The Food Dilemma

I started Hooper on solids at 19 weeks. I checked with both his pediatrician and my midwife before doing so. He was so skinny and I worried constantly about his weight. Once I started him on solids, I felt less responsible for his low weight percentile. I needed to start him on solids for my own sanity.
This time around, however, Van is perfectly healthy. His weight is dropping in percentile, but I hardly expected a child that came from me to stay in the 90th percentile. I’ve always been skinny, despite the fact that I too was nearly 9 lbs at birth.
The thought of delaying solids the first time around went in one ear and out the other. I couldn’t shoulder the responsibility of feeding Hooper on my own any longer and I didn’t want to throw off my milk supply by supplementing with formula, so I turned to solids. This time around, the idea of delaying solids has been floating around in my head. Van is doing perfectly fine and it’s out of pride, honestly, that I want to continue to be his sole nutrient source.
So I did some research. I found this article on KellyMom which lists the advantages to delaying solids. I went through each one, as it pertained to us:
-Delaying solids gives baby greater protection from illness.
This is because breast milk is the best thing on earth and has a ton of antibodies. Tons of studies have been done that document lower rates of numerous infections when children are exclusively breastfed. I threw this reason out, however, because he’ll still be breastfed. Solids will be added to his diet. And he’s been exclusively breastfed for 6 months already… so…
-Delaying solids gives baby’s digestive system time to mature.
I double checked with Van’s pediatrician on this one. Solids aren’t suggested prior to 6 months because of the immature digestive system. At 6 months, however, their digestive system is mature enough to handle solids. I remember from my experience in feeding Hooper that, more than anything, they are experimenting with solids at 6 months; trying a different fruit or vegetable every three or so days. Solids hardly take over as the bulk of their diet until much later.
-Delaying solids decreases the risk of food allergies.
Food allergies aren’t prevalent in our family.
-Delaying solids helps to protect baby from iron-deficiency anemia.
He’ll still be predominantly breastfed, so this doesn’t bother me.
-Delaying solids helps to protect baby from future obesity.
I’m not worried about future obesity for my children.
-Delaying solids helps mom to maintain her milk supply.
Oh shit, did someone just mention “milk supply” followed by “maintain”? Now if for no other reason, this is IT. This is why I would delay solids: Because I’m a raging lunatic who is completely neurotic about maintaining my damn milk supply and the second something (aka solids) stands to jeopardize it, you better believe I’m on guard. Now the wheels are spinning. Now I’m listening. Go on KellyMom, tell me more.
-Delaying solids helps to space babies.
Breastfeeding alone does this as well. My period didn’t return until Hooper was 8 or 9 months old. And there are other ways to space babies. I’d hardly delay solids as a means of birth control.
-Delaying solids makes starting solids easier.
The reason behind this, per KellyMom, is because babies can feed themselves when they’re older. Hooper is two and I’m still assisting him, begrudgingly, with putting the spoon in his mouth (more so due to lack of desire than coordination). So yeah, I could be delaying solids for quite some time if I’m going to wait for him to be able and willing to feed himself.
Can you tell my mind is made up? The real kicker is when I talked it over with our pediatrician and said something like this, “You can delay solids. He’ll probably just wake up more because he’ll be hungry”. And with that, we came home and I fed him peas. And oatmeal. And he made it until 5:30am this morning, which is a huge improvement. So, the solids have begun.
As a side note, I plan on continuing pumping to maintain my milk supply. And then there’s the added bonus of donating what I pump. A win win for everyone. And, oh ya, Van is more than ready. That kid sees a spoon and begins to throw himself in its direction. These past few weeks of holding out have felt like I was depriving a bee of honey.

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8 Responses

  • He looks SO much like Hoops in the pictures! Glad to hear he’s a good little eater. Just let me know when he’s ready for my chocolate chip cookies.

  • I have the issue of Wyatt only wanting to breastfeed. He is interested in watching myself or other people eat. I’ve tried rice cereal, avacado & breast milk, diluted veggies (I make my own organic baby food) and fruit in the baby mesh net to suck on and he hates it all. He only wants the BOOB! He’s now two weeks shy of turning 9 months. I’ve read articles that says baby gets all they need from breast milk. I agree but I’m wondering why he fights me so hard when I try to feed him. Evan couldn’t get enough of a bottle, breastfeeding, baby food, puffs! Very different personalities I guess. I keep trying every week to feed him with no success. He hates the bottle too! That’s another story where I think someone tramatized him with it (not myself or Mike). Anyone have any suggestions or thoughts for me. I am grateful for a great milk supply like you Ashley.

  • I have a friend whose wee one wanted nothing to do with solids for the first full year. So she breastfed (through each and every night) of that year! My Zoey was chomping at the bit at 5 months so we just went for it. I say, just follow your kid! I continued to pump while she started having 2-3 solid meals a day and my supply went bonkers and she was full and slept through the night! I’m not sure delaying solids really keeps their immune system up. She kept having breast-milk 4-5 times a day, the whole while having some solid meals too and she didn’t even get sick once until she was well over a year. Van looks…. EAGER! Go for it!

  • He looks like a jolly healthy lil guy, I started my son on solids when he was like 10 months old or later. He was one of those milky roly poly babies who didn’t care about food until much later, which was hell on my sleep (and my boobs) but hey I think child-led weaning is the way to go!

  • Its crazy how similar our lives are right now – my baby is just a few weeka younger than Can.

    I read the same article (love KellyMom!) and thought about delaying until 6 months as well but my daughter started waking up earlier and earlier hungry and frustrated. I still nurse her the same number of times a day and my supply has been fine. I give her one meal of solids about an hour after I nurse in the evening before she goes to bed. It works perfect! She still gets breastmilk as the main source of calories and fat but that extra meal of solids fills her up and helps her sleep 10+ hours a night.

    Van is so cute!

    • I am a lactation coeonulsr and hear this issue often. A few things to note. Pumping is truly a learned skill. Find what works best for you. Sometimes its distraction while pumping but for other moms its having your baby near by. One thing that helps is to massage the breast as you pump to help stimulate the skin to skin contact to tell you body to produce more milk. Morning time will most certainly produce more that later in the day. Usually it is adviced to pump after a feeding but you most certainly can try pumping one side before feeding the other side. Or you can even pump on one side while LO is nursing on the other. That can help bring on the letdown as well. A few things that help with milk production are oatmeal, alfalfa sprouts and Mother’s Milk tea is another. Remember pumping is not at all a sign of how much you are actually producing. You little one can get WAY more directly at the breast than a pump ever could. Regardless these are just a few tips that seem to really help my mommas and I hope they help you as well.


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