
Maybe she's just not ready.

Whatever the case, this is certainly not as easy as I thought it would be!

23 comments:

Anonymous,  February 20, 2011 at 11:05 PM  

Just stick with it. I was worried that Aubrey would never eat anything besides breastmilk for her entire life, but she took to it after a couple weeks. :)

~Kristen M.

GoodnessGraces February 20, 2011 at 11:15 PM  

I EBF for 6 months before introducing solids. I have never heard of the theory that if you wait that long that a baby will have problems accepting solids. I really think that it is the other way around especially with the baby led weaning theory of introducing foods when a baby is ready and skipping the purees all together. We still did the purees but started with sweet potatoes and other veggies first before the gross cereal. We did end up using the cereal to thicken purees because well the stuff is gross but does contain iron and thicker food worked better for us.

Don't fret if Nora doesn't want it right now. Her main nutrition is through the BM. Wait a couple of weeks once she is sitting up more and it will be so much easier on both of you.

nikinikinine February 21, 2011 at 1:41 AM  

Not to get too far off subject, but what will you do for milk after 6 months? I plan on EBF the twins until 6 mos as well, they are 6 weeks old on Wednesday and I seriously just realized I have no plan after that! I have about 200 oz of freezer stock so far. I was thinking I may EP until month 8 and then wean altogether, but I hate the idea of introducing formula after working so hard to BF.

How often does Nora nurse now at five months and how many ounces does she take at each feed?

basebell6 February 21, 2011 at 9:52 AM  

my family was pushing for me to start baby on solids before 6 months. so when i waited, and then baby HATED solids, it was like "told ya so". my mom always says, "i NEVER saw a baby who wouldnt eat!!" my baby clamps his mouth shut and VERY tight.

here we are at 7 months and a week and baby is just now warming up to the idea of some foods. definitely still clamping the mouth shut on the foods i have a freezer full of (squash, peas, beans). LOL. figures!

jackson February 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM  

my ped. told us to put food in front of my baby, something like mashed avocado or sweet potato (not bananas because starting with something sweet may turn baby off to veggies) anyways she suggested letting baby explore the food with his hands and let him feed himself. i haven't tried it yet-he's only 4.5 months old-but what she said makes sense to me :)
good luck!

jack+alli February 21, 2011 at 10:54 AM  

oops! my husband was signed in!

Heather February 21, 2011 at 12:17 PM  

@Kristen--
That's what I keep hearing. But what does "stick with it" mean, exactly? Do I just keep offering it, night after night? Same old thing, or do I try different foods? Skip a few nights in between? That's what I don't get. There should be a flow chart for this sort of thing, LOL.

@GoodnessGraces--
Thanks for the input. It seems that like everything else, every baby is different, and every pedi has different opinions on what should be done and when. I wouldn't say I'm stressed about it, as I know that Nora is getting what she needs via breast milk. I guess my post was more intended to be a 'where do we go from here?' type of thing. :)

Heather February 21, 2011 at 12:26 PM  

@Niki--
Because breastfeeding is going well for us, I don't plan to STOP at six months. I figure we'll keep going, but it won't be "exclusive" anymore since we'll be adding other foods to her menu. My ultimate goal is to breastfeed in some capacity up until her first birthday. But six months is my goal for now, because you just never know what could happen. I'm just going to keep doing what we're doing and kind of ride it out, but I feel like some of the pressure I feel to give her "the good stuff" will be somewhat alleviated after six months. After that, any further we go is just icing on the cake... and more than anything, I just don't want to have to PAY for formula! :)

Good job on the freezer stash, 200 oz. is an impressive amount for you to have built up already, especially given you're nursing twins. I had an oversupply as well and it was very helpful--I haven't taken inventory lately, but I would say I probably have at least 350oz in our freezer, and currently, I'm not taking away from it--I'm just rotating it out at this point so that nothing expires. (On a daily basis, I pretty much freeze the same amount as I take out--if not more--so my stash is staying relatively the same size.)

At 5 months old, on a normal day, Nora eats five times, which equals out to be every 3-4 hours while awake. (She sleeps through the night, 12-13 hours, without eating.) On the weekends, I really don't know how much she's eating since I nurse her for every feeding. BUT, during the week, when I have to pump and send her to daycare--in the mornings, for that first feeding from me, I'm guessing she polishes off about 7-8 ounces. She has gone 12-13 hours without a meal, and she makes up for it! I base that estimate off of what I can pump (which is actually more than 7-8 ounces if I'm full), but I know you're not supposed to do that, as they say it's not an accurate way of knowing. Then, at daycare, she takes three bottles, which are generally 5 oz. each. Then I nurse her one final time at bedtime, and I'm guessing she gets about 5-6 oz. from me for that feeding. I hope that helps, but let me know if you have questions.

This commenting/replies thing reminds me that I am still really interested in installing Disqus. Are you still happy with it?? I wonder if people will be discouraged from commenting if they can't do so through their Blogger login. :(

Heather February 21, 2011 at 12:31 PM  

@basebell--
Since putting our struggle "out there" with friends and family (and the blog), I've heard from several people that solids weren't easy for them, either! So, you're not alone. Seems like babies just march to the beat of their own drum. And as parents, we all know that already, right? :) Glad your little guy is getting the hang of it, though.

@Alli--
I've been doing a lot of reading, and there is actually no scientific evidence that shows that babies who start off eating fruit will have trouble with vegetables. It actually doesn't make sense, if you think about it--breast milk is even sweeter than most fruit, and that's baby's very first food! A lot of doctors believe that starting with something sweet actually helps babies acclimate to food! I've been using resources like Dr. Greene (the "WhiteOut Campaign" I mentioned in my post), and also www.wholesomebabyfood.com. A lot of pediatricians (including my own) still suggest to start with veggies with the reasoning you state, but I just wanted to tell you that there is evidence that starting with fruit is not a bad thing. :) And the method you mention (the putting food in front of baby) sounds like "baby-led weaning," which I've also been reading about and makes a lot of sense to me. We'll see, we're just going to keep trying and let Nora lead the way! :)

Kristin February 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM  

I EBF until 6 months, and then we introduced solids with baby-led weaning. My pedi had suggested mashing up food and giving her some fruit for breakfast or lunch and then a veggie for lunch or dinner for the first month or so before introducing meat (she advised us to skip cereals all together because of some recent constipation issues my DD had). I kind of went on my own/the BLW track with it and just give her some version of whatever we're having for a meal or two a day. For the first 10 days or so, she played with the food and gagged if she came close to swallowing, which made sense to me since it was so foreign to her. I just kept offering it. And then she started to actually ingest some of it (and the poop is proof, haha). She loves sweet potatoes fries, toasted breads, and several fruits so far. She doesn't eat a lot, and some days it is more than others, but she's getting the experience of new tastes and textures at her own pace right now. Since her primary nutrition is still breast milk, neither of us stress about it, and it has been pretty fun :) (Except the poop. We CD, too, and we're currently figuring out the best approach to handling solids and CDs.)

Anonymous,  February 21, 2011 at 1:48 PM  

I'd just recommend that you're consistent. Offer it every day. Feel free to change up whatever fruits / veggies you're mixing with the oatmeal, though.

With Aubrey, it just 'clicked' one day. She had been refusing to open her mouth at daycare all week, then one weekend, BAM. She polished off a whole bowl.

:)

LisaJ February 21, 2011 at 4:40 PM  

Play with the consistency of the oatmeal or whatever cereal you are using. My son prefers the cereal to have a thicker consistency (well thicker than the recommendation on the box for the first feeding) and he likes it warmed. I just put it in the microwave for 5-7 seconds.

Unrelated questions...what type of stroller did you use for your vacation? Do you like it?

Heather February 21, 2011 at 5:09 PM  

@Kristin--
Let me know what you figure out with the CDs. I've heard everything from "it's not that bad to rinse them!" to "DISPOSABLE LINERS ARE A MUST."

LisaJ--Our travel "lightweight" stroller is a Chicco Liteway. We like it a lot. Reclining back, sunshade, easy to push, nice height, good handles, etc. Decent sized basket for an umbrella stroller, too.

amybyrd February 21, 2011 at 6:22 PM  

Heather--I know I posted for you on Facebook, but we really abandoned solids for about 4 weeks when she didn't like them and then tried back with fruits and veggies.
And try the pacifier trick--after my daycare ladies told me it was so much easier to get her to eat!

Tara February 21, 2011 at 8:03 PM  

Our pediatrician gave us the same recommendation about solids at Kira's 4month appointment in January also. I too was NOT eager to jump into it but off to buy some cereal, fruits & veggies Mommy went. Kira was not too keen on cereal at first either, she still isn't too keen on it now either but she'll eat it for me. Our ped told us to do the cereal for 5days straight, even if it was one spoonful a night stick with it, or until she would willingly take the cereal..whichever came first. Then to move onto another fruit or veggie, stick with that for 5days then move on..so on & so forth. Needless to say we now, 1month later as Miss Kira will be 5months old tomorrow!, she successfully & willingly eats cereal, bananas, peaches, carrots & sweet potatoes. We're still working on introducing her to more foods but the routine we've got going is a fruit and some cereal for breakfast then a fruit and some cereal for dinner.

I hope that gave you some hope :)

Heather February 21, 2011 at 9:02 PM  

UPDATE: We had mild success with pears and whole grain rice cereal tonight. :) She still only ate a negligible amount, but she didn't cry, and she kept "going back for more." I started by giving her a bit on my finger, then put some on the spoon and was mostly letting HER put the spoon in her mouth to taste it (I was guiding the spoon, of course, since I didn't want her to gag herself). She was a mess, but she did keep tasting it, despite the hilarious faces she was making (I suspect she thought the pears tasted very tart!). It was cute. I think we're going to stick with pears/whole grain rice every night this week and see how she does. Thanks for all of the advice today!

Erin February 21, 2011 at 10:10 PM  

Sounds like you've gotten a lot of great advice already, but I wanted to echo a few comments you've gotten. First, just be consistent offering every night. I see it went better for you tonight so that's great, but if it wasn't, you can certainly hold off until 6 months to try again because she just might not be ready. If she doesn't open her mouth for the food, don't feel any pressure to make her eat - no need to try to trick her into opening her mouth either. We did that at first and I don't think it makes any difference at all. She'll let you know how much she wants to eat, sometimes it will be nothing.

nikinikinine February 21, 2011 at 10:30 PM  

Agh this is so helpful! Thank you! I don't want to stop nursing 100% either I just no longer want to breastfeed directly, I'm hoping to pump for another month and hopefully take them to month 8 with my freezer stock. We're going back for our snowbabies this fall so I have to wean by September to start hormones again. Crazy crazy.

As for disqus, I love it and I think I have more commenters now because I can respond more personally in line. It's a lot like wordpress commenting and people don't have to check back to see if I replied, I believe it sends an email with my comment! And the spam control is great.

Katie P,  February 22, 2011 at 10:53 AM  

I know you have received a ton of comments already but I had to add my 2 cents. I breastfed my son all the way through and we had no problems starting solids at all. We tried cereal once before 6 months to which I immediately felt guilty bc I wanted to wait until he was 6 months before I introduced food.

I can tell you his first taste of "food" was taking the baby spoon and scraping the side of my banana. He was looking at it obsessively so I thought I'd let him try. I then broke off a piece of the banana and let him play in it. We really introduced food by letting him play with it and learn how to feed himself. I didn't focus a lot on whether we fed him fruits or veggies. We did both. He never had a jar of baby food.

I can tell you now that I have a super healthy, happy, humongous (wearing size 11.5 shoes) 3 year old little man who happily eats brussel sprouts and anything else put before him.

Let her guide you and it will all workout as it should!!!

Heather February 22, 2011 at 3:19 PM  

I know this comment is a little late, but we had a similar time when we started introducing solids. What finally worked for us was switching up the time we tried feeding her. We let Grace's daycare give her some cereal during the day and it "clicked". I was wondering if maybe Nora is tired at night? I know by the time we get our girl home she is pooped! After a few days at daycare we started trying at dinner again and had success! It's like she figured out what to do and then it became less stressful for her at night.

Just a thought! Good luck. :)

Meegs February 23, 2011 at 2:42 PM  

Wait a week or so and try it again, she just might not be ready yet.

And great job so far, 6 months is a big milestone!

Anonymous,  February 24, 2011 at 10:31 AM  

Heather,
I love your blog and following your little girl's development. Quick question, do you pump at night while Nora is sleeping or do you just go 12 hours without it? How does this effect your supply? How often do you pump at work?

~Michelle

Heather February 24, 2011 at 10:53 AM  

I love how so many of you chimed in, thank you! This is obviously a popular topic of discussion among moms. :) And don't ever worry about being "late" to the party--I receive every comment and am grateful for every single one!

@Anonymous Michelle--
Here is how my feeding/pumping schedule typically goes (times can vary a little bit):
7:45 a.m. - Breastfeed
11:00 a.m. - Pump @ work
3:00 p.m. - Pump @ work
7:00 p.m. - Breastfeed
10:30 p.m. - Pump @ home

So I do pump once after she is sleeping, just so I don't go 12-13 hours without.

When I first went back to work, I pumped three times a day at work--I'd pump at the approximate times of her feedings, since she gets three at daycare. Then, I would also pump at 10:30 before bed. But, at that time, I was ending up with an oversupply--I'd pump more milk daily than she was actually drinking. It's nice if you're trying to build up a freezer stash, but I already have a significant stash and really didn't have the room (or the need) to add to it at that rate.

So, I made the decision to drop one of the pumping sessions. My first choice would've been to drop the one before bed, but I was afraid that going 12-13 hours at night without a feeding would affect my supply too much. And, actually, it's nice only having to pump twice at work--squeezing in three pumping sessions in a work day was challenging sometimes.

Now, my daily output (between the 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. pumping sessions) usually matches Nora's daily intake (15 oz.), give or take a couple of ounces. Sometimes I pump a little more, sometimes I pump a little less. They seem like normal variations.

I hope that helps!

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