This morning, I went to the Hamburg Blind and Vision Impaired Association to buy a slate and stylus and some brailling paper.
Their office was currently being renovated; I'm glad I found their current temporary location, around the corner.
The lady who assisted me was blind, which was fitting, I suppose, though I was caught off-guard at first. There was a young lady with her, perhaps a trainee, who could see, and she filled out the receipt for me.
Next, I went back to Harburg where I met Stella outside the pædiatrician's practice for Amy's fourth routing check-up. We got asked into the examination room (?) fairly quickly and an assistant weighed and measured Amy (5500 g/12 lb 2 oz; 60 cm/23½ in). After that, we had to wait quite a while—over half an hour. When the doctor finally came in, she apologised and said she had had to handle a rather complicated case which took longer than she had anticipated.
I imagine that Amy's little patience had come to an end after that wait, though since she started crying during the checkup and refused to be comforted even when Stella held her in her arm against her chest—so the doctor had to do the examination over Amy's crying (listening to her chest, holding her from various extremities, moving the legs, feeling the lower abdomen are the things I remember). She proclaimed her normal, though she said we should look to see whether she starts to lift her head when lying on her stomach, something she doesn't often do just yet, and to see whether she rolls over from her back onto her side, something which she's only done once (about two weeks ago).
What she said next, though, miffed us a little: she said that starting at about 4½ months, we should start feeding her some carrots at lunch for a week and see how her skin reacts to that, then if she handles it well, slowly add fruit and potatoes during the afternoon and evening (each new item of food on its own for a week to see how she reacts to it before introducing a new one).
Stella told her that she had planned on nursing her exclusively for at least six months, especially after the allergic reaction she had had to the birds and/or the dust at my parents-in-law's house, and that she wasn't too keen on adding solid food before that. However, the doctor implied that at that point, Amy would be drinking so much milk that the levels of harmful substances (environmental poisons, pesticides, whatever, that Stella takes in through food) would no longer be negligible, and that she would not be able to supply all the necessary nutrients purely through nursing. The doctor also implied that conservative opinion stated that one should start adding solid food at four months and that she was being enlightened by putting the time at four-and-a-half to five months.
When Stella said that she still wasn't too happy about the suggestion, the doctor said that it was our child and that she could not force us, but that what she had told us reflected the current state of medical knowledge and was really for the best. (Stella did not appear too convinced by that, and said she'd think about it.)
I don't know. From what I've read, nursing exclusively for six months is just fine; we had even considered nursing for eight months as we had heard that doing so (i.e. postponing introducing other food for a little longer) can be good for children who are especially susceptible to allergies, as appears to be the case for Amy given my own allergies and her reactions to the visit to Kiel. AFAIK, nursing exclusively indefinitely is indeed not good and that there is indeed a time when babies want to explore solid food and also need not only the training that comes from chewing but also the nutrients, that time is not at 4½ months—that sounds a bit like the practices which the nursing books I had read called outdated.
Stella says she's glad that she'll be going to the "nursing mothers' café" held twice a month at the hospital where she gave birth in the not so distant future, where she'll be able to talk to the nurses working for the hospital, some of whom are trained nursing and lactation consultants.