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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Balancing Nursing and Solids

Striking a balance between food and nursing has been something I have been focusing on since the little one started solids at six months.  I basically called all my friends with kids that I knew had nursed and asked them what their system was for giving both food and nursing. (Sidenote: Don't you just love your mommy support system!)..  I just could just not remember specifically what I did with my first, and my friends were a lot more organized than I was, because some of them had written it all down!  I also looked online at various sites to see other schedules for babies.

What I came up with is that all babies are different.  "Great", you say, "that is SO not helpful."   "Well", I reply, it is helpful gave me more than one option to try when the first option didn't work out.  So I am going to list out the general guidelines of what worked for me, but not get into specifics of schedule because schedules are typically different for different babies.
  1. Nurse before feeding him food.  This is really important because most of your baby's nutrients should still come from your milk.
  2. Give it an hour after you nurse before you give your baby some food. That way, your baby isn't super starving while you try out foods, but also hasn't just been stuffed with milk.
  3. Try foods multiple times, even if your baby doesn't like it the first time around.
  4. Don't get stuck on certain amounts of food that you think your baby should be eating.  Some days your baby will want more than others.  Just feed your baby until they lose interest. Don't try to force them to eat whatever is in the bowl.  Let them tell you (nonverbally unless your baby is really advanced) that they are full.  It is important that you respect this so that they retain their own ability to feel full.  If they lose this ability, it can lead to overeating when they are older. It may also affect how much they want to eat at the next nursing session. 
  5. Ask for advice from other moms but don't get set on a direct comparison between your baby and someone else's baby.  Your baby may eat more/less than the baby down the street, which is totally fine.  Just because the kid next door is eating 3 jars of baby food each day and a whole banana, doesn't mean your baby needs as much.
  6. Go by your baby's cues. Don't feed your baby because the clock says 10 AM.  Feed your baby when he is acting hungry.  Levi got into a snacking mode when I did this because I was feeding him too often.  He would just eat a little because I thought it was "time to eat" but then he would be hungry 2 hours later because he didn't eat much at the last feeding.  After a while you will fall into a routine that he/she sets.  It usually works out much better than the schedule you set, because they don't fight you on it! 
I hope these tidbits help you find your way through those first couple of months while nursing and giving your baby solids.  And just remember, as soon as you get a system down pat--things will probably change to suit your baby's new growing needs!

In health and wellness,
Nicole Harter

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