How to keep 5 month old on milk-only

(56 Posts)
Purplelooby Mon 14-Jan-13 22:31:30

Sorry if this should have been on the weening board - I couldn't decided!

DS (EFF, fed on demand, 21 weeks) is a greedy little monkey. He is now downing 8 oz bottled and wanting more - he is also getting hungry every 2 hours. He isn't acting how he normally does during a growth spurt and he only finished a quite big one recently. He is also getting also fussy during and after feeds and at the moment, feeding seems to be an easy way to ruin his good mood! Also, his reflux is getting worse again and if I up his feed, he gets really vomity and fussy.

He is showing a lot of 'ready for weening' signs - grabbing, putting objects in mouth, sits unaided (but only in 'tripod') and can sit in highchair, feeds himself water from sippy cup. He also now cries when he watches us eat (or drink). The thing is, I respect the research and want to push him as close to 6 months as I can.

Any ideas what I can do? Current suggestions from others are:
- Hungry baby milk
- Baby rice in bottle
- Deal with it (although this seems very unfair on DS)

What would you do?

Purplelooby Mon 14-Jan-13 22:33:27

Sorry I've just read this post back - awful typing but it's late and I'm tired!!

What research are you referring to? I think the research looks to have fairly mixed results with regard to weaning in the 4-6 month range.

Never put baby rice/porridge in a bottle, it can cause a big lump and make them choke. Just give him some softly mixed baby rice if you want to give some, 5 months is pretty good. I'm sure I started giving my two sticks of pear and banana at that age to munch on. Hungry baby milk is also an idea but if I recall correctly it just keeps them satisfied for longer, it doesn't have any extra calories in it.

This is quite a nice summary. The 6 month guidance seems to be based on WHO guidance which may be more relevant to countries with poor sanitation as the aim is to stick to EBF to minimise episodes of gastroenteritis. This may not be relevant to an EFF baby with good food hygiene available.

ZuleikaD Tue 15-Jan-13 05:52:48

If he can sit up in a highchair and feed himself a banana, then chew and swallow it without gagging, then you could try that - baby led weaning is a pretty reliable guide to whether they're ready for solids. If it all comes out again (ie gag and tongue-thrust reflex haven't moved to the back of the mouth but are still at the front) then he's not ready.

It's also important to remember that baby rice has FEWER calories than milk so will leave him hungrier. In fact there's nothing of any nutritional value in it at all. James is also correct about hungry baby milk not having any more calories, it's just a slightly differently processed milk protein. Normal formula is the highest calorie option at this point.

acrabadabra Tue 15-Jan-13 13:09:05

I would just wean him tbh, though I say that with hindsight.

Ds was reluctantly weaned at 21 weeks as he became insatiable. He was taking 8x 8oz bottles a day!! And it was hungry baby stuff. Made no odds.

Looking back I was a total idiot. He weaned v quickly and in a little over a fortnight was on 3 meals a day with pudding after lunch and tea. Some of his peers who weaned earlier were still struggling by this time but, imho, they were weaned too early (16-20 weeks).

He was a big boy when he was born (10 days late), could hold his head up from birth, never lost weight after birth despite us having bf issues. But he was pfb.
They are guidelines. And as pp said, more aimed at countries with poor sanitation/clean water issues.

cornflakegirl Tue 15-Jan-13 13:28:27

The 6 month guideline is to do with the digestive system being developed enough to process solid food rather than sanitation, so applies to children in developed countries too.

And what Zuleika said.

If bigger feeds aren't helping, can you just feed more often instead? (Because even if you do wean, he'll probably still need more milk because he won't get many calories from the food to start with.)

ZuleikaD Tue 15-Jan-13 13:30:27

Actually it's not just to do with hygiene in developing countries - the guidance in the UK about keeping them on milk until 6m is more to do with gut issues in later life. As I understand it there's research (which I now can't find the link to, of course, but will keep looking) linking the prevalence of gut issues and ulcers in the current 35-plus population with the guidance in the 70s and 80s to wean from four months. In other words, weaning early, before the gut can properly digest solids, can cause gut problems much further down the line.

Tbh if my baby was drinking so much milk she was sick id wean. In fact that's what I did do. Even though it was early (four months) I didn't see point in going against what she wanted. She wanted food, milk wasnt lasting and she was puking it up.

ZuleikaD Tue 15-Jan-13 13:36:57

The amount of food they can actually digest has fewer calories than milk.

WantAnOrange Tue 15-Jan-13 16:56:11

Baby milk is very high in calories and fat. Fruit and veg wont come close to being as filling as milk, and baby rice is just stodge that makes them feel full but gives them less.

The advice is based on the maturation of the gut which happens between 17 and 26 weeks. The thing is you dont know if your babies gut has matured at 17 weeks or 26 weeks. This has nothing to do with your babies size, whether they can hold their head up etc. Grabbing things and mouthing them is a normal developmental phase as is to do with learning, not feeding.

If your baby is hungry, he needs more milk. If he becomes upset at this or it doesnt solve the problem, then he's not hungry. Something else could be bothering him. I would say it sounds like his reflux is the problem rather than hunger.

Purplelooby Tue 15-Jan-13 20:18:38

Firstly - thanks everyone for comfirming what I already thought about baby rice. I now have more weight with which to beat my relatives off.

Zuleika Thanks for the banana idea! I put some banana in front of him today and he shoved it into his mouth, gagged and then pushed it to the front with his tongue, so I can say with confidence that I am not weening him yet :D which is good because I didn't want to anyway - hence this post.

Can I just please say though angry wantanorange it really isn't on to suggest that I don't know whether my baby is hungry or not. I've lived with his reflux long enough - yes it is getting worse, because I'm feeding him beyond what he can take. I can't really feed him more often either because I feed him on demand and it's already every 2 hours (today it was even more often).

So... still no ideas where to go from here. HV suggested hungry baby milk because we're both pretty convinced that he doesn't need any more calories (he's shooting up the centiles and getting really very fat - plus eating much more than the guidelines suggest). Does anyone have experience with it?

FestiveFiggy Tue 15-Jan-13 21:44:01

My DS was having 50+oz milk a day by that age his tummy was bloated he was on 99th centile (from 91st at birth) had started feeding again every 2.5hrs (we never got to more than 3hrs ever) and was a little blister. we just started weaning him with purée and mashed veg then few weeks later introduced finger foods he is now 12 months and am still to find something he wont eat and miraculously hes dropped all his daytime milk feeds with no drama.

He grabbed the spoon first time we tried it and fed himself as if to say "why have u been holding out for so long" angry.

Guidelines are just guidelines they don't suit every baby I don't believe that they do just need more milk my DS certainly didn't he needed food and that's what we gave him.

Purplelooby Tue 15-Jan-13 22:58:04

I've just read the document that you linked "breathslowely* and it's very interesting. Especially this:

*In developed countries there are no reported disadvantages to beginning weaning onto solid foods between 4 and 6 months compared with waiting until 6 months (EFSA 2009).
A recent study of hospitalisation rates due to gastroenteritis or respiratory tract infection in the UK showed that these rates were higher in infants fed on infant formula compared to infants being breastfed but were unrelated to the age at which term infants, regardless of their milk feed, are weaned onto solid food (Quigley et al 2009)*

and

The age range recommended for beginning weaning should not be changed unless there is strong scientific evidence as frequent changes in policy undermine the credibility of HCPs with parents.

I'm a scientist with a PhD in Biochemistry, and I often get hmm when people make claims on here that seem a bit under-supported by evidence. I'm going to try to read all of the research articles in the next week and make a proper judgement - I'll share my findings on the weening board if anyone cares wink.

Purplelooby Tue 15-Jan-13 22:58:58

festivefiggy LMAO at "little blister"... DS isn't far off that himself!

DD's first foods were her gumming at pear and mango that I was eating, so she ended up with a bit of puree as a result rather than lumps. The pear was a whole one with a couple of bit cut out to make a baby mouth size bit, but DD or I held the whole pear. Bits of ripe mango were peeled to about half way down so that DD had some non-slippery skin to hold. These work after 6 months too smile.

Purplelooby Wed 16-Jan-13 11:56:47

I've decided to try out hungry baby milk and so far he seems to be more settled on it, although he is a bit more windy.

However I have to say, from reading the research so far, I actually can't work out how the WHO have drawn up these global guidelines. And I've learnt how to spell weaning.

One thing I found with the hungry milk is that my dd took much less of it as it didn't sit as well and filled her up more and as a result I ended up having to feed her more often than I was already. Really screwed up her feeding routine. Hope it works for your ds smile

Purplelooby Wed 16-Jan-13 12:33:50

Oh dear caffiene that's not good... In fact, it sort of defeats the point! DS has taken about an ounce less each time. His first couple of feeds were good but this last one was pretty rough sad

Why does weaning seem to be the only answer??

Because babies don't conform to rules. There's always going to be some who fall either side. Dd1 was ready at four months no tongue thrust pushing it out, nothing she wolfed it down. I was careful not to push it but she thrived and by five months was on three meals a day. Dd2 on other hand I started at five months but she was very much the "I just want a taste" kind of baby. She didn't eat meals til 8 months there abouts. She was happy just to try little bits up till that point. Each baby is different. And there's no rule that says you have to start with baby rice. That didn't agree with dd2 at all she liked banana. and dd1s first taste was melon. I'm
Not a scientist and many will disagree with the ages I started at and they will do what they feel is best for their children as will you smile i started after a horrendous day of dd1 guzzling so much milk she just lay there bloated and uncomfortable. Topped off by vomiting up half her bottle, as she couldnt take any more milk. more than she had ever thrown up in fact she was never sick. If u don't want to wean then just keep on doing what you are doing. It's not cruel if you believe that's what's best. smile

Iggly Wed 16-Jan-13 12:56:02

Babies need more than milk around 6 months, hence it being the answer.

I'd try spoons of baby rice mixed with milk. My reflux babies did better with a mix of smooth foods (which I let them self feed) and soft finger foods.

Reflux babies tend to have a strong gag reflex so I wouldn't use the banana incident as any guidance on introducing solids.

Mashed potato might be a start. It's low allergenic u can mix it with his milk and if u chicken out u can freeze in an ice cube tray for when u feel happier about doing it. smile

WantAnOrange Wed 16-Jan-13 14:33:48

I have no idea why you are angry with me. You said he becomes upset if you offer him more food so why do you think he's hungry? You said you are feeding him beyond what he can take then insist he is hungry. I'm not following you at all I'm afraid. I'm giving a logical reply based on the evidence that you have provided and you became offended. Doesn't make sense.

Purplelooby Wed 16-Jan-13 20:25:52

I'm not angry at you orange but there wasn't an emoticon for 'miffed'. I'm sorry if my post was snappy, I guess I am sensitive about it (and I appreciate that this isn't your fault) because as a newborn, DS was unable to control his appetite and it was a long, rather upsetting, journey to understand that this was down to silent reflux (e.g. 'he is hungry - feed him!' when I knew deep down that he wasn't) - it has taken me a lot of time and experience to understand his cues properly and work out when he is hungry and when it is the reflux talking.
Let me explain why I know he is hungry and I hope it makes sense... Reflux gets worse when more milk is fed, obviously. Basically, before he is sated his reflux starts, so he is asking for more milk, he is trying to take more milk, he will cry when the bottle is taken away and cry for it back until we reach a kind of 'stop feeding' equilibrium. This isn't totally uncommon for babies with silent reflux, but at the moment he is crying much harder and more insistently for milk and is also getting hungrier much quicker between feeds - when he gets hungry, his reflux tends to start as he makes anticipatory stomach acid and he starts puking (also smacks his lips and cries his hungry cry, obviously).

I hope you will accept my apology for being snappy, but also appreciate a bit why.

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