This workshop was put together by my lactation consultant. It looks to me that she follows a similar line of thinking to La Leche League, but she extended it into specifics and added her own extras.
She started off by talking about the signs that show that baby is ready for solids. It’s the things you would think obvious – swallowing, sitting, grabbing, putting things in his mouth, the ability to pull the food in and teeth.
Baby food is big business and obviously they make money with all these concoctions not in their natural state. The younger they push for, the more money they make.
Brenda also mentioned some very interesting stuff about baby development around this time which was very interesting.
She said that beyond 3 months they can sleep on an empty tummy and food is not related to sleep. This is to counter all the people who urge you to give solids at night to help them sleep. In fact, it is better to start in the morning, with their developing digestion system and all. I’ve also noticed that there is less urgency now with the food and we have more time to play. Although he will still often fall asleep after a feed. In fact it is quite funny the way Nicky sucks in his sleep.
Between 6-9 months they go through separation anxiety. It peaks at 13 to 20 months, and decreases after the second birthday. This is the pain they feel when you leave the room, when they think you’re gone for good. Between 6-8 months they also have stranger distress and will cry when meeting new people, particularly when the primary caregiver is not there.
You may wonder what this has to do with eating, but funnily enough, crossing the midline, or grabbing an object and putting it in another hand is part of recognising himself as a separate person, and obviously this helps with handling food.
I’ve spoken before about the importance of responding to your child, and Brenda mentioned it again with various stories to illustrate how those who established trust early could benefit by open communication with their children later. You also establish lower stress levels so that they don’t land up with with a short fuse.
Brenda gave a rough outline of ideas on how to get started with solids:
Week 1-4: mornings only:
Week 1: Banana (since breastmilk is sweet, fruit is a good transition)
Week 2: Avocardo / Pear
Week 3: Paw paw
Week 4: Butternut (steamed)
From then on until around 9 months, you can do two meals a day, working in a new food every three days. Bland fruit and vegetables. To help with teething you can give them a big carrot to play with, an apple piece, or watermelon skin.
At around eight months you can start with proteins like flakes of chicken.
At about nine months you can introduce cereals, breads and oats. At this time you can do three meals in a day.
By one year they can eat what you are eating (provided its healthy, of course).
They can drink tap water from six months out of a little cup without handles, so you can get them to practice holding it with their hands. Medela South Africa has a nice tiny one with their pumps – reminds me of a doll’s cup.
All these suggestions are approximate guidelines, she stressed.
I think I did learn a lot, as I always do with her. It’s good to have some basic framework, even though the baby led method still appeals a lot to me.
Hmmmm…. I’ll figure it all out somehow.