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to think too many HV are pussyfooting around the "no solids before 6mos" guidelines

(91 Posts)
BouncingTurtle Wed 27-Aug-08 16:18:56

because so many mums I know are still weaning their babies way before this?
The research backing up why we should wait until 6months has been around a while, the guidelines have been in place for several years, early weaning has only been around since the early part of the last century, co-incidentally about the same time that commercial baby foods and formula became readily available to the masses.

Is it the guilt thing? My mum weaned me at 6mo and I have IBS and other gastro-intestinal complaints which have been linked to early weaning. My mum doesn't feel guilty about weaning me early - and why should she? She was only doing what she was advised to do at the time and there wasn't the research available then that we have today!

Yet HVs are still failing to support mums in waiting til 6months and still hauling out the same old chestnuts about 4mo growth spurt being taken as readiness for solids and ignoring the fact that BM & FM are more nutritionally complete and calorific than baby rice and pureed carrot? They don't seem to tell mums why they should wait.

TheCrackFox Wed 27-Aug-08 16:22:01

What would you suggest - that HVs take the babies off them?

I was told the reasoning behind by the HV but she said it was my baby and therefore my decision.

fedupandisolated Wed 27-Aug-08 16:23:21

Agree BT - am a HV myself and the team I work with here advise six months. However, have worked with far too many HVs who still say - "oh he's ready - start now"!
Pretty crap really when the advice has been six months for years now.

msdemeanor Wed 27-Aug-08 16:26:03

There is no evidence that weaning at 4months actually ^harms* babies though - just that waiting longer doesn't harm them. And there is quite a body of opinion from doctors that the guidelines should be interpreted flexibly. I personally waited until six months but I do not think a bit of mashed banana before then is an evil thing.

hercules1 Wed 27-Aug-08 16:28:22

When I complained about my hv would had never heard of the 6 months guidelines (head hv for a large outer london GP practice, to my health trust they explained that they dont have to attend uptodate training on weaning and so it would be up to the individual hv to research it herself, read their own guidelines or go for training.

BouncingTurtle Wed 27-Aug-08 16:28:32

So they are telling them? Of course I'm not suggesting that the HVs take them off them!

But I myself was asked if I wanted to start weaning when DS was 4 months. When I pointed out the guidlines and the research that backed them up the HV in question was rather taken aback.

In some of the groups I go to, there is open discussion with HVs and often it is the case that someone will say baby is not sleeping through, are they ready for solids, and the HVS are vaguely mention about the 6mo guidelines, but don't say why they exist.

It is all about keeping people informed. Ultimately it is down to the parent what they decided to do. But if I did something that could potentially caused problems for my child and then found out that a HV had not passed on relevent information which would have stopped me doing whatever it was that I did, I would be very pissed off.

lulumama Wed 27-Aug-08 16:29:01

there is though.. that it can cause health issues in later life. even the NHS leaflets state no solids before 17 weeks as a minimum.

problem is , feeding frequently and waking more are seen as signs of readiness for food, rather than more milk. and growth spurts are often overlooked too

mumfor1standmaybe2ndtime Wed 27-Aug-08 16:30:33

I believe it depends on the child, how big they are, how they feed.

Ds was a big baby and milk wasn't always enough, although I did hold out until 5 months to start weaning which was just mashed up veggies.
When I took ds to see the hv at 5 months she said oh you have done well to last this long before weaning him.
My sister who has 3 children has always weaned at 4 months as that is the guidline set when she had her 1st.

BouncingTurtle Wed 27-Aug-08 16:31:39

It's a risk thing - it's not guaranteed that you will cause harm - basically between 17-26 weeks the gut matures, Msdemeanour so some babies will be ready at 17 weeks, some not until 26 weeks, but without doing an endoscopy you can't tell which ones.

hercules1 Wed 27-Aug-08 16:33:22

That part of the myth though - it doesnt matter how big the baby is.

BouncingTurtle Wed 27-Aug-08 16:34:00

mum1sttime - your sister was right to do so. She was following the guidelines at the time, however they have changes in the face of new research, but HVs aren't always supporting them.
Weight has nothing to do with it - a friend exbf her baby for 6months before starting solids - she was 9lb14oz when born and is still 95th centile.
That is another fallacy that HVs keep perpetuating.

ilovemydog Wed 27-Aug-08 16:35:58

DS is just 6 months, but doesn't seem ready.

So, will try again in another few weeks.

Agree it depends on baby and whether they are ready....

pamelat Wed 27-Aug-08 16:38:42

I weaned at 5 months (was told be HV to do it at 4 months but was scared of the consequences)

Since I weaned her all of her tummy problems cleared up and my HV gave me a "told you so" talk. I then felt guilty for not having done it earlier. (You cant win!). However, I dont think that you can even say that weaning helped her, it might have just happened with time anyway.

Even my GP told me to try baby rice at 19 weeks because my DD was so unsettled and up all night.

For me at 21 weeks baby rice was the right thing to do and only 3 weeks off the 6 month guide anyway. I refused to try anything other than baby rice until she was 6 months old.

It was very confusing to have my HV & GP advice me against current guidelines, especially as a first time mum with a "sensitive" baby!

msdemeanor Wed 27-Aug-08 16:40:07

This is an interesting response from the British Diatetic Associating, sugging there must be individual variations in weaning age depending on the baby, provided this after 17 weeks.

mumfor1standmaybe2ndtime Wed 27-Aug-08 16:40:54

See what you mean Bouncingturtle about the guidelines not being supported.
I did think my sister's last baby who is only 9 months old was weaned to early, but I can't tell her that. She is doing as she knows and tbh I doubt she would listen to a hv.
Ds was 9lb 12 when born. Not a fat baby, just long. He is the size of a 5 year old now and he is only 3.5, and fitting in age 5-6 clothes, so I do think that size comes into it. A 9oz bottle would sometimes not be enough.

RedHead81 Wed 27-Aug-08 16:41:37

my hv told me to introduce solids to my DS1 when he was 16wks because he was apparently putting on too much weight from being bf. I tried but he was just not ready at all and put it off til he was 6mths. I'm glad i did now and he has suffered with a rectal prolapse (which is ok now thankfully). If i had weaned earlier then i would have worried that it was because he was too young.

DS2 is 16wks now and there's no way he will start solids for another 2mths! we're going to give blw a go too this time! this time round i'm going with my instincts, not what the hv says. plus.... i like not having any periods right now wink

this has taken me ages to write - left hand typing whist bfing! lol

msdemeanor Wed 27-Aug-08 16:42:41

I have read study after study on this (out of curiousity really) and there is no evidence whatsoever of harm after 4months.
The problem is that so many people wean before three months, which can cause problems.
Late weaning is not entirely risk-free either. While giving gluten before 4months seems to be a risk factor for coeliac disease, so does waiting until after 7months to do so.

Elffriend Wed 27-Aug-08 16:45:58

We weaned DS at about 19 weeks. Partly down to his weight and sudden return of night hunger, but mostly down to direct advice of Paediatrician (DS had reflux and he thought early weaning might help - it didn't as it happens). We did it very slowly though. Couple of spoons of baby rice once a day was about it until 6 months.

Was fully aware of the 6 month guidelines although I agree that the HVs seemed a tad sceptical about it.

I don't believe for one minute that I was being irresponsibe though.

BouncingTurtle Wed 27-Aug-08 16:48:45

Definitely not irresponsible - if that is what you were advised to do!

msdemeanor Wed 27-Aug-08 16:49:16

The best thing about the 6month guidelines is that, hopefully, it will help end a culture of weaning before three months. If the guideline is 4months, people will think, 'oh, then three months will be's nearly four I'll wean at 10 weeks'. That seems marginally less likely if people are being told six months is a minimum.

hedgehog1979 Wed 27-Aug-08 18:29:57

was talking to my Grandmother about this recently, and when my dad (her ds) was a baby guidelines were based on weight (16lbs) rather than age, meaning that each baby would be weaned at a different time. I will be waiting til ds is 6 months (currently 9 weeks) although he has already made grabs for marmite on toast, branflakes and chips from the chippy!! Should I start a weaning thread grin [tounge in cheeck emoticon]

jcscot Wed 27-Aug-08 18:36:32

I weaned my son at 13 weeks (on the advice of the HV). I knew about the 6 month guideline but my son was already taking the maximum amount of formula allowed and was reaching for solid food from plates. He got nothing but baby rice and pureed fruit and veg until about 5 months and then went on to more solid food.

My HV said that the guidelines were only that - guidelines - and as such should be open to interpretation based on the individual circumstances of the baby.

GloriaStits Wed 27-Aug-08 18:36:53

msdemeanor- totally agree with you. As far as I can interpret the evidence it states that there is no evidence of harm in waiting until 6 months to wean NOT that there is harm in weaning at 4 months. From what I could understand the recommendation is not based on increased risk of allergy (and msdemeanor so gald someone bought up the risk of coeliac increasing with late exposure to gluten- maybe this is true for other allergens -who knows what we shall find out in the future). The recommendations were made for the undisputed benefits of leaving weaning later- ie increased maternal weight loss and longer periods of amennorhea (v important to avoid post-natal anaemia). I don't think there is anyone who would argue that babies should be weaned at 10 weeks anymore (is there? God I hope not) but I think we are beating ourselves up over nothing striving to reach 6 months if the baby is miserable at 5 months.

hercules1 Wed 27-Aug-08 19:51:00

jcscot - it still amazes me that there are hvs out there who would agree with weaning at 13 weeks.

strawberrycornetto Wed 27-Aug-08 20:09:52

My HV's view is that the 6 month advice is largely to prevent people from weaning before 4 months, as msdemeanour said.

I saw to hvs on the same day when I wanted to wean at 24 weeks. One said absolutely not before 26 weeks and the other said go home and do it now. So the advice is just really contradictory I think hmm.

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