Middle of the First Year

By LLLC Blog, 5 October, 2011

La Leche League philosophy underpins everything that LLL does. This philosophy is drawn from 10 statements about mothering and breastfeeding. They’re not meant to be rules – rather, they form a general framework about what LLL believes. There are many ways to interpret each statement, and you will see LLL philosophy take a different shape in each person who embraces it.

I’m exploring the 10 concepts that underpin LLL philosophy in this space. I talked about the first three concepts in earlier posts, and now I’m ready to move on to the sixth:

For the healthy, full-term baby, breast milk is the only food necessary until the baby shows signs of needing solids, about the middle of the first year after birth.

LLL Philosophy was formally adopted by La Leche League International in 1972, and this concept was updated in 1975. At the time, the median age for introducing solid foods was approximately one month in Canada. By the 1980s, that had moved to four months. Today, most bodies, including the Canadian Pediatric Society, recommend that babies start solid foods at six months. So you can see that LLL was ahead of its time, when it came to making recommendations about starting solids.

You may notice that the wording "around the middle of the first year" is a little vague. The reason is that as mothers, LLL Leaders know that every baby is different. There are babies who show signs of readiness at five-and-a-half months, and gleefully devour the foods their parents offer. There are also babies who refuse to touch solid food until seven or eight months.

If your baby is six months or older and still refuses solid food, and you are concerned about that, you can visit your family doctor. He or she can check that your baby is healthy and thriving. Most likely, a baby who refuses solid food is having all of their nutritional needs met at the breast, which is why they are so happy breastfeeding. But some mothers find having a check-up brings them greater peace of mind.

Whenever your baby eats their first solid food, and whatever it is, we can promise you one thing - this is the first step on a very exciting journey! Sooner or later all babies move from meeting their needs at the breast to meeting them through solids. As parents, we have a front-row seat for all of the smiles, grimaces and messes. Enjoy it!

Amber

baby eating