Okay…I haven’t done a mommy post in a while so we were due for an update!
[disclaimer: this post is only meant to share my personal experience. I believe every baby is unique and mothers should decide, along with their doctors what is best for their little angel 🙂 ]
When I was pregnant, I absorbed every book I could, Baby Center, message boards, and all of you for all things pregnancy related. I made sure I was getting all of the nutrients that Ella needed, exercise regularly, but safely; and above all…took time out to rest and relax. Which I appreciate more now than ever.
I always hated when people said “get your rest now while you can”<—like you can “bank it” or something. But now I totally understand what they meant. It means more-so enjoy these last days of having your baby in your belly, and enjoy these last moments of quite…because you won’t get it again until that baby goes to college 😉
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was like…oh cr*p! I better start reading up on breastfeeding because I have no clue what I’m doing. That’s when I consulted with Diane [lactation consultant/sissy in laws mom] who gave me a bunch of great resources and tips. There was also some great sections in my pregnancy and baby books I read up on. La Leche League, Dr. Sears, post by Averie [lactation consultant and mom], and Erin [RD that works with lactating moms] also gave me some good info in different areas I had questions.
Luckily, once Ella was born I had no problems nursing, aside from the fact that my nipples killed me the first 3 weeks...but I got past it and sucked it up, and they felt normal again. It wasn’t until I was going back to work and had to start doing the whole pumping thing that I needed more support [future post].
The first three months of Ella’s life I was just focusing on being a mom, taking care of my new baby, and taking care of myself [trying to get back to feeling like a human].
I decided against cramming and studying ALL of the baby books our there because frankly, my motherly instincts kicked in for one, and number two, I personally did not want to read all of these books and feel like I was being a bad mother if I didn’t follow everything they all suggested.Above all…it was overwhelming trying to pack my brain with info from all the mommy manuals.
I know a lot of them are very useful to new mothers, and have some great information in them. It wasn’t like I went in completely blind. I studied up a little, did browse through a few books and spent a lot of time on baby center and other sites just to see what I should expect. I also got a really nice package and book from the hospital on safety issues and other mommy must-know stuff. Whenever I needed help I luckily had a support system to turn to, my mother, my mother in law, sister in law, Ella’s pediatrician, and again, all of you moms out there in the sphere!
Now Ella is almost 5 months old…and here I am again, thinking oh cr*p….I REALLY need to read up more on starting her on solid foods. Again, I have read a little on it but haven’t really made a decision [there are SO many differences in opinions out there!]
I’ve been feeling a little bit of pressure from my mom who’s been saying that Ella is “starving” and needs “rice cereal.” She always told me she would support me no matter what and not tell me what to do[as a mother], but on the other hand, she and my dad both always innocently said how they can’t wait for her to get on “real” food.
My mom raised 4 kids, and my pediatrician was old school. Like he was about 80 when I was a baby. Back then, or in his day at least, they started babies on rice cereal at 6 weeks old. At least that’s what he had my mom do for my siblings and I. We only got a spoonful or two a day. Which I don’t even know how it was possible with the whole tongue thrust reflex, but my mom claims we did.
Ella’s pediatrician told me at Ella’s 2 month check-up that at her 4 month check-up we could discuss introducing her to solids. I was on the fence about the whole rice cereal thing though. Why would I give Ella a processed-fortified carbohydrate when it’s something that I wouldn’t eat? I understood why it was recommended, but I was still undecided. In the meantime I picked up a box of whole grain rice from whole foods to have on hand:
Luckily my pediatrician told me that I could do rice cereal and all fruits and veggies, but didn’t seem to be hell-bent like I HAD to start her on rice if I didn’t want to. I just had the word “rice cereal” shoved down my throat because that’s what my mom, my mother in law, and all the other moms out there said they did with their children. The reason it’s typically recommended to start on rice cereal is because it’s a food least likely to get an allergic reaction [and apparently easier on their tummys]. However, all of the symptoms my pediatrician warned me about, in a handout about introducing food, as well as all the things I read made me decide otherwise.
I learned that at 4 or 5 months old, babies do not have the enzymes to break down carbohydrates yet. In fact, many sources [including Dr. Sears and AAP] say that babies digestive systems are not ready for solid food until they are around 5 or 6 months old. I believe that there in no magic number and that age can vary greatly [hence why I decided to toy with some avocado with Ella when she was almost 5 months].
Babies started on solid food before their digestion systems mature are more prone to food allergies. I have written about this in respect to dairy and diabetes in children, and I found it interesting that the same thing happens with food in general for babies when it comes to allergies.
Then there is this whole movement of baby-led weaning! Suddenly I felt overwhelmed in deciding what I thought was best for Ella, being the best mom I could be, making sure my family would be supportive and just being sure she was ready and at the same time anxious to embark on the adventure.
I felt like I would be judged if I waited and judged if I decided to go ahead and feed her now [and judged on WHAT I fed her].
After looking over some books, reading a ton of information on the net, message boards, etc…I decided that I would introduce<——[key word here] Ella to what many call “baby’s perfect food.” Avocado.
She did great. I’ve only fed her a few times…she is still getting pretty much all of her nutrition from my breast milk. I decided to do a happy medium of the things I learned. I’m really not comfortable with sitting her in a high chair and putting raw veggies in front of her just yet [baby led weaning]…but I did hand her the spoon and she was happily feeding herself avocado. It was everywhere…but most of it did get in her mouth
ear, nose,and eyebrow. She actually would cry every time I took the spoon away to put more on it…because she wanted more! 🙂 And she does seem pretty interested in food. However it’s hard to tell because babies want everything in their mouth at this point!
I did what made me comfortable. However I do worry still about her digestive system being “fully matured” but she shows the majority of signs that she’s ready. And it’s not like I am feeding her food all day/every day. Just a few spoonfuls at dinnertime. She liked eating with mommy 🙂 My plan was to “introduce” and wean her into “solid” food. I believe breast milk IS “real” food so I will not use that term.
Part 2 I will talk more about baby-led weaning, sites that were recommended to me [I linked a bunch here], more on why I chose avocado [my family thought I was crazy], iron fortified foods, and the whole process of feeding her, when, how much, etc…as well as feedback I got from this post!
Moms…when did you “introduce” solids to your little one? What was their first food?
If you didn’t start on a grain, when did you introduce grains?
How do you feel about baby-led weaning?