Prev Next
The Solid-Foods Jungle

The Solid-Foods Jungle

By Amalah

Hi Amalah, oh-great-giver-of-the-smackdown-advice!

I need your no-nonsense advice on weaning my almost 8-month-old dude-let: HELP! Your advice has gotten me through pregnancy, our first round of antibiotics, baby-proofing, and so much more, but now that I want to wean my little one (want mah boobs back!!! And caffeine. Oh, and can’t handle the %^*@#!***ing pumping any more. Seriously. No more. How much do I hate thee, pumping? LOTS! So, yeah, I’m done now. Please and thank you!) I can’t find anything in your archives that answers some of the questions I have at this stage. So I was hoping you could help me out? There are two main questions really:

Advice Smackdown ArchivesFirst, I get how the whole weaning-thing works, in terms of slowly reducing the amount of breastmilk and replacing it with solids. In theory I totally get it. But I’m clueless as to what a day in feeding a (at that point probably) 9-month-old only on regular food should look like. It seems like such an obvious thing and I feel like I should totally know this stuff by now, but I’m still coming up totally blank! Eeeekkk! I don’t want to do formula, if I don’t have to, so that means that he needs all real foods to replace his current diet of mostly breastmilk. So what does that look like? How often do I need to feed him? 3 square meals seems unlikely, but then how much snacking? And how late is the last feeding? Right now, for example, he needs to feed right before he goes to bed in order to fill him up so he doesn’t wake up hungry right away. But as adults we’re told not to eat right before bed, because of digestion interfering with sleep and getting fat, and all that jazz. So then I don’t feed him right before bed anymore? But then does he have dinner (at what time???) and just go through till morning? That doesn’t seem likely either, with such a wee stomach. Arghhhh!!!!!! Can you tell that I don’t know what I’m doing? I just kinda want somebody to say: here’s 24 hours, this is what you feed them and when. God, boobs are so much easier sometimes, aren’t they? Meh.

And then, the second issue that I’m having is his development insofar as solids goes: the smackdown articles that I have found that refer to feeding suggest to me that my boy is waaaayyyy behind in what he will and won’t eat. It sounds like he should able to handle finger foods like cheerios, etc. and all kinds of regular stuff that requires actual chewing at this age. But he still does the gaggy-thing on his mashed banana, for cripes sake! Should I be worried about this? I didn’t introduce solids until he was almost 6 months, and then I just started with the recommended mashed banana. I then fairly quickly also introduced the iron-fortified rice cereal that I mix with breast milk. Once he had that he decided that that was fine, but banana notsomuch. Gag. and Puh! Then I didn’t really introduce anything new for a bit, as he was sick (ah, the joys of a baby in daycare!) and I was sick and the hubby was sick, and thus tired, lazy, and boobs-are-so-easy later we finally introduced carrots and sweet potato (same reaction as the banana: what are this wee, little, bitty bits: this texture-thing, and how do I process it? Puh!), and then nothing again as he had to have the antibiotics and I didn’t want to add anything new to an already sensitive digestive system. So now I’m wondering does he have sensory issues? Swallowing issues? Taste issues? All of the above? I’m terrified to try anything that’s more that complete moosh at this stage, because I’m worried he’s going to choke on it. Is that just me? Should I just bravely forge ahead and stop being such a scared-y-pants? I don’t want to be mashing everything into oblivion all day long, that doesn’t seem right, but maybe I’m wrong? And if so, how long does that stage go on for? HELP me Obi-Wan-Amalah, you’re my only hope! (oh yes, I did just say that! Woot for dork-dom!)

Oh, and congratulations on no 3! Wow! I mean…I can’t even…3…3 boys?…but?…how do you?…I just…wow…clearly you must be Super Woman. Or have Hermione’s time-turner thingy. ‘Nuf said.



I’m stuck on your first opening paragraphs here: Your baby is eight months old. You don’t want to do formula. Then, therefore, thus, I am sorry, it is not yet time to wean him from breastmilk. It’s too early. It’s too early even for a baby who IS eating every bit of solid food in sight. And this isn’t a judgment on wanting to wean him from the breast. Just…if you really want to wean him, you’ll have to put him on formula at this point. He is not ready for a diet of all-solid table food, and breastmilk or formula MUST be his primary source of nutrition for several months longer — until his first birthday. Full stop.

Ezra lost interest in the breast around 10 months, and was eating great, wholesome meals of a wide variety of foods. But he still needed a steady intake of breastmilk or formula at that point — the chart I’d been given from my lactation consultant said nursing sessions every four-to-five hours, or 24-31 ounces of formula. This is the guideline you’d follow as well, at nine months. (The six-to-eight month guideline is breastmilk every three-to-four hours, and 24-37 ounces of formula.) So, while formula wasn’t my favorite or anything, Ezra continued to get bottles of it until his first birthday, when the bottles went bye-bye and we got the okay to switch full-time to cow’s milk.

So really, honestly: SLAM ON THE BRAKES HERE. You are getting so far ahead of yourself here that it’s making MY head spin. Sensory issues at eight months old because your baby isn’t super in-love with one or two of the first mushed-up foods you tried? No, no, no. Here’s what I want you to do:

Step One: Deeeeeep breath.

Step Two: Recognize that weaning from the breast and introducing a well-rounded diet of solid foods are TWO SEPARATE THINGS right now. Two separate issues and two separate processes. They really have nothing to do with each other yet. Solid foods are just practice for your son. Fun, exploration, an introduction to lots of different textures and flavors…but not so much about trying to meet all of his daily nutritional needs. For that, he needs breastmilk or formula.

Step Three: If you decide that yes, you really do want to stop breastfeeding, replace the bottles of breastmilk with formula, then work on replacing actual nursing sessions with bottles. Have your husband take over the Big Ones, like bedtime or middle of the night, if your son fights the bottle. But recognize that yes, the weaning process will involve formula in his life until at least 12 months old. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with, then you’ll need to continue breastfeeding. And you can absolutely have caffeine in moderation, by the way. I sure did. You could quit the hated pumping and replace SOME feedings with formula, but continue to nurse him during your time together as a half-and-half compromise.

Step Four: Educate yourself on introducing solids and the various approaches. It’s not one size fits all, and while I’m flattered by your loyalty to me and my prattlings, I am not an expert here.

For a fairly traditional, straight-forward approach that uses a combination of purees and finger foods, visit and look at the food charts by age. Here’s the page for feeding eight-to-10 month olds, complete with the breastmilk/formula intake information. However, if you look at the list of foods and realize that it would completely overwhelm your son and his current limited diet, go back and start with the six-to-eight chart and see what happens. And no, this doesn’t mean he’s “behind” or “delayed” or ANYTHING LIKE THAT. He’s just going at his own pace. A huuuuuge part of the move to solid foods includes your baby learning to listen to his own body’s cues and signals about how much he needs to eat and when he needs to eat it. (Another reason, at this stage, to offer breastmilk and formula FIRST, and then let baby explore solids at a more leisurely pace once his primary nutritional needs have been met.) Even the greatest future eater in the world is going to reject a good number of the things you offer, or require many, many servings of the same food before accepting it.

The other big approach that (as you’ve probably seen in the comments) is becoming very popular is baby-led weaning, which skips purees and baby food and encourages you to just feed baby from your table and plate all the time from six months on. (Please note that the “weaning” in the name has NOTHING to do with weaning from the breast — this feeding plan encourages full-time breastfeeding for at least 12 months, and preferably for 24 months.)

We did — without even realizing that it was a Thing That People Turned Into A Big Philosophical Debate — a hybrid of purees, traditional baby finger foods AND baby-led feeding of letting the boys taste and experiment with everything and anything we ate. Again, I don’t think any of these things HAVE to be a one-size-fits-all, all-or-nothing approach. Some babies hate purees and mushy foods and spoon-feeding (NOAH). Some babies love the purees and stews and smashed up avocados and practicing the pincher grasp with little mushy peas. Some babies (EZRA) love all of the above. The best takeaway from the baby-led philosophy that I think would be helpful for you, though, is not to push your baby into what you THINK he should be eating, but instead let him set the pace and feed him what he seems interested in without making a big production over mealtimes and what he will and won’t try. The fact that you’re trying to diagnose swallowing issues already tells me that mealtimes are probably…a bit stressful at your house right now. Let’s dial back a bit and figure out how to stop that from continuing, and hopefully being a little more informed and confident about the whole introducing-solids process will help.

Step Five: Talk to your pediatrician. Maybe this should be an earlier step, like after Take A Deep Breath. I’m trying to put this gently, but the fact that you were planning to stop breastmilk at eight or nine months old and switch to all-solids tells me that you could really, REALLY use some professional guidance when it comes to feeding your baby. I get the “I don’t want to do formula” thing (kind of, anyway, my kids both had it and it wasn’t the end of the world AT ALL), but you just sound…well, very lost here, about what your son can and “should” be eating and what your options are. No need for that. Your pediatrician can help, and while solids should be fun and not terrifying and all that…it IS a serious enough of a topic that you probably want to get some non-Internet-strangers advice on as well.

If there is a question you would like answered by Amalah on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

icon icon
chat bubble icon


  • Hillary

    March 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    Just wanted to congratulate the poster on her very successful run with breastfeeding and encourage her to take heart that the next stage of feeding will work itself out. She’s doing a good job of taking care of her little boy! Not a lot of people can continue nursing as the only source of calories through 1 yr just because baby’s hunger exceeds milk supply unless you’re nursing VERY frequently. So, bravo! There are lots of useful resources on how much to nurse/feed and how to introduce food. I used for all advice on nursing, and the purple Super Food book for transitioning to solids. I’m still nursing my 14 month old several times a day, and she eats several meals; you can introduce solids and back down on nursing (and eliminate pumping!) without your milk disappearing. That may be enough of a change for you to be happy without having to resort to formula if you don’t want to use it. Good luck!

  • Jeannie

    March 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I am going through the same thing with my 11 month old, so here’s my two cents:

    First: caffeine. If it doesn’t bother your baby, drink up! I’m still nursing and drink up to two cups of coffee a day. Any more bugs me, has nothing to do with LO.

    Second, more importantly: my daughter JUST stopped gagging at purees. Like two weeks ago, 10.5 months just. My pedi said that was fine, no concerns about sensory issues AT ALL. She did say that if it was still the same at 14 months we
    might want to see an OT to help her. Again, nothing about sensory issues (yet) just a slower starter. It’s within normal, if annoying.

    The one thing she said was DON’T push it. If she won’t eat, at this stage, DON’T force it. Keep offering, of course, but her advice echoes Amalah’s: keep your baby on breastmilk or formula (I hear you on the pumping: hate. It.) until he can eat ok. And yeah, it may take until he’s a year or more. My son (now 5) was like that. He really just played with food until he was a year and wasn’t a good eater until 15 months or so.

    Anyway. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  • Stefanie

    March 23, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    The one thing I have to constantly drill into my head over and over again with regards to babies and solid foods is that it can take 10-15 times tasting a food before the baby actually likes it. When my daughter first started solids, she only liked cereal and pears, so I mixed everything with cereal and pears. I would gradually increase the amount of avocado or sweet potato until she became used to the flavor and texture until I could feed it to her on its own. She absolutely hated avocados for months, but she was underweight and I wanted to get that fat into her, so I kept at it, and now if she sees an avocado on the counter she screams “CADO!” and will eat the entire thing. Also, I would let daycare try to feed her some things. There are all kinds of foods my daughter won’t touch at home but asks for seconds at daycare.
    Amy is right about your son still needing formula or breastmilk. At this age, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, breast or bottle should always be offered first. Definitely talk to your doctor. And remember that 8 months is a fantastic length of time to have breastfed your son and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you wanting your body back.

  • Olivia

    March 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Just reading the OP made me anxious. 1) Amy’s right about an 8 month old not being able to get sufficient nutrition from table foods only yet. 2) There is a wide range of normal when it comes to babies learning to eat solids. My baby didn’t really take to solids until 14 months or so. 3) I can’t speak to wanting your boobs back because I haven’t experienced it, but it is possible to stop pumping and yet still breastfeed when you are with your baby if you are interested. I stopped pumping at 11 months, but am still nursing at 2 yrs. Your boobs adjust, and with a picky toddler I find relief knowing she is still getting breastmilk to round out her nutrition. Also, like you said, boobs are easier sometimes than figuring out solids for such a young baby.

  • Liz

    March 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    My daughter–almost 3–LOVED purees. She didn’t mind being spoon fed at all and ate a ton of different foods that I cooked and pureed.

    My son–10.5 months–HATES purees. I tried oatmeal cereal mixed with breast milk for a month before I got the hint and then i started the baby-led weaning and he loves it. He only likes to eat foods if he can hold it himself! Because of my inability to get it through my head that he wanted to hold his food, he didn’t start eating solids until almost 8 months. now, though, he eats lots of different foods. I can still give him purees if I spread it on a thin, rice-cake like cracker (called Coco-Pop–they belt in your mouth so are good for babies). He’s just started eating cheerios and hates bananas–he regularly throws the pieces on the floor but I keep at it anyway.

    I’m still nursing although I can tell my son is quickly losing interest–I’m lucky to not have to pump if I don’t want to so I’m hoping he’ll hang on until 1 year.

    All this to say, as Amy did, food styles are not set in stone. Your son may hate foods now and love them later. Be flexible and understand that starting solids doesn’t mean he will love everything right away.

  • Karen

    March 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Not sure about suggesting caffeine for the OP, I was thinking maybe a glass of wine? The question about food before bed “in order to fill him up so he doesn’t wake up hungry right away” is interesting. Not really sure what she means, but of course people wake up hungry after sleeping – that’s why we eat breakfast. And it’s nice to wake up with an appetite because then we eat a good, well-rounded first meal of the day. Giving a kid food so they have a full stomach for sleep seems like it would make him uncomfortable. By 9 months we were sitting my daughter with us at dinner regardless of when she was nursing/eating. If she ate, great, if not, fine. It’s dinner, that’s what our family does – we sit at the table. After dinner, we played, maybe went for a walk if the weather was nice, read stories, had a bath and then nursed to sleep (and by nursing I mean about 1-2 min only and then she stopped and I put her in crib). No night was ever perfect, but I tried not to stress about every little thing and just go with the flow.

  • MR

    March 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Amalah’s advice is right on. I also couldn’t agree more with other commenters who said “Congratulations!” to the OP for nursing for 8 months. That is great!
    I agree that the OP post came off as very anxious to me, so definitely BREATHE and repeat to yourself “My choices here are not going to negatively affect my child forever.” It seems you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself to make the ‘right’ choice. Instead, slow down a little and realize as long as you are continuing to FEED your baby, it doesn’t really matter at this point whether it is breastmilk vs formula, or pureed carrots vs super soft carrots, or even avacado. Your baby will eventually eat a variety of solid foods, but it doesn’t need to happen all at once.

    I also second Amalah’s suggestion to read up on the transition to solids and speak with your child’s Dr. This will help you better understand what to expect in terms of a reaction from your child and how to determine whether or not he likes something. My daughter choked, gagged, spit food back out, and made the funniest “I HATE this!” faces, all on foods she LOVED. Part of that is normal. Remember, starting solids is about learning the process of how to swallow thicker foods. It is a new skill, and they don’t always get it right immediately (hence the gagging, choking, and spitting). But, that doesn’t mean they hate it. So, keep offering him foods and pretty soon you will find he is making that face, but immediately reaching for the food afterwards. Good luck!

  • JCF

    March 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Along with talking to your doctor, a great resource for information about the nutrients that babies need and what kinds of things to feed them is Real Food for Moms and Babies, by Nina Planck.

    My third baby is currently 8.5 months old and just started consuming ANY solids in the last two weeks or so. He just wasn’t interested in eating until recently, and he’s not really a fan of purees. I just keep nursing him when he’s hungry, and I put him in his highchair during mealtimes. I give him whatever we’re eating that’s appropriate, and he feeds himself whatever amount he wants. At breakfast this morning, he ate a few little chunks of scrambled eggs and a couple of bites of applesauce (I fed him that with a spoon). At lunch today, he didn’t eat anything, because he was sleeping. At dinner last night, he had a few pieces of roasted chicken, a couple of chunks of roasted sweet potato, and a green bean. Some ended up on the floor or his lap, but he definitely consumed some of each thing. It sounds like your baby is doing just fine, but needs some more time!

  • Mama Bub

    March 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Well, THANK YOU for the Wholesome Baby Food link. I’m still nursing my nine month old and introducing solids and we’re nursing less often, at her lead. It was good to see that every 4-5 hours is normal at this point.

    Also, to the original question, these things always felt so overwhelming to me. Every major life change did – dropping a nap, moving up bedtime, getting rid of the paci. But, you will figure it out and feeding your baby will just become part of your day, rather than something that is angst-ridden.

  • Linden

    March 23, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I was in your shoes a couple of months ago.  I weaned my baby from the breast between 8-9 months, and felt so much better once I had my body back.  I was lucky that she was a great eater at 8 months, but even so she drinks at least 24 oz of formula a day (and often more).  As Amy and the others have said, a baby at that age, even a good eater, still needs to get their base nutrition from either breast milk or formula.

    As far a number of meals/snacks/bottles, our baby (at almost 11 months now) has a bottle when she wakes up in the morning, breakfast, a bottle before her morning nap, lunch, a bottle before her afternoon nap, dinner, and a bottle (or sometimes two) before bed.  She still occasionally wakes and wants a bottle in the middle of the night, but this has almost stopped as of the last week or so.  Also, she’ll have a snack once or twice during the day, often when we’re eating or her brother is eating.

    Hope that helps!  

  • Lydia

    March 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Ah Amalah – THANK YOU for answering my questions! Seriously. Breathing deeply now…:-) I’m so glad to hear that he’s not behind on his development with solids: I’m surrounded here by a bunch of friends and relatives who are proudly telling me that their babies are “fully weaned” at his age (though admittedly on formula too) and, on the other hand, a hand-full of happy-hippy moms who will breastfeed until their babies are tweens (ok, I exaggerate, but you get the drift). Clearly I don’t fall into either of those categories. And then there is the MIL who babysits every other week who keeps asking why he isn’t eating cheerios yet? And how about those lovely fruit yoghurts? Her boys were on solids by 4 months! And you know he would sleep through the night if you just fed him solids? Message: you’re clearly not feeding/raising my grandson correctly! So yeah, mah poor sleep-deprived brain was getting a little overwhelmed by the why-aren’t-you?’s and why-isn’t-he?’s. Judgy moms, begone! Gah!

    I shall now endeavor to breathe deeply, put up with the pumping for a wee bit longer, and let the little dude run the show (solids-wise, anyway!). So thank you, and to all the commenters too: I feel MUCH MUCH better now! Sanity-land is on the horizon again….:D

    Stefanie: re: your suggestion of having daycare feed him some foods: as it happens I did just that this morning! He wasn’t feeling the sweet potato last night, so I just decided to send some with him to daycare today and see what gives – we’ll find out this afternoon!

  • Christine

    March 23, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    First – Way to go, Mom! 8 months is awesome! (I had to give up BF at 4 months due to supply issues and felt so relieved when pumping stopped, so the fact that you made it to 8 is AWESOME!!!)
    Second – Can’t echo Amalah enough with the big, deep breath advice. In. Out. In. Out. Feel better?
    Third – Just a thought on the mashed foods vs. cereal thing. My wee one loved liquidy purees and smooth cereal but hated mashed or slightly chunky purees. But when it came time to go to regular solids like cheerios and crackers, he was a champ. No problem at all. (He was pretty decent on solids by 10 months.) So maybe your baby just doesn’t like the mix of smooth and chunky in one place?

  • Carrie

    March 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    My 11 month old is still gagging on some foods. I was worried to give her anything really solid b/c of her gagging on purees, but I’ve found she actually gags less on the solids. My son never ate a bite of store bought food, but I’ve found my baby loves those stupid Gerber Pasta Pick-ups. She’ll clean the plate. She’ll gag on real pasta. I was worried about sensory issues too b/c I read so much about all these amazing things that babies were eating, but I guess it just takes time. I have stopped all purees and just try her on different solids. Some of them gag her, but some of them are right up her alley. I will say, with her gagging I worry much LESS about choking because I know she can get it up if she doesn’t like it. My son would eat too much and choke himself b/c he didn’t have much of a gag reflex

  • Jenifer

    March 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    My now 21 month old was refusing (my ever-so-lovingly  prepared) purees through his 9 month check-up. The Dr. said, stop feeding him babyfood. We switched him to food from our plates cut up really small. He started EATING. He also NURSED. I too hated pumping, but if you can hold on through 12 months, you’ll be golden. I stopped pumping at 12 months. We nursed three times a day, then twice, and now just once. It’s the only time he will let me hold him and I love it. Nursing a toddler is way different from nursing a baby. Kudos for getting this far. It gets way easier.

  • MIchelle

    March 23, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Just wanted to give my 2cents to the OP. I totally agree with everything Amala wrote. I am also in the same feeding stage with my daughter (almost 10m old) and she won’t really eat solid foods without gagging. Just the other day I tried giving her a small piece of cracker and instead of putting it directly into her mouth I try to put it to the side where it is easier for her to gum it. No problems with gagging so far! I’m hoping that she will get use to it there and figure out how to eat it and move it around and then will be more ready for the direct hit to the middle of her mouth in the next couple weeks! Good luck – again to echo everyone else too – you are the mom and you know best! Take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt!

  • DeeDee

    March 24, 2011 at 12:14 am

    I’m sure this is going to be an unpopular comment, but I just have to say this: that was a little harsh, Amalah. Not the kind of response I’ve come to expect from you! Here is this poor lady, asking for your help and you tell her she sounds “lost”? Erm, wouldn’t that be why she asked for help in the first place? And telling the poster that she “REALLY needs professional guidance when it comes to feeding her baby”? OUCH! And that’s putting it “gently”??? That seems like quite the opposite to me…

    Dear OP: I respectfully disagree with Amalah here and say that you have clearly made some excellent choices in feeding your baby: 8 months of breastfeeding is awesome! And you’re taking it slowly with introducing new foods to your baby and trying to get help where you don’t have the answers: well done, you!

    I do agree, though, that Wholesome Baby Food is an excellent resource for your questions – they pretty much have all the answers you’re looking for in this situation. There are also lots of good books out there on baby nutrition: I’m sure your pediatrician or even local library could point you in the right direction. And take it easy on yourself: you’re doing a great job trying figure out the best nutritional choices for your son – we’ve all been there! Good luck!

  • Ashlea

    March 24, 2011 at 7:09 am

    The one piece of advice that has really helped me with solids is: “Food is fun until 1”

    try not to stress about how much bubs is eating, and I really agree with the others about needing to give formula or keep breastfeeding to at least 1.

  • Jen - Life With Levi

    March 24, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Great response! We were just talking about introducing solids last week for the Breastfeeding Blog Hop, and this week we’re talking about weaning. They are definitely two different things.

    Please feel free to link up if you’d like. I’m sure the other participants would benefit from reading your response to the question about introducing solids and weaning.

  • Heather (Laptops to Lullabies)

    March 24, 2011 at 11:23 am

    WOW, this post could not have been more perfectly-timed for me! My son is 9.5 months old, and I have been wondering lately (daily!) about the breastfeeding and solids.

    I still nurse him about a gazillion times a day (and 3-4 times all night — with vigor!), and it feels like … too much? He eats three solid meals of “real food” every day (chunky purees, but mostly finger foods), but is still nursing ALL the time. 

    I love nursing him, but I am also sort of … wanting sleep! And yes, wanting my body back, too. But I also really like the idea of waiting until the one-year mark, and just switching from breastmilk to cows’ milk, avoiding formula entirely. I don’t have anything against it, but it’s just been drilled into my head that breastmilk is healthier. I’m also stuck on reaching the “one-year” recommended milestone of breastfeeding — I don’t want to quit and regret it!

    Do some people keep breastfeeding but maybe just give ONE bottle of formula daily, at bedtime? To fill him up so he sleeps longer? I think if he would just start sleeping more than 2-3 hours at time, I could hang on with the breastfeeding until one year …

  • Alissa

    March 24, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    DeeDee – Amalah’s going through some rough stuff in her personal life right now, so just the fact that she posted an Advice Smackdown column at all I think is pretty amazing.  Lay off her a bit, eh?

    Also, I must be a weird one.  I breast fed til 13 months or so, then weaned to formula in a sippy cup.  I didn’t switch over to whole milk til about 19 months.  Formula seems like it tries harder to simulate breast milk, has added nutrients, fat, etc.  Just seemed like a better choice for a while than going immediately to whole milk.  I had no issues switching – mixed pumped breast milk and formula for a while to switch over, then mixed formula and milk together for a while to switch to milk.

    Food is FUN!!  Not stressful.  And kudos for nursing for so long.  You rock!


    March 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Just wanted to add my two cents…I’m joining in front Canada…and I’m wondering if Canada is different from the states…In Canada it’s recommended to first introduce rice cereal at he 4-6 month stage…then SLOWLY…introduce pureed veg before fruit….I always mixed the puree with the rice cereal…

    I breastfed my first born until 16months! and then my second til 14 (both weaned themselves). (am I the strange one here!!!) With my second – I went back to work when he was 6months old…i didn’t want to give up breastfeeding…as breast is best! So I pumped at worked…started out twice a day and then down to once a day…and I suplemented with formula…baby was fine with both….Then around 1yr – we also introduced whole milk…in a sippy cup….if I remember correctly the “food” was pretty small amounts…the majority came from the bottle of either breast mild or formula…. with my first son – I was completly against formula…I only wanted to breastfeed….but with my second I lightened up a bit…and he’s turning out to be just fine!!!
    wondering why this person doesn’t want to go with formula????

  • Danielle

    March 24, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Heather – Unfortunately giving formula before bed won’t help much with a baby who wakes 3-4 times per night to nurse…I know b/c I tried it with my then 9 month old (although my pedi warned it wouldn’t work) and…it didn’t. The thing about night nursing is that it’s not always due to hunger…it’s sometimes also the only way the baby knows how to go back to sleep. The way to break this routine is to first make sure the baby is getting plenty of breastmilk/formula during the day, and then start to refuse to feed at night. I know it sounds cruel and there was crying involved! But it worked somewhat for us and now we’re only nursing once per night. Lots of people reference the No Cry Sleep Solution for night-weaning issues – didn’t work with our particularly stubborn guy so we ended up doing a Ferber-style approach to sleep, but you can research and decide which you feel is best.

    Also, fwiw, I didn’t think Amalah’s post was harsh OR due to her personal stress. More about concern for an 8 month old getting the nutrition he needs – it’s a serious topic, and she gave good advice.

  • EW

    March 24, 2011 at 4:42 pm


    You might want to try giving a bottle of formula for night wakings.  We nursed til a year, then had her dad take over night feedings (as she still woke up 1-2 times a night to nurse).  He’d give her a bottle of warmed up cow’s milk.  The first night she howled when she had to wait, then drank a couple of ounces and went back to sleep.  By the third night, she slept right through as it wasn’t worth waking up for a bottle.  I hadn’t wanted to be tough on night feedings, thinking she must need it, but clearly she was waking because she wanted me, not because she needed to eat.  With #2, due in a couple of months, I’m thinking we may switch to formula at night around 9 months and see what happens.

    Agreed that the night nursing was what killed me the last time!

  • Kogepan

    March 24, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Wholesomebabyfood has some inaccurate information about introducing solids so please read it with a grain of salt. For example the forbidden foods list recommends waiting for several types of food until your baby is a year. With no history of food allergies it is safe (and perhaps beneficial) to introduce these earlier. My 8 month old happily eats shellfish, eggs, pineapple, etc. Also it is ok to introduce new foods earlier than four days.

  • Kogepan

    March 24, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Forgot to include this link:

  • Hannah

    March 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

    @Deanna – The rules in Canada vary from province to province. Here in Nova Scotia, it’s recommended no solids until six months, and then it basically follows the principles of self-led weaning. They changed them five years ago (the year my 1st son was born!) and when I left the hospital after having both my boys, I was sent home with an incredibly helpful feeding & weaning guide that even had some baby-friendly recipes in it. Here’s the link:

    It contains lots of other information too, the section on feeding starts around page 60 or so.

  • Katie

    March 25, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Heather, By all means, try the formula—but the nightwaking could be habit. We FF my little guy (currently 10 months) because I couldn’t breastfeed (believe it or not, babies want more than .25oz a nursing session 🙂 ). At 9 months, we was still waking 3-4 times a night for the bottle. In fact, he was a worse sleeper at 9 months than he was at 4. So, if the waking is habit, I’ve found the “No Cry Sleep Solution,” by Pantley to be helpful. Essentially, you gradually start cutting back the feedings. At first, I offered the bottle just long enought to soothe him, then traded with a paci. If he fussed, I gave the bottle back, and tried again. Anyways, the gist is you keep working at it, and gradually reduce the wakings. We’re at 10.5 months, and down pretty much to a couple of (watered down, because I’m mean) ounces of formula between 1 and 2am, and a full bottle of “first breakfast” between 5 and 6. We’re working on eliminating those two middle of the night ounces. Anyways, YMMV, but whatever you do, try not to feel guilty about it. Baby will make up those extra calories during the day.

  • Heather (Laptops to Lullabies)

    March 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Thanks, Danielle and EW! I think you’re both right, and I need to stop nursing 4-5 time a night. He really doesn’t need the nourishment all night anymore, and he should be sleeping longer than 2-3 hour stretches at almost 10 months old.

    I think we are going to try giving him a little formula for the first time tonight, and see if it fills him up a bit more. Then when he wakes up in the night, I will hopefully feel more confident that he’s not starving, and not give in and nurse him every single time he wakes up. He has been incredibly cranky in the mornings lately, so I know he’s not waking up rested. We both need more sleep.

  • Emily

    March 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Congrats again, Amalah for a round of great advice!
    Poster – It can be so overwhelming to get to this stage! I used the same link Amalah provided then as well, but I also nursed my daughter until 11 1/2 months (when she decided she was done) and she had formula for a couple weeks. In a lot of cultures breast is the ONLY thing or the entire first year!
    My daughter started solids around 7 months because of severe reflux issues beore then. SHe also didn’t have a single tooth until she was 10 months old! Those things definitely put her “behind schedule” as far as the solids go, but you know she’s fine! She went at her own pace, and she’s never even had a cheerio! (she played with them, but would never eat them…she was a mum-mum fanatic) She ate nothing but Earth’s best purees (and I tried to maintain as big a variety as I could…they have awesome options) for months and now at 20 months tries all different textures, tastes, and foods.
    And for the record, as an adult, I gag on bananas too! 😉 I love the taste of them but can’t eat a whole banana to save my life! And my sensory issues are fine. Relax, poor mama! You’re doing fine!

  • lesley

    March 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I won’t pretend like I have much good advice here, except what I have learned from experience is to not obsess about the feeding thing. My son, now 20 months, went from EBF to formula at around 6 months, and then we started the whole cereal/pureed veggies/snacks thing, and still did at least 24 oz of formula a day. He was a GREAT eater until he turned about 12 or 13 months, and then we had to start all over because he became so picky and would basically eat macaroni and cheese and nothing else (I exaggerate, but you get the point). So don’t think that you HAVE to expose your child to so many different foods early so they won’t be picky. It will come in time, but I would rejoice in the fact that he is still a good nurser. Many of us did not have the same experience with nursing and that would have been a blessing. But don’t worry about it if you need to move to formula. It’s not the end of the world at all.

  • Lydia

    March 26, 2011 at 12:43 am

    Original Poster here again! Noticed there were some questions, so just wanted to chime in again:
    As to why I didn’t want to do formula if I didn’t have to: like Heather it’s just been drilled into my head for so long that “breast is best” so I was trying to stick to that. I’m still going to keep breastfeeding (and pumping, gah!) but I have now made the decision to supplement with formula too as it has become increasingly obvious that my son’s demand is going up, up, up! but my ability to pump is not. So if anyone has any good recommendations for formula, I’d love to hear them!
    With regards to the sleeping and feeding debate in the comments: my son always wanted to nurse a bunch at night too and it was severely affecting my stress-levels (could you tell?? :D), health, and happiness. I tried the Pantley method too, but no dice. So this week I just decided that I wouldn’t feed him if he woke within 3 hours of his last feeding, just rock and comfort instead. It led to a couple of all-out flailing tantrums, but both times he went back to sleep eventually and stayed asleep for another 3+ hours afterward, meaning he went without eating for 5 and 6 hours respectfully. He’s never done that before and it just proves that at this age the frequent night nursings really are more comfort and habit than actual need. YAY! So if I can do it, then so can anyone!
    DeeDee: you’re very sweet, but I do want to defend Amalah here and echo the other commenters that this is a serious topic, and her response was right on: I was in a bad head-space when I wrote my email and just wanted OUT! of the breastfeeding and didn’t know what was next and wanted help NOW without really having done the proper research myself on the next nutritional steps beyond breastfeeding.
    Again a HUGE THANK YOU to all the awesome commenters for their encouragement and tips: I feel 100% better and more informed now! Also: success with avocado this week and he DEVOURED the sweet potato at daycare – WOOT! You guys all ROCK!

  • bhn

    March 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Lydia, may I ask why you’re pumping? Are you working full-time?

    (My advice on that point would vary depending on why/how often you’re pumping)

  • Lydia

    March 26, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    bhn: yes, I’m pumping at work: I work 4 days a week right now.

  • Lydia

    March 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    bhn: yes, I’m pumping at work: I work 4 days a week right now and I pump twice a day when I’m there. The rest of the time it’s just straight boob for the little man!

  • bhn

    March 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Ok, good for you! Pumping for work is HARD.

    It might hearten you to hear that as time goes on, you will have to do less and less pumping. I went back to work part-time when my guy was 1 (shout out Canada) and I only pumped for a couple of weeks. My milk supply quickly evened out so that when we were together, I made more milk, and when we were apart, I made less. I didn’t believe my doctor when she told me just to trust in my body to figure it out, but it really did. I hope that helps.

    If you can just struggle through the next few months of pumping until he’s 1, you can switch to giving him cow’s milk (or not, depending on your choice) when you’re at work, and just nursing him when you’re together.

    I agree with Amy that you can’t give up pumping right now unless you’re willing to switch to formula while you’re away from him. Which is totally not the end of the world, by the way! There’s nothing wrong with him getting mama milk when you’re together and formula when you’re apart. But right now he needs the nutrition from one or the other, until he’s big enough to have only solids while you’re away (or solids and cow milk).

    And because I don’t think it’s been celebrated enough so far in this thread, GOOD FOR YOU on keeping it up with breastfeeding to date. It’s good for your son and good for you, and it’s not always easy.

  • Kim

    March 28, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    My LO hated purees, too, so although I had scoffed at this newfangled baby-led-weaning stuff, I found my self googling it late one night…. The really interesting thing to me (aside from the fact that Brits wean their babies *onto* solids, as opposed to *away* from the breast, as we do. Weirdos.) was that purees themselves can lead to excess gagging. The babies are used to sucking, can pull the thin smooth food right back into the back of their throats, and voila, gagging. That was certainly the case with my kid. But as soon she could control the food going into her mouth, and where it went her mouth – well, the kid hasn’t stopped eating since, I don’t think. She didn’t have any teeth until 13 mos, and she ate meat, fish, pbj’s, corn on the cob, whole grapes, you name it. No choking, very little gagging, and only when she’d overstuffed her mouth. Every kid is different, but BLW was fantastic for us.