Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast, where we're all about helping you potty your baby as early as birth. I'm your host, Andrea Olson, author and mom of five EC’d babies. This is episode 45, Starting solids.
Well, hello, everybody. We have recently started solids with our currently five-and-a-half-month-old baby Twyla. I wanted to talk to you about what will change, when, and how, and what to do because starting solids can certainly impact elimination communication, and I've never really talked that much about this before. Hopefully, those of you who are before this time or in the middle of starting solids can find some helpful hints in this episode today.
I'm also going to post some photos of what the poop looks like. You're going to see poo-poo photos on the show notes for today's episode. Definitely check those out and prepare yourself to look at poop. If you're doing EC, you're already looking at poop, so I figured you wouldn't be offended. And if you are offended, I will put on my “be offended” t-shirt that you might've seen me sporting on the Go Diaper Free Instagram, and you can be offended all day long. But, I think this will be helpful for you to see what the poop actually looks like.
So go over to godiaperfree.com/45 during or after you listen to this show, and check out those photos and also anything I link to our talk about a link for in or a resource or anything during this whole episode will be linked to directly in the show notes. You don't have to write down a single thing. Hands-free learning.
Okay, you guys. So, when do we start solids? You probably have already done research on this. I will not insult your intelligence and your ability to research this yourself. But in case you're clueless, starting solids typically happens anywhere from four to seven months. I'm not a baby-led weaning expert, so I'm not going to pretend like I am, but I do practice my own form of baby-led weaning with my kids. You can look it up. There's some great resources on Amazon as well for baby-led weaning.
But basically, what it is, I'm not actually trying to wean my child from nursing, but I am going to introduce food to them when they start to grab at my plate. Like at four months, Twyla started ripping the toast off of our plates. They start salivating while they watch you eat or smell food. They're sitting upright in your lap. So they've got neck control, but they're not necessarily sitting up unassisted yet. Some people think that they have to be sitting unassisted to start eating solid food, but at my house, I don't practice it that way. Your mileage may vary, so do your own research. But basically, if they're sitting up, definitely you can start solids if you'd like to. Then, another thing is they start to mouth and they start to [lip-smack] and watch you eat. And as they're there watching you eat, it's almost like they're learning how to chew by watching you chew. Those are all some indicators that it might be time to introduce some solids into the mix.
I don't use baby food. I make my own. It's not that hard to do. I used to try to be perfect at it. I realized after five kids you can't be. That's where all your perfectionist... First-time parents out there, you can't be perfect, so don't even try. You can mash up banana, put some apple sauce in there. You don't want to make it too acidic. You definitely want to do some research on what's going to be easiest on their body. But, I like to start with fruits and vegetables. Obviously, carrots, sweet potatoes. I will steam them in my instant pot. If you don't have an instant pot and you're a mom or dad, you need one. I'll link to one in the show notes. Oh my gosh. I love it. You can steam that stuff without even having to think. It'll beep. You open it up, mash it up, cool it down with ice cubes or whatever. I like to mash and not puree, but it depends on what it is. So we definitely don't want baby choking.
So again, I'm not the expert here. I'm not liable for your child in any way, shape, or form. Do your own research. But, ask your pediatrician if you'd like to, too. But, this is how I do it. I'll mix up sweet potato with some apple sauce, so see what she likes. I'll put some avocado, smash it between my fingers, stick it up in the roof of her mouth, and let her suckle. Because she's not really understanding the spoon very much yet, I've let her suckle my finger, and she loves the taste of avocado. So you got to experiment. See what your baby likes.
I don't like to start greens just yet. I don't like to give rice cereal. I don't like to get... Luckily, I'm fortunate to not have to do formula, or I haven't made that choice. But, I do still breastfeed all the time, but I've added in solids over the last few weeks and those are the foods that I typically have introduced. So again, baby-led weaning rocks. Try it out.
Also, some parents - I do this with my first two - would chew up their food and give it to their child. Only thing is I have heard and researched that you can transfer cavities over to your child, even though they don't have teeth yet maybe. I don't know. Some people wait till their babies have teeth to give them solids. Some people won't even give solids to like 13, 14 months. There's no right or wrong way.
If this is you, and you're in this moment, and you've got all these sort of signs that it could be cool, and you might want a little bit of a break so you can actually get out of the house and leave daddy with the banana and you guys and you can go do something by yourself, baby-led weaning's pretty cool.
So, Andrea, back to the point. It's already been five minutes. What will change with EC when you're starting solids? First of all, the poop schedule will change. Obviously, the poop is going to consolidate over the few weeks that you start solids, depending on how much you feed, and what you're feeding, and when. I like to start with breastfeeding only, and then I add in making my own baby food, and vegetables, and fruits, and then we go into meats. My husband always likes to make their first food ice cream for some reason. I mean, it's all natural, but still. I don't really give dairy yet. What you give them is going to come out, so the smell of the poop is going to change with EC. And if you're feeding meat and dairy, you are going to get much more smelly poop much faster. If you're starting with vegetables and fruits, you will get less smelly and a little bit more runny consistency.
Over the span of starting solids and moving into more solids, less breast milk or the same amount of breast milk. Maybe you're doing formula. No judgment there. You are going to notice that... So the poop begins consolidating. Remember early on when your baby peed all the time? And then it started consolidating, and they could hold it longer and longer. Same thing with poop, but this is now changing because what you put in is what comes out. Newborn baby, exclusively breastfed baby poop is like squirty, runny, mustard-looking. It's the waste. It's a byproduct of all of the production and creating a human body and growing. It's pretty pure. It's benign, unless it's been sitting there for a while. But you typically won't find a lot of disease in a newborn baby's poop if they haven't been given immunizations or antibiotics, and it's pretty benign.
When you start moving into food, they're going to obviously be ingesting and digesting all the stuff that's in that food. The consistency is going to obviously get harder as time goes on. And if you were exclusively breastfeeding - which we call EBF - this whole time, maybe for the last five months, then your baby's poop already might've gotten a little bit more substantially formed. But it's still going to be squirty and pasty, kind of like toothpaste, a yellow toothpaste. Delicious. I'm sorry. I hope you're not pregnant listening to this because you may want to... That might not have sat well.
So anyway, the consistency is going to probably get a little bit more solid anyway. But when you start solids, the poop gets solid. That's the point. And it will start to smell more. We decided to start solids after our trip to Florida because I did not want to deal with having to make baby food on the road. Also, I did not want to have her schedule, or consistency, or smell change while we were traveling. I started right after we got back.
The poop schedule, let's talk about that. So your baby right now, if you're sitting at like three or four months, is probably pooping predictably. Some of you, maybe 10%, not so much. But, they start to get a schedule. Mine would poop at 5:00 AM every morning, and then nurse, and go back to sleep. I would catch that poop. She still does that, even though we've started solids, but now she's on to every other day instead of every day at that time. This is just one example. Your baby's schedule will look different. Just know that it will change and you are going to have to just pay attention for a few weeks and roll with the changes as anything with EC. Understand that it will change, and it will look different for every person.
But if your baby was only pooping once a week because they were exclusively breastfed, they're probably going to start pooping more often. If your baby was pooping every day twice a day, then maybe they'll start consolidating and pooping, and the end goal usually for the human body is you're going to poop once or twice a day, even as a grownup. That's where this starts to happen, if that makes sense. We're still giving formula, or exclusively breastfeeding, or whatever your choice is, and so that means it's still going to be a little bit runny and not quite as formed. But, poop gives us a lot of information, you guys.
Twyla was also sick for a couple of days, and her poop turned this whitish color, which indicated to me that she had an infection. Now, I kept tabs on whether she had a fever. She did not, and all this stuff I checked in with the nurses at the pediatrician. But, I did notice it in her poop, that it smelled different. It smelled off to me. After having a baby, your sense of smell is still really strong. You got that bionic nose. Trust that. Any big variations in poop or pee smell, you might want to talk to your pediatrician about, or do some research.
When the poop changes, the schedule's going to change, the consistency's going to change, and the smell's going to change. Where will we potty now? We don't want that going in our sink, you guys who've been pottying in your sink because it's easier on your back. I do it, too. It's easy to clean up and whatever. It's your sink. You own it. We want to transition either from the sink to the toilet or the sink to the mini potty. Now, I have two episodes on that if you want to do that, but I also have a third option. Episode 39 is when to transition from in-arms hold - holding them over a sink - to a mini potty. And episode 40 of this podcast is when to transition to the big toilet from the mini potty. You could go straight from in-arms to the big toilet as well. Look at those for advice on that
But the third option, my husband just invented the other week. He stuck our top hat potty without the cozy on it. I'll link to where you can get one. It's a great newborn potty. But, he stuck that in our kitchen sink so that when she started solids and started having also those sick poops, he could hold her over the sink like usual. She's used to that so it wasn't an abrupt change. You want to use what works with EC. You want to stick with it. He held her over the sink, but the top hat potty was strategically placed below her in the sink. So if your sink is not a total bowl and you've got like a flat surface in your sink or any of your sinks, you can put a top hat potty or a mini potty - if it's a big farm sink - in the sink and still do the in-arms hold for a while. That's good because then you don't have to wipe big poops out.
Also, in the middle of the night last night, for example, I wiped or she went poop and I could see it kind of in the mirror, which is another great tip. If you can't see the sphincter, you don't really know when they're done when they started solids. It's great to put a little locker mirror underneath your regular mirror if you're at the sink or put it on the toilet so you can watch the sphincter and see if it's still working. Because the harder the poop gets... The classic EC hold is really great because it gets them into a squat position and gets that poop out more efficiently by nature's design of squatting to poop, but it's also going to be a little bit bigger and you might not know when they're done. I did a whole episode on how do I know my baby's done. Well, you could also use a little mirror so that you can actually watch the sphincter working. And if the sphincter has stopped working, it's not bulging, it's not dirty anymore, then you know that they're done pooping. With starting solids, this could be good information for you. I have a picture of that on my Instagram if you want to look at that, at the... Not the poop, but it's the locker mirror. And if I can remember and be organized enough, I'll put that in the blog post show notes, too.
You can stick the receptacle in there. You can change this to the toilet. You can change to the mini potty. Those are some options on where. Now that the poop is hard, we don't necessarily want it in the sink. But if it goes in the sink, you think they're just going to pee, and you just wipe it out. Clean it with a bleach wipe or whatever your preference. Natural stuff, too. You're done.
Lastly, we're going to talk about other things that could simultaneously happen while starting solids that could affect your whole life. Your baby might also be starting to crawl, definitely working on the motion of crawling, definitely wanting to be on the belly all the time. I like to give lots of tummy time during these times. I do it over a pad with them in chaps, or in leg warmers, or just have a diaper backup on if I'm really busy. But, we want to give lots of opportunities for them to work on those muscles to be able to crawl, because that's their developmental task right now.
As you know, if you followed me for long or if you have my Go Diaper Free book, when they have a milestone they're about to reach developmentally, things can go a little bit different with EC. It can make it better, or it can make it harder, or it can just make it different. During this time, just be patient and stick with it. Also, you might have sleep disturbances when you're starting solids because their belly might hurt. Maybe they don't agree with something. Maybe it's just, it's a change and maybe the crawling milestone is causing a sleep disturbance. It's possible if there are sleep disturbances and if you need help getting through them, I'll link to The Baby Sleep Site in my show notes. I always go to them if I have big problems with sleep because we want babies to sleep through the night when it's developmentally appropriate because that gives everybody better sleep, and you deserve that. If you want to be up every two hours with your baby like I did with my first baby, you're welcome to. But if you need help with sleep, just definitely go to that resource.
Just know that starting solids can change EC, can change poop, can also coincide with starting to crawl. Definitely has that rolling over all of that stuff around four months, crawling, sitting up, all of that, and then possibly sleep stuff as well. Starting solids can shift your EC success. My advice to you, this is the part you need to take away, is to just stick with the easy catches, the four easy catches, which are episodes 28, 29, 30, and 32. I'll link to those in the show notes. If things go awry, stick with those in the meanwhile.
You need to update on timing with some new observation. Get to know your baby's new natural timing. Do that as well, and stick with it. Stay the course. Stick with EC. You can go back to just super part-time for a little while if you're not... if you're having a lot of miss and misguesses. Just know that this too shall pass. Once they master crawling, sitting, and get back on the sleep schedule, and solids are an old bag, then you know that things will get back on track with EC. But it's up to you, the parent, to keep things on track by continuing to do something. Sometimes we only catch the morning pee when there's a lot of change going on a baby's life. That is good. We celebrate that success, and we stick with it.
If you don't have my book already, it definitely covers a lot of this stuff and definitely will help you see the big picture. I'll link to that in the show notes as well. I want you to go over there right now, godiaperfree.com/45, and comment on the blog post, that is the show notes. Have you started solids, and how has it impacted EC? We interact with every single comment. If you need help, we'll help you there as well. But definitely put a comment over there. Have you started solids, and how has it impacted EC, or has anything in this episode helped you prepare for that?
That's it for today's episode. This has been the Go Diaper Free Podcast with Andrea Olson, and I'll see you soon.
I found EC was very hit and miss before starting solids. Once my daughter was in a routine of having 3 meals a day and her poo was more formed we really came into our own and now she is 10 months and we catch most of her eliminations.
I was the opposite! My daughter’s EBF poops were like clockwork, on waking and at around 4pm. I introduced solids at 6 months and her poops were completely random. It took until about 9 months to really start catching them again. Now at 13 months I catch most of them. She usually needs to poop when I’m cleaning the kitchen after a meal. If she’s playing quietly, she’ll stop and sing out, or if she’s chatty she’ll go quiet. Either way, she sits like she’s riding a Harley, arms and legs outstretched, revving her little fists 😂
Hi Jo! Solids definitely change their elimination pattern. It’s also not uncommon for babies to hit a potty pause around 6 months old, there’s a lot going on developmentally. I’m glad things are back on track! I love her signal, how adorable. xx Andrea
Hi Aysha! Solids really can help with setting up a more regular schedule for eliminations, I’m so glad that happened for her. It sounds like you have a great EC practice going! xx Andrea
Sorry but I can’t find the link to the website related to baby sleep. Can you help me with that? Thanks!
Hi FLorencia! The links are listed under the section above “Links and other resources mentioned today”. Here is the Baby Sleep Site link. xx Andrea
Was that how much she pooped in one day and how it changed or was that over a few days? Right now I’m bf and he poops around 6-8 times a day which I feel is alot. Is that alot? Thanks
Hi Brandi! Every baby is so different. Some breastfed babies poop once a week, some poop several times a day. As long as he’s happy, not in discomfort, etc it is fine. If you’re concerned, of course speak with his doctor. xx Andrea
Your emails come in at the PERFECT time i am struggling with something. I love it! This was great because Ive started solids and BLW with my babe and her poops are random but i find that when my back is turned and i am busy I make sure to look back at her very often and I am able to catch the poops when i see her pushing and i say wait, lets go to the potty and bammmm she goes poop in the big potty. I do have a question though. I noticed she still kind of resists when she is on the mini potty, but she might go when i hold her over the big potty but sometimes resists as well. (she is very independent and can tell she wants to do her own thing lol) I was thinking of purchasing one of those seat potties that go on the big toilet, what do you think? She can sit up on her own shes 7 months but she still topples over if i dont hold her on the mini potty.
Hi Latriece! Yes, you can absolutely use a seat reducer with her. You might just need to support her a bit so she doesn’t tip off. xx Andrea
This podcast came at the perfect time! Our daughter is about the same age as Twyla, and we’re getting ready to start baby led weaning in the next week or so. Thanks for prepping us for all the changes, with great visuals to boot! ;)
I’m so glad it was good timing! Good luck with baby led weaning, solids are such a fun milestone. xx Andrea
I love how your Twyla is just a few weeks older than my daugther. Everything you have posted for the last 6 months has been so relevant to me ❤️
We just started solids, and Viola has dinner with us every night. And has started pooping 5+ times a day. Today i’ve stopped counting. She used to go once or twice a day, and do it well 😅 now it’s mostly mini poos scattered through out the day. And suddenly she refuses to use her potty and wants to use the toilet without the seat reducer😂
I’m so glad you’ve been able to use the info with your daughter. Solids really can throw a wrench in the works, it will get better. It’s also a fairly common age to have some resistance anyway. I’m glad you figured out that she’ll use the seat reducer! xx Andrea
My son just started solids too (like a week ago) and he’s definitely been consolidating (like pooping every 2-3 days vs once per day while breastfeeding). We always potty in front of a mirror, so I can see it’s more uncomfortable now and he’s straining. Is this normal as baby adjusts to the different consistency of their poo? Or is he constipated? Just trying to figure out if he needs different foods to help him through this time, or if he just needs more practice!
This is so helpful! We just started solids the week before our daughter Frankie turned 6 months. Her poops have still remained on schedule each morning so i have been able to catch them which is great! We cosleep and i’m noticing she is up every couple hours now. Prior to solids she would have a good 4-6 hour stretch initially and then 2-3 hour stretches the rest of the night. I catch most of her pees through the night. Is it common that she is up
To pee anywhere from 3-5 times between 7pm-7am? I just use the top hat potty at the side of the bed and she falls bacl to sleep easily, but i have to feed her bacl to sleep. You mention your first was up every 2 hours. Were you cosleeping and feeding back to sleep aswell?
I’m hoping she will go back to sleeping longer stretches and this is just a phase?
Based on your little ones age, I would say that the number of times that she is up is about normal, epically since she is feeding back to sleep.
I would say that it is most likely a phase that she is waking up more than before and you just introduced solids. I do find that there is often a change in sleep habits around the same time there is developmental leaps or big changes in their life, like starting solids. 💕
Hi! My baby has been experimenting with solids for the last month and I have been running into a couple of EC problems.
We have been ECing her since she was one month and had a good relation. Before solids we caught a lot of pees and most poos even as she started rolling more. We also introduced the Ikea potty which she took to well.
Now however her poop is becoming more firm and less frequent (she had quite runny poop before bc of ebf milk oversupply). The biggest new thing though is that she stretches her legs and goes into full body plank when I hold her over the sink (hoping the hunching would help poo come out easier).
I’ve tried letting her play with things on the potty (pee comes okay, not poop) and even breastfeeding (has helped with poop sometimes).
I’m worried that she’ll hold back the poop way too long and develop a resistance to pooping if she feels the need to block it. Any tips on how I can help her enjoy and become comfortable with the change of more solid poop?
Thank you very much for the blog and book, I really appreciate these resources!
I think it is always best practice to try to speak for our little ones…. “yeah, the poop feels different coming out. That is normal since you are eating solids now!” Just say whatever naturally comes to mind naturally. The idea is to normalize it for her through your words. She might not understand every word, but she will pick up your tone and energy, and feel safe, which will indirectly help her go.
Also, remember it is really common for poop frequency to change when starting solids, so if she planks up it might mean that she doesn’t have to go.
Hello! I love your website! I have been using Ingrid Bauer’s book for my EC journey with my daughter since she has been a couple of months old. We do not cosleep and she wears regular diapers, as both parents work from home, so we could not really afford to watch her all the time and try to catch everything. We had ups and downs, but still I was able to catch many poops and many pees. When just breastfeeding, almost every time I held her in my lap over top hat potty I would get something – a pee, a poop, a poop followed by a pee. She is 9 months old now and we have been doing solid foods for a couple of months now. And EC completely broke down. Even first thing in the morning, when I hold her in my hap over a big plastic tub, we get nowhere. She maybe pooped this way a couple of times over the last couple of weeks. Sometimes I see her squeeze her belly like she is trying, but more often she just bends out of shape, turns to the side, scratches at upholstery of the chair I am sitting on, and looks up at me like she has no idea what I am expecting of her or what words ‘peepee’ and ‘kaka’ mean. And then I put a diaper on and set her on the floor to crawl around and she unfailingly poops within a minute or two or five. She gets it out in one or two ‘pushes’, there is not even time to catch it, and the consistency is reasonably loose. And when I try to pick a likely time during the day I get nothing, not even pee, but she might poop within a few minutes afterwards. It is like we never did EC at all. Frankly, I am devastated. EC already did good things for us in helping eliminate diaper rash, as we were catching almost all the poops, and I am grateful for that. But I was really hoping we would keep progressing, and instead we seem to have lost ability to communicate at all. I have a Baby Bjorn potty chair, but she seems to small to sit on it, and in any case, how would I explain what we are trying to do with this new setup if she seems to have forgotten what she used to do no my lap over a potty?
First off, you are doing great! EC is not a linear journey and there are nearly always pauses, and times of resistance. At nine months old there are several developmental milestones she could be going through and if she is just not interested right now, it’s okay to take a break and try to go back to easy catches. If she is still not having it, stepping back and taking time off with no stress then after some time getting back to it casually might be what brings her around. I have a new subscription service, Potty Tribe, where on Friday’s EC and PT coaches as well as myself, help troubleshoot any issues that have come up during the week. If you are wanting more help and a community of folks going through it with you that would be a great place to start along with my Go Diaper Free book.