Friday, February 22, 2008

Backing up, and starting over

After introducing solids to Owen at 6 months, we soon realized that we had also introduced him to constipation. I’d started him on little bits of super-diluted rice cereal because I’ve always read that babies need some extra iron after 6 months. I opted for brown rice cereal, then switched to barley cereal, which is supposed to be less constipating than rice. And all the while, we were giving him baby food prunes, blended pears and peaches, little doses of apple juice, extra water. All of it in small doses and introduced a few days apart, but none of it enough to get the kid going properly and without little squeals of pain.

Then I remembered that one of the lactation consultants who’d advised me with Will had waited until 8 months to introduce solids to her own children. And after talking with her, another lactation consultant and my pediatrician I decided to go back to square one. For a week, I did nothing but nurse Owen. And I watched the little cold he had developed disappear and his digestive system readjust. It’s amazing to me how the introduction of just the tiniest amounts of solid food into a breastfed baby’s diet suddenly breaks down that invincible wall of immunity. It’s nice to know you can build back that wall if you need to.

Now we’re starting all over, trying solids again at seven months very gradually and avoiding almost all processed baby food and cereals. Turns out iron deficiency isn’t a concern for most breastfed babies even after six months. Another reminder for me that a quick check in the handiest reference book isn’t always the best recipe for an individual baby -- and that what worked for Will may not always be the best path for Owen.

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