Monday, August 25, 2014

Why I Gave My Baby Solids Before Six Months

The AAP suggests introducing solid foods to infants at 6 months of age and continuing breastfeeding until the first birthday.  I planned on following this advice and waiting although my other children started rice cereal a little after 3 months.  At Persephone's two month check-up, the doctor suggested letting her start solids around 3 months.  I told her that we planned to breastfeed (with the occasional formula supplement) until 6 months.  She agreed that was a good plan, but reminded us that our little girl had problems putting on weight when she was still a newborn.  Her blood sugar also had troubles staying in the healthy range and tended to drop.  It ended up in a trip to the emergency room and a 2 day hospital stay.  She gave us some guidelines for us to follow baby's queues and let us decide when to introduce solids after 3 months.

Persephone became very interested in our food.  She watched as the fork went from the bowl to my mouth.  Then she started smacking her lips as she watched me eat.  The biggest sign, however, was when she went from nursing on both sides or a 4oz bottle to nursing on both sides and a 4oz bottle and was still hungry.  She also was waking up to nurse more often at night.  Her doctor told us this could be a growth spurt, but if it lasted more than a few days, it was a sign that she was ready for solids.

I won't lie.  Part of me wondered if giving her cereal would help her sleep at night.  She used to sleep for a 5-6 hour stretch, wake up to nurse, and then sleep another 2-3 hours.  Suddenly, she started to wake up every 1-2 hours to nurse and my supply wasn't keeping up.  So we tried giving her formula or milk I had expressed while at work after nursing, yet she was still waking up numerous times in the night.

We gave it some thought, and research, and made a decision (backed by our trusted medical professional) to give her some baby cereal.  She wasn't sure what to think about it, but she was able to use her tongue to mush the food against the roof of her mouth (another sign that she was ready) and swallow without problem.  We took a video to record this milestone.

As you can see, that first bite was awkward, yet amusing.  We then remembered to put a bib on the baby (new parent brain in full effect at my house) and gave her a second bite and she took it like an old pro.  She now enjoys her "bite-bites" once a day.  She still nurses frequently during the day and her nighttime habits have not changed yet.  Perhaps we need to work on a more structured nighttime routine to help her sleep at night.

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