Weaning guidelines seem conflicting !

(82 Posts)
AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 16:44:18

Ds is 4mo and lately his first stage formula is not satisfying him . I've read the weaning guidelines say that the hungry baby / second stage formulas are not recommended . Weaning before 6mo is not recommended . I dont know what else to do . He is taking about 800mls a day and any more than that he just brings it back up it's obviously too much milk for his stomach to take , but he's still hungry .

Any advice appreciated Tia

estya Tue 26-Feb-13 16:56:04

If he is bringing extra milk back up I'd question why you think he's hungry.

A lot happens at 4 months. Sleep goes crazy and there is lots of developmental leaps duo its not unusual for babies to be unhappy and restless.

If he needs more food he really needs more formula/breastmilk. It's nutritionally perfect for him for a long time yet.

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 17:03:24

It's obviously too much liquid lying in his stomach . But he's still wanting more screaming when his bottle is done . I just know he needs something more substantial I just dont know what .

nickelbabe Tue 26-Feb-13 17:04:12

he's probably not hungry, but teething.
sucking for comfort.
or bored.

nickelbabe Tue 26-Feb-13 17:06:47

some babies go through a growth spurt at 4mo, so that could be a factor - like i said above, he might be bored.
he'll be tired and there's a sleep regression at 4mo, so even though he's tired, he won't sleep.
after you've given him a bottle, try rocking him or taking him out for a little bit.

it could even be trapped wind

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 22:02:02

His Weight gain has actually slowed down , which in told means he is not getting enough sustenance from his milk . Yeah I think I will try a walk after his feeds it seems to be the ones in the middle he wants more he is happy with his first and last bottle of the day .

nickelbabe Tue 26-Feb-13 22:26:44

no it doesn't.

weight gain does slow down.
look at your red book. the graph in there clearly shows the line getting flatter as he gets older.
it slows down because his mental development takes over.
he really really really doesn't need anything other than his milk right now.(even if you decided to wean him, you would be filling him with stuff that had volume but not enough balanced nutritional value, which could mean he'd lose weight. what would you start him on? apple puree? and that's going to fill him more than his milk? rice? that just fibre, not balanced meal like his milk. he won't start gaining anything nutritionally from solids until a year anyway)

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 26-Feb-13 22:32:13

OP, DS1 started weaning at about 4 months, 7 years ago. He was really really hungry. His brother didn't start weaning until 8 months - 2 years ago. They are different children and so I dealt with them differently. I know 6 months is a guideline but if you baby is hungry you know about it.

Incidentally DS1 is a skinny boy although chunking up nicely now and DS2 was always the 'chubby' one. Aged 3 DS2 is as skinny as DS1!

JumpHerWho Tue 26-Feb-13 22:32:16

800ml isn't that much. My DS was ff from birth and at that stage he was having 5/6 bottles of 200ml each so nearer 1000-1200 ml and I think that was pretty normal! confused

FunnysInLaJardin Tue 26-Feb-13 22:34:29

btw I started weaning my boys on stuff like pureed pumpkin and sweet potato. Didn't bother with baby rice or fruit purees. Not that they will eat that now, oh no!

JumpHerWho Tue 26-Feb-13 22:41:59

Baby led here... I'm a bit evangelical about it as I cannot understand why you'd bother pureeing stuff when babies don't need puree, they need milk and then start trying to nosh on normal healthy varied food, whatever's on the menu that meal! They won't starve themselves, we're not in some post-war rationed era full of evil diseases that mean we need to shovel our babies full of as much food as we can get into them to fatten them up.

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 22:42:59

The information I've been given is that 500-600ml is the norm . The way I look at it is if we drank 2l of water we would bring it back up because it would be too much liquid for our stomach to hold . I feel that's what us happening to ds . He's wanting if because he's hungry but it's too much volume so it's coming back , and he's left unsatisfied . I really don't know what to do for the best .

JumpHerWho Tue 26-Feb-13 22:49:45

Please give him more than that! DS is 14mo and eats 3 meals and snacks, and still has about 400ml of milk.

The 500-600ml is for babies from 8-12 months isn't it? Please, your DS needs huge amounts of milk, he definitely needs more than 5-600, he really does. Check with your HV if you don't believe it!

I feel sad because you have such wrong info and your baby must be really hungry (for milk)!

JumpHerWho Tue 26-Feb-13 22:50:20

How many bottles does he have and at what times?

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 22:56:07

4 bottles a day usually at 8 12 4 and 8 . He stopped waking for his night feed when he was about 4 weeks and then he cut another feed out at about 10 weeks . He's got himself into this routine I was worried at first that he was only taking 4 feeds at that Young age but was told that if that's the way he wants fed to go with him .

MajaBiene Tue 26-Feb-13 23:01:53

4 bottles a day is very few. I would try giving smaller, more frequent bottles so you aren't overwhelming his stomach with big feeds.

Most babies weight gain slows at around 4 months by the way - they can't keep up the same rate of gain as they do at the beginning. How much does your baby weigh?

500-600mls is what weaned babies who are also having 3 meals a day need as a minimum.

stargirl1701 Tue 26-Feb-13 23:04:15

We were still on 7 bottles at 4 months. 4 seems way too low. Less in each bottle and more frequent feeds would be better. Will he dreamfeed? You could get 2 bottles in overnight if so.

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 23:05:51

He was 10lber when he was born . He is 16lbs now . I tried giving him more frequent bottles but he won't do it . That's why I have to give him full bottles because he won't take them any more frequently and even if I did manage to get him to take them he would just bring them back up .

MajaBiene Tue 26-Feb-13 23:07:49

The amount of formula a baby needs is usually calculated on weight - roughly 75mls (or 2.5oz) per lb of body weight in 24 hours. So a 10lb baby would probably have around 750ml (or 25oz) of milk.

JumpHerWho Tue 26-Feb-13 23:08:35

I think DS might have been on 7 at 4 months too actually, can't remember properly.

He's probably only sicking up because he's gulping them down so quick being hungry, so if they were more frequent it would help him to relax maybe?

Try to give him another bottle, maybe mid morning? Don't worry if he doesn't want the whole thing, just offer it before a nap or if he seems fussy or agitated/upset. Don't worry about upsetting his routine, it sounds like he's a happy chap who sleeps well so just squeezing another couple of bottles in will sort this.

stargirl1701 Tue 26-Feb-13 23:08:40

What does your HV say? Have you spoken to the Infant Feeding Specialist at your local hospital?

montmartre Tue 26-Feb-13 23:10:13

Smaller bottles, more frequently. When did you last see your HV?

Has he always brought milk back, or is this new? Just possible he may have reflux- that would make him howl as well as bring up milk.

MajaBiene Tue 26-Feb-13 23:10:43

I'd suggest then that many 16lb 4 month olds would have 6x200ml/7oz bottles a day.

Passmethecrisps Tue 26-Feb-13 23:14:05

I agree with others saying it doesn't sound a lot of milk given your LO's age.

My LO is 15 weeks, 12Ib and should be on 25oz per day. She has 6 bottles a day.

I know how hard it is to make a child eat more or more regularly but I don't think that weaning now will resolve the hunger issue. You will still need to offer all the milk anyway.

LadyWidmerpool Tue 26-Feb-13 23:15:35

16lb x 75 ml = 1200 ml per day. I would offer more bottles. Have you tried different kinds?

Passmethecrisps Tue 26-Feb-13 23:15:47

What teats are you using? Maybe changing teat size would help him relax and take milk more slowly this not sicking it up

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 23:16:25

HV has no concerns at all she is happy with the amount of formula he is getting and how he is coming on .
When I said to her about thinking he needs something more filling she said they can't recommend anything until 6 months but whatever I decide she will support me in it .

stargirl1701 Tue 26-Feb-13 23:22:47

The problem is there is nothing more filling than milk. Everything else will lower the calorific intake he has. I would follow a bf pattern and offer less milk in the bottle milk very frequently - every 2 hours. See if he'll take it. What about dream feeds?

Passmethecrisps Tue 26-Feb-13 23:22:49

I think your HV sounds pretty unhelpful actually.

Does your baby seem ready to cope with eating? What about his tongue-thrust reflex? While this is still strong weaning will simply be massively frustrating.

I think your baby might well be hungry but it sounds like more milk would satisfy that more that introducing purée

MajaBiene Tue 26-Feb-13 23:26:14

A 4 month old who is hungry, and not having much milk, is best off having more milk I think.

I would try experimenting with more frequent feeds, different teats, keeping him upright after feeds etc to get more milk into him.

JumpHerWho Tue 26-Feb-13 23:26:48

Your HV is wrong, I'm afraid, definitely.
My HVs were all shite, MN had the best advice for me so I want to repay it and give some myself! She really is wrong, 800ml and he's still hungry means you need to offer more milk. 1200ml would be ideal - 800ml would be fine if he didn't seem hungry, but you as his mother can tell that he is hungry. It's milk he needs, not food.

And learn the lesson here that HVs frequently talk out of their arseholes grin a generation ago, mothers weaned at 4 months but it's been shown to be bad for babies' systems, it's too early, but for some reason HVs of that generation often seem to want or support mums to wean early despite it being against their professional training - so when she said to you she's support you whatever, basically she's not allowed to recommend you to wean early. And it's for a reason! Can you changeHV, she sounds like a twat.

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 23:27:30

There's no way I could feed him during the night he wouldnt wake for it (he LOVES his sleepgrin) so I would need to add any extra milk to his daytime routine . That would mean giving him 1200 mls in 12 hours and I am pretty certain that will make him sick . He is quite tricky I have to catch him at the right time for a bottle . Too early he is not ready for it and he will be sick . Too late and he's too hungry will gulp it down and be sick . So I don't know how I could add in any extra milk . I would say he is hungriest during the middle of the day so I could possibly try giving him 400ml at 2pm and see how that goes .

Passmethecrisps Tue 26-Feb-13 23:31:16

Could you split the afternoon feeds? Give half, take a wee break (keep upright, have a play) then try more

stargirl1701 Tue 26-Feb-13 23:31:19

When I dreamfeed DD she is still asleep. She doesn't waken at all. Just guzzles down a bottle.

stargirl1701 Tue 26-Feb-13 23:31:43

Def not refluxy?

MajaBiene Tue 26-Feb-13 23:32:26

400ml is ridiculous in one go! His stomach would burst grin

Why not start by trying smaller, more frequent bottles? Also you don't necessarily need to wake them in the night to give them a dreamfeed.

If he sleeps 12 hours a night, and doesn't seem to be asking for extra milk, what makes you think he is hungry?

montmartre Tue 26-Feb-13 23:41:13

Yes- I don't really know why you think he's hungry- you haven't said love.

montmartre Tue 26-Feb-13 23:41:42

Oops- 'love'! Dunno where I think I am tonight... wink

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 23:42:41

No it's not reflux DD has reflux so I know it's not that it's just his tummy overloading . I may actually try and give him a bottle every three hours tomorrow a see how he copes with it . I mean I know he is not starving or he wouldn't be sleeping so soundly at night . But I just feel like when I am giving him his bottles he's always looking for something more .

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 23:43:44

Ah I meant 200ml !!! I'd have to give him 2 bottles one after the other to give him 400ml hahaha !!!

AlphaAndEcho Tue 26-Feb-13 23:49:27

100ml !! What is wrong with me tonight !! grin

I was thinking I could give him a little half bottle to sneak some more formula in . But then I thought if I give him a feed every three hours id get more in . But then I thought if I do that I'll make him sick . I think I will try the every three hours though and see how he is .

stargirl1701 Wed 27-Feb-13 08:15:59

He could be sleeping lots to conserve energy if he isn't getting enough calories.

looks to me like a classic case of wanting-to-wean-early-itis. don't rush to wean op, just keep offering the milk.

tiktok Wed 27-Feb-13 10:11:39

stargirl - the thing about sleeping to conserve energy is something that applies to newborns and much younger babies, and not to 4 mth olds who are sleeping long periods at night only.

OP - good luck with the more frequent bottles. 4 bottles a day is prob too infrequent, and this is prob why he chucks it back up.

stargirl1701 Wed 27-Feb-13 11:49:30

Ah. Thank you tiktok.

AlphaAndEcho Wed 27-Feb-13 13:35:22

I'm so blush I just checked his bottles and he is taking 1040 mls per day !!! I do it in oz and a full bottle is 9oz which I thought was 200ml !

I thought I was good at maths !!! blushblush

stargirl1701 Wed 27-Feb-13 13:39:30

gringringrin Crisis over gringringrin

His milk intake is normal then. Relax! grin

AlphaAndEcho Wed 27-Feb-13 13:41:58

Oh I'm so relieved I had myself in a state last night thinking I had been starving him !!

stargirl1701 Wed 27-Feb-13 13:46:03

I know how it feels. I'm super anxious about everything grin Pfbs!

MajaBiene Wed 27-Feb-13 13:53:16

9oz is a pretty huge bottle in one go, so that is probably why he is being so sick.

nickelbabe Wed 27-Feb-13 22:21:11

next time just tell it in floz - I haven't got a clue about ml.

MamaSteph Thu 28-Feb-13 07:59:09

I fully understand that the types or amounts of food you might give your baby at this age isnt substancial enough to 'fill' them or replace milk but for me, its about introducing your baby to new tastes, textures etc. Leaving it until 6 months then suddenly being able to feed them meals that people have suggested above I would have thought is more damaging for a babies body. If you start earlier (if baba is ready) by the time they are 6 months, they can be used to various fruits, vegetables etc. then at 6 months you can start with a little protien. Thus ensuring their iron intake is not depleting at the apparent 6 months.
In regards to a sleep regression, not all babies do this either.
My baba is 4 motnhs old, she takes 4 bottles a day at 6 floz each time. She also cant fit anymore milk in her belly but i get the impression shes after something else as well. If i did her 5 bottles less spaced out it doesnt make a difference. She drinks less at each bottle, equalling to the same throughout the day.

You do what feels right for you and your baby. If it isnt working then baba will show u. He will spit food out showing you his tongue reflex isnt ready. If he becomes gassy and uncomfy then his tummy isnt ready. Try small amounts and see what happens.

Ive been feeling guilty about the thought of weaning because of the guidlines, well now im sick of it. Each child is an individual. Good luck. Your his Mama, you know whats best x

MamaSteph Thu 28-Feb-13 08:29:52

After reading all the posts AlphaandEcho thought i should add this. My baby has exactly the same feeding pattern. 8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm. And sleeps 12 hours or so at night. How can that be wrong. I also couldnt dream feed my baby and used to try at 11pm or midnight. She would take maybe an 1 ounce. not worth it. Maybe try the 3 hour thing and see what happens but if ur baba is anything like mine, he wont like the change to his routine. He might just be craving something a little extra. Maybe try the hungrier milk every 4 hours still. See what happenes and then if not every 3 hours. I couldnt even do that as my baby has prescribed milk so only have the one kind of milk. I dont think you need to change HV, I just think you should do what u feel is best. Gut instinct all the way. Sorry for double reply I just wanted to add this.

Good luck Chuck x

stargirl1701 Thu 28-Feb-13 09:09:03

Steph. The baby is on formula. Formula is fortified. It is bf babies that need additional minerals at 6 months.

tiktok Thu 28-Feb-13 09:15:02

Formula has added vitamin d - I think that's what you meant, stargirl? Guidance is that bf babies are given vit d drops, whatever their solid intake, from 6 mths, mainly to reduce the impact of our modern indoor lifestyles with their lack of outdoor exposure. Breastmilk evolved over 1000s of generations which lived outside more....even in colder climates.

All babies - bf and ff - start to need iron from about 6 mths, without there being any urgency about it, though. In the UK, most infant formula is not iron-fortified.

AlphaAndEcho Thu 28-Feb-13 10:21:05

Oh Why I decided to write in mls I will never know !! I started off doing it in mls then the more he was taking it was easier to do it in oz !! grin

Anyway thanks for all the advice everyone . I'm glad now I know he's getting enough milk but still not sure about what to do regarding hunger i still think he's not properly satisfied with the milk but I'll leave it another few weeks and see how he is .

there is no harm in trying hungry milk - I switched to it around 14 weeks with ds and although he didnt take any less or go longer between feeds he was more settled in between the feeds. It is more casein based which is harder to digest and can make them feel more satisfied for longer. If it doesnt help you can always switch back./

nickelbabe Thu 28-Feb-13 14:09:19

MamaSteph - the baby is having exactly what he needs at this stage.
If it' the same as yours, then it's fine.

It is not the amount or type of food that is causing the crying it is something else.
probably a developmental growth spurt.

MamaSteph Thu 28-Feb-13 14:56:55

Nickelbabe how can u say he's getting enough at this stage. Are u telepathic. You don't know this baby, he hasn't told you he's getting enough. So my opinion isn't any less valid than yours. Many peadtritions still recommend weaning from 17 weeks so if your going off medical Info there is conflicting advice from one health person to another!
I am offering my opinion to this lady, that is all.
And babies either FF or BF still start to become iron deficient at 6 months as their bodies are growing, developing more and requiring more vitamins and minerals. If you had already started to wean your baby at say 5 months then at 6 months, iron rich foods such as meat can be introduced. But starting weaning a baby at 6 months on fruit, veg etc and prolonging giving them meat is going to delay their iron intake further.

nickelbabe Thu 28-Feb-13 15:57:57

i know what the OP has told us and I know whatt he guidelines are.

He is rejecting some of the milk because he's had enough.

Please don't advise the OP to start weaning when it's against guidelines.
We're here to reassure her, not to encourage her to do something else than advised.

Yes, iron is less after 6 months, but it's not necessary to introduce other food yet.
the baby will not become iron-deficient at 6 months. It doesn't work like that.
and a lot of veg contains iron.

nickelbabe Thu 28-Feb-13 15:59:18

those paediatricians are going against guidelines then - they're actually not supposed to do that (weaning before 6 months is only ever recommended if there are specific medical reasons for it, not because the baby is crying a bit)

MamaSteph Thu 28-Feb-13 16:20:32

I'm not advising to wean yet, if you read my posts I have advised about trying a feed every 3 hours and then maybe the hungrier milk. But I have said for her to go with her instincts.
I cannot speak for AlphaAndEchco but I can't say you have all reassured her. At the milk questions, people specifically said how her DS wasn't getting enough milk throughout the day and probably worrierd her. Granted she realised she made a mistake and baba was drinking more but some people haven't advised but criticised.
Everything is probably and maybes. Your baby may just be teething, or may be bored. They are probably having a sleep regression or probably having a growth spurt. Life is all about ifs, buts maybes. Each baby is an individual and her baba might need food and that bit of baby rice for example, inbetween bottles might give him what he's looking for. Again in my sentence, might be!

forevergreek Thu 28-Feb-13 16:27:49

I would decrease the amount in each bottle and feed every 3 hrs instead

(as a maternity nanny)- I have never made a bottle with more than 8oz in my career. So seems lots to me! The ready made cartons are 200ml so thats usually the max at a time for any age

I would do 6/7oz every 3 hrs. It will allow him to keep more in as he won't be throwing it back up, and won't be so hungry at the beginning of a feed so less likely to speed drink. So 8am, 11, 2, 5, 8pm . If 7oz that's 35oz a day, and he is currently on 36oz. So roughly the same but more spread out.

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 17:03:41

To be honest though, hungry babies do not sleep 12 hours a night. If a baby isn't getting enough milk in the day the first thing they do is wake more often at night!

AlphaAndEcho Thu 28-Feb-13 17:44:09

As I have said I really can't get him to go any closer together . He obviously isn't starving or he would be screaming the house down ! grin

I just feel when he is having his bottles he's looking for something more . It's a lot of liquid to be sloshing about in his belly I feel he needs something thicker .

I don't know whether to try hungry baby milk and see how he is on it . But I've heard that hungry baby milk is actually really a repackaging of follow on milk .

And to pp who mentioned ready made , the ready made sma comes in 250ml and 1l bottles .

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 18:03:21

Hungry baby is just an older formulation of first milk that has a different protein in it which is harder to digest, so it sits in the baby's stomach longer.

Have you tried offering smaller bottles, or will is it just that he won't take another bottle 3 hours after a 9oz bottle? What would happen if you just gave him 6oz at 8am?

AlphaAndEcho Thu 28-Feb-13 18:51:55

He still wouldn't take the bottle any earlier that's why u had to keep putting his oz up because he kept going longer without feeds .

hungry milk is mainly casein based whereas first milk is mainly whey based - the casein protein is harder to digest and 'may' make a baby feel fuller for longer. In the olden days all milks were probably like hungry baby milk until they refined the formulation more to try and make it more like breastmilk and ended up with both first milk and hungry milk. It is not going to hurt to try hungry milk and it may or may not make a difference. It is not a follow on milk as they are not recommended before 6 months.

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 19:06:40

Hungry milk isn't going to make him take fewer oz though, which seems to be the problem - that 9oz bottles are too much volume. If he won't take smaller more frequent amounts then big bottles of hungry milk will just cause bigger gaps between bottles.

ds never had bigger gaps on hungry milk - he took the same amount at the same intervals but was more settled in between. It would do no harm to try a different milk and they can always switch back if there is no difference.

forevergreek Thu 28-Feb-13 19:17:44

That's strange. The aptimal and all others Iv used are 200ml

Yes her won't take 9oz then 9oz 3 hrs later. But less more frequently he will.

the new sma easy to feed bottles come in a 250ml size - they are phasing out the cartons that were 200ml

AlphaAndEcho Thu 28-Feb-13 19:58:12

No even if I only gave 6 or 7 oz bottles he would still go the same time between feeds . I promise I've tried that because I know 9oz in the one go is a lot for a baby but I had to increase the amount because he will only take 4 feeds in a day . He is in a great routine that he got into himself . But when I hear all the milk sloshing about in his tummy i want to give him something ticker . That would be like us drinking litre upon litre of water in one go !

JumpHerWho Thu 28-Feb-13 20:01:04

Note that if you're using powdered formula, adding 8 scoops to 8oz of water does give you about 9oz total of made up formula. My DS has been having this size since about four months with no probs - wouldn't finish every bottle but that's the size I'd make and sometimes he'd finish it, sometimes not, but it was quite clearly up to him how much he took iyswim, and he had 7 a day.

MajaBiene Thu 28-Feb-13 20:05:15

If he's having a bottle, doesn't want more for 4 hours, and sleeps for 12 hours a night though it really doesn't sound like he is hungry or needs anything else.

A hungry baby asks for more milk, wakes in the night, wants more frequent bottles.

It doesn't sound like he's hungry at all to me. If he us sleeping through the night? He would be waking at night if he was hungry.

It sounds like he might be uncomfortable with so much milk at one time. Maybe from wind, maybe reflux? Babies with reflux often suck a lot. Maybe that 'something more' he wants is just to suck, have you tried a dummy?

nickelbabe Fri 01-Mar-13 12:53:58

don't worry about liquid "sloshing" around in his belly, it doesn't work like that.

babies are designed to drink liquid. their bodies aren't ready yet to process more solid food (even thicker milk)
they really, really don't need it.

nickelbabe Fri 01-Mar-13 12:55:10

and all of your posts have basically told me that he's not hungry. If he were hungry, he'd want his milk more often.
babies don't know anything other than milk.

when DD is poorly or hungry, she'll go for milk first every single time, even though she's now 14 months and knows that solid food fills her up too.
it's instinct.

Andcake Fri 01-Mar-13 15:47:54

At 4 mo ds was on about a litre of a mix of formulae and expressed bm. But in lots of littler feeds. Sometimes i would have to take him somewhere quiet to feed as he was so distracted. Typically he only ever seems to down a full bottle at 4 am!
Apparently only avocado has more calories than either formula or breast milk so not sure food will help. The 6 mo rule s apparently to do with gut health which has nothing to do with size.

TheNewStatesman Mon 04-Mar-13 02:24:31

"Apparently only avocado has more calories than either formula or breast milk so not sure food will help."

No, this is not true. Breastmilk/formula is roughly in the middle in terms of calories per 100g.

I'm not saying the OP should necessarily start food at this stage, but that particular statement is not true.

shouldIbecrossaboutthis Mon 04-Mar-13 19:28:38

My son is currently weaning at 21 weeks old. We started at 20 weeks. I decided to wean my son on his external readiness signs on the advice of The Department of Health, who say, "if an infant is showing signs of being ready to start solid foods before six months, for example, sitting up, taking an interest in what the rest of the family is eating, picking up, and tasting finger foods then they should be encouraged."

I decided to wean my son, not because he seemed hungry but because he was constantly trying (and sometimes was successful) to get my food and placing it in his mouth. I spoon feed him a little porridge in the late afternoon so he is used to a spoon but otherwise he helps himself to chunks of soft fruit and veg whenever I am eating. When I spoon feed him he clears the spoon with his top lip. He has no tongue thrust. He tries to hold the spoon himself.

If he was trying to crawl or walk or talk I would encourage him. I understand why the advice is 6 months due to gut closure but it's not a fast rule as people on this thread seem to suggest. Each child is different and each gut matures differently somewhere between 4 and 8 months. We can't see the gut and this is why the advice is 6 months, as by the vast majority of guts are closed. Some are closed earlier.

You need to educate yourself on the mechanics and bodily processes involved in weaning and take your cues from your child and then base your decision on that with the help of the guidelines. Ultimately milk is more filling if a baby is hungry.

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