Introducing Solids

Introducing solids was more like introducing breastmilk on a spoon. It didn't quite go as planned, but the reaction wasn't totally unexpected. For as much as my daughter likes to eat I thought she'd love something with a little more substance. Turns out it's going to take some getting used to.

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?


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.


New Mama's Must Haves: January '09

Yet another edition of New Mama's Favorite Baby Essentials. These are all things I cannot live without. They'd all make great baby shower gifts. 

Click on any of the items to order directly through the link!
BABYBJĂ–RN Baby Carrier Air - Gray/ White

The Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier or the "Front Baby Backpack," as my husband calls it, is a must have. I don't know how I would get anything done around the house without the BabyBjorn. The Bjorn can be worn with the baby facing either in or out depending on the age of the child. My daughter personally never really liked facing in. She's a busy body and always wanted to see what was going on.  We started using the Bjorn carrier when my daughter was about 8 pounds...she's nearly doubled that now, and we're still getting a lot of use out of it. The straps can easily be adjusted to fit all body sizes. My pick is for the mesh "Baby Bjorn Air" carrier. It's made of mesh and keeps the carrier and the baby cool. 
This is especially important if you plan on using it during the summer months. 

This play mat by Tiny Love has given me more "mommy time" than
any other of my daughter's toys. The mat has two flexible bars that snap into place on each corner and snap together at the center.   They're great for hanging toys which encourages reaching and kicking in babies of all ages. I was given this mat as hand-me-down and it didn't come with all the little stuffed animals that it would if you bought it new. The mat itself is great even without the bars. It has squeaky toys hidden in some of the animals, a ton of different sensory activities, and is great for just keeping baby off the floor. 

This swing is awesome and one of my most used items. I keep this Boppy Rock in Comfort Travel Baby Swing in my bedroom so that when I'm getting ready I can have something safe, fun and convenient to put my daughter in. It would be such a pain to drag her big Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing upstairs all the time. The Travel Swing is great because it folds up and can easily fit in a corner.  Even though it's small and low to the ground my 17 pound daughter still fits in it (and yes, it still rocks)! I got this swing as a shower gift and highly recommend it to all new moms. 


Dog Meets Baby

Many couples bring a dog into their home as a way to sort of "practice" parenting before having an actual baby. We did that except we decided not to practice until I was five months pregnant. I wasn't nervous about being a mama as much as I was nervous about how our 90 pound adopted lab was going to handle it. After all we had showered her with all of our love and attention for four whole months.

Make that three! We were supposed to have four months, but our baby came several weeks early due to complications. Anyway, the lab we took in was over 100 pounds when we adopted her from a Lab Rescue. We walked her twice a day and by the time our baby was born we had proudly trimmed our dog down by about 15 pounds. We were dedicated to continue walking her and it worked while the weather was still warm. I'd walk both the baby in the stroller and the dog on the leash almost every afternoon. But when the weather got cold, the two-a-day walks came to a screeching halt. That's when the jealousy started creeping in.

Both my husband and I had read a lot about introducing a baby and a dog before we had our little girl. Bringing the baby into the house was the easy part. It was as my baby started to get a little older, had more awake time and required more attention that my normally laid back dog came close to rivaling Marley (if you don't know Marley, you must read Marley and Me). Okay, I'm exaggerating here. But it wasn't unusual for me to come home to have the contents of the kitchen trash can spread across the living room. We resorted to caging her while we were gone...something I hated doing. But as Cesar says in Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems you have to be the leader. I know my lab is seeking out attention because she's not used to this little thing that has us wrapped around her finger. But I also know that she's becoming very protective of my little girl. I also know I'm glad we got a lab a dog that's easily one of the most family friendly pets especially if you have children. My little girl grabs her ears and hair and my 85 pound lab just stands there and continues sniffing her diaper. Hey, whatever works, right?

So I ask all of you new parents, how do you deal with both: A dog seeking constant attention and a baby who requires it?


Am I Pregnant: Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

When did you first realize you were pregnant? For me a self proclaimed "mother hopeful" I spent the first few weeks of pregnancy convincing myself one way or the other. That month before I could take the pregnancy test was like a 5 year old waiting for Christmas. It was awful. One day I was sure I was having a baby, the next I was sure I wasn't. What was even worse was the result of the test.

The first pregnancy test I took was clear a big fat "NO!" Really?!?, really???? It couldn't be! I had all the symptoms of early pregnancy. I knew what to look for. My nose was working on overdrive, my breasts were sore, I had taken ample opportunity during the ovulation window...and my period was ONE day late. (I have to admit: that wasn't abnormal.) But when that test came back negative I was devastated. I really wanted a baby, afterall I had already nearly read through What to Expect When You're Expecting.

A few days later, the day after Christmas 2007, I decided to take another HPT. So what if it was my 5th or 6th in a month. I NEEDED to know! Standing in the bathroom I peed on the stick. My husband refused to let me look at the results until the 2 to 5 minutes, or whatever it is, was up. He stood there with his foot just an inch away from the test, covering it so I couldn't peek at the results. When the time was up, he slowly moved his foot....and WHAT??? did I see two pink lines? One was clearly pink, the other could have been a figment of my imagination...but it sure looked like it was there to me, mother hopeful. I ran around our bathroom screaming "I think it may be true, I think it may be true." Now, I'm in a predicament though. I worked overnight shifts, at the time, and had to go to work in an hour. But I also HAD to know for sure and there was no way this could wait until morning. So I ran to the store, picked up a digital pregnancy test and ran the results again. This time there was NO mistaking...it said "PREGNANT" loud and clear. 

We were having a baby! 

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