Exclusively Nursing… Forever…?

Exclusively Nursing… Forever…? December 16, 2008

I really need your advice on infant feeding. Here’s the situation:

Angelina (7.5 months) appears to have very active gag reflex plus some poor coordination over her tongue. I never realized just how necessary the tongue is for swallowing until I watch her try to move pureed foods back into her mouth without success. The good news is she nurses absolutely wonderfully! And she’s the right weight and height, above average maybe.

So, I put very watery pureed food into her mouth as the pediatrician recommended, and it sits there in her mouth as her tongue tries to work with it. A lot of it comes back out, and she often gags on the food that makes it all the way back to her throat.

She has better luck with Cheerios… maybe because they’re harder and small, she seems to be able to feel each individual one in her mouth and work it back and down the hatch, albeit slowly.

The advice I’ve received from our pediatrician and friends is to just keep practicing. So that’s what we’re doing.

But meanwhile, I’m wondering:

(1) Does anyone know what I’m describing, this uncoordinated tongue thing? Is there anything else I can be doing to help her work it out, and to work on the gagging as well?
(2) Is it OK for a 7.5 month old to be receiving 99.9% of her calories from breastmilk still? The few Cheerios she manages to consume don’t account for many calories at all, but I do give her a vitamin supplement when I remember. I’m hesitant to wean her from night nursing because I think she needs those extra calories from night feedings to make up for no other food during the day.
(3) Is it possible that we can skip pureed foods altogether and do more solid foods since she seems to work with them better? And do you have other recommendations on very small finger foods that a baby her age could swallow–basically, same effect as Cheerios but something different?

She’s the most lovely, wonderful baby… she’s happy all the time, and the feeding trials don’t bother her either. She just smiles and keeps trying!

So, Doc Alex and any other seasoned moms… I’d so appreciate your help! Our next pediatric checkup is at 9 months, and I’d love to have some improvement by then.

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