There's no exact right time to introduce solids to a baby. Most of the reading I've done suggests anywhere between 4 and 6 months. My daughter is 5.5 months and since I can no longer keep up with her milk demand we decided it was probably time. Not to mention she's constantly eyeing up our food and grabbing for our drinks.
I'd like to continue breastfeeding so here's what I did:
7:15 am - I pumped and got about 7.5 total ounces.
7:30 am - Bottle fed 3.5 ounces.
8:00 am - Mixed 1 tablespoon of rice cereal and 4.5 tablespoons of breastmilk and attempted to spoon feed. Since the ratio is so lopsided it was pretty much equal to breastmilk soup. I highly suggest breaking out the camera or video camera for this. It's pretty entertaining. I gave her a few spoonfuls at this temperature. I then warmed the mixture in the microwave for 10 seconds of 50 percent power. (Always be sure to test it first). It was a little warmer, but I wouldn't call it warm.
8:20 am - First meal is over with the majority of what was on the spoon now on the bib. I do think she got a little in her mouth. Most of what I mixed I ended up having to throw out. I would say she took about 10 spoonfuls...making weird faces the entire time.
8:45 am - Started getting fussy so I offered my daughter 3 more ounces of breastmilk in the bottle.
9:50 am - 1st nap.
Here's what I've learned about the first meal of "solids" (if you want to call it that):
- Don't mix a full tablespoon of cereal, you'll only end up wasting it (and your precious breastmilk). I would recommend a 1/2 tablespoon and 2-2.5 tablespoons of water or breastmilk for your first attempt.
- Realize the baby is learning a totally new skill. She's never had to use her mouth and tongue in this way before. Therefore, most of what you're trying to feed her isn't going in..it's just coming back out as she figures this whole process out.
- Rice cereal doesn't have a lot of nutrients to it. It's more to teach the baby how to eat. This means, you still have to feed your baby with formula or breastmilk to fill up their little belly.
-When I offer cereal to my daughter tomorrow I'm not going to make it as "soupy." This way I think it will stay on the spoon a little better and may be easier for her to eat. I plan on gradually making the ration 1:1. Maybe tomorrow I'll make 1/2 tbsp of cereal 1.5-2 tbsp of breastmilk.
Questions I still have:
- Is it better to breastfeed before or after offering solids? It makes sense both ways to me. If you give a smaller than normal bottle or nurse before offering solids your baby they'll be in a more cooperative mood and not so fussy while you're trying to feed the cereal. But if you feed the cereal first, the baby will likely be so hungry she'll gobble it up making for a more successful meal.
-How many times a day do I offer solids? For right now I'm just going to give my daughter rice cereal in the morning. When she gets the hang of it and I see how her stomach reacts to it, I'll start giving it to her at dinner time too.
I'll continue to post on my success and experiences with introducing solids.
I would also like to hear from you. How old was your baby when you started solids? Did you learn any tricks along the way? How did your baby first respond and how long until he/she got the hang of it? What would you recommend to other new moms who are just starting solids?
DAY 2 UPDATE
I decided to try the second day of rice cereal a little differently. I thought if my daughter is hungrier maybe she'll eat more of it. So I changed my schedule a little. Here's what I did:
7:15 wake up
7:20 am - Nursed, probably ate about 6 oz
9:45-10:30 am - First name
10:45 am - Rice Cereal (failed attempt)
10:50 am - 4 oz Bottle
11:15 - 2nd attempt at Rice Cereal
11:45 - 2 oz Bottle
As you can see this time I decided to try to give her the cereal during her second feeding and I tried giving it to her before her bottle. That failed miserably. She screamed bloody murder. After I gave her the bottle she was in a more cooperative mood and did eat the cereal. She ate significantly more than the first day. I don't know if she's starting to get the hang of it or maybe she liked the consistency better (I put less milk in, so it would be a little thicker...still very thin though). I don't know how much she actually ate and she still seemed hungry so I finished her off with a bottle.
I should tell you, this feeding totally messed up her feeding schedule for the rest of the day. She's usually pretty consistent eating every 3-3.5 hours. I felt like she was "snacking" all day.
I'll continue to update you..and we'll see how day 3 goes.