Seriously? Why the rush to wean early?

(39 Posts)
ecat Fri 18-Jan-13 23:32:37

I really don't understand why there is such a huge desire to rush the weaning process. If the WHO says 6 months and most babies are only just starting to sit up straight enough to swallow, why are babies being made to do things that they are not physically ready for?
A bit of a rant but I just don't get it!

AlreadyScone Fri 18-Jan-13 23:38:10

Both of mine were ready at just over 5 months. I can't explain how I knew, it was the same instinct that told me to breastfeed on demand up until then.

DC1 was born just before the WHO changed their advice from weaning at 20 weeks (I think) to 6 months, so I had my HV telling me different things from one week to the next. One week I was breastfeeding exclusively for too long, and a fortnight later the WHO advice changed again and I had weaned too early!

Both DC are in rude health...

Weightlessbaby Fri 18-Jan-13 23:45:34

My DD never fancied milk much and was obviously hungry for something else by 4 months. We started it very gradually but she obviously relished it and now, at nearly a year, has a very varied diet (and still isn't very bothered abouth milk).

So yes the WHO say 6 months but is this not just a guideline? (and as such reasonable variations should be expected within it)?

It's a guideline based on population- based evidence that there is an increased risk of allergies and gut problems in later life if you wean earlier than six months, as the digestive tract is not mature enough for solids before the age of about six months. The advice now is most definitely 'as close to six months as possible', no longer 'between four and six months' as people were interpreting that as free-reign to wean at four months.

I don't get the rush to wean early either, OP. Yes, every baby is different personality-wise. But physiologically? Nope, not many differences there. I don't see the point in taking the risk.

But I'm sure the advice will have changed again in another 20 years smile

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Sun 27-Jan-13 12:09:58

Already I know what you mean. With DS I waited until 6 months, and that was the right thing to do. Even then he wasn't that enthusiastic and he struggled to actually get the food to his mouth. With DD I just felt that she was ready at 5mo- she could sit unsupported and had very good fine motor skills. She was showing a lot of interest in food- trying to grab my food if I had her on my lap, which DS never did, and just staring at me eating with a look I can only describe as longing on her face. I'm doing BLW so I figured if she didn't want it, she'd just not eat it, but I was very surprised at how enthusiastic she was. However, because she is a little young, I'm doing a watered down version with gradual intro of foods, and not much that wasn't fruit or veg before 6 mo.

IdaClair Sun 27-Jan-13 12:35:15

I have no idea why the rush. In some cases it seems to be the rush to be the first and have the babies grow up and I see it in newborns in jeans, general pride in how big and strong the baby is getting (nothing wrong with these it's just a general theme) but it can manifest in baby so advanced ready for solids, baby so big they have grown out of crib and need cot, baby so big they have grown out of infant car seat, baby so advanced they need to forward face, baby would never just be satisified on milk etc. The other factor is perhaps a misunderstanding around the 4 month sleep regression/growth spurt, misinterpretation of teething/finding of hands/gnawing on toys and so on. And then there may be some babies who are ready earlier (and some, logically, later).

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sun 27-Jan-13 15:36:36

Yeah I think the four month sleep regression combined with them starting to put everything in their mouths, leads people to believe its hunger. Even if it was, milk has far more calories. A few spoons of fruit or veg can't compete with a milk feed.

As Elpha said the guidelines are pretty clear & have been for 10 years now. Start around 6 months to minimise the risks. I have coeliac disease (diagnosed in my 30's) & it's shit being excluded from almost every social occasion, holidays are difficult, no spontaneity as I won't be able to eat...not to mention the long term effects on my health.

I waited the 6 months. DS didn't really eat anything for a other two...it was just stressful trying to fit it all in the day tbh.

Some people r advised by hcp to wean early to help with severe reflux or whatever. It's not always a case of someone being in a hurry to wean.

You just have to do what's right for your baby and trust that the majority will do the same for theirs.

RubyrooUK Sun 27-Jan-13 15:55:59

I don't know either. I agree that particularly with first babies, some people are very keen to hit each milestone along the way. (I know I couldn't wait for DS1 to start crawling, whereas I don't think I will care for DS2.)

I do accept that some babies would be ready for weaning earlier and later. My DS could sit up unsupported from 16 weeks and snatched food off our plates and ate it at 20-25 weeks. I still didn't really wean him till nearly 6 months but he was probably ready a little early.

On the other hand, a relative has weaned her son since he turned 4mo although he isn't yet able to hold things up to his mouth and he can't sit unsupported or even really propped upright yet. That seems far too soon to me, but I feel like I'd seem really judgemental if I said anything.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Sun 27-Jan-13 15:56:36

DS has severe reflux but with my medical history, I was told it wasn't worth the risk. I agree for some it's the only option though. Reflux is a tough call.

I think it's important to Remember that the WHO may have looked at thousands of babies but they haven't looked at yours!

Babies r individuals who's needs us as parents must meet and they haven't read the guide lines and their bodies r ready when they r ready not when they r supposed to be ready.

TryDrawing Sun 27-Jan-13 16:06:25

I can totally understand the rush. For a lot of people, life with a baby is bloody relentless hard work. The temptation to do anything to convince yourself that they're growing up and it's all getting better and easier is overwhelming at times. Weaning onto solids is a big milestone which people grab on to as being a time when their baby will sleep through, stop needing milk every 5 minutes, or whatever it is that they are struggling with.

That's a very good point drawing smile

Its all very well judging someone but they aren't the ones with babies drinking milk til they r sick, or feeding two hourly day and night for weeks with exhausted whingey babies who for the love of god just want to feel full without being so bloated they can't move.

It's tough and people feel bad enough half the time without worrying what other people r thinking.

ninjasquirrel Sun 27-Jan-13 16:13:18

Well some babies are obviously weaned before they are physically ready, but I think babies vary a lot in how keen they are about solids - some are grabbing food at 5 months, whereas my DS was a total milk monster and still fairly unenthusiastic and fussy about solid food at 9 months.

IdaClair Sun 27-Jan-13 16:21:07

Wheresmycaffeine you just described my dd to a T, feeds every 2 hours day and night, throws it all back, whingy, severe reflux under the paed. I'm counting the days until 6 months really I am!

sad ida that sounds really tough! How much longer u gotta wait?

IdaClair Sun 27-Jan-13 16:25:59

38 days grin

grin wine if ur ff

Decaf brew if ur bf smile

You can get thru it grin

lljkk Sun 27-Jan-13 16:40:52

I vividly remember a friend saying "You're always keen for them to move onto the next stage."

Really? That's so common? confused. Why don't I feel that way? They're babies in my mind until 2yo, anyway.

It's like finding out how much self-esteem women invest in their bra size. That's been a big MN revelation for me, too.

TerracottaPie Sun 27-Jan-13 16:41:07

I saw a fb status update the other day that made me think about this topic.

Someone's DC has turned 6 months, I've been seeing pics of them with baby rice from around 4mo and then other puréed veg periodically. But their comment at the DC reaching 6mo was that they had just started to 'get' food and 'talk about leaving it til the last minute'.

Which made me think the DC wasn't ready to have food before that, so what was the hurry from 4mo and why on earth did the Mum think the baby was leaving it until the last minute to 'get' the idea of food when they had only just turned 6mo?

IdaClair Sun 27-Jan-13 17:25:25

I'm bf wheresmycaffeine but can't manage caffeine free <clinks coffee cups>

I'm not really a to-the-day type but I do believe the 'in the middle of the first year' recommendation is correct and I will go with that. I think dd will be one of the later ones anyway. I'd be suprised if she eats much before 7-8 months, really surprised, maybe later.

I hope it brings some let up to the reflux for you!

Must be heart breaking to see her struggle so much brew <clinks back>

jeneregretrien Mon 28-Jan-13 12:52:48

I have 5 kids, 16 years, 13 years, 11 and 10 years, and 17 weeks. I am not in a hurry at all, enjoying every second of my beautiful and last baby. I do give him baby rice and pear already though. I am not inexperienced with babies, have 4 kids in robust health, don't have any friends with babies I'm doing that whole daft competition nonsense with about how "far on" our babies are. More concerned with GCSE results right now. Until he had a bit of rice and fruit he was hungry and fussing more and more at each bottle feed. He sleeps 12 hours at night without a murmur, smiles all day, sits happily in his chair looking around this busy household. Will it make him ill in later life? Well I don't believe so. When I think about the risks our children all face as they grow up I can't get too het up about what difference 8 weeks makes in the big scheme of things. Car journeys, plane journeys, bullying, temptation to take drugs, have unprotected sex, and so on. Let's keep matters in perspective. I was weaned at 3 months as was most of my generation and never been seriously ill my whole life for which I am extremely grateful. WHO guidelines are just that, guidelines. Useful, but not all knowing. A good parent knows when to introduce some mushed up rice and fruit.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Mon 28-Jan-13 14:17:51

Ahh but this is the thing you see I was in 'rude health' until my 30's. I now I have to live the rest of my life with an auto immune disorder.

I was also part if the 3 month weaning generation. i just wasn't so lucky.

jeneregretrien Mon 28-Jan-13 16:27:48

Very sorry you suffer with an auto immune disease sad..just not convinced it can be directly attributed to 3 month weaning?????? So many other factors at play.

Seriouslysleepdeprived Mon 28-Jan-13 17:44:38

Thanks smile I know what you mean but the research suggests otherwise. It's a total arse ache & not worth the risk Imo but you have to live it to believe it.

IdaClair Mon 28-Jan-13 20:14:33

Another one weaned at 3 months here who had serious stomach issues by my late teens.

Sure, it could be one of many contributory factors, or it could be nothing to do with it at all - but when it comes to my DC, for the sake of a few weeks and a few spoonfuls of mush? Not worth even the suspicion that I might have caused it if they are unlucky enough to have issues. I am happy with the idea that internal development mirrors external, and that when a baby is capable of sitting up, reaching out, pincer grip, bringing food to mouth, biting, chewing and swallowing their systems are equipped with adequate structure (closed gut etc) and enzymes to digest said food.

I have started weaning DS2 this week, he was 6MO last week. He is only just ready. DS1 was sitting up and grabbing a spoon at 4MO so we started him very slowly then. I am not sure, even now, that was the right thing.

Clembobita Wed 30-Jan-13 12:59:20

Hi ladies, first post as I have joined to get help with BLW smile

My first child who is now 7 was on purees by 18 weeks, I just knew he was ready. My instinct told me that was the reason he was up every 2 hours, was draining 9oz bottles every 2 hours and was just never content. He was a BIG baby, born 9lb14 and his weight gain did not slow down. Upon eating food he was like a gannet. He sat up at 5 months and I knew it was the right choice. The HV also advised to go on solids because of his size and everything I had said.

My daughter is a complete different kettle of fish. She is 6 months and is feeding every 4 hours 7oz bottles, she had the 4 month growth spurt but her food demand never increased dramatically. She can now sit up and has been putting her own dummy in for a few weeks so I decided to go down the BLW route. I started last week with things like cucumber. She is mostly playing with it but I am so glad she is letting my try this BLW route. I remember hearing about it and thinking what a load of rubbish, but fate has led me down that route.

Im going off topic here, but basically I am trying to say every baby is different. It is very confusing being a first time mum as to what is right and what is not, we learn from our own parents and our own parents were advice to wean babies young. The advice from the HV has only in the last few years changed and no doubt will change again soon.

Hi Clem. I am going for BLW too this time. DS2 seems to know what he does or doesn't want already, picking up things he likes the look of and dropping the others!

Clembobita Wed 30-Jan-13 13:10:24

Same over here!!!

I am honestly surprised and thrilled at the whole process, watching her pick up things, taste them then decide if she wants more or not is lovely. Also her excitement when she goes in her high chair.

It is quite a different process, but it's quite freeing and I don't feel so het up this time.

Astr0naut Wed 30-Jan-13 13:32:02

I started solids with ds at around 5 months, but he was my first and you want to keep moving on to the next thing. It was only stuff like baby rice and breast milk (god, was that a faff) and Annabel bonkers recipes. I told myself that it'd stop him waking in the night for feeds.

It didn't.

With dd, I really didn't want to start weaning her because I knew that'd be the end of my easy lunch times where ds had butties in front of Cbeebies and I bf and internetted with dd.

So I did blw instead. Much easier. Took a couple of months for DD to really throw it down her, so I had to hold my nerve, but definitely paid off.

aamia Thu 31-Jan-13 09:07:30

But what if your baby shows all the weaning signs before 6 months? Mine has been sitting next to us on the sofa for weeks and can sit with no support at all. He sticks things in his mouth and sucks/gums them then rejects as not edible, is more than double his birthweight, interested in food, no tongue thrust reflex etc.

ChocolateCoins Thu 31-Jan-13 09:25:10

I agree with you op. Even 6 months seems early to me. How can people not understand that their babies guts are just not ready for food! Or that milk has more calories than a spoonful of carrots! So if your baby is 'hungry,' give them more milk. The guidelines 'keep changing' (as the early weaners like to say) because of advances in research. This is one of the things that really annoys me.

Zara1984 Thu 31-Jan-13 10:19:13

ChocolateCoins how do you propose babies get sufficient levels of iron after 6 months if they're not weaned by then?

Awful awful reflux was solved by early weaning for us. He had nothing but a few teaspoons a day of fruit or veg, and the odd ricecake as finger food, starting at 18 weeks. Then when he hit 6 months we introduced other foods.

At 9 months he eats anything and everything. Still has reflux, but so much better than it was (think throwing up in his sleep, in the middle of eating etc). I felt he was ready. Sat up (slightly supported) at 17 weeks, no tongue-thrust thing from the first mango puree smile

mindosa Thu 31-Jan-13 16:48:43

Because all babies are different and the needs of a baby vary.
Because they want to and believe its best for their child.

TarkaTheOtter Mon 04-Feb-13 18:54:41

zara they can get iron from breast milk and formula and, if you're worried, vitamin supplements.

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