Monday, November 2, 2009

Our mother-to-mother (moedergroep) breastfeeding support group - October 29th 2009

Every month, once a month, Fundacion Pro Lechi Mama Aruba has their moedergroep or mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group. It is a combination of a "breastfeeding class" and a traditional support group. Every month, a topic is chosen and lactation professionals from Pro Lechi Mama discuss the subject, asking questions and encouraging mothers to give their thoughts, opinions and experiences. Many a times, or practically every time, we veer off topic and then finally state that after the topic is discussed, we will take random questions about breastfeeding.
I decided that for those who were not able to make it to the moedergroep or who just want to refresh their memory, I would write a post summarizing what was discussed. The topic discussed at October 29th 2009 was the introduction to solids.  Here are some outstanding points:

Introduction to Solids

start solids at 6 months
For healthy babies who have good development, solids are required and desirable after 6 months.

Always offer the breast first
When going to feed solids, always offer the breast first and after baby has nursed, offer solids.

keep breastfeeding on demand
Keep breastfeeding just as often as befors.Do not remove any nursing sessions  in favor for a solid food session. You can do that later, when your child asks for the breast less.  Remember that breast milk will remain your babies primary source of nourishment up until the first year

first vegetables, then fruits, then other solids.
The first solids can be vegetables and then  fruits. If your baby reacts good with this you can start other solids. Vegetables are best for beginning because they contain iron.  
let your child know pure flavours
Give mostly whole products. Then your baby can learn different rich flavours.  
no sugar, no salt!
Salt and sugar are not good for your baby. Lots of bottled babyfoods contain (hidden) sugars.
never force food
Never persuade your child to eat more than he wants, don’t force food.
breastfeeding stays the most important food!
Until 1 year breastfeeding keeps being the most important feeding. The rest is just practice..

Important guidelines for baby-led weaning:
start at 6 months
Your baby is minimal 6 months when you start.
sit your baby upright
Your baby must sit up straight in your lap or in a high chair.Or can lean a bit forward. 
the right size
Give your baby foods chopped in squares or diced as big as his own fist.
easy to hold
Foods with ‘natural handles’’ like broccoli or cauliflower are great to start with.  
don’t put food in your baby’s mouth
Let your baby discover the food on his own way and time. Never put food in his mouth.
only safe foods
Don’t give your baby dangerous foods like nuts, grapes or cut up hot dogs
eat together
Include your child in mealtimes as much and long as possible. Let him eat the same things you eat, for example the same vegetables.
let your baby concentrate
Don’t hurry your baby or distract him.
it can be messy
Know that it can be a bit messy when you just start out. You can place some plastic under the highchair.
every child has his own time
Every baby takes a different time for weaning. One baby will eat a lot really quick, the other baby can play and taste for months before he really starts eating.  That’s ok, your baby will start weaning himself at his own time, and until then, he will get everything he needs from the breast. 

  •  Breastmilk should remain the baby's primary source of nutrition for the first year of life. 

  • Don't freak-out if baby is 10-months-old and still not interested in solids, they will not become malnourished

  • Don't force baby to start solids if they show signs of reluctance, let the baby guide you

  • Don't cut out a nursing session right off the bat. Always nurse before feeding solids.  

  • Use common sense, don't feed baby any nuts, grapes or things they can easily choke on

  • Never leave your baby unattended with food

  • Try a new food every 3 days to be able to trace back any possible food allergies or intolerances 

  • Try and avoid bottled baby food as much as possible due to their high sugar content. 

  • For a busy working or stay-at-home mom with little time to make fresh baby food everyday ,instead of reaching for that bottles baby food, try freezing vegetable or fruit made-at-home baby food in  ice-cube trays for easy defrosting and minimal waste for busy or sick days.

  • When introducing baby to solids, instead of starting with rice cereal or other bland foods, try something exciting and full of flavor, color, and texture such as pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato, dashing, watermelon, avocado. Brocolli is a good food to start with because of its "handle". Boil the brocolli enough to be soft but still nutrient rich and leave the stem on for baby to grab it and self-feed

  • Try buying a wooden high chair if possible, instead of the traditional Evenflo high chairs and the like. Wooden high chair such as the one below can grow with baby, is easy to wipe clean, no toxic or synthetic fabrics, and can last for many many years because of its adjustable foot rest

  • When feeding a baby, avoid the tendency to overfeed. Recognize when baby is full and do not push or force baby to "just finish the bottle, only two more spoons left to go". Overfeeding is dangerous for the simple fact that it will stretch the baby's stomach to bigger proportions and it teaches the baby/child a distorted sense of "being full". Rather than stopping when the stomach signals to stop, the baby will see "being full" as when all the food is gone off the plate or bowl. This can set babies and children up for a life long struggle with obesity, excess weight gain, and a distored view of food.

  • When starting baby on solids, instead of feeding baby at a time that everyone has eaten already, try and include baby at the table. With conventional high chairs, just pull off the tray and adjust the height to the table and give baby their own plate! They'll love being included in family meal-time and will benefit from the stimulation and will develop quicker by picking up conversational manners of other family members by observing everyone
  •  The first year is not about getting baby to accomplish eating a filet mignon or pasta carbonara, it's about tesing the waters and paving the way for a healthy life-style and proper food choices. The majority of babies will reject the first times, but by providing a non-forceful and loving atmosphere, mom and baby can enjoy exploring this new territory of textures, flavors and colors.
 After the group-discussion was done all the mothers and mothers-to-be stood up and conversed with each other. I must say, I enjoy this support group because it is a source of correct and up-to-date information on all things breastfeeding. Moms can ask any question, meet other moms and couples and try out a sling.
I must also admit, I am absolutely guilty of encouraging moms and moms-to-be to wear their babies and use slings. We took a wonderful picture of some moms wearing their babies

 I absolutely enjoy seeing the look of utter suprise and enwonderment when a couple saw my nearly 21-month-old daughter sitting peacefully on my hip in a sling. "Yes ma'am, it holds up to 35+ pounds". Their eyes grew even bigger. There were at least three other babies who were knocked out in the sling against the warmth of their mothers' bodies.


We had a pretty big attendance. A lot of babies came too :)

For more information on the topic of solids and the breastfed baby, the Gill Rapley method of baby-led weaning  please visit:

La leche league International 
Kelly mom for information in Dutch for information in Dutch 

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