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Making It Work

Starting Solids

From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 12 No. 4, July-August 1995, p. 115

We provide articles from our publications from previous years for reference for our Leaders and members. Readers are cautioned to remember that research and medical information change over time.

"Making It Work" is a regular feature of the magazine NEW BEGINNINGS, published bimonthly by La Leche League International. In this column, suggestions are offered by readers of NEW BEGINNINGS to help mothers who wish to combine breastfeeding and working. Various points of view are presented. Not all of the information may be pertinent to your family's lifestyle. This information is general in nature, and not intended to be advice, medical or otherwise.


I don't think my five-month-old is ready for solids, but my caregiver is eager to start him on "real food." I don't want to make this professional caregiver feel ignorant, nor do I want to seem hard to get along with. How can I assert myself without making her defensive?


When my son reached five months of age, I also didn't think he was ready for solids. Then at Thanksgiving, he lunged for my sister's mashed potatoes and ate a few bites. From then on, I would try to feed him a spoonful of food in the evening when I was home from work. If he ate it, that was fine. If he spit it out, I stopped. When my day care provider asked when my son would begin eating solid food, I told her to go ahead and offer him a few pre-selected food items I knew he was familiar with. After trying to feed him, she agreed that he was not ready and would eat when he was ready. I'm glad I trusted my instincts and followed my baby's cues.

Now at the age of 20 months, my son is still a picky eater and still doesn't eat lunch most days at the sitter's. If I am lucky, he will eat one good meal a day. I stopped pumping breast milk when he was 12 months old and find it is very gratifying that the first thing he wants when we arrive home in the evening is to nurse.

Jane Hopkins
College Park MD USA


You might want to ask your day care provider what it is that makes her think your son is ready for solids. Can he sit up fairly well in a high chair? Does he seem interested in what others are eating? Is he able to transfer food from the tip of his tongue to the back of his throat and swallow? Asking your caregiver these questions will help make the discussion one based on some objective considerations rather than competitive ones with the question of who really knows what's best just under the surface.

If you decide that it might be time to begin, consider handling this yourself for a week or two in order to determine your baby's likes and dislikes, as well as to enjoy first-hand this new experience for your baby. Be sure to make your caregiver aware of any food items that are off limits because of allergies that may run in your family. If you have strong feelings about other types of foods, such as sweets, processed foods (including commercial baby food), etc., be sure your day care provider is aware of those, too.

Cynthia Bohannon
Lake Geneva WI USA

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