This was originally posted at another blog of mine (www.motheringtc.com) that I have deleted. I have combined all my blogs into this one for the sake of simplicity in my already busy life. Jen – 6/13/09.
We got an excellent reminder about why we don’t feed our daughter (7 mos) solid foods yet. We were out camping & she had apparently got a bit of tree roughage before we could stop her. We also gave her some cabbage, just to taste it. It came out in the exact same form that it went in. She just isn’t ready yet.
The World Health Organization (though I’m loathe to use a United Nations division as a source) says that infants should be exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months. Granted, she is a little past that, but it’s been happening for months! What is it about babies that people always want to give them food? People seem to have more respect about not feeding your dog than they do about not feeding your children. And they never want to give them veggies—they want to give them an early taste for cake, brownies, chocolate, pop, popcicles, and the like.
Dr. Sears gives 6 reasons (explained in depth here) why to wait to give solid foods:
1. Baby’s intestines need to mature.
2. Young babies have a tongue-thrust reflex.
3. The baby’s swallowing mechanism isn’t mature.
4. The baby needs to be able to sit up.
5. Young infants are not equipped to chew (i.e. they have no teeth!).
6. Older babies have a stronger need to imitate you.
In addition to the physiological reasons above, the Le Leche League International gives these additional signs for when a baby is REALLY ready for food:
* he continues to be hungry despite more frequent nursing which is unrelated to illness or teething
* he has lost the tongue-thrusting reflex and does not push solids out of his mouth
* he can pick up things with his finger and thumb (pincer grasp)
In addition, when a baby is really ready for solid foods, LLLI has found that they will be able to feed themselves. (See full article here.)
So how do you stop people from feeding your child?
1. Play the allergy card. Even if it’s not 100% true. People seem to respect the need to not feed kids certain things for medical reasons but not general health or behavioral reasons (sugar-buzz anyone?).
2. Teach your children not to eat something without your permission. This only works if the child is older but people always seems to want to feed kids no matter what their age.
3. Write and share a family value statement. If there is a repeat offender close to you (a parent or in-law, perhaps), this is a great, non-threatening way to assert yourself. Visit these sites for more information:
How have you handled it? Post a comment & let us know!