Introducing Solid Foods To A Breastfeed Baby Part 1

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. “Exclusive” means that not only does the baby not receive formula, but he isn’t supposed to get any solid foods either. What happens next? What solid foods should be introduced to the baby, and when?

Many people think that six months is a long time to wait before introducing solid foods to a baby. It’s quite common for parents to thicken a bottlefeed baby’s milk with cereal in the hope that he’ll sleep better, spit up less, or go longer between feedings. The desire for a better night’s sleep is understandable, but this practice interferes with a baby’s natural feeding schedule and may trigger allergies. Solid foods should be just that – solid. If a baby is too young to eat cereal from a spoon, he’s too young for cereal. Babies demand to be fed because they need milk to help them grow.

Breast milk, as you might have heard, is the perfect food for babies. It contains everything they need for the first six months, and solid foods are not required. Some parents may rush the introduction of solids because the baby seems “too hungry” – this is generally due to a growth spurt, and what he really needs is to nurse more frequently to build up the supply. Pushing solids can sabotage the breastfeeding relationship, because it interferes with the natural process of supply and demand.

Even the innocuous rice cereal can trigger allergies because babies’ digestive systems are still developing and don’t have the defense mechanisms to fend off potential allergens. No food is completely hypoallergenic, but breast milk is the closest you can get. In fact, if there’s a history of food allergies in your family, you might even want to wait longer than six months before introducing solids. Has your breastfed baby shown a sensitivity to items in his mother’s diet? Some babies who seem prone to allergies thrive on an exclusive diet of breast milk for up to a year of age!

Continue to Introducing Solid Foods To A Breastfeed Baby Part 2

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