Anyone wean before 6 months?

(49 Posts)
FredFlintstonesSister Wed 25-Jun-14 09:01:41

I know the current NHS advice is to wait until 6 months before introducing solid foods but I'm considering beginning first tastes at 5 months. most of the evidence concerning negative effects of early weaning seems to focus on weaning before 17 weeks and HV claims that first tastes are just that - tastes - because DD will dribble it all back out again unless she's ready! Anyone have a positive experience weaning before 6 months?

Shnickyshnackers Wed 25-Jun-14 09:03:08

I'm in Australia and was advised to wean before 6 months, as 6 months was too late. I was told to start at 5.5 months (I think), dd is 18 months now so it was a while back.

TheWiseOldElf Wed 25-Jun-14 09:11:11

I early weaned both my DDs at approx 20 weeks. I did it because they were both big girls and I felt I couldn't keep up with their bfing demands! They also both started waking more frequently at night and I hopes weaning would help.

I started with baby rice and then gradually introduced puréed veg and fruit.

DD1 didn't really take much for quite a few weeks but seemed to enjoy mushing food around her mouth and spitting it out. DD2 is a total hunger monster and can now demolish half a sweet potato in about 2 mins. She's 22 weeks.

The health visitors have been supportive of my decision on both occasions and just recommended sticking to purees and not offering meat, wheat or dairy until 6 months.

beccajoh Wed 25-Jun-14 09:15:04

DS is 23 weeks and we're just starting now. He gummed a cucumber stick yesterday and I tried him with some mashed banana mixed with porridge this morning. He probably only had two teaspoons but he made chewing movements and swallowed it. A bit dribbled back out but he wasn't pushing it back out with his tongue.

NCISaddict Wed 25-Jun-14 09:17:53

This is the link to the British dietetic association advice leaflet which gives the appropriate ages.

https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/WeaningYourChild

fledermaus Wed 25-Jun-14 09:18:34

The majority of babies are weaned by 5 months in the UK - waiting til 6 months is still fairly unusual.

FredFlintstonesSister Wed 25-Jun-14 09:26:23

Thanks everyone. My DD is big for her age, HVs are always surprised she is exclusively BF, and while I know that doesn't necessarily mean she's ready I just feel she would benefit from the experience. I have one of the Annabelle Karmel books and it supports the idea that basic fruit and veg purée as well as baby rice can be introduced from 17 weeks. Did anyone find it difficult to get their DC to move on to finger foods later on?

FredFlintstonesSister Wed 25-Jun-14 09:28:36

Fledermaus, really? That is reassuring. Going simply by MN I assumed everyone waited!!

NCISaddict Wed 25-Jun-14 09:29:23

No problem in moving to finger food from purees with my three. It was a natural progression, all were weaned at just over four months although I carried on BF too until they were a year.

FredFlintstonesSister Wed 25-Jun-14 09:30:42

Planning to keep up BF until I go back to work. DD will be 11 months by then.

qumquat Wed 25-Jun-14 10:21:50

Sorry to be a dissenting voice, but if the Research suggests babies are healthier if weaned after 6 months, why would you wean early? It seems a load of hassle to deal with food as well as bf/formula, plus not optimal for the dc's health.

TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 25-Jun-14 10:31:13

My eldest two are 20 and 18. Advice then was to wean at 3/4 months. To be honest mine probably didn't get much more than a mashed up banana or some baby rice at that age.

They are actually both lactose intolerant now, (they were breastfed). Not sure if there is a link. I was apparently weaned at six weeks and have no digestive issues.

MuscatBouschet Wed 25-Jun-14 10:36:47

Two thirds of the western world weans from 4 months rather than 6. Plenty of evidence that waiting until six months is a good idea if you live in a country with poor sanitation, which we do not.

No studies show dangers of weaning from 4 months as opposed to six months in a developed country. Probably fine to wait until six months, so long as you move to introducing foods with high iron content very quickly.

Notso Wed 25-Jun-14 10:38:37

I did with DD but it was back when 4 months was advised and I had a crappy HV.
It was a lot of hassle for little reward, while she loved food she became really fussy over lumps and cut down on her milk a lot which the HV frowned upon.

My three boys were weaned at 6 months, 5 and a half months and almost 8 months. I enjoyed weaning them, they could sit up, hold and eat food themselves. Lumps were never a problem as they had them from day one and they also kept up with their milk feeds.

I don't know about the health benefits DS2 has peanut and tree nut allergies and I know there is some research as to whether later weaning increases the risk of this.
What I do know is that for me not having to make runny purees, and spoon feed a drooly baby just felt better. What I did with DD seemed the wrong way to do it.

We did BLW to take all the guess work out of the situation, plus she was always sat on an adult's lap during mealtimes from birth. I think DD was about 19 or 20 weeks when she picked up a piece of garlic bread and gummed it. We just left her to get on with it and never made special food for her, just let her pick off other's plates.

upyourninja Wed 25-Jun-14 10:56:19

DD was EBF and we gave her the odd bits of cucumber sticks and fruit slices at 5.5 months and then did BLW. She wasn't really interested in food until about 18 months but eats a great range (if not great quantity) now at 2.5 years.

I can't recommend BLW enough - great for fine motor skills, learning to control tongues and making sounds, plus it's easier for you. Soups and soft foods can still form part of what she eats and we helped DD by loading the spoon and letting her grab or lurch onto it.

I weaned both of mine 'early' and neither have any health or weight issues. One if the books I read suggested that babies don't need the additional nutrition until 6 months but at that point, as mentioned up thread, you need to get onto iron rich / nutritious food fairly quickly so they get the benefit. If they've not even had 'first tastes' by this point that might be easier said than done. I can't vouch for the evidence but it made sense to me.
It settled both of mine when they were supposedly going through the 4 / 5 month sleep regression i.e both had gone from sleeping well & being settled during the day to being fussy & grumpy & not sleeping, but went back to their usual selves with some solids introduced.
I gave them bits of purée / finger food on top of or made up with bm, so they weren't dropping any of they're milk feeds until well past 6 months.
It worked well for me and mine even though it doesn't fit with current guidance. Although interestingly there was an article published when my eldest was around 1 that concluded that bm alone wasn't enough after 4 months - would be a bout 4 years ago and I remember it being reported in the media but not sure if I read the actual study. And I was also told the 6 month guideline came from WHO and was important for babies safety in countries where poor sanitation is an issue.
I guess my point is guidelines change and aren't always appropriate to all circumstances, do what works for and your DD .

Advice here is to wean from 17 weeks. With DD1 I weaned at 17 weeks and DD2 at about 20 weeks. Started with pureed carrot, sweet potato, apple and pears (introducing each separately of course). Nothing other than fruit and veg until 24 weeks when introduced everything else, gradually. Had no problem getting them to eat finger foods from about 6mo onwards.

Both of them eat a great range of food now, and have had no issues learning to use cutlery or any other fine motor skills. I used Annabel Karmel books -I found them pretty good.

My paediatrician advised that studies are starting to show an increase in food allergies the later it is left, and believes that 17-20 weeks is ideal depending on the baby. When I have explained BLW over here I have always received a hmm face.

nowahousewife Wed 25-Jun-14 11:11:47

Mine are now 14 and 16 and back then the advice was to wean anytime after 16 weeks. Started mine on baby rice (neither too keen and can't say I blame them) but v quickly both were loving puréed vege and fruit. Gave them lots of different tastes and textures by pretty much feeding them what we were having. Neither have allergies, both love a wide variety of foods and have never been fussy eaters.

I know advice is different now but I do wonder how so many children these days have allergies/intolerances whereas historically babies were fed solids much earlier yet there were not the issues so many seem to have today. (Prepares to be flamed!)

Mumof3xox Wed 25-Jun-14 11:12:13

Dc1&2 were weaned at 17 weeks due to being extra hungry. Both would demolish 9oz of hungry milk every 2 hours

They are now 5&6 and have had no probs

Dc2 was weaned at 5.5 months, she was no where near as hungry as the older two and quite happy with her milk til then

FredFlintstonesSister Wed 25-Jun-14 11:31:13

Does research show babies are "healthier" if weaned after 6 months though, qumquat? I will still be breastfeeding until almost 1 year. I read that the enzymes needed to digest foods are there from 17 weeks. I am genuinely interested as can't find any convincing evidence but would like to know all the facts!

fledermaus Wed 25-Jun-14 11:40:57

I'm not sure how strong the evidence is for weaning at 6 months rather than 4 or 5. I think the argument is that there is no harm in waiting til 6 months.

LovingSummer Wed 25-Jun-14 11:49:35

The gut is the last organ to mature and scientifically they seem to think happens about 6 months old.

Plus of course it coincides with the baby's natural milestone of sitting upright, even if still propped up, which is necessary to be able to take food safely.

But premature babies are advised to wean between 5-7 months. This is because premature babies were not in the womb to the very end; the part when nutritional stores for iron and zinc etc are laid down. So they have extended nutritional needs that outweigh their immature gut.

Having said that, I weaned DC1 (full term) at 5.1 months because my HV suggested it would be ok as baby seemed extra hungry.

DC2 was premature so weaned at 5 months. However it was on advice to use very bland baby rice and only gentle fruit like stewed apples for the first month.

Showy Wed 25-Jun-14 12:00:56

I weaned when mine were ready. So, sitting up, no tongue thrust reflex, able to pick up food, put in mouth, chew and swallow. These signs occur around 26 weeks and the guidelines advise you watch for them. Dd was 27 weeks, ds was 25 weeks.

The guidelines are also clear that waking more or taking extra feeds or being 'big' is utterly irrelevant.

geekaMaxima Wed 25-Jun-14 20:57:18

There IS good evidence for waiting until 6 months compared to 3-4 months - a lower risk of gastrointestinal infection http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003517.pub2/abstract

And this is for babies in developed countries. There were no disadvantages in waiting in terms of growth or other health outcomes.

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