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Trying to hold off on solids, but...

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  • Trying to hold off on solids, but...

    I was hoping to exclusively breastfeed for as long as possible, but for the last week or so, my almost-6-month-old son has thrown absolute fits at our every meal time. He cries and screams until I nurse him, even though I always feed him before we eat. So, now I have to eat every meal while simultaneously nursing and sometimes that doesn't even calm him. He tries grabbing at everything! So, firstly, does he NEED solid food now, or will he "get over" being upset @ mealtimes? Is he communicating that he needs something more? I've tried holding out with all my kids and they all did this and so I started solids, but with him, he has a compromised immune system from some medications so I thought maybe it would be best to give him as much breastmilk protection as possible. What do you all think?

  • #2
    Is there a family history of allergies? You mention that his immune system is potentially compromised; did his doctor recommend a late start to solids?

    Honestly, I believe that the CHILD is the best judge of when to start solids. Just like your older children, all of my children have started themselves by grabbing something off of my plate. One was over 6 months, the other two were around 5 1/2 months. They were clearly "ready" as far as the recommended milestones (sitting w/ support, bringing hand to mouth, showing interest in foods). But they told us when it was time. Unless there is a clear medical reason to delay solids, I would trust your son's instincts and follow his lead. If you have concerns re. allergy, then you might want to avoid potential allergenic foods (dairy, gluten, nuts, whatever there's a family history of allergies to). Many moms say that their allergic children

    Does he "need" solids? Not for calories, no. But for the experience, yes. Remember that your milk will remain the majority of his diet until he's at least a year old, and perhaps much longer. First foods are about play and exploration, learning to participate in mealtimes with the family, learning about new tastes and textures. He won't get many calories from food for a long time, especially if you nurse him first, let him feed himself and avoid spoon-feeding for the most part.

    He'll still be getting immune support from breastmilk; immune cell levels in breastmilk actually increase as your milk supply decreases in response to your child getting more nourishment from solids. So you're still supporting his immune growth for as long as you breastfeed. In fact, there's evidence that starting allergenic foods WHILE breastfeeding (specifically gluten) and continuing to breastfeed for several months after starting them is protective against allergies. Which makes me worry about the current trend to delay introducing gluten-containing foods until 1 year & also weaning at 1 year.


    • #3
      Are you sure he wants food to eat and doesn't just want to feel it and stick it in his mouth?

      I think I would put some type of food, like maybe avocado, on his plate, that he could grab and get messy with and that is unlikely to be allergenic if he swallowed some.

      I would not spoon feed, but would allow him to explore foods.

      Hope you find a good resolution!


      • #4
        Thank you both for your helpful and encouraging advice! I'll try letting him participate a little on his own terms.