Tomorrow Maggie is officially five months old. CRAA-ZY. She has been on quite a growth spurt lately. We weighed her a week ago and she was 16 lbs - almost double her birthweight!
First, we had to raise up her exersaucer a level to accommodate her growing length. Since doing so she has quadrupled her love for this plastic heap. She will now spin herself at will and bounce up and down in it. She talks to the animals and chews on them like crazy.
She has been increasingly vocal as well these past few weeks. She will sit and "talk" to you and if there is a conversation going, she will make every effort to join in. Wonder where she got her chattiness from?!?
At her 4 month doctor appointment, our doctor had the talk about starting solids. Like everything with babies, there are differing opinions about solids. Just try reading the birth club message boards on Baby Center - I did this this morning and was AMAZED at what some kids were eating already! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months. Maggie's doctor said that she goes more by the individual kid and parents - that you can start solids anytime between 4 and 6 months depending on what signs your child gives you. She likes people to start by 6 months as she starts to see more kids fall off their growth curve at that time without solids. She recommended watching her and if she takes an interest in food, can sit up and you start noticing increased hunger to go for it. I really appreciated her advice which was more about what your child is ready for versus a hard and fast rule. She also said it is up to us what we start with in terms of foods. She said it is common to start with rice cereal because it is the least allergenic but that we didn't have to start with that. She said for the first few weeks/months, they do not get a whole ton of nutrition from food - you mostly are trying to get them used to eating from a spoon and adapting to new tastes and textures. Their primary nutrition still comes from breastmilk or formula for a while.
I had every intention of waiting until six months if I could, mostly for convenience. However, over the past week and a half, Maggie seemed bound and determined to show us that she was ready for food. She began eating more, eating more frequently and waking up earlier and earlier in the morning. We have had her sit with us at dinner for the past month and she will just stare at us eating and if we have her on our laps, she will reach out for whatever is on our plate. After spending part of one day last week with her basically attached to me all day eating and a few 4 AM feedings, I was starting to think of starting solids earlier and earlier (although the common thought of solids helping babies sleep through the night has basically been debunked). After discussing the topic with several friends, it seemed that most started their kiddos on solids between 5 and 6 months. This morning after another 4 AM feeding, we decided to take the plunge.
We decided to start with rice cereal at dinner time since she was already used to sitting in her high chair and "eating" at that time. To be honest, the only reason I started with the rice cereal is that we had a free box of it in our cupboard - go figure. If using the cereals, our doctor recommended mixing the cereal with breastmilk so that it was pretty runny. Maggie did pretty well with it. She didn't really make any faces and she seemed to like eating from a spoon. We had been giving her a spoon to chew on while we sat at the dinner table. We also think that since she has been taking a dropper of Vitamin D every day since birth that it helped with her tongue reflex. That's not to say that she swallowed ALL of the food. Thank goodness for bibs.
Following our doctor's advice, we will continue to try solids for the dinner meal for a few weeks. Eventually we will move to two meals of solids a day. It should be interesting! My BIL got us The Baby and Toddler Cookbook from Williams & Sonoma for Christmas and I have been glued to it. While I generally think that Maggie will just get pureed forms of whatever we are eating, I think it will be fun to make some of the stuff in here!