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Weaning at 4 months....(39 Posts)
...did anyone do this? Can you tell me why you did it and how?
Good for you, glad you got the advice you needed here. All the best with everything!
I wasn't saying I was definitely going to do it, I just wanted opinions which you ladies have given me so thank you . I am being told by HVs that he is a big baby so am going on that.ThreeWheelsGood yes he is on the higher centiles according to my HV and the red book. Thanks for all the advice, I am a first time mom, my DH works away all week and often I am just looking for reassurance that I am making the right decisions (in this case not to wean until 6 months or so) as am on my own with DS a lot of the time. A lot of friends who have had babies in the last 3 years have told me to wean him so it is difficult when you are being told to stuff baby rice down his neck. However I will trust my own instincts and carry on as I am. Thanks for the advice.
OP - IIRC you posted on another board (breast/bottle feeding) calling your baby a big baby, but it was established he was not in the higher centiles! do you have a Red Book (you will if in UK), can you tell us why you think he is big, based on what that says? Lots of good advice here, especially those pointing out that if he is hungry, feed more milk! I didn't mean to make this personal but many people have pointed out that weaning early for no reason could be detrimental, so do your research, don't just assume hungry = time for solids.
The WHO specifically looked at whether the guidelines were applicable to infants in developed countries and concluded that it was as infants in developed countries still had a higher risk of gastroenteritis if weaned earlier than six months. If you read the original research, it is pretty clear. However there is no research on formula fed infants, so the guidelines for them are based on almost nothing.
The review in the British Medical Journal reviewed exactly the same original research as the WHO just fewer studies so it is not particularly reliable. There are two ongoing studies which might change weaning guidelines in the UK but they haven't yet reached a conclusion let alone publication so until then at or around six months is the best we have to go on as optimal timing for weaning with weaning before 17 weeks seriously high risk.
We weaned DS at 6m, he could sit unaided and bring food to his mouth. I did try some puree but he clamped his mouth shut and grabbed the spoon so it was mostly finger foods in our house
He could sit unaided and put stuff in his mouth at 4m but seemed perfectly happy with milk and wasn't interested in food (he watched us eat but that's normal and not a sign to wean). He was BFing every 2 hours but that was normal for him. He was waking at night but it was the 4 month growth spurt so we wanted to be sure that was over before we weaned him. I tried him with a bit of apple and pear at 5m but he wasn't interested so we waited and by 6m he was definitely interested in eating.
In contrast, my friend's DS is currently weaning, he started at 4m and he was ready. He gets so excited by food and tries to grab whatever you have. He just has some baby rice mixed with fruit or veg at the moment and he loves it!
I don't think you can necessarily plan when you're going to wean as they're all different. I think you'll know when your baby is ready.
christabel - I thought the WHO weaning guideline of 6 months was to do with the development of a babys gut lining and that it can take up to the first 6 months of a babys life to seal properly and anything ingested is at risk of leaking out of the gut -therefore anything but breast milk for the first 6 months puts the baby at risk of developing allergies/eczma????
We weaned at 5 and a bit months (by which time she was already grabbing food and putting it in her mouth) but went down the BLW route too which I would definitely recommend as if they're not ready they just won't put food in their mouths. I think the main criticism to be leveled at the WHO guidelines (which are the same as UK current dept of health guidelines) is that they are over a decade old and don't take into account any research done since then which supports weaning between 4-6 months including a clinical review in the British Medical Journal. Having said that I wouldn't be in a rush to wean as its just loads and loads more work! Also agree with others - big baby/hungry baby doesn't need earlier weaning just needs more milk as milk is far more calorific than any food you can give them.
DD was 5.5 months, but was showing signs from 5 months.
She would watch every single mouthful we took, could sit up, lifted toys to her mouth and would attempt to intercept food we were eating. She took to food like a duck to water.
Rather than look at how much milk your baby is having (34oz is pretty normal and definitely not large amounts) look for the signs he is ready to wean. Just being hungry isn't an indicator that they are ready for weaning - it's an indicator that they need more milk. If they are taking an interest in food, have the ability to hold it and put it to their mouths, can sit unaided in a chair then it is time to wean.
If he isn't showing these signs but seems hungry then up the milk intake. A growth spurt happens at four months so babies often do get hungrier at this point, but that alone doesn't mean they are ready for weaning.
DS started at 20 weeks. We did baby led weaning (where you give them food and let them explore) - it was getting harder and harder to placate DS whenever we had food, he couldn't crawl yet but would try his hardest to climb up to the table and grab for things! In the end I just let him have a bit of the food to explore and he was happy. They don't eat much at first, it's just exploration. IMO BLW is the best way to do it if you're going to do it before 6 months - there's a theory which says if they're developed enough to pick up the stuff and get it to their mouth then they're developed enough to handle it inside too. I'd read up on it though as there are some safety guidelines etc to keep in mind.
I agree with whoever said earlier though that 34oz isn't a massive amount of milk One of my friends' babies was on 2x 9oz cartons per feed at 4 months and she held out until 5 months to wean and he hasn't had any health problems at all, he was just hungry.
I weaned oth my DDs at three months. Controversial but was right for us, second dd was bfeeding every two hours and I couldn't keep it up. She only had a teeny bit of baby rice mixed with bmilk. then after a while she had some veg, carrot, squash etc. she is ok now, she was lactose intolerant for a long time which may be related but at the time it worked for us and her.
A fair point mrscogon - I didn't really think people would try weaning before they felt their baby was ready but I'm sure you're right.
Christabel I don't agree that your point was bollocks, but the problem is that by saying that the 6 month thing is for less developed countries fuels people's determination to wean early when it isn't appropriate for their baby.
I agree there are lots of 4 month olds who are ready to wean, but I have witnessed a few people weaning inappropriately - it is their choice, and it is unlikely their children will have any health issues as a result but I always wonder why they are putting themselves through it as introducing solids is way harder work than milk feeding - unless your child is ready.
If you wait until they are ready then it's easy. But watching fellow parents getting frustrated as their 4 month old lies back in their bouncy chair spitting baby rice at them - I just think why would you do that in light of advice? But then if people say 'oh well 6 months is for other parts of the world' then it adds to their belief that they are doing the right thing.
Thank you EntWife. Who would have thought medical professionals might have a clue!
your link, Entwife
oh my god at 50% of UK babies given solids before 4 months, jeez
from the same document, para 1.1 - ''Gastroenteritis is common in developing
countries and is associated with the introduction of formula and complementary foods.
Many have questioned whether the WHO recommendation applies to developed
countries where the risks from episodes of gastroenteritis are minimal'' - this is not the same as problems with sterilisation, but more to so with the preparation and handling of the foodstuffs, IMO.
A common misconception, hence confusions exist over the purpose of using water boiled then standing to achieve 70 degrees before making up infant formula (folk think it's the water where the danger lies when in fact it's the powdered milk that poses the risk)
Christobel, you comment is the same as what was told to me by a friend who is a pead dietician. Somewhere between 4 & 6 months depending on the individual baby is what is recommended by the British Dietetic Society
I weaned dd2 at 17w and 1 day. Actually she weaned herself. I was eating a piece of toast with her on my lap and she grabbed my hand, guided the toast into her mouth and did her best to shove it in and eat it. We started her on solids the following day. She was already sitting almost unsupported at that stage and had excellent hand to mouth skills.
Dd1 was about 5 months. She was starting Nursery and I was going back to work. She was my PFB and I didn't want Nursery weaning her. She was more than ready though and took to it like a duck to water.
Just to clarify, I never said I was an expert. I just said that my point wasn't "bollocks".
No, you're right, it is sensible to ignore someone with years and years if medical training. What would I know???
Lol gold I was thinking the same but it is a mumsnet habit
Arf @ the fact that because you are a surgeon that therefore = expert
I'm a surgeon - it's not bollocks at all. Of course some children don't need to be weaned until 6 months but some do. DS was weaned at 4 months - no allergies and never had antibios - he's now 9. Think we've done pretty well with that!
A while ago, in my case (before the guideline said 6 months), but I weaned DS1 at 4 months.
He was on the 91st centile, and constantly hungry, but it was more to do with his attitude to food. He was sitting, with some support, and would almost sob with frustration if he watched you eat. Literally trying to take food from my plate or hand, and drooling. I was having to take him put of the room when we were eating, which just seemed wrong.
My youngest was not remotely interested until 7 months!
Christabel that's not true about the WHO guidelines. Babies are ready at some time between 4-6 months, but milk (either variety) is sufficient until 6 months so if you want to minimise risk of allergies etc. you can start at 6 months to be sure.
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