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Info on BLS??

Posted by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 12:05 AM
  • 5 Replies
Sorry if this is a bit long, but it starts with some venting.
Back story: DH and I have friends who had a baby around the same time that we did in October. Mom was set on bfing and I tried to help with giving her into and encouraging her when I could, but of course I don't know as much as her pedi *dripping sarcasm* and so by the time their ds was 2 weeks old mom was feeding 10 minutes on each breast and then feeding 2oz of formula bc pedi told her that her milk just wasn't keeping baby full. Ugh!!! That's a whole other rant...anyways, DH comes in tonight and says he talked to his buddy and asked how "L" was doing. DH tells me that "L" is sleeping 8+ hours straight at night. Now keep in mind this child is 10 weeks old. Next DH says, "yeah, they've been giving him rice cereal for a couple of weeks now and "C" (dad) says "L" is sleeping great."
Now, I had mentioned BLS to DH the other day as something that I might like to try with Blaze when he is old enough. He seemed ok with it, but wondered why we couldn't just do what we did with Caitlyn (rice cereal at 6m followed by purées). I told him that I'd just been seeing a lot on here about how rice cereal is unnecessary etc.
After talking to his friend tonight, DH was grilling me about BLS, and why is rice cereal so bad?? By the end of our discussion DH basically blew up because he said he doesn't see the problem with giving baby some empty calories to help him sleep longer. Blaze only wakes up twice at night, nurses quickly, and goes right back to sleep. I refuse to compromise his health so that I can get 45 minutes more sleep.
I need some links to info on the issues I've mentioned. I'm tired of hearing "everyone else does it."
Thanks for reading and for letting me vent :)
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by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 12:05 AM
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by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 12:10 AM

This article explains some of the reasons why rice cereal is not great and citees the research (including the AAP article)

Good Foods for Babies

NOTE: This article is the second of a series about introducing solids and weaning. You may want to read the previous article first: When is the Best Time to Start My Baby on Foods Other Than Breastmilk? The final article in this series is: Thinking About Weaning?

As her baby approached his six month birthday, Joanna had lots of questions about starting her breastfed baby on other foods.

“Those jars of baby food are cute but so expensive. Besides, I would really prefer to feed my baby fresh food. Is it difficult to make your own baby food?"

It is very easy to make your own baby food and much cheaper, too. You do not even need special equipment, just a knife, fork and spoon.

“What are some good “starter” foods?”

Most babies like soft fruits and veggies. You can put tiny pieces of ripe banana on his tray, so he can pick them up and feed himself while you eat your dinner. Sweet potatoes are great for babies. Just scrub and prick the skin of the potato and bake it in the microwave until it is soft. After it has cooled down, you can throw away the skin and cut up the soft potato into little chunks.

“I have never heard of babies feeding themselves! I thought you had to feed them with little spoons!”

We used to think it was a good idea to start babies on solid foods when they were very young, maybe even just a few weeks old. Of course, babies that age could only eat pureed foods, which their mothers fed them with spoons. Now we know that babies are not ready for solid foods until they can sit up by themselves and use a pincer grasp with their fingers and thumbs. By that time, they can eat all kinds of things with only a little help from you. Your baby may like sitting in a high chair to eat, or he may prefer to sit on your lap or on the floor.

“Why do so many babies start with cereal?”

Cereal may be traditional, but it is not necessarily one of the best first foods. Iron-fortified rice cereal has been suggested as a first food in the past because of the belief that it was “hypoallergenic” and was a good source of iron. A review of research by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) finds those reasons to be invalid. 1 Newer thinking suggests beginning with foods that are naturally nutrient-rich. For example, meat is naturally rich in iron and zinc. In any case, breastfed babies usually get all the iron they need from their mother's milk up until at least six months of age. 2 If your doctor is concerned about iron levels, a simple blood test can be done right in the office.

“So what else could I feed my baby?”

Lots of things! Just make sure the food is soft enough not to catch in his throat and that it is cut into little pieces. So, for example, you will want to offer cooked, not raw, carrots, green beans, and peas.

  • Try ripe avocados, pears, peaches or apples – whatever is in season.
  • Beans can be mashed after the skins have been removed.
  • If you eat meat, you can offer little pieces of chicken or maybe a meaty leg bone (with that thin sliver of attached bone removed).
  • Tofu is an easy, soft food for a meat-free family with no soy allergies.
  • As he gets closer to a year, your baby may also like to gnaw on a heel of whole wheat bread or a piece of bagel.

“Are there foods I should avoid feeding to my baby?”

  • Don't give her anything that could get stuck in her throat, so avoid hard foods like popcorn and nuts and sticky foods like peanut butter.
  • Any “round” foods, like carrots slices or grapes, should be cut into quarters.
  • You may have heard that you should delay potentially allergenic foods, and you may have seen lists of such foods. Current research suggests that there is no benefit or reduction in the development of allergies due to delaying certain foods. 1
  • Never give honey to a baby until he is over a year old because of the risk of botulism (food poisoning).
  • If there are any foods or drinks to which members of your family are allergic or sensitive, talk with your health care provider before offering them to your baby.

“How much food does he need? How many times a day should I feed him?”

Start slowly, just once a day. If you miss a day, don't worry. Table foods may be offered whenever it is most convenient. It is not necessary to stick to a strict daily schedule. At first he will mostly play with his food. If any of it gets in his mouth, consider it a bonus! Start with about a teaspoon of food and add more when he asks for it. You might want to put an old shower curtain under his chair to catch the crumbs. Wait about a week before introducing each new food. That way it will be easy to see if anything upsets his stomach or gives him a rash.

“What about juices? Won't he need extra water too?”

Whole fruits contain fiber and are much more nutritious than juices. It makes sense to either limit juices or even avoid them completely. Some mothers like to offer a little water in a sippy cup with meals.

“Wow, I am excited to start! But I was wondering, if I start on other foods, won't he nurse less often? I don't want to lose my milk, and I am not ready to stop nursing.”

Your milk remains the most important part of your baby's diet until he is about a year old. Always nurse him before offering other foods and afterwards as well if he is interested. Nursing before offering solids will both ensure that baby gets enough breastmilk and maintain your milk production.

Babies need only their mother’s milk for about the first six months. Your baby will continue to receive the same nutrition and protection from your milk as long as you continue to nurse.

The continuing protection from illness is important for your baby, because when babies become more mobile, they are toddling around and picking up all kinds of germs, some of which go straight into their mouths.

It is fun to see your baby begin to explore the different tastes and textures of various foods.

You may also like to read:

Baby Led Weaning and More on Baby Led Weaning

Whole Foods for Babies and Toddlers by Margaret Kenda

Mash and Smash Cookbook by Marian Buck-Murray

Sugar-Free Toddlers by Susan Watson

My Child Won't Eat! by Carlos González, MD

1. American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. Pediatric News, November 2009: “Rice Cereal Can Wait, Let Then Eat Meat First: AAP committee has changes in mind”

2. Raj, S et al. “A prospective study of iron status in exclusively breastfed term infants up to 6 months of age”, International Breastfeeding Journal, 2007.

by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 12:13 AM

This article explains why 1. Rice cereal does not make babies sleep longer, and 2. that longer sleep means higher SIDS risk!

by on Jan. 1, 2013 at 12:14 AM

The idea that solids will help your baby sleep is an old wives’ tale that has been disproven by medical studies. Feeding your baby solids or formula in an attempt to make baby sleep longer is not a good idea for several reasons:

 There’s no evidence that it will help. Some babies will sleep worse, due to reactions to the formula or solids (tummy ache, etc. are not uncommon), particularly if baby is younger than around 6 months. Two studies have indicated that adding solids to the diet does not cause babies to sleep longer. These studies found no difference in the sleep patterns of babies who received solids before bedtime when compared to babies who were not given solids. Here are the two studies:

Macknin ML, Medendorp SV, Maier MC. Infant sleep and bedtime cereal. Am J Dis Child. 1989 Sep;143(9):1066-8.

Keane V, et al. Do solids help baby sleep through the night? Am J Dis Child 1988; 142: 404-05.

 Formula requires a baby’s digestive system to work overtime as baby tries to digest something not specific to the human body. Formula is harder to digest than human milk; thus formula-fed babies tend to go longer between feedings. While this may seem like a benefit, it’s probably not something we want for our babies’ bodies unless there are no other alternatives. There are also risks to formula use (see What should I know about infant formula?). It certainly has a place in infant feeding but probably shouldn’t be used whenever mom’s milk – either directly from the source or expressed – is available.

 Early introduction of solids (before six months) carries its own set of risks. 

 Recent research suggests that longer stretches of deep sleep are associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and babies who sleep longer/deeper may be more vulnerable to SIDS (see in particular the research of James McKenna, PhD). Some scientists are saying that it appears that long sleep stretches are not “natural” for human infants and that sleep interruptions in the early months may provide a protective factor against SIDS. More research is needed on this subject, but parents might want to think twice about significantly manipulating baby’s natural sleep pattern in the early months. 

by Gold Member on Jan. 1, 2013 at 1:04 AM
1.) the fake iron makes it harder for natural iron in breastmilk to be absorbed therefore can cause anemia in bf babies. (Not an issue with ff babies already getting fake iron)
2.) sleeping 10+ hours is NOT normal for human infants and is a HUGE SIDS risk. (This was the point that I told DH and he got mad at the pedi for suggesting cereal)
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by Gina on Jan. 1, 2013 at 1:13 AM

If dad is only going by "been there done that" advice, I'll give you some.

Tried that "cereal before bed" thing with mine. I didn't think it was POSSIBLE for him to sleep less than he was already doing... but he went from waking every hour or two to NOT SLEEPING AT ALL that night. Not for ONE minute.

Which meant I didn't sleep for one blessed minute either! Now, I don't need more than four hours a night, broken at that, but if I don't get that I'm pretty crabby. Never did cereal again. 

Sleeping more is an issue separate from feeding. How you feed will not make baby sleep more. But how you feed can indeed make baby sleep less. Or not at all!

If yours wakes only twice, you're quite fortunate. And if your husband has done no more homework than a discussion with other parents, HE DOESN'T GET A SAY.

Maggie has linked plenty of info. Hubby must read... or stick a cork in it.

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