To consider starting my baby on solids early

(126 Posts)
scottishegg Wed 06-Nov-13 16:01:01

Hi all I'm a mum of 3 with my youngest child being 4 and a half months old.
My son is on the 99th percentile for weight and height and is fairly advanced in his physical development.
He is currently going through a tub of formula every 3 days and is becoming very unsettled day and night whereas before he was a very settled baby and was sleeping through.

He is showing a great interest in food and isn't as happy with milk as before.

However I know that the current guidelines are not to wean them until they are 6 months old but the older generations of my family are very insistent that due to his size and his current behaviour that it may be worth introducing food within the next couple of weeks.

I waited till 6 months with both of my other 2 children before introducing food but my youngest is a very different baby and is getting less satisfied with milk, I am reluctant to put him on hungrier baby milk as it can lead to constipation in some babies and up until recently the normal milk was fine for him.
So do I just suck it up for the next 6 weeks or so or is it possible to introduce solids fairly soon also will doing this ( introducing solids) harm the little chap.

All advice appreciated thanks

"sweetpieandpeas Thu 07-Nov-13 18:50:43

The advice changes constantly, I have worked with young babies for nearly 15 years and in that time it has gone full circle 5 times! Each set of babies under each guideline suffered no ill effect as a result of being weaned earlier or later and they all developed fine. What the advice does not take into consideration is that all children develop at different rates. I would say you know your child and do what feels right to you"

Sorry to pick out your post sweetpie but I just wanted to state again that the advice doesn't just change constantly. In the 15 years you have worked with young babies it has changed once. It has been 6 months for 10 years, since 2003. Before this it was 4-6 months and was for years and years. So one change in 15 years from 4-6 months to 6 months. It's nothing like advice changing constantly.

Can I also point out that it's not true that the advice doesn't take into consideration that children develop at different rates. If you look at the actual weaning guidelines, they say thinks like 'around' or 'about' 6 months. They point out the signs to look out for. They state very clearly that you should be led by your baby, follow their signs, start when they show the signs and don't rush them. If this isn't following individual babies, then I don't know what is. It also explains clearly what isn't a sign, like increased milk feeds or looking at you eat or chewing or mouthing objects. My baby can grab a spoon might be true but if I waved a knife or a wire or a worm in front of a small child it would grab it and probably mouth it. It's where they have the most nerve endings and they mouth things to see what they are. My dc watched me drive and operate a cooker with intensity. They liked me, they weren't ready to operate vehicles and cook meals.

I am all for people doing what is right for their individual babies which is why I would never say 'I did x and it did no harm' because people's anecdotes are their own. I walked out in the road this morning and didn't die. Does this mean I should recommend walking into moving traffic without looking? No. All we can do is look at the information we have. There are three simple signs that a baby is ready for solids. The guidelines explain roughly when this happens but also mention that before 17 weeks is really considered a no no. I see acres of room for discretion and individuality within that. I think it's still a world away from 'you know your bubs hun' because gut instinct (my main parenting tool) can't tell you when your baby's gut is mature. It can tell you your baby is hungry yes, and logic re nutrition and calories tells you where to solve this problem. As far as 'knowing' they're ready, I v much like the fact that the external signs are key to this. You can pour food into a child's mouth from birth, this is an act on the behalf of the parent; a child reaches an age some time around 26 weeks, probably not before 17 weeks when they show you all by themselves that their bodies can handle something outside milk by sitting up, having head control, reaching for food, chewing it and swallowing it. How to wean is a personal choice but recognising the signs in your baby is a very baby led action and something positively encouraged within the guidelines.

I do feel for minifingers a little. I exclusively bf my babies but am very interested in formula but I have a life and a job too. I'm a peer supporter and want women to make the choice that is right for them. And I do think more women should bf. Not because I have an agenda but because I know so many women wished they could/had and didn't because of inaccurate information or support. There my investment ends. I like the choice to be an informed one and the woman to receive support regardless. No more, no less.

monicalewinski Fri 08-Nov-13 13:23:22

PansOnFire, totally agree with what you posted. Em2121 had it spot on, too - it's 'introducing solids' as a supplement to milk, not replacing milk with solids entirely.

PansOnFire Fri 08-Nov-13 10:59:06

Oh the bf v ff debate, always brought up by the self righteous few. Shut up! The OP asked for advice on weaning, go and find somewhere else to gloat.

I was at the GP with my then 5 month old, he has always been 50th percentile for weight and could sit up unaided. She told me at the appointment that as there were no underlying health issues and he had been born full term that I should start to wean him. She told me that the current 6 month guidelines were because people thought that blending up pizza and chips was ok when it's a sugar and salt overload.

The 6 month rule is in place to safeguard those babies who are going to be fed a diet high in sugar, salts and rubbish. If you stick to the recommended foods for weaning then 4 months is fine. It does not make a difference whether the baby if ff or bf - at all. You continue to give formula or breast milk until they are at least one year, weaning does not replace milk.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 08-Nov-13 10:35:35

So true thebody

Seriously, babies eat insects , dried cereal from the floor and toilet roll or pet food or whatever they can grab. Worrying about what milk they have seems futile grin

As long as mum and baby are happy and healthy!!

thebody Fri 08-Nov-13 10:23:43

couldn't even begin to get into breast v ff.

it's so ridiculously silly for adult women to actually feel they have a right to stick their beaks into others business or to judge others choices.

as Valium says its a nano second in your child's life and no one else cares or shouldn't anyway.

op I put my older 2 on solids at 3 months as that was the advice in 89/91. they are absolutely fine.

my younger ones the advice was 5/6 months but they were both born over 9 half pounds so wouldn't have waited until then so I started when they became unsettled like your baby around 4 months.

do what YOU think is right. trust me advice on weaning, sleeping and all aspects of child rearing are based in a bit if scientific evidence couples with a 'guru' who wants to cream profits off a book deal.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 08-Nov-13 10:12:27

I would say by number three you know the signs smile

If they can wait then great if not then feed them. Dd1 was weaned at four months. It was either that or have her drink milk constantly then get bloated uncomfortable and like it all up again despite never being sick as a baby.

Food made her happy and content and she thrived. She had eczema from a young age and asthma is in both sides of my family. There was a high chance she was going to get it all, I followed guide lines with regards to dairy , gluten etc.

Dd2 was five months but wasn't on meals til 8/9 months she just wanted to try it.

There must come a point where weaning is a better idea than being bloated and uncomfortable and miserable and do full of milk they can barely move.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 08-Nov-13 10:09:12

So ask yourself this - if some poor exasperated friend turned to you for advice, in real life, about early weaning, would you turn it into a heated discussion about FF vs. BF? I would think not - that would be inconsiderate

hmm she didn't, all she said was she would think there was some benefit to doing the weaning with a ff baby, she then clarified that opinion is due to the none changing nature of formula.

She did not make any negative comments at all about people who ff nor did she have any anti formula rants. She did nothing other than highlight an interest in what its made of. But then of course she got jumped on by people who assumed she was being negative and criticising others choices/needs to use it.

Junebugjr Fri 08-Nov-13 09:50:22

You know your baby best, and as the mother of 3, its likely that your experienced enough to know when your babies hungrier for something else.
Dd1- mixed fed mostly formula, weaned at 7 months, she was much more keen on milk.
Dd2- breastfed, weaned at 5 months, gave her porridge and mashed potato. She upped her feeds as well as taking on solids.
No difference health wise between the 2.

Em2121 Fri 08-Nov-13 09:46:46

Minifingers - I have no problem with your views. But I believe that it's netiquette that you shouldn't say anything in a forum that you wouldn't say to a friend to their face.

So ask yourself this - if some poor exasperated friend turned to you for advice, in real life, about early weaning, would you turn it into a heated discussion about FF vs. BF? I would think not - that would be inconsiderate.

I think that in a good forum, many people go by those guidelines, whether consciously or unconsciously. So - some gentle advice - and I mean this is the most constructive way. MN is a great place for debate, but you may want to think about where, and how frequently, you raise this in future to make sure it's discussed in the way that you'd like.

Cat98 Fri 08-Nov-13 09:31:52

No point introducing food early imo, there are more calories in milk than there are in fruit, veg or baby rice which is all you can give pre 6 months anyway!
And re the 'risk of choking' with blw - this is a myth, choking can happen with any baby or child regardless of how they are fed, and actually it is thought that learning to manipulate solid food in the mouth earlier can reduce the risk of choking because the gag reflex is further forward.
It is sensible to be informed about basic child first aid however you wean tbh.

Em2121 Fri 08-Nov-13 09:31:04

My kids are much older than yours - both started trying food (I would not call it "weaning" as that seems to imply "weaning off", i.e. stopping milk) at 4 months. 4 months was the advice at the time. In fact, with my first it was 14 weeks when she first tried food. She kept thrusting her face at my dinner, open mouthed, so we started her tasting stuff. No surprise to anyone she has grown up into a real foodie, and a budding chef. Neither of my kids have allergies, despite my vast array of them.

Many other cultures start introducing food even earlier. I remember one woman at my NCT group who came round for a sitting room picnic when our kids were a few weeks old - her tiny baby was sucking away merrily on her mum's strawberry. And why not? Would our ancestors really have stopped them if they showed an interest? It seems to me to be a much more natural way to do things rather than this MILK ONLY FOR 6 MONTHS OR ELSE TERRIBLE THINGS WILL HAPPEN thing. And the advice changes all the time. The kids my daughters' ages who were weaned at 4 months all look absolutely fine to me. I have no idea when I was weaned, I bet my mum can't even remember.

It's not something your baby is going to get serious calories from at this point though. You'll find when you do start young, that they only have little tastes of things, and it goes everywhere but their tummies (I used to feed mine naked in the summer ha ha less laundry). It takes time to get the hang of swallowing, digesting etc. although the plus side may be that the new challenge will tire him out and he will sleep better :-).

I think if you need some short term help, you are going to have to go with some heftier formula. I know how disheartening it is, though, when you're down to 30 minutes between feeds :-s. But like with everything, this too shall pass.

x

Minifingers Fri 08-Nov-13 09:20:32

Stroke - "Doesn't it just make you an insufferable know it all on a completely useless topic and really quite boring?"

Playground bullying. Shame on you.

"Any more than discussing spaghetti as a product".

If my child was completely reliant on spaghetti as his or her sole form of nutrition for the first six months of life, you can be damn sure I would want to know what goes into it.

Maybe you don't want to know what's going into your children's food. Other people do. Particularly when it's food containing completely novel ingredients made from things which haven't been a normal part of any infant's diet throughout the whole of human evolution. Are you not interested to know how these chemically complex novel ingredients have been tested? On how many children? How long these children were followed up for? How many dropped out of the studies?

No wonder manufacturers are getting away with squeezing cash out of parents with pointless products like follow on milk for toddlers, if parents are so defensive about their choices they're not even willing to ask questions about the food they buy for their children.

Anyway - I won't post more on this thread because I know how these things go - there'll be strong attempts to censor my comments with increasingly bitchy and personal attacks. That's how discussions about formula go here. Insistence that anyone who questions how this product is developed and sold is actually suggesting it's 'evil' and is trying to those who use it. Eventually accusations of being a member of the 'breastapo'. The usual barrage of hysterical spite disguised as a defence of free choice. Yawn.

ShinyBlackNose Fri 08-Nov-13 09:15:58

Mini - to repeat, I had no choice.

It was impossible for me to BF .

I am grateful formula exists. My only other alternative would have been to find a wet nurse.

SilverApples Fri 08-Nov-13 08:10:04

Mine started on weaning around 4 months, BF up to that point, neither of them have any allergies. But the advice was different 20 years ago.
It was very easy, they had BM until they were 8 months old.

valiumredhead Fri 08-Nov-13 07:55:50

By the time your child is a teen how you fed them isn't even on your mind! It's such a non issue compared to what other crap you have to deal with as they get older.

minifingers try a hobby you sound like you need one.

Strokethefurrywall Fri 08-Nov-13 02:13:54

Sorry to have gone off topic scottishegg

BobaFetaCheese - I think you're my new best friend. You managed to get Star Wars and Cheese all rolled into one. Solid username effort!

Strokethefurrywall Fri 08-Nov-13 02:07:45

But I don't understand why anyone would discuss formula as a product? Any more than discussing spaghetti as a product. What purpose does it serve if you don't use that product as someone who breastfeeds? Doesn't it just make you an insufferable know it all on a completely useless topic and really quite boring?

The fact of the matter is you disguise being interested in formula "as a product" as a front for pushing your breastfeeding agenda. Certainly, in previous threads you have stated that "I fall into the 'wish more babies were breastfed' camp and have a family strong antipathy towards the tactics of formula manufacturers so have engaged in many a vigorous debate on this board" - so yes, I'd say you have an issue with formula manufacturers. Why do you wish more babies were breastfed? Why do you even care? Mind your own babies and get on with it!

You're right, I don't give a tiny rats arse about the way such an important product is researched and developed, but that's probably because I have a job. And a life. And other things to think about. You know, like shoes and buggies.

And I would go so far as to say that determining what to feed your baby is a totally trivial choice. Choosing a secondary school is a far greater concern if you consider that your choice to either send them to the local shite comprehensive over forking out to get them into a pretty decent private school will have a far greater impact on their adult life in general and the choices and education they will receive. It really doesn't matter if you breastfed them until they were 3 if they don't get the more important opportunities later in life to do everything they want to do.

When there are only two choices in how to feed your infant, why should women get themselves twisted into knots panicking about which one is better? What would that achieve? Either one keeps a baby alive and thriving so it doesn't really matter which is used. Quite frankly your kid is probably going to ruin all the hard work you put into your breastmilk by going out and stuffing their faces with a McDonalds the second you let them out by themselves.

Do you care what goes into any pre-packaged toddler meal to the extent that you have to conduct such extensive research into how it's manufactured? No. Because nobody cares. I don't see anyone banging on about how Gerber have an agenda because they market toddler meals to parents who don't have time, energy or inclination to cook up individual pots of lovingly created home cooked organic meals for the darling wee ones. How is it any different to breast milk or formula milk?

Formula isn't breastmilk, it's never going to be breastmilk and it's never going to be the gold elixir. But it's a pretty close second that doesn't seem to have, as far as I can tell, any negative or dangerous side effects (for the majority) You can't blame a company that's in the business of making money for it's marketing.

If you want to help women to "breastfeed more" you'd be better off becoming a breastfeeding supporter and actually helping those local in your community if they are having problems, or volunteering at your local hospital to assist new mothers with their nursing. And keeping your opinions to yourself. It's very tiresome having to read the same old pointless arguments.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to nip over to my other thread where we're deep in discussion about strollers and shoes.

WestieMamma Fri 08-Nov-13 00:26:50

I've noticed on other threads that Minifingers is a bit rabid on the bf v ff debate. Her first post in this thread is so obviously casting a line and hoping someone bites. They did, so now she can rant and hijack someone else's thread/question for her own agenda.

ChipAndSpud Thu 07-Nov-13 23:21:59

So bored of people stirring up the bf v ff debate hmm

In answer to the op, I started weaning DS at about 18/19 weeks old and he grabbed the spoon from me so I'd say he was more than ready! If you feel your baby is ready, try them and see. If they're not interested or enjoying it then leave it for a while.

Minifingers Thu 07-Nov-13 23:16:00

I agree that it's nobody's choice but the mothers.

I'm not commenting on someone's feeding choices.

I'm talking about a commercial product which is the sole food of the majority of babies in the UK for the first six months of their life.

You may not care about the way such an important product is researched and developed, but that's probably because you're primarily preoccupied with the lifestyle choices of adults and have no interest in the wider or more complex issues surrounding infant and child nutrition, and role of the markets in this area.

It's really not incidental that anyone who questions how this product is researched, developed or marketed immediately gets rounded on by people frothing about an adult's right not to breastfeed, as if by even discussing this subject you're somehow challenging women's autonomy. Formula companies must be delighted that it's become taboo to discuss their product AS A PRODUCT. Ironic really when we're so keen to discuss the finer points of buggies, shoes, and other really trivial choices.

BobaFetaCheese Thu 07-Nov-13 23:07:42

Stroke, I think I love you!

scottishegg, how has it been for you today? Any closer to deciding on weaning yet or not?

wamabama Thu 07-Nov-13 22:57:03

I would, yes.

Similar situation with my first DC. He was 99th centile from birth, always incredibly fussy and hungry 24/7. It was actually the HV who advised I started to wean him at four months on very simple things like mashed up fruit and veggies and only small amounts, so I did. He improved right away, was like a new baby and I never looked back. Never affected him, he's a normal sized (albeit tall) three yo now.

Up until fairly recently the advice was four months anyway and baby food still says from four months so in my mind it can't be that harmful. I guess it's the old adage of 'Never did us any harm', which it didn't for all the generations up until recently. They're always changing guidelines, I'm sure eventually it will go up yet again after more new studies...

ZingWantsCake Thu 07-Nov-13 21:49:57

applauds Stroke

not to mention people who can not breast feed. because of previous surgery. or cancer. or depression. or medication. or whatever reason.

<hides thread before getting angry>

Strokethefurrywall Thu 07-Nov-13 21:45:48

Exactly why it's odd that people bang on about how much better breast milk is over formula, given that we can't spot the impact of various lifestyle choices in individuals, or weaning a child at 4 months or 6 months.

It is nobody else's business if a person chooses to breast feed, bottle feed, mix feed, formula feed, wean at 4 months, wean at 6 months, co-sleep, swaddle, put to sleep in their own room, given a big mac and fries at 1 year old - it doesn't matter. All these things are lifestyle choices and the only lifestyle choice anyone should be concerned about is their own and the way they bring up their own children.

What another parents does with their baby is of no real concern of anyone's barring neglectful behaviour.

I breastfed for 8 months. I mixed fed for 6 months, I then moved on to formula completely at 9 months. Did I really care what was in Aptamil other than it's ability to keep DS alive and healthy? No! Why not? Because there are million other things I can spend my time doing.

My point being that I don't understand why anyone (not saying this is you mini but it might be, who knows) who is breastfeeding exclusively and has done for all their children, has any need to find out what is in formula and then talk about how superior breast milk is? Why waste the time? Are there not other things in the world to worry about?

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