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

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 06-Nov-13 16:04:04

4 month growth spurt/sleep regression is often mistaken for a readiness for solids.

PuddingAndHotMilk Wed 06-Nov-13 16:04:53

I'm sure someone who knows more will be along but I think it's ok after 4 months but avoid Wheat/Dairy etc or anything that could be an allergen.
I'd say mushed up banana, avocado, carrot etc should be fine.
Can you ask your HV?

PuddingAndHotMilk Wed 06-Nov-13 16:05:24

I'm sure someone who knows more will be along but I think it's ok after 4 months but avoid Wheat/Dairy etc or anything that could be an allergen.
I'd say mushed up banana, avocado, carrot etc should be fine.
Can you ask your HV?

DoJo Wed 06-Nov-13 16:05:38

I wouldn't do it, but what does your GP think?

WorraLiberty Wed 06-Nov-13 16:06:06

You'll get mixed opinions but if he's acting like this at 4.5 months then I personally would try him on solids.

As you said yourself...the 6 months advice is only a guideline and all babies are different.

SkinnybitchWannabe Wed 06-Nov-13 16:07:24

I would if it were my dc.

nosleeptillbedtime Wed 06-Nov-13 16:07:26

I weaned early on paediatric advice. Our paed said the advice to wean at six months has been good from a public health point of view as it helps stop people giving big macs and fries to four months olds, but that the problem is that people who would give their kids good food then also wait till six months as they are the sort of people who follow rules.
There is also a big study currently going on called eat which is showing that kids weaned early and given foods that people tend to develop allergies to are LESS likely to develop allergies than kids weaned at six months. My paed reckons the advice to wean at six months will change as a result of this study.
Your baby sounds like he wants solids. I would listen to your baby.

Shellywelly1973 Wed 06-Nov-13 16:07:39

I would try the hungrier baby milk first. It doesn't always cause constipation. You coukd aldo offer the baby cooled boiled water.

MySiamese Wed 06-Nov-13 16:08:15

It's a growth spurt.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Wed 06-Nov-13 16:09:34

Well, his size has naff all to do with his readiness for solids, so politely tell the relatives saying that bit that it isn't a factor. Unsettled nights are also pretty common at 4 months, regardless of weaning.

As for the rest of it, at 4.5 months he is past the window of it being 'extremely early weaning' (as in, corresponding to real health concerns from doing so. You're not giving him baby rice at 10 weeks like I was).

What are his other readiness signs like? Can he sit with a bit of support and hold his head? Has he lost the tongue thrust reflex? If you gave him something easy to chew what do you think he would do with it - could he get it in his hand to his mouth and have a slobber? (I thinking something like a wedge of cooked potato, a stick of banana or pear, etc)

MySiamese Wed 06-Nov-13 16:09:51

Hungry baby milk is just designed to be harder to digest so baby stays fuller longer.

MySiamese Wed 06-Nov-13 16:10:37

and what Penguins said.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Wed 06-Nov-13 16:11:04

Nosleep - I wasn't aware that the eat study had reported any findings yet? I thought that they were still just testing the hypothesis that early weaning may help allergies? Would be interested to hear if they have any preliminary results.

ZingWantsCake Wed 06-Nov-13 16:12:02

I'm pretty sure I started the boys at about 5 - 5.5 months - baby rice then fruit/veg purees. (BLW was not fashionable then)

DD was about 7 months but that's because we had a lot of problems with her feeding & weight gain.

the guidline is 6 months - but it's your decision. baby sounds big and hungry, I'd start on solids sooner than later.

the book I used for all 6 of ours is called "What should I feed my baby" by Suzannah Olivier
Starts with liquidy then thicker purees, then moves onto mashed/crushed, then finely minced/chopped/grated foods arriving at the more chunky/sliced, bitsy food.
it worked for us.

its about £5.00 off Ebay

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 06-Nov-13 16:13:23

That's normal behaviour for baby's that age and not something solids would really help with.

But nothing wrong with having a chat with your GP about it.

I am currently weaning my 5 month old, she sits unsupported, can bring food to her mouth herself and gives it a good go at chewing so I've been putting soft veg and fruit in front of her and letting her play with it and eat what she wants to. My HV is OK with this but said to not give wheat, eggs, dairy just stick to fruit and veg until 6 months. The guidelines are there for a good reason but you know your baby and you can make a judgement after doing some research and perhaps ask the opinion of your HV or GP. Waking through the night, doubling birthweight, wanting lots of milk, watching you eat etc are not signs of readiness, they're just something all babies do.

monicalewinski Wed 06-Nov-13 16:21:45

I would start to introduce solids now tbh. Both of mine were weaned early (3.5 months) due to reflux so 4.5 months seems reasonable if your baby is particularly hungry; it's not as if you're going instantly into full meals, just a few spoonfuls of puree to supplement his milk feeds to start.

monicalewinski Wed 06-Nov-13 16:23:46

In fact Zingwantscake weaned exactly like I did (a few posts up).

KerwhizzedMyself Wed 06-Nov-13 16:24:41

More milk, more often?

noblegiraffe Wed 06-Nov-13 16:25:33

Purée has fewer calories than milk, if he's hungry give him more milk. If he's unsettled, than unfortunately that's just his age. It's a prime crappy time for babies.

estya Wed 06-Nov-13 16:26:24

If you baby is hungry i wouldn't substitute formula (designed to be as close as possible to perfect nutrition) for rice or fruit.
If he showing the signs of being ready for weaning, that's one thing. But being hungry is a sign that he needs good nutrition.

mumofweeboys Wed 06-Nov-13 16:29:58

I started weaning my 3rd just before 5 months. I waited until 6 months with 1st and 5.5 months with second. I just started by giving cooked veggie sticks to stop him screaming while we were eating.

If its been longer than a week or two its not a growth spurt.

MollyHooper Wed 06-Nov-13 16:33:04

Sounds like a growth spurt to me.

lborolass Wed 06-Nov-13 16:36:04

Its not that long ago since the advice was to wean at 4 months, millions of babies came to no harm during the years when that advice was accepted.

It may now be proved to be a bit better to wait but it's not inherently wrong to wean at 4 months as all of us with older children will tell you.

EugenesAxe Wed 06-Nov-13 16:36:18

I weaned both children at 5 months with no (apparently) bad effects. I am fairly sure I've heard the 6 month thing is to do with WHO that are concerned about children in deprived areas of the world (Africa etc.) being given stuff that could hurt them (I guess unclean water and stuff), and so want to promote breastfeeding for as long as possible.

I think I've also heard that in terms of body development it can harm the system if weaning occurs before or around 3 months.

I think Penguins talks sense. If you look at stage one foods they are all labelled 4-6 months anyway. No doubt someone will be along to say I'm being naïve and brainwashed, but to me it seems unlikely the powers that be would allow that if there was real concern for the health of the nation as a result. As long as you give really basic stuff, pureed carrot, apple, pear - all that innocuous stuff (and actually I think bananas you are advised to wait a bit because of constipation) - I think you will be fine.

BLW... might be fashionable but I still think it's pants. I hate waste.

EugenesAxe Wed 06-Nov-13 16:37:45

How many times did I say 'stuff' in my post?!

Me2Me2 Wed 06-Nov-13 16:39:36

If he's guzzling that much milk and you think he's ready, then go for it - mashed banana and veg.

While we're on the subject, does your baby need to be sitting unsupported to introduce solids? (DD is 6 months next week, crawling but sitting yet). Just wondering

exexpat Wed 06-Nov-13 16:43:44

At 4 months DS (also a large baby, but BF) was sitting independently, and if he was sitting on my lap, would grab food off my plate, put it in his mouth and start chewing. Does that count as baby-led weaning?

This was 15 years ago, and in another country, where weaning advice was to start at 3 months (UK advice at the time was 4 months - I was acting against local doctors' advice by not giving him fruit juice at 3 months and rice gruel at 100 days). So he started on solids early, and was obviously ready - no tongue thrust, no digestive problems, and a big appetite.

I'd probably proceed but with caution - any history of allergies etc in your family?

KerwhizzedMyself Wed 06-Nov-13 16:44:58

I read once that the reason they still sell 4-6 month labelled food is because the six month thing is guidelines or advice and not an official certain 100% fact so they can't really ban four month food based on that.

But that could be random bollocks I don't know smile

WestieMamma Wed 06-Nov-13 16:45:50

The 6 months advice is a WHO guideline based on harm done at a global level. It primarily relates to developing countries. The research showed no harm in weaning at 4 months in developed countries (with access to clean water, good sanitation etc). The majority of developed nations therefore did not change their recommendation to 6 months.

Since then further research has shown that waiting until 6 months can be harmful as it increases the risk of allergies. Some countries which did change to 6 months have now reverted back to 4 months.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Wed 06-Nov-13 16:46:04

me2 - No, but he should be able to support his own head and sit with support - e.g. in a high chair- assuming no disabilities. At six months it isn't so much of a worry, but if someone is talking about weaning at 20 weeks or whatever, their baby's physical development is part of the picture.

Eugene - The labelling stuff is actually a bit of a minefield. Basically, IIRC, when the weaning guidelines were changed the manufacturers weren't actually prohibited from labelling 4 months, so they still do to drum up business hmm. However, your central point is right - most of the research showing significant ill effects is with weaning pre-4 months. After that, it is a safety margin. Some babies will be ready and others won't until closer to 6 months. The problem is that it's hard to tell from the outside whether the gut is closed, etc, but physical development and internal development are believed to mirror. So a baby showing many of the signs I listed is probably ready inside too IYSWIM.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Wed 06-Nov-13 16:47:34

Westie - Could you link to the allergy study or reports? As far as I knew the eat study was still a study with no released findings and I'm really interested if I missed something? Which countries have changed back to 4 months?

wannaBe Wed 06-Nov-13 16:47:56

I would.

amazing how readiness for solids suddenly translated into a growth spert almost overnight just because a bit of research suggested waiting is a better guideline. hmm my ds was weaned at four months as per the then guidelines. He was ready, showed all the signs, I introduced solids and he thrived. Or perhaps the fact he was screaming for food but refusing milk and then suddenly stopped doing so and also appeared to take more of his milk after introduction of solids, the fact that he sat ready for the spoon, opened his mouth, showed interest in our food was all my imagination... hmm

guidelines are just that, guidelines, and actually the guideline suggests that it is preferable to exlusively breastfeed until six months but not to wean before four months.nnAnd there are currently studies being carried out which suggest that waiting longer actually increases the incidences of allergies, similar studies have suggested that waiting to introduce nuts has the same impact hence why nut advice has now changed.

OvaryAction Wed 06-Nov-13 16:50:08

I wouldn't, 4months is a normal time for hungriness, growth spurts and sleep regression their brains are developing a lot at that age. I think they are developing a greater capacity for memory and that sort of thing. It's the same as toddlers and teenagers, they're hard work because it's tiring going through such massive change/growth.

He doesn't need solids IMO but he's your baby and it's your choice.

The signs that a baby is ready to wean is that they can sit up confidently, have lost the tongue thrust reflux and can pick up food, put it in their mouth, chew it and swallow. Since there are fewer calories in any first foods than milk, weaning isn't to do with hunger. They still get the vast majority of their calories from milk. Likewise, size means nothing either other than they've thrived on milk alone. The gut being ready for solids is merely a matter of biology and the theory is that the signs above mirror this maturation.

The guidelines have been 6 months for 10 years and before this they weren't '4 months', they were 4-6 months and had been for many years.

Guidelines are nothing to do with third world countries, Big Macs or lack of sanitation. They're to do with biology of all children across the globe.

The NHS guidelines are very good and not prescriptive at all. They explain the signs and when they are likely to happen, plus what to do if you have questions.

I started weaning when mine displayed the signs of readiness and started helping themselves. One was 27 weeks, one was nearly 25 weeks.

Guidelines are just that and while they say 6 months is optimum, they also state never before 17 weeks but with hcp advice. This is why they can advertise jars from 4 months. There's no legislation against it and advice about 17 weeks onwards means that people still wean early. They are not going to miss an extra two months of profit! It's not a recommendation, it's merely marketing and profit.

All a bit garbled sorry, on my way out...

Laurel1979 Wed 06-Nov-13 16:56:40

YANBU. It wouldn't have been considered early until several years ago! It's fine as long as you stick with things like baby rice, baby porridge and fruit or veg purée, leave meats until after 6 months. I'm a GP and weaned my son at 4 months.

HearMyRoar Wed 06-Nov-13 16:56:50

Lots of people on here quoting a study linking late weaning to allergies. Can any of you give a link for that?

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Wed 06-Nov-13 16:57:35

For those who are interested in allergies, I've just had a check and the EAT study results aren't expected until 2015, so no policy changes, results or recommendations will have been issues as a result of that particular study. And the reason for that study was the lack of previous in depth study of that hypothesis.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Wed 06-Nov-13 16:59:05

HearmyRoar - the EAT study is here and they link to Allergy UK, which also have useful background. At this stage late weaning and allergies is a hypothesis.

Topseyt Wed 06-Nov-13 17:06:19

When my eldest was born back in 1995 the advice was to begin weaning at 3 months. By the time my younger two were born (1998 and 2002) this had changed to 4 months. No baby that I was aware of was ever damaged by this.

If you feel he is ready for weaning then give it a try with simply purees, rusk, baby rice etc. and see how things go.

Mine were all weaned at just over three months, and no harm done.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Wed 06-Nov-13 17:09:11

Topsey - No, the vast majority of babies will be absolutely fine. it's a rare risk. I was weaned at 3 months and I'm fine. But statistically, babies were harmed by routine weaning at 3 months, which is why the guidelines were changed. As I mentioned, most of the evidence is about pre-4 months, so once it was 4 months the difference will be even smaller.

stephrick Wed 06-Nov-13 17:12:10

all mine went on solids at 4 months, this was years ago mind, the health visitor said if they were constantly hungry, which they were start with baby rice.

WestieMamma Wed 06-Nov-13 17:16:09

I can't find the actual study because I'm full of cold and have the concentration of a doughnut, but here's the EU scientific report on when to introduce solids which covered it:

CreamyCooler Wed 06-Nov-13 17:17:14

I weaned all mine at 3 months, youngest is 13 and eldest is 25.

GobbySadcase Wed 06-Nov-13 17:20:40

I think gut permeability issues resolve at about 17 weeks. Mine all weaned after that. DS1 was 18 weeks, DS2 20 weeks and DD 24 weeks.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Wed 06-Nov-13 17:23:37

Thanks Westie. Only read the summary but I think I misunderstood you - that's about the wide issue of 4-6 months rather than specifically allergies, yes? On allergies they say we don't know enough yet to be sure when is best, which is consistent with what I'd found.

Joysmum Wed 06-Nov-13 17:31:41

How times change. When I had my daughter it was 4-6 months. Children my daughters age, including my daughter are fine. Given you're asking the question you clearly aren't ill educated or acting rashly do if you as the mother thinks it's worth trying then go ahead and see. If it's not right then you stop. Simples

scottishegg Wed 06-Nov-13 17:41:46

Wow some great advice, still debating what to do but at least now I will be more confident to introduce solids in the near future if I feel my son is ready, you have all really helped thanks.

rockybalboa Wed 06-Nov-13 17:44:22

4 month growth spurt? I have just come out of a hellish week of 4 month old DS3 feeding every 1.5 - 2 hrs round the clock. Made no difference if he was bf or ff. I'd probably hold of weaning until at least 5 months.

noblegiraffe Wed 06-Nov-13 17:46:31

It's all very well all these posters saying 'never did us any harm' but given increasing numbers of adults with ibs, coeliac etc, how can you be sure?

WestieMamma Wed 06-Nov-13 17:49:31

Thanks Westie. Only read the summary but I think I misunderstood you - that's about the wide issue of 4-6 months rather than specifically allergies, yes? On allergies they say we don't know enough yet to be sure when is best, which is consistent with what I'd found.

Sorry my cold induced brain fog is confusing me. It's not allergies I'm talking about, it's celiacs disease. That doc gives the name of the research in this bit in the relevant section:

'A decline of symptomatic cases was observed after new dietary recommendations were introduced in Sweden in 1996, stressing a slow introduction of gluten at 4 instead of 6 months while the infant is still breast-fed (Carlsson et al., 2006).'

As for the OP's question, the report concludes:

'On the basis of present knowledge the Panel concludes that the introduction of complementary food into the diet of healthy term infants in the EU between the age of 4 and 6 months is safe and does not pose a risk for adverse health effects (both in the short-term, including infections and retarded and excessive weight gain, and possible long-term effects such as allergy and obesity).'


Scholes34 Wed 06-Nov-13 17:51:07

As long as you're not about to serve up a three course dinner, a bit of baby rice should be fine - rather than milk for hungrier babies (is this something that's come along since I was weaning at 4 months? Doesn't baby rice effectively do the same thing?)

I'm pretty sure babies don't magically become ready to wean at 26 weeks. There has to be some leeway either way.

MrsAMerrick Wed 06-Nov-13 17:52:30

Both my DC were tried with solids at about 4.5 months, which is what was advised then. DS1 took to then straight away, DS2 spat out every single mouthful until he was at least 6 months. Advice about weaning varies hugely depending on time and on location, one minute it's advocated at 4 months, the next 6, the next 3. When one of my friends had her first baby, now in her 20s, the advice was to try them on peanut butter as a first food. When I had my DS2 the advice was no peanut butter until they are at least 5.

I'd go with your gut instinct.

funnyflowersky Wed 06-Nov-13 17:53:18

Growth spurt, just give him more formula. Weaning is not recommended for under 6 months for very good reasons. I know it used to be done, but the research is there now to show a better way.

Scholes34 Wed 06-Nov-13 17:54:57

Gut instinct, MrsAMerrick. Love it grin

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Wed 06-Nov-13 17:55:28

I am full of cold too Westie. Miserable isn't it. Hope you feel better soon. I totally agree that it is a more mixed picture than sometimes presented. There are lots of areas for ongoing/future research. What I think is important is that people understand that pre-4 month weaning has lots of known dangers.

Mim78 Wed 06-Nov-13 17:56:55

Am totally convinced that weaning early, for instance at 4.5 months, is fine. Was even told this by specialist doctors when dd was a baby. She was on v low centile but believe principle is the same, i.e. that it won't do any harm in itself. My Mum gave me solids at 10 weeks (a bit of carrot and otherwise breast fed) and I am v healthy and non-fussy eater.

I think the issue is that if you cut down of breast milk or formula in order to give solids then they may miss out on important iron, as you usually start weaning with foods that don't contain much iron. But if you keep up plenty of breast or formula milk I'd have thought this was fine.

Be prepared for poo to start to smell though!

CheerfulYank Wed 06-Nov-13 18:00:12

DD is five months now and I've been giving her a bit of solids for a few weeks. Nothing major, just some banana or avocado here and there. She had some broccoli last night and applesauce the other day. She loves it smile

My mom was reading my dad's baby book the other day and my grandmother wrote that she gave him orange juice at 3 weeks. shock

exexpat Wed 06-Nov-13 18:21:47

noblegiraffe - "It's all very well all these posters saying 'never did us any harm' but given increasing numbers of adults with ibs, coeliac etc, how can you be sure?"

If the number of people with ibs etc has been rising recently, doesn't that tell us that it is something new that is happening? What a lot of people are saying is that they/their parents/their grandparents weaned earlier than is recommended now, so how can a long tradition of early weaning be responsible for diseases that have only started increasing in the last couple of decades?

Things I have read suggest that increasing incidence of bowel problems, allergies etc may be attributable to changes in the bacteria present in people's guts, which are essential for digesting things like gluten. Gut biodiversity has decreased due to greater hygiene, overuse of antibiotics, highly processed food and so on (BF also beats FF on this, as babies get all the bacteria from their mothers' bodies). There's a lot of research going on into things like using faecal transplants to repopulate people's guts with beneficial bacteria. I find it fascinating - but still mainly theoretical at the moment.

This article is about some of the new theories on coeliac disease

funnyflowersky Wed 06-Nov-13 18:51:47

But why take the chance, for the sake of 6 weeks. Better to be safe than sorry. Waiting will do no harm at all, starting early could.

BobaFetaCheese Wed 06-Nov-13 18:56:07

exexpat, cheers for that link, interesting reading.

OP, I'd wean him now if he were my DS.

I weaned DS1 at 4 months (and a day) and I would wean DS2 that 'early' if he were to show signs of wanting/needing too, he's 3months atm & I don't believe he'll be ready in 3 weeks!
Or to put it another way, what wannabe said!

misspontypine Wed 06-Nov-13 19:04:11

Size is no reason to wean early and I don't think physical ability is an indicator of ability to cope with food.

My ds was also huge, he was breastfed so I don't know exactly how much he was eating but I started food at 6 months much to lots of "awww but he must be hungry" comments.

I am not familia with formula feeding but can't you just give him more milk?

Is he gaining weight? I don't think a baby who was unsettled due to hunger would be gaining weight.

Onsera3 Wed 06-Nov-13 19:12:14

DS was huge at 4 months (off centile charts) from breast milk and started waking more at that age. It's perfectly normal I hear. For him I realised it was because he was becoming nosey and popping off the breast during the day.

I waited to wean him because being large doesn't mean their digestive systems are more mature. A lot of people are pointing out babies were often weaned early and are fine but don't so many people have digestive complaints these days. Who knows if there is a link?

Also the food you would most likely offer as first foods is likely to be low calorie, low fat, low iron and low protein. But it will take up space in his belly while not delivering what formula or breast can.

Re the allergies I don't think waiting is what gave my son allergies. I guessed correctly he would have food allergies because he had newborn eczema and that is an indicator apparently. So surely that means he was going to have them anyway as this appeared well before anyone would recommend solids. We saw specialist at St Thomas this summer and she said the results of this study people are referring too aren't ready or conclusive just yet.

tiredandtiredandtired Wed 06-Nov-13 19:18:56

My boy is 95th centile and I waited. No point giving him nutritionless baby rice or food we would eat when on a diet if what he needed was more calories. Give him more milk and be assured the sleep regression will pass

witchremix Wed 06-Nov-13 19:41:22

I wouldn't give purees, but, if you put chunks of food in front of him ( banana etc) and he picks them up, I think it's fine and he's ready. If they can't sit up and pick up the food themselves, I don't think they're ready to wean.

ZingWantsCake Wed 06-Nov-13 20:27:05

someone recently mentioned here that a friend's baby (or her nephew? ), who was BLW, chocked on a piece of banana and is now brain damaged.

I don't want to start a bun fight but it's not the first story I heard where either BLW didn't really work or actually caused serious problems.

my friend's niece was BLW and itbis scary how she'll pick up any chunck of food and swallows it without chewing.
I don't see how that could be good for her digestion, or the development of her facial muscles etc.

mine would typically go from liquidy purees to chewing on a whole cooked broccoli and pieces of bread etc. in about 3 - 4 months.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Nov-13 09:01:04

Yanky-ds had prune juice and orange juice at about 6 weeks on advice of the consultant at Kings hospitalgrin

Ds was weaned at 4 months which was the advice 12 years ago.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Nov-13 09:04:23

Zing-when I did a first aid course many moons ago the advice was to mash bananas until the child was THREE! The paramedic who was running the course had seen 2 children die choking on bananas as they swell in the throat apparently and are then hard to dislodgesad

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 07-Nov-13 09:04:34

They need the calories from milk at that age. Purée doesn't give them calories. There is a growth spurt at four months, they just need more milk. It's a myth that bigger babies need weaning early.

Joysmum Thu 07-Nov-13 09:13:21

Re the riding rate in alegies etc, bit of a contradiction there. The allergies and various conditions mention were less common than now with the new guidelines so what point are you trying to make?

As with everything in life, little is black and white or 100% right so you weight up the pros and cobs and go with what seems best on balance.

PenguinsDontEatPancakes Thu 07-Nov-13 09:19:12

Without wanting to be too blunt, I have also seen it pointed out that certain severe allergies are more common now partly because affected children would not have survived early childhood in the past and would have died from some uncertain fever or fit. sad Thank god for modern medicine.

MrsMook Thu 07-Nov-13 09:32:41

Both of mine have been hit heavy by growth spurts at 4mths and it settled after. They've also been disturbed by teething too. They both started weaning at 5m- around 23wks as they were socially interested in weaning (having met the physical guidelines a while earlier). They both had an intense interest in what you're eating in a trying to will it out of your mouth kind of way. DS1 got quite distressed watching DH eat and studied each mouthful, moaning and reaching.

DS 1 has allergies (I doubt that 3 weeks made any difference) so I'm being careful about introducing allergens to DS2. It's amazed me how many purees marketed at 4-6m contain milk and gluten. DS 1's first reaction was to baby porridge at 25wks because of the milk protein.

Retroformica Thu 07-Nov-13 09:34:51

I wouldn't. Early weaning is related to various health problems. The gut just isn't ready.

HazleNutt Thu 07-Nov-13 09:43:08

as was posted earlier, latest research concludes:
'On the basis of present knowledge the Panel concludes that the introduction of complementary food into the diet of healthy term infants in the EU between the age of 4 and 6 months is safe and does not pose a risk for adverse health effects (both in the short-term, including infections and retarded and excessive weight gain, and possible long-term effects such as allergy and obesity).'


Faithless12 Thu 07-Nov-13 09:47:46

Onsera, I agree with you. My son was reacting to me having dairy at 2 weeks old so not sure weaning has anything to do with it.
Also I was at an event regarding childhood allergies and the GP and Paediatric Consultant (for allergies) both stressed not weaning before 6 months and not giving babies milk before 1 year, so use formula/breast milk for weetabix etc

Chunderella Thu 07-Nov-13 09:54:32

OP the advice is 6 months because the gut becomes ready any time between 17 and 26 weeks. So at 6 months, you should catch nearly everyone, whereas at 4.5 months some will be ready but not all. Lots of babies of DS age are having a growth spurt, and it can be really tough. In your position, I'd give it another week or two on lots of milk, maybe set a goal of 5 months, then reassess. He might have calmed down by then. Being very hungry doesn't mean a baby needs solids yet.

With regard to other issues mentioned in the thread, the reason jars can be advertised as 4 months up isn't because UK health authorities consider them safe- they don't. Its EU law. Some other EU countries recommend earlier weaning than us, and if something can be advertised for a 4 month old in one member state, it can be in all of them. Concerning rise in various digestive complaints, the problem with this is that really we have no idea what the true rates of IBS, coeliac etc were a few decades ago. As pointed out upthread, lots of severely affected people wouldn't have survived infancy in the not too distant past, let alone been old and healthy enough to be able to pass their genes on. And in the absence of free healthcare, less severely affected people would've just put up with it and suffered unrecorded.

The allergies studies will be very interesting when we know more, which we don't at the moment. It could even be possible that there's no optimum age for weaning as such- you risk gut damage doing it earlier, allergies leaving it later, so you choose your risk depending on your family history.

thecakeisalie Thu 07-Nov-13 10:08:39

Just like to point out babies can choke on puree especially later on when there are lumps. I think blw done right poses no extra risks in regards to choking and in fact helps a baby learn to control food in their mouthes reducing the likelihood of choking.

I watched a 999 show where a 10 moutn old was choking on a lumpy puree. No point scaremongering though - choking is a risk being sensible reduces that risk. Sorry I just don't understand why a weaning thread seems to always include making out blw is some ridiculous fad.

hardboiledpossum Thu 07-Nov-13 11:26:45

weaning after 17 weeks is not early and is perfectly safe. I have read lots of research on this and many countries advise anywhere between 17 and 26 weeks. my son was between the 91st and 98th and was clearly ready for food by 17 weeks. there is a risk before 17 weeks though so I wouldn't before then.

Minifingers Thu 07-Nov-13 11:35:24

DS3 was a very big baby (above 90th centile) but I didn't wean until 6 months.

By the time I weaned he was feeding about 20 times in a 24 hour period, and still piling weight on at a very fast pace.

BUT he was exclusively breastfed. Formula is incomplete as a food for babies, so I'd be willing to accept the idea that weaning a bottlefed baby earlier than a breastfed baby might actually be something worth considering. Maybe there is something they get from solid food at this age that they're not getting from formula milk.

JuliaScurr Thu 07-Nov-13 12:16:21

about 55 years ago, my friend was told by the doctor to feed her week old twins on Carnation milk and mashed potato. :D They were fine.
compared to that, a bit of banana or baby rice looks pretty tame

Pobblewhohasnotoes Thu 07-Nov-13 13:27:48

Also, weaning is a faff. It's so much easier to just give them milk. I do wonder why some people are in a rush for their babies to grow up?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 07-Nov-13 13:34:08

YANBU... My DS is only 13 but the standard advice then was to wean at 16 weeks. Him and the rest of his year at school all look in the pink of health...

monicalewinski Thu 07-Nov-13 18:30:32

Feeding 20 times in a 24hr period Minifingers?

Wow. I would have said this was quite a strong suggestion that a baby is in need of something more than just milk tbh.

Mim78 Thu 07-Nov-13 18:39:36

I think you will be fine if you start weaning, fine if you just try the hungry baby milk, and fine if you carry on as you are. I would trust your instinct though.

It might turn out that an option other than the one you choose would have been "best" - you will never know. Government advice isn't always right though, or isn't always right for everyone. Sometimes it changes, then goes back to what it was before.

Mim78 Thu 07-Nov-13 18:45:43

In answer to "weaning is a faff" - I really loved weaning my dd. I don't know why, and I might be weird, but I did.

valiumredhead Thu 07-Nov-13 18:49:07

Mim-I did too, it wasn't a faff and ds was so ready for it!

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.

Figgygal Thu 07-Nov-13 18:55:14

I weaned early DS was taking feeds every 2 hours, huge feeds he was so bloated from all the milk we thought he would burst. I think he was about 18wks and tried him on baby rice or porridge he sat in his bumbo and grabbed the spoon out of my hand as if to say "finally". Hes almost 2 now still eats everything in sight totally healthy. Not all babies comply with guidelines.

Figgygal Thu 07-Nov-13 18:57:55

Mini fingers dont talk bollocks

Strokethefurrywall Thu 07-Nov-13 19:57:14

What utter horseshit mini - yes formula milk is so incomplete that babies haven't been thriving on it for years. Christ alive.

Strokethefurrywall Thu 07-Nov-13 19:58:08

OP you know your baby, trust your instincts!

Mushypeasandchipstogo Thu 07-Nov-13 20:00:36

My DS is 11 years now and was very hungry at 4 months constantly wanting more and more formula. On the advice of the HV I gave him baby rice which he took to straight away with no problems whatsoever. It was only then that he started to sleep through the night!

fifi669 Thu 07-Nov-13 20:07:14

Early weaning is linked to weight problems in later life. Don't know why!

I waited the 6 months, DPs ex weaned their child at 2 months and she's a perfectly healthy 3 year old despite us all going shock

I think like all parenting, where there's a grey area, trust your gut.

Minifingers Thu 07-Nov-13 20:17:31

How can formula be complete if it doesn't contain all the same elements as breast milk? Or is it that there are elements in breast milk (dozens apparently that aren't in formula) that don't actually perform any function in the body?

And what about all the new ingredients that are in formula now - like nucleotides and lcp's that apparently support baby's immune system and eyesight in the way breast milk does that weren't in formula given to babies 15 years ago? Do they not do anything? In which case why do formula companies develop them at great expense to their research arms?

As for the view that it'd be obvious if a formula lacked some essential ingredient - for years and years and years formula was iron deficient, as were babies who drank it. Modern formulas are now much more iron rich. And we KNOW that iron deficiency causes intellectual impairment in children. Did several generations of formula feeding mothers identify any issues here before scientists did? No - because these things are subtle and impossible for the individual to identify.

candycoatedwaterdrops Thu 07-Nov-13 20:29:48

I don't know why perfectly intelligent parents bleat on about how big their baby is while they discuss weaning when it's common knowledge that weaning is about maturity of the digestive system and has nowt to do with size. That said, guidelines are just that and do tend to change over the years. I wouldn't recommend feeding your 2 week old a happy meal wink but by 4 months, you're ok.

candycoatedwaterdrops Thu 07-Nov-13 20:30:25

MiniFingers Back off, this has nothing to do with FF vs. BF.

Strokethefurrywall Thu 07-Nov-13 20:43:47

Minifingers I'd love to know if you can tell the difference between two complete strangers, one formula fed, one bottle fed.

I can't fathom how you have so much time on your hands to hand wring about how evil formula companies are, do you have nothing better to do?

This thread was about weaning but you had to get a little dig in there about the perils of formula right?

Minifingers Thu 07-Nov-13 21:08:36

I haven't said anything about formula companies being 'evil' blush

Those are your words.

And no - I couldn't tell how two strangers were fed as children, nor indeed whether their mothers smoked and ate an appalling diet during pregnancy, but it doesn't mean that these things make no difference to the health and development of babies and children.

To be honest, I find it odd that you think we should be able to spot the impact of various lifestyle choices in individuals. If this was true it wouldn't have taken researchers decades to work out - for instance - that smoking causes cancer.

ShinyBlackNose Thu 07-Nov-13 21:13:31

Mini - I had no choice but to FF feed my DC. It wasn't what I wanted and I was devastated that I couldn't BF. However, my DC seem to be in perfect health, so now I can accept it wasn't a big deal.

oh gawd there's always one....

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?

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>

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...

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

minifingers try a hobby you sound like you need one.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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 09:46:46

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 10:35:35

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!!

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.

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.

"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.

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