Aspen Birth Center Blog

All content provided on the Aspen Birth Center blog is for informational purposes only.  Aspen Valley Hospital District (AVHD) makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or by following any link on this site.

Working Together: Breastfeeding and Complimentary Foods

July 25, 2018

Working Together: Breastfeeding and Solid Foods


Breastfeeding, like many other aspects of parenting, is a gradual process of increasing independence and self-mastery on your baby’s part and a gradual stepping back on yours. You may have already experienced the beginnings of this process during the first half year of life as your baby learned to enjoy drinking expressed breast milk from a bottle or cup and you began to go places without her. Still, the two of you were closely tied to each other in a nutritional sense: your child thrived on your breast milk alone, which provided the nutrients she needed.

During the second half of the year, your breast milk will continue to provide the great majority of necessary nutrients as she starts to sample a variety of new foods. Though your baby will no doubt greatly enjoy the introduction of new tastes and textures in her life, her experiences with solid food are still just practice sessions for the future. It’s important to make sure she continues getting enough breast milk to meet her nutritional needs.

Introducing foods

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding as the sole source of nutrition for your baby for about 6 months. When you add solid foods to your baby’s diet, continue breastfeeding until at least 12 months. You can continue to breastfeed after 12 months if you and your baby desire. Check with your child’s doctor about vitamin D and iron supplements during the first year. 

Signs that the older baby is ready for solids include sitting up with minimal support, showing good head control, trying to grab food off your plate, or turning her head to refuse food when she is not hungry. Your baby may be ready for solids if she continues to act hungry after breastfeeding. The loss of the tongue thrusting reflex that causes food to be pushed out of her mouth is another indication that she’s ready to expand her taste experience.

First foods

Since most breastfeeding babies’ iron stores begin to diminish at about six months, good first choices for solids are those rich in iron. Current recommendations are that meats, such as turkey, chicken, and beef, should be added as one of the first solids to the breastfed infant’s diet. Meats are good sources of high-quality protein, iron, and zinc and provide greater nutritional value than cereals, fruits, or vegetables.

Once your child has grown accustomed to these new tastes, gradually expand her choices with applesauce, pears, peaches, bananas, or other fruit, and vegetables such as cooked carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes. Introduce only one new food at a time and wait several days before you add another new food, to make sure your child does not have a negative reaction.

As you learn which foods your baby enjoys and which ones she clearly dislikes, your feeding relationship will grow beyond nursing to a more complex interaction— not a replacement for breastfeeding, certainly, but an interesting addition to it. Remember to keep exposing your baby to a wide variety of foods. Research indicates that some babies need multiple exposures to a new taste before they learn to enjoy it. The breastfed baby has already been experiencing different flavors in the mother’s breast milk, based upon her diet, so solid foods often have a familiar taste when introduced to the breastfed baby.

Babies need only small amounts as they begin solids. Since these first foods are intended as complements and not replacements for your breast milk, it’s best to offer them after a late afternoon or evening feeding, when your milk supply is apt to be at its lowest and your baby may still be hungry.

Solids that are baby led or purees that are spoon fed?

Both approaches of introducing complimentary foods can be successful. With the baby led method, t
here is no such thing as spoon-feeding or baby food. (Nor are there any airplane spoon games.) Instead, once the baby can sit upright, and is no longer tongue thrusting, you place finger foods in front of her, and she picks up and puts into her mouth whatever she wants. The theory behind this is that babies will become more adventurous eaters and will also learn how to control their own intake, while practicing fine motor skills. Of course, the first question that many people will ask is, “Won’t the baby choke?” With the right food choices and preparation, recent studies show this is not any more of a concern than with spoon fed purees.  After all, babies have a strong gag reflex and do this frequently when learning to manipulate and swallow any foods. Don't be surprised if either technique is messy and takes some time.Talk with your pediatrician about what is right for your baby, Learn more about baby led feeding from a mom here.

Iron supplements?

Some pediatricians recommend an iron supplement. If this is the case, be careful to give the exact dose prescribed by your doctor. Always store iron and vitamin preparations out of the reach of young children in the household, since overdoses can be toxic.

You may find that the number of breastfeedings will gradually decrease as her consumption of solid food increases. A baby who nursed every two to three hours during early infancy may enjoy three or four meals of breast milk per day (along with several snacks) by her twelfth month.

Unless you intend to wean her soon, be sure to continue breastfeeding whenever she desires, to ensure your continuing milk supply. To ease breast discomfort, it may become necessary to express a small amount of milk manually on occasion, if her decreasing demand leaves you with an oversupply. Breast comfort is another reason why a gradual introduction of solid foods is advisable, since it allows your body time to adapt to changing demands. Over the span of several months, a readjustment in the supply-and-demand relationship can take place smoothly and painlessly.

Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC

(Source-Adapted from New Mother's Guide to Breastfeeding, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2011 American Academy of Pediatrics)
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Happy Father's Day

June 18, 2018
The love of a father is a foundation for the future of a child. When mothers, fathers and family members work as a team around the care of children, it creates a haven within which these children can grow and thrive as mentioned in the adage “it takes a village to raise a child”.

The roles fathers and mothers are playing at work and at home are changing. More women are entering the workforce and balancing work as well as family poses challenges for parents. Being a parent has made it harder for many mothers to advance in their careers and this is now happening to some fathers too.

Improvement in gender equality benefits the parents and entire family. Fathers who are able to balance work and family life make it easier for mothers to do the same. Sharing the care for children and household tasks means that both parents have equal opportunity to have a fulfilling career and a strong relationship with their children.

This Father’s Day 2018, we celebrate a global social change that is seeing more and more fathers becoming hands on careers of their babies and share roles equitably with the mother of their children. The father-child bond starts at birth, or even before. Research shows that fathers in Vietnam who were counselled on how both to support breastfeeding and to interact directly with their infants right from birth reported significantly greater attachment to their infants throughout the first year. In China, when parents worked together as a team, mothers were happier because their spouses (fathers) were more supportive, cared for the baby more, did more housework and were more helpful when difficulties arose.

Family members, particularly fathers, are more likely to engage in caring and household work when they understand their important role in securing the health and welfare of their child. Research shows that fathers not only have the capacity for caregiving, but that children benefit directly. Involved and caring fatherhood, in addition to equitable relationships between men and women, help create a future where all win.

Family and work life balance will be easier with a social protection package that enables fathers to participate in caring. Paid parental leave entitlements will empower parents and careers to facilitate the integration of care work including breastfeeding and other work. Leave policies that offer paid, non-transferable leave for men and women help to advance gender equality, social justice, and the well-being of women, children, and men. Father-inclusive health and family services, good information sources for fathers and the facilitation of networks between fathers are all important social supports for involved fatherhood and gender equality. WABA and The Family Initiative are proud to be working together to promote the support of fathers for breastfeeding, building on the lead that many fathers have already taken.

For more information, contact:
Revathi Ramachandran  
Duncan Fisher
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National Police Week

May 17, 2018

Happy National Police Week 2018

Thank a local law enforcement officer for all they do to keep our families and communities safe!

May 13-19th, is National Police Week.  From bicycle rides and 5k runs to candlelight vigils, awards ceremonies and memorial services in honor of fallen heroes and survivors, community members and families have been celebrating law enforcement officers this week.


The Basalt Police Department wives would like to persoanlly invite you to stop by their table at City Market El Jebel, Saturday, May 19, 8 -10 a.m. 


Sign your name on the giant community thank you card for our local heroes. If you have a special story to share or would like to extend a more personal thank you, there will be note cards available. 


Thank you for your show of support! 

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Diaper Drive- Aspen Valley Hospital

April 9, 2018

The OB nurses at Aspen Valley Hospital are dedicated to bring this cause to the attention of the generous families in our valley.
Unfortunately, there are families in our area and the state of Colorado that do not have the resources to provide disposable diapers for their infants and children.

As a matter of fact, did you know?
  • 1 in 3 families struggle to buy diapers
  • Diapers cannot be purchased with food stamps
  • Lack of diapers keeps babies out of daycare
  • ...and Moms out of work
  • In the U.S. 5 million babies do not have enough diapers to stay clean, dry and healthy

“I have a job to do as a parent, and that’s make sure my children have what they need.”
Natasha Rivera-LaButhie, mom to Liana, Hailey & Angel

Natasha Rivera-LaButhie was overjoyed to learn she was expecting—then her doctor delivered the news that she was actually pregnant with triplets. “We were prepared for one child,” she says, “but finding out it was multiples? Say what? Needless to say, my husband and I knew there would be a lot more costs coming our way.” Additionally, Natasha did not qualify for her employer’s medical benefits as a new hire; she received state medical insurance instead.
Before entering her 3rd trimester, Natasha lost one of the babies and began having medical complications, becoming hospitalized for 75 days before giving birth. A hospital resource staff person encouraged Natasha to sign up for the diaper bank. Though she was initially hesitant about asking for help, bills were piling up. The twins’ daycare also required a full day’s supply of diapers, and she would have to leave work to bring more if they ran out. “I threw my pride out the window and signed up,” Natasha says. “It helps me to be a better parent. I have more time to tend to my kids’ needs, and I know they’re being taken care of.”

Aspen Birth Center:
Staff will be accepting and collecting diaper donations this Spring April 10-June 1st, to be delivered to local shelters and Diaper Donation Centers in Denver. Or feel free to donate dollars online to buy diapers, led by Healthy Mom and Baby-AWHONN.

Thank you for your support!
Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC

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