help a baby out - eating and sleeping shouldn't be mutually exclusive
September 30, 2012 8:19 PM   Subscribe

Babyfilter: At just over five and a half months, baby machine is starting to try solid foods. So far what this seems to mean is that about 4 hours after he goes to bed at night he wakes up crying due to gas. I'm looking for suggestions or anecdotal experience around how to help the little guy out.

Baby machine has been primarily breastfed with the occasional bottle of formula (say once, maybe twice a month). At our last dr.'s visit, the doc suggested that we could start on solid foods when the baby started to reach for things people were eating. So last week we tried homemade apple sauce courtesy of grandma and this week it was sweet potato puree.

In general, he seems fine with the actual eating piece of this (tho there are many hilarious faces) but then we have nights where the gas wakes him up multiple times per night. The gas itself is usually solved by picking him up - changing positions or changing his diaper to get him moving his legs. But it's no fun for me or him.

Is this a case of the mouth says yes but the intestines say no and we should just wait a while more? Try different foods? Baby pro-biotics? Any ideas? Thanks!
posted by machine to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What time of day are you feeding him? Earlier (breakfast or lunchtime) is better for this very reason. But if that doesn't help the problem, you can always wait a while longer. At that age, solids are just for practice and you're not going to do any harm by stopping and trying again in a month or so.
posted by chiababe at 8:26 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would take this as a sign that he isn't ready for solids and keep him on bm for another month or two.
posted by pearlybob at 8:32 PM on September 30, 2012 [8 favorites]

When my oldest initially tried food, it didn't go so well. I gave it a break and tried again six weeks later. That time it was no problem. I think he was about 7.5 months. If all else fails, wait a bit.
posted by Michele in California at 8:34 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Teeny tiny amounts! Just a spoonful at a feeding, and make it bland and easily digested stuff. No added sugar, spices, or salt.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:44 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm so annoyed by this advice from Doctors! This is not the first question like this here on the green, by a long shot!!

We also got this advice around the 4 to 6 month mark. ours also had troubles.

Just wait a few more months, and your baby will eat real food just fine. Ours did once we stopped trying to force the issue.

Every baby is different.

If yours is having tummy troubles with solids, so try again in a few months.
posted by jbenben at 8:44 PM on September 30, 2012

My little man had reflux, and one of the tools I ended up using a lot was infant massage - there are specific tummy strokes you can do to help with gas and digestion. You wouldn't want to do it on a full stomach, but maybe a little bedtime massage could help move things along?
posted by hms71 at 8:47 PM on September 30, 2012

Just wait a bit and start with tiny amounts till he can handle it better. At this point it's just for practice/variety, not to fill his tummy yet. For now if you want to let him try new flavors you can mix a bit in with breastmilk and spoon feed it to him, then slowly increase the amount of people-food as he gets used to it.
Also, sweet potato has a fair bit of fiber, you could try something easier to digest like avocado or bananas.
posted by waterlily at 8:56 PM on September 30, 2012

I would try feeding Baby first thing in the morning, so that you have all day to watch for signs of allergies and intolerances. I don't know what the prevailing wisdom is for introducing solids, but, a few years ago, it was rice cereal with breastmilk for the first couple of weeks. And I mean super milky cereal - mostly milk. You could do the same with whatever they say to try first now. Applesauce can be constipating and sweet potato can be a bit of a laxative and gas inducer. So maybe stick to just one of those totally watered down with breastmilk and see how it goes. (I am talking just a smear with mostly breastmilk.) You can also stop solids for a while and try this again later. If you are okay with introducing another solid food, you could also opt for avocado, as noted above. I assume they're done with telling you that you can't introduce fruits first - breastmilk is sweet, so I hope they've given up on saying that if you introduce fruits first, babies will never eat broccoli when they grow up.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:28 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oops. I meant to add that eating first thing will also give your babe all day to move around and break up gas bubbles too.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:28 PM on September 30, 2012

We had the same issue with two of our three. In both cases, it went away on its own in a week to 10 days.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:35 PM on September 30, 2012

I don't think it's necessary to stop and wait a few months. Six months us generally agreed to be a good time to start, and our son also showed signs at about 5.5 months that he was very ready. I agree with the suggestions to give very small amounts in the morning, so he has the whole day to digest, and the digestion process doesn't disturb his sleep. Also, if he ends up having an allergic reaction, it doesn't happen overnight.

If you feel he is constipated, you might try introducing pears, they can help move things along and are very gentle. But really, just a spoonful or two.

My son is 11 months now and an eating machine. The suggestions above plus belly rubbing and bicycle kicks got him through the first couple of weeks.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 10:37 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Chausette, we started baby Jubey on rice cereal and breastmilk, just a watery puree and even at 6 months, it still took him a month to really take to it before I felt comfortable adding a bit of puréed pumpkin to it. Just make it very bland and easy to digest and if he doesn't like it, give it a break and try later. I was told to watch for him poking (forcing) it out with his tongue as that was apparently a reflex sign of babies that developmentally were still not ready to start on solids yet. Once that goes, apparently you're good to start trying. There's no rush though, take your cue from baby,
posted by Jubey at 1:52 AM on October 1, 2012

Also, just nipping in to add that waking up at six months can be for other reasons, including (1) a well-known tendency to sleep disruptions at this age, even among "good" sleepers, and (2) sort of pre-teething pain. So while trying foods earlier in the day can't hurt, you may find that the food has almost nothing to do with This Latest Trial and that you'll just have to weather it and many other such setbacks.

Good luck either way.
posted by acm at 7:12 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Usually they have you start with cereals, then veggies, then fruits, these days. Fruits may be a bit more gas-inducing at this age.

I'd try feeding him in the morning, so the gas is earlier in the day (although I know this is counter to the point of him getting to eat at dinner with everyone else!), or try a cereal. We didn't start fruit or veggies until after six months ... I don't remember quite how long after.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:24 AM on October 1, 2012

Take it slow. Little bits mixed with breast milk. Usually a bland baby cereal well diluted with breast milk is the way to go. Remember all his intestinal flora/bacteria has to get established and up to speed, if you overload it with too much food the good bacteria aren't in place in the numbers needed, you need to give them time to get going.
posted by wwax at 10:09 AM on October 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Children are highly (often frustratingly!) variable. Our first was having bottles supplemented with rice cereal within the first 3 months because she was ravenously hungry and no amount of milk satisfied her. No digestion problems and she goobled it right up. She also had a very early growth spurt and shot up a few inches. The second was more aligned with the average, rice cereal at 6 months. The third wasn't really interested in rice cereal or solids for a long time.

The other thing, is babies are small. Solid foods need to get introduced slowly. If you go with fruit first (which is different than I was advised), then a bit off your fingertip is probably enough. It a taste not nutrition.
posted by 26.2 at 10:46 AM on October 1, 2012

We are starting with baby oatmeal, 1-2 times a day for 1-2 weeks then introducing 1 fruit or vegetable every 4-5 days. This site on baby food has some lists of first foods.
posted by ejaned8 at 11:06 AM on October 1, 2012

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