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A week ago I started my 5 month old breastfed baby on solids
because I just went back to work and he does not consistently
take the bottle. Some days he won't take it at all, other days
he may take 2-3 oz. This is during an 8 hour period!
Anyway, he really loves the rice cereal (Earth's Best), but has
a rash on his checks and chin that has gotten worse. The nurse
at his doctor's office said he would get hives if he was
allergic, and that the combination of food and salivia was
irritating his face.
I hate to stop the solids because he is really into it and now
makes smacking noises when he wants to eat solids. I tired
oatmeal (same brand), but he does not seem to like it as much
as the rice.
Any ideas/suggestions would be helpful. I did not want to
start solids so early, but he is only in the 50% for weight and
went down to the 45% at his last check-up. Lastly, I am
concerned about my milk supply, although he always gets the
breast before the food (the babysitter offers the bottle before
the cereal, as well). Thanks in advance!
Just a couple of thoughts:
First, does your baby drool a lot? My son had a face rash for most of
last half of his first year, because he was a huge drooler (we had to
a bib on him just to keep his clothing dry...)
Second, there's no real need to be concerned because your child's
weight is ''just'' in the 50th percentile -- That's an average, hence
perfectly normal, weight. My son was in the 25th percentile
and 75th percentile length-wise, for a long time and utterly healthy.
Also, going down from the 50th to the 45th percentile is also no big
-- that's such a small change that it could be due to what a child ate
drank before measurement, or whether or not he's filled his diaper
Finally, once your child starts solids, your milk supply may go down.
Mine did. We finally ended up using formula to mix with cereal
(assuming that since the breast was still his primary source of
what was mixed with the cereal was not so important); eventually we
supplemented with formula, although I did keep nursing until he was
about a year old. Again, my son is perfectly, completely, totally
I know you get severely chastized around here for using formula for any
reason, but in my case I just had to bow to reality and do what worked.
Offering cereal to a 5-month-old who refuses the bottle is a
pretty reasonable thing to do, but your post implies that *you*
are also giving him cereal. Don't! Your breastmilk is still
the most important thing for him and should make up nearly all
of his diet for at least a few more months. He should get
cereal (and/or other solid foods) *only* during the hours that
you are at work (and, of course, only after the bottle is
offered, as you said the sitter is already doing). I would also
suggest that the cereal be mixed with pumped breastmilk, so that
your baby is getting some milk by spoon, and that you should
encourage your baby to nurse as often as possible during the
hours you are home, including at night. While it can be
exhausting for you (and frustrating if he has formerly been
a ''good'' sleeper), he is likely to be much healthier if you can
get him to ''reverse cycle'' a bit, eating less and sleeping more
during the day, eating more and sleeping less during the night.
You can also have the caregiver try offering breastmilk in a cup
(experiment with various kinds of spouts and valves, or even a
plain open cup rather than a sippy cup, if he doesn't like the
first type you try) rather than a bottle. And, of course, there
are various things you can try to get him to accept more from a
bottle -- I know many suggestions are on the website archive.
As for the rash, if you're pretty sure it's not an allergic
reaction (and allergies to rice cereal *are* very uncommon), the
solution is probably to make the cereal a bit thicker, so that
it's less likely to get onto his face, and to make sure his
caregiver cleans his face thoroughly after each feeding.
Do keep in mind, though, that a mild allergic ''skin contact''
reaction to dairy and/or soy *is* very common, and can easily
turn into a more serious allergy later. If the cereal is being
mixed with formula (or has formula in it -- check the
ingredients label carefully), that could be the problem. Try
mixing it with breastmilk (which is better nutritionally, too)
or with plain water instead.
As for your milk supply, there is little reason to worry.
Continue to pump as much as you can, and encourage your baby to
nurse as often as possible during the mornings, evenings, nights
and weekends. Limit the amount of evening and weekend time you
spend away from your baby for a while. At worst, you will end
up supplementing with some formula during the workday, or
feeding him more solid foods than might otherwise be ideal for
his age (in which case a multivitamin supplement is probably a
good idea too), but you can definitely continue to breastfeed
during the hours you are at home. Remember, it's a supply
equals demand system!
I agree w/ the nurse - if your son doesn't have an outbreak on
the rest of his body, it's most likely irritation and not an
allergy. The same sort of rash will appear w/ teething because
they are drooling so much that the salivia irritates their skin.
I did want to comment though that you cannot expect solids at
this stage to replace milk and to fill them up. There's not
much calories in the rice cereal. All you are really doing at
this point is introducing the concept of solids, they are
learning HOW to eat solids and to have something other than a
nipple in their mouths. This issue of solids becoming the main
source of nutrition comes later. More importantly, he is
probably getting more breast milk than you think -- babies
become better, more efficient, strong suckers so they can get
the same amount of milk but in less time than it took before.
Also, around this time is when your breasts will change and not
fluctuate so much where they feel like they are about to
burst -- the milk is still there but it can sometimes feel
like there's nothing. If there's a doubt, pump and you can see
that milk is still there.
Also, a 5% drop in weight precentile, in my opinion, is nothing
to worry about. He is still up in a good precentile range.
Their weight will fluctuate, especially as they become more
mobile. W/ my 15 month old we've already gone thru several
bouts of not wanting to eat much for several days, then wanting
to eat non-stop for the next couple of days.
I missed your original post so please forgive me if some of
what I write doesn't apply to your situation.
As an infant I had a horrible rash all over my face that was
attributed to my mother starting me on rice cereal at 3
months. Knowing this, I planned to postpone solids with
our son until he was at least 6 months.
Guess what, at 3 months with nothing but the same breast
milk in his diet he got a rash all over his face that lasted for
months. The diagnosis was infant excema attributed to
nothing in particular, and most likely the first indication of a
lifetime of allergies (which I have).
I don't have any advice on the long term health of your child,
but I will tell you that the only thing (besides lathering his
face with hydrocortisone) that worked to clear his rash up
was the following at every diaper change:
* face wash with damp cloth
* liberal sprinking of corn stach
* top application of Bag Balm (later we just used Long's
brand A&D ointment which doesn't have any odor)
hope this helps.
I just assumed that I would begin feeding my almost 6 month old
rice cereal when he begins eating solids (soon). According to
friends and my doctor this is what one does. My son is presently
breastfed. But recently I was given a chart by an osteopath
about the order of foods to feed infants when they begin solids.
It suggests beginning with vegetables and fruits because they are
more easily digested (the enzymes). I believe the sheet I
received was written by Haushka (the skin care man?) Rice cereal
and other grains are recommended later after the teeth have come
in. I know from my own experience that veggies and fruits are
less mucous producing and easy to digest. This is a new theory
to me (re: infants & solids)--but I kind of like it. Regarding
allergies and immunity --it makes some sense. Does anyone have
any more information about this theory?
The reason to start with rice cereal are (1) it's convenient and
cheap, (2) it's iron-fortified, and some older breastfed babies
need more iron in their diet, and most importantly (3) it's a
very low allergy risk.
That said, there's no real reason not to start with vegetables
or fruits if you prefer, and it's true that some babies digest
produce more easily than grains. (Rice cereal often seems to be
constipating. Barley cereal is often better.) Just pay
attention to which are more or less likely to be allergenic.
You can even start with meat; some people do that because it's a
far superior source of iron and other nutrients as compared with
either grains or fruit. (It does, however, tend to result in
veeeerrry stinky diapers!)
Our ped also told us to introduce vegetable and fruits, esp
veggies first . I know from taking nutrition classes in
chiropractic school that the proteins in grains are harder to
digest. Forcing them to try to digest these proteins too early
can set the stage for leaky gut syndrome and alleriges and
immune issues. I think the whole idea of rice cereal is because
of the iron issue. But the iron in breastmilk is more absorbed
than anything that is fortified artificially, so it's not really
an issue . I know we always hear that babies only have iron
stores for 6 months but i've read a lot of research that says
that is just not so. They can have enough for over a year. The
levels may go down in breastmilk but they get more of it. You
can always do a hemoglobin test if you are worried about iron.
Throughout most of history babies were fed exclusively
breastmilk for up to 2 yrs. It's only here that we have this
insistence that they start solids so early.
anyway, i was told that once we start solids , probably not till
around a year, that veggies and fruit first then grains a few
months down the road,
My 7 month old boy always seems to have a melt down every time I
give him solids. He gets excited for them, eats a few bites, and
then starts to fuss and cry in between bites. He also tends to
suck on his hands in between bites. I am wondering if it is
teething or if he is confused about the difference between
nursing and eating solids. Any suggestions would be welcome.
It sounds to me as if your child simply isn't ready for
solids. If you're still nursing/formula-feeding, I wouldn't
worry about it. Some kids primarily breastfeed for the 1st
year without much interest in solids. There's really no
hurry. The only other thing I can think of is to try different
foods -- maybe he doesn't like what you've offered?
We started our daughter on solids two months ago and she has
been meeting her meals with more and more resistance. She
clamps her mouth shut and won't part her lips for a spoon or
finger with food on it. We've tried giving her something else
to chew on (spoon, toy) and putting the spoon with food on it in
her mouth when she wasn't paying attention, but she's catching
on to this tactic. We've tried letting her feed herself,
explore with her food, finger food such as cheerios, feeding
when hungry, after feeding, before feeding, sweet foods such as
yogurt, bananas, bland foods like cereal, potatoes, singing
songs/silly faces to make her laugh, ingonring her and leaving
her with the food, you name it, but her mouth just stays clamped
shut. We're afraid she's just hooked on her bottle and won't
open her mouth for anything else - any advice?
A lot of people will probably tell you this... but just relax.
She'll eat when she's ready, it just might be later than other
babies. When she's a little older she might start to be more
curious about the food you are eating and then start opening
her mouth. Eventually she'll figure out that there are
satisfying sources of food apart from the bottle and breast.
My baby ate very little until about 7 mo. and then his eating
just took off! I think he finally realized the point of eating.
Your baby may have a perfectly good reason not to eat --
allergies, for example. I know a couple of kids who basically
didn't touch solid foods until they were well past their first
birthday, and they're now perfectly normal children with normal
Seven months is way too early to worry about it. She doesn't
need solid foods at all for quite a while -- even babies who
*do* eat them eagerly should still be getting the vast majority
of their nutrition from the breast (or bottle) until at least 9-
12 months. Children in families with a history of serious
allergies shouldn't usually be started on solids at all until
If you keep trying to force or trick her into eating, you're
going to wind up with a kid with serious food issues. Don't do
it! Continue to offer her a variety of foods at your normal
mealtimes, and let her eat it or not. As she approaches her
first birthday, consider having her iron tested (she may or may
not need a vitamin supplement) and perhaps work a little harder
on getting her to use a cup rather than a bottle (it's best to
get rid of the bottles by age 2 to avoid dental problems) if her
diet is still almost all liquid. And consider the bright side --
feeding solids is a lot of hassle and mess that you don't have
to deal with yet!
I never understand why parents are so fired up to get their
infants on solid foods. It's a known fact that breast milk (and
surely formula) is the complete nutrition babies need TO ONE
YEAR OLD. So what's the hurry? If she's not interested, let it
go and try again next month, you've got five whole months to go!
A go-with-the-flow mom
Hi there - I wanted to recommend an excellent book ''Child of
Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense''
I have followed the philosophy in this book with a lot of
success. The author suggests that parents, in their effort to
ensure that their child gets the nutrition it needs often cross
a line, into coaxing and encouraging a child to eat. This
creates power struggles over food, suddenly eating is your
thing, not their domain to explore, so they resist. She
recommends that if the child purses her lips and turns her head,
to respect this and to wait a few minutes, then try again. If
the child is definitely not interested, then end the feeding.
Also, schedule in regular snack times. If the child isn't
interested in eating at a certain meal, that's OK, since a snack
is only a couple of hours away.
She also talks about a child's physical readiness. Children
develop the ability to move food from the front to the back of
their mouths at a certain time. You started your child on solid
food on the young side, so I wouldn't worry. She will take a
greater and greater interest in food as she is ready. Pushing it
may set her back a little.
Am seeking tips & tricks for feeding solids to an almost 7-
month-old. Began with rice cereal, then oatmeal cereal, and no
interest. So, moved on to sweet potatoes and yams (fresh and
organic and pureed with some water to create a thick, soupy
consistency) and saw small improvement, but still minimal
interest. She takes a few small spoonfuls maximum, and takes
minutes (literally) to swallow. She'll take a few sips of water
between mouthfuls. Seems content with an open mouth full of
food (smiling, doesn't turn her head, etc.), but just doesn't
swallow immediately. Same reaction with broccoli, applesauce,
etc. So, the reaction doesn't appear to be tied to a specific
food, but, rather, related to the act of eating itself. She
certainly shows interest when we eat, so her own lack of
interest seems odd. Pediatrician said to just keep trying,
which, of course, I am doing. Am not worried (yet!), but
thought the ''been there done that'' parents might help me move
this process along. Any ideas?
Thanks in advance.
Sounds slightly familiar. We started our little boy (now 11
mo.) on solids at 4.5 months. He did swallow, but ate very
little at a time and took at least 5-6 tries before accepting a
new food. All of a sudden (literally) at 7 months he just
started chowing down. I think it was a timing thing. If we
had started him at 3 months or 6 months on solids he probably
still would have really started eating at 7 months. Keep trying
and be patient. She'll figure it out eventually.
My son also showed no interest in any solid food or baby food,
despite relentless efforts by his nanny and myself.
At nine months old he was still refusing solids, so our
pediatrican suggested Cheerios. We put him on the living room
floor, spread dry Cheerios in front of him and sat back and
watched as he picked one up, gummed it til it was super soft and
ate it. (We were so elated that my husband actually grabbed the
videocamera and recorded the moment.)
His interest in Cheerios then led the way to all kinds of good
Don't worry about your seven month old's lack of interest in food. Our
daughter didn't touch any solids until she was 10 months old. Now she eats
like a hound! She had zero interest in baby food. In fact her first food
was at a Japanese restaurant. She had salmon terriyaki, vegetable tempura
and miso soup! Unbelievable - but the kid loves good tasting food. I
suggest trying scrambled eggs. But the main thing is not to worry. Kids
know when they are ready for solid food.
from what i recall from my experience with intoducing solid food,
is that during these next few months, you are just allowing your
child to explore food, flavors, textures and how to manipulate it
in their mouths, swallow, digest etc. it is not until they are
about a year, that there is a true need for nutrition from
solids. they should still be gaining all nutrition from nursing
or formula. all children do things at their own pace, and your
pediatrician is giving you the best advice in that you just keep
presenting it and they will decide when and how much to injest.
i know my now very balanced eater who is 2.5, was a slow to warm
to food, but eventually loved certain foods for a while, went
through drought periods and came around again. it was agonizing
at times. i just tried to consistently present an array of foods
and varied the options with the seasons. sorry for rambling, but
i've seen the pitfalls my siblings have fallen into with my
nieces and nephews. the worst thing you can probably do is to
just stick with the only thing your child ends up liking. they
are getting used to flavors and textures, and if you get off at
the first stop, you may likely encourage a picky eater.
Remember at this age solid foods are about learning and
socialization, not nutrition. Plenty of perfectly healthy kids
eat little or no solids until around their first birthday or
even later, and babies and toddlers are actually very good at
regulating their own diets. Continue to make food available to
your baby, especially at family mealtimes, but don't push it.
Try offering finger foods rather than pureed or soupy things;
most 7 month olds can cope with firmer things like diced soft
fruits, chunky mashed potatoes, and Cheerios or puffed rice, and
many will eat only if they can feed themselves.
If your baby is still not eating solids by 9-12 months, have the
doctor do an iron test to see if a supplement is needed.
Otherwise, don't worry, this is perfectly normal and you don't
need to do anything special.
this page was last updated: Oct 6, 2006
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