“So is he eating real food yet?”
This is the question du jour (along with the oldies but goodies: “Is he sleeping through the night yet?” and “Is he a good baby?”).
The answer to that question could be, “Well, duh, breastmilk is real food!” complete with an eye-roll and an absolutely snotty, irritated tone of voice.
Or, perhaps I should say, “No, we’re letting him eat Play-Doh for a bit.”
But that’s not how I respond because what these well-meaning individuals usually mean is, “Has Baby E started solid food yet?” The answer to that is kinda yes but mostly not really.
Yes, my kid has ingested food other than breastmilk BUT it’s only been in very small amounts and on an ever-so-often basis. He’s tasted banana, avocado and unsweetened apple sauce. So far avocado is winning because it’s the only one that didn’t result in the WTF face and/or spitting up. The fact that he had a rather neutral reaction to avocado means he likes it. Yup, he likes it – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
But avocado is rather pricey in my part of the world. Having grown up with an avocado tree in my back yard, I can’t fully justify paying those high prices very often for what look like rather tiny examples of the fruit. More important is the fact that the kid’s just not very interested in other foods yet. Yes, he’s technically got some signs of readiness for solids:
- Over six months old? Check.
- Sitting up unassisted? Check.
- Pincer grip? Check.
- Willing to chew? Maybe.
- Grabs food and tries to put it in his mouth? Sometimes.
- Loss of tongue thrust reflex? Not sure.
When I offer him food he usually looks at it warily then tentatively opens his mouth to give it a try. For him, it’s just another new thing to put into his mouth. Am I worried about it? Not really. I’m pretty certain that eventually solid foods will appeal to him. After all, I think he’ll want something other than breastmilk by the time he reaches college age! Plus, there are some pretty good reasons to delay solids. For many babies, the introduction of solids is about experimentation with different flavors and textures. As noted by on the breastfeeding site, kellymom, breastmilk will continue to be the optimal food for him during the first year.
Breastmilk should make up the majority of baby’s nutrition through the end of the first year. At some point toward the end of the first year, most babies will gradually begin to need more iron and zinc than that provided by breastmilk alone – at that point, additional nutrients can be obtained from small amounts of solids.
Some babies thrive on breastmilk alone until 12 months or later – as long as your baby is continuing to gain weight and grow as he should, your milk is meeting his needs well.
Besides, breastmilk is Baby E’s favorite food in the world.
Really. The boy loves some milk.
I’m just going to keep offering him other food from time to time and see how he does. I’m also going to relax and savor the joys of our breastfeeding relationship as it journeys into another stage.