(I really have no idea about this stuff; this is just how it has gone with Harper. Solid foods and weaning are two things that I have found to be super confusing as a parent. There is so much info and so many different approaches to solids, it can be hard to know what to do. But, there is very little info out there about weaning. Maybe it is just that because the two are related. Maybe if you concentrate on solids, your baby will move away from the liquid on his or her own. I’ll let ya’ll know about that later…)
Between 4-6 months most parents in America start their infants on rice cereal. (This is based on culture and trends. In some countries they wait till their babies can feed themselves bananas, and most of our parents stared us on rice cereal as early as two months.) We gave Harper her first spoonful of rice cereal at four months, and she spit it out. We would offer it to her every once in a while till she started swallowing it, at about five months. Babies have a natural reflex to spit out things that go in their mouths. When they lose that reflex, they might ready for solid foods.
Solid foods are not fun. Sure, you and I like to eat them, but babies like to smear them all over everything. It is messy, sticky, icky and time consuming. My real motivation in giving Harper solids was to get her to sleep thought the night. Her diet has had no effect what so ever on her sleep. So, for a while it was just this crazy mess with no reward (sleep.) I thought it might be fun to see what other foods she liked, besides rice cereal, and it was.
Let it be said that no baby is crazy about rice cereal. Why would they? It is bland gooey porridge. It blows. They like brown rice cereal & oatmeal. Then there are fruits & veggies. Traditionally, you are supposed to give babies veggies first, like squash, and then move to fruits. The logic is that if they get the sweet stuff first, they will never like the savory. I gave Harper fruits first, though, and she loves every food, even peas and green beans.
If you wait till your baby is six months to give him or her solid foods, you have to move quickly to foods with texture or they will get stuck in the goop. They have to acquire the taste for texture, if you will. Most of the second stage foods, the stuff in jars at the store, are still very goopy, so I started to give Harper fresh bananas. I just mash up about a third of a banana with a fork, and give it to her with a side of brown rice cereal for breakfast. You can also mash up avocados for babies. I think these are the only food you can give early on with out having to cook them. Don’t get me wrong, cooking for your baby is way cool. For me, I like what another mom’s mom told her, ‘This is really the only time in their lives you can just open a jar and feed them. You will be cooking for them for years and years to come.’
Harper was eating everything, and it seemed to be going well. How could I tell? Her poop. Poop becomes the line of communication about solids. She was pooping great, every other day a massive liquid poo. Then, it got bad.
She started pooping all the freaking time. I thought it was the multigrain infant cereal, and it probably was a factor. She probably was not ready for all that fiber. But, even when we went back to the rice cereal, she continued to poop like five times a day. Not fun for mom, let me tell you. So I asked the Dr., and he said that is normal. Normal? Yes. Babies can poop every seven days or seven times a day and still be in the realm of normal. He suggested giving her less fruit and veggies and more grains. So, I started talking to other moms about their babies poop, and this is what I found out:
A: When your baby starts solids he or she will either start pooping all the freak’n time or get constipated. Most of the time there is no rhyme or reason to it, like most things related to babies.
B: There are two types of food, binding and not binding. Binding: rice cereal, bananas and squash. Not binding: oatmeal, multigrain rice cereal, green veggies, fruit other than bananas, like pears (way not binding), apples, peaches. Feed according to poo.
I have been giving Harper bananas and brown rice cereal all the time. She is six months now, and still poops like five times a day, has not given up any of her feedings (liquid diet), and wakes up at least once a night. Oh well, at least she has not been constipated, yet…