Think of a breastfeeding baby, and you might imagine a wonderful scenario of a mother cradling her child, whilst he or she suckles contentedly and she sits in a comfortable chair …probably with a smartphone or a tv remote in one hand, and the baby in the other…
But then that does destroy the idyllic image somewhat doesn’t it?
So imagine what adding a wriggling, fussy five month old into that picture might do.
It’s around this time that many parents might start to think that their baby needs solids – because they keep waking frequently at night, they want to feed all the time, or they want to feed frequently but only for two minutes at a time.
In reality, not many babies actually ARE ready to start eating complementary foods at this stage – but what they have started doing is taking a lot more notice of the world around them and the things they can do.
Sadly, not knowing this when the Wee Man was 17 weeks old and wondering if I’d ever get more than 45 minutes sleep at a time, I took the advice of my health visitor and started on our baby rice journey. Which, in hindsight was perhaps one of the most pointless journeys ever since ironically – with baby rice being far nutritionally inferior to breastmilk (there are something like 35 calories to every spoonful of breastmilk, as opposed to just 9 calories in the equivalent amount of baby rice) – he actually wanted breastfeeding a lot more often.
In fact, it wasn’t until he was around 6 1/2 months that he really ‘got into’ eating, and then not until about 10 months that I noticed a real reduction in feeds.
So although it’s tempting to ‘blame the breastfeeding’ for sleepless nights and perhaps to give in to the exciting step of introducing solids, it is worth waiting a while. And on the plus side for mums, we get to eat more cake!
In fact, talking of cake, if you’re a breastfeeding mum then the solids that you are eating are important too. Whilst cake is nice, making sure you eat nutritionally balanced meals is a good idea as it’ll make you feel better than you might if you’re experiencing sleepless nights AND a lifestyle fueled by caffiene and sugar. (I know this, for I have tried it. Frequently).
Additionally, there are some foods which can inhibit breastmilk production, and some which enhance breastmilk supply – and these are known as lactogenic foods. Examples of lactogenic foods include sweet potato, oats, and coconut oil.
You might be thinking that’s a wierd combination that you don’t fancy eating, but fear not! Plenty of inspiration is available in the lovely book from The Contented Calf – Nourishing Recipes for Breastfeeding Mums. And as it happens, I have one up for grabs for one lucky reader!
So get commenting and some recipe inspiration could be winging its way to you 🙂
and don’t forget about the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt Grand Prize…which has lots of other great stuff you could win too.
Good luck and happy reading!