Weaning and introducing solids

I have a 6 1/2 month old daughter whom I have been breast-feeding till recently. Upon her pediatrician's advice, I am now giving her rice cereal and also banana and applesauce and vegetables like carrots and peas. I have also substituted breast milk with iron fortified milk 4 to 6 times a day. But my baby does not take much of anything. She takes up to 1 or 2 spoonfuls, but no more. Milk especially has to be forced to her (not breast milk) and she just doesn't take it from her bottle or a feeding cup. What do I do about this? Please help!

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

Dear Rupal,

Your six month old is at the perfect age to begin introducing solids to. I am curious as to why your pediatrician advised you to switch from breast milk to formula. So long as you are offering her iron fortified baby cereal she is receiving a good source of iron.

Weaning is usually a gradual affair in which the baby is slowly switched from breast feeding or bottles to solids and liquids in a cup. You may have forced too many changes on your daughter at once and she is protesting!!!! I would suggest that you continue to nurse your daughter until you have her established on two feedings a day of an iron fortified infant cereal. After this is a stable part of her diet, then begin to introduce those other foods one at a time. Allow for three days in between each new food introduction so that you can detect any food allergy or sensitivity. Offer her the iron fortified formula in a baby cup (the kind with the sippy lids) at meal times.

You can gradually switch from nursing to formula in a cup at snack time. Many moms and babies don't get through this transition stage until age one or older. It is fine and healthy to nurse your baby for that period of time so long as you are also offering solids and table foods since she will be developmentally ready for them. If your pediatrician is concerned that infant cereal and a little formula at meal times is not providing your baby with enough iron, ask her to recommend an iron supplement.

Forcing food on your baby will only backfire and cause unnecessary struggles. Just be patient and persistent in offering it. Have a cup available and offer it at every meal. Let your baby see you drinking and enjoying milk at mealtimes. Eventually she will drink it and by the time she is a toddler, she will be very proud of her ability to drink like the big kids, but for right now, remember she is still a baby. Allow her a chance to get used to the changes while continuing with the nutrition and security of breast milk.

 

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