Today we’re going to talk about a fun topic: what to expect when starting solid foods with an EC'd baby!
Are you considering starting solid foods with your baby? Or do you know it’s coming soon? Yay! Starting solid foods is an exciting journey, and one I'm just starting with my six-month-old, Twyla.
So, break out the apple sauce, sweet potato, and banana. Today we're going to talk about what to expect when you start solid foods, and how it can affect elimination communication.
When what goes in changes, what comes out does as well...so let’s talk about what to expect.
You will learn:
- What will change when your baby starts eating solids
- Signs your child is ready to try solid food
- The foods we like to start with in our family
- How to adapt your potty routine
- What the poop actually looks like as you add solid foods to baby’s diet
Links and other resources mentioned today:
- The Go Diaper Free Book
- Baby Meets Potty MiniCourse
- Baby-Led Weaning
- Instant Pot
- Locker Mirror
- Episode 39 - Moving from in-arms to a potty
- Episode 40 - Transitioning to the big toilet
- Top Hat Potty Cozy
- EC Classic Hold
- The Baby Sleep Site
- Go Diaper Free Instagram Account
- Easy Catch #1
- Easy Catch #2
- Easy Catch #3
- Easy Catch #4
- Free Observation Log
- The Tiny Potty Training Book
- Top Hat Potty at TinyUndies.com
- Mini Potty at TinyUndies.com
- Easy Start Guide for EC (Free Download)
Download the Transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
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.
Watch the Video Version
If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here:
As mentioned in the podcast, here are some photos for you:
Our first homemade baby food starting solids
Twyla's first solid meal
Newborn poop, exclusively breastfed (EBF)
Stage 1: what poop looks like when you start feeding baby solid foods
Stage 2: what poop looks like when you start feeding baby solid foods
Stage 3: what poop looks like when you start feeding baby solid foods
Stage 4: what poop looks like when you start feeding baby solid foods
Starting solids: poop cleanup step 1
Starting solids: poop cleanup step 2
Starting solids: poop cleanup step 3
Starting solids: poop cleanup step 4
Potty in the sink trick for starting solids
Twyla happy after a nice big bowel movement
Thanks for Listening!
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Have you started solids yet? If yes, how has it impacted EC? If no, has anything in this episode helped you prepare? Please leave a comment below with your experience!
I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.
About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my husband and 5 children (newborn to 8 years old) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)