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Please don't lynch me, but is early weaning possibly a good thing?

(32 Posts)
SarahScot Thu 21-Jul-11 17:30:09

DD is 18 weeks. She wakes up every 2 hours at night to be fed. This started about 3 or 4 weeks ago as previously she was up once or twice a night. I am knackered to say the least and am struggling to look after my 3yr old and go about my normal life.

Having read up on weaning I had decided to wait until 26 weeks or thereabouts. BUT, everyone in RL I speak to tells me that giving their babies solids helped them sleep through or sleep longer. I am desperate. Would I be doing her harm by starting her on baby rice now? I'm so torn between doing the 'right thing' and trying to improve my own (and my poor 3yr old's) quality of life!!!

tiktok Thu 21-Jul-11 17:35:26

There is no good evidence that rice at 18 weeks (or any other solid food) help babies sleep....any change in sleep that happens with solids is likely to be pure coincidence.

The (actually only a few) extra calories taken in with early solids tends to be compensated for by the baby taking less milk. So the net difference in intake is small.

There are other ways of making night times easier - and of course babies do change their patterns as they grow smile

Not much of a help to you when you feel like you'd try anything, sorry.

Rice is unlikely to be harmful except in the fact that it takes the place of something more suitable for a baby of this age.

Hope things get better for you smile

discrete Thu 21-Jul-11 17:38:42

It all depends on the baby....at 17 weeks ds1 was given a banana to play with and ate the whole thing while we weren't looking. Ds2 couldn't manage that at 8 months...

One way to check is to put a small piece of food in her mouth. If she chews it and swallows it she's likely ready for solids. If she spits it out, try again in a week.

There isn't actually any evidence that weaning at 17 weeks is harmful for the average baby. But they are also definitely fine on milk alone until 26, by which time virtually all will be ready, hence the guidelines.

SarahScot Thu 21-Jul-11 17:39:31

Thank you tiktok. What you wrote is probably the advice I would have given if someone else had posted that!

Not sure what I'll do. Will probably try to wait it out another week or so, but am starting to panic as I go back to work in 3 weeks and there's no way I can teach or control a class of 30 kids on the amount of sleep I'm getting.

SarahScot Thu 21-Jul-11 17:40:48

x-post with discrete.

Love the image of the 17 week old scoffing the whole banana smile

Maybe I'll try her with something and see if she seems ready.

MotherJack Thu 21-Jul-11 17:43:10

Ahhhh, Tiktok. It's so nice to see you still here (it's been a while for me!) Always the calm, sane voice of reason and facts. You are fab.

Sorry - thread hijack over SS. I remember the desperation. Hoping you get to have some more sleep soon.

TimeWasting Thu 21-Jul-11 17:54:50

Are you co-sleeping at all? Can make it easier to get back to sleep/stay asleep while feeding apparently.

After the nightmare I had with lack of sleep last time, I'm going to have a bedside cot this time.

The other thing I'm going to do differently this time is go to bed earlier. grin Seems so obvious now. grin

The No Cry Sleep Solution suggests putting babies down to sleep awake, rather than feeding to sleep as they will find it easier to self-settle when they wake in the night. If you gradually stop them falling asleep while latched on it can be effective.
No guarantee of course, sometimes they wake because they're hungry and milk is the most calorific food you can give them

discrete Thu 21-Jul-11 18:00:45

Actually it sent us into a bit of a panic. It was a BIG banana, and he was a tiny baby - which may be part of the reason he was so ready for food (he was also bfing about 175 times a day, so no help on the sleeping front I'm afraid).

MotherJack Thu 21-Jul-11 18:08:43

lol at BF'ing 175 times a day Discrete grin I bet it feels like it!!!

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Thu 21-Jul-11 18:30:13

sounds like a four month sleep regression. Don't know about it personaly, ds didn't have enough sleep to regress...but there is info about it kicking around on here if you look... smile

SarahScot Thu 21-Jul-11 18:44:07

We already co-sleep, she is in a bedside cot. I also thought it could be because she was used to being fed to sleep so couldn't self-settle so for the last 2 weeks I've been careful to always put her down awake - even to the point where I wake the poor wee thing up just to put her into her bed!

I also feel like I'm bf-ing 175 times a day . . . sad

RitaMorgan Thu 21-Jul-11 19:09:51

Is she feeding every couple of hours in the day too?

My ds started doing this at 18 weeks after previously sleeping 8 hours. Eventually I decided to only feed 4 hourly at night, and if he woke in between dp settled him without milk. Worked pretty quickly for us and he was down to 2 night wakings again.

musttidyupmusttidyup Thu 21-Jul-11 19:43:25

18 weeks isn't really early I'd give it a go. Dc3 is 20 weeks and I started her 4 days ago and last 2 nights has only woken twice. Usually she wakes 5-8 times a night. I cannot tell you the relief. Too much of a coincidence, must be the rice.
Started babyrice with dc2 (big baby) at 15 weeks but didn't tell anyone blush and he was so much more settled. It was horrible to hear him still crying (I'm sure with hunger) after a bf.

kellieb7 Thu 21-Jul-11 20:25:57

Hi, I say each to their own and I completely empathise as no sleep really is pants . . . . However starting food before they are ready could actually make their sleep worse (if possible) as my friend introduced baby rice at 18 weeks to her DS and it really upset his little tummy and actually lead to him waking more during the night, just something for you to think about. x

TimeWasting Thu 21-Jul-11 20:34:13

Once Ds was on solids, I used to stuff him. grin Made 0 difference to his sleep.

girliefriend Thu 21-Jul-11 20:39:54

I think its better to gauge if they are ready for solids but looking at other signs rather than just how many weeks old they are iyswim?!

So can they sit up? Are they looking interested in food? Can they pick up an object and put it to their mouth? What are your instincts telling you?

Fwiw my dd was about 18wks when she started having a small amount of baby rice, she was never a massive milk drinker and has always loved her food so for her it was the right thing.

MoonFaceMamaaaaargh Thu 21-Jul-11 20:56:40

Timewasting same here. Ds went through a sleep regression at 15m and would need small meals in the middle of the night despite packing it away in the day.

I still say it's 4m sleep regression.

Girlie looking interested in food is in no way an indication that a baby is ready for solids. They have no idea what food is or that it makes us feel full. My ds was fascinated with my car keys which i held in my mouth while fastening him in. It didn't mean he should eat car keys or learn to drive. They are interested in everything we do.

But i agree with the sitting up with little support/moving objects to mouth/loss of tongue thrust as signs for readyness.

Muser Thu 21-Jul-11 21:08:27

It does sound like 4 month sleep regression. My daughter is 22 weeks and seems to be coming out of it finally. It is hellish, but it ends. I just went with it and fed her as much as she wanted. Didn't introduce food as she didn't seem at all ready.

musttidyupmusttidyup Fri 22-Jul-11 07:40:40

Update from me. 1 week into solids (yest had a few spoons morning and late aft) and she slept 1030 till 520. This is so far removed from what has been usual for her. I just re read the posts and noticed on your op and you say you were going to wait until 26 weeks but I'm sure you now see it's a decision you can't make in advance! As long as they are showing the signs and are 17w+ go for it. A little. Hardly anyone I know waited till 26 weeks, most around 20-22 weeks ish.
Does '4 month sleep regression' really exist? Sure it's not just hungry babies? <hard hat on..>

peppapighastakenovermylife Fri 22-Jul-11 07:51:58

Musttidyup...I understand your logic but how could 'a few spoons morning and late aft' stop a baby becoming hungry?

Presumably you are giving baby rice / pureed fruit or veg. Tiny amounts of extra calories which compared to milk have far less calories, fat etc.

It might work because it sits for longer in their stomach and is harder for them to digest meaning they feel fuller for longer. Breastmilk is very easily digested which is a good thing.

I am not criticising the decision - it is up to you to make decisions for what work best for your family. However solid foods will not make them sleep longer per se because it stops them being hungry.

Muser Fri 22-Jul-11 08:42:34

musttidyup 4 month sleep regression and there are reasons why it happens that have nothing to do with hunger. There service developmental changes going on at this point and I understand also a switch in the way babies sleep that makes them more prone to waking.

If it was just a hunger thing, my entirely milk fed baby would not have gone from waking every 2-3 hours during the most regressiony and growth spurty, to sleeping for 7 straight hours the night before last.

I don't think weaning before 6 months is evil, but I don't think it's necessarily a solution to the 4 month sleep regression.

WriterofDreams Fri 22-Jul-11 08:54:36

I contemplated giving DS solids from about 19 weeks as he was constantly hungry, but I was a bit unsure until one day he was on my lap and he grabbed the last bit of my bagel (yes, a tough chewy bagel) and ate the bloody thing! I figured he'd made the decision for me smile It took a while but since he's been on solids his sleeping has improved dramatically. Now that he's on three (huge) meals a day he sleeps from 7-5, whereas before that he was waking at least three times a night. Is your baby large? DS is very tall, the doctor mistook him for 9 months when he was 6 months, and grows at an incredible rate. I think he definitely needed the solids, the milk just wasn't enough for him.

SarahScot Fri 22-Jul-11 08:58:59

Okay . . . so I gave her a wee bit of baby rice last night. She had a great time, absolutely loved it and looked delighted. BUT, she still has the pushing-out-tongue reflex thing. I'd spoon it into her mouth , she'd push it out but then suck it all off her hands. Very little was on her face/clothes when she'd finished so she must have eaten most of it. Still woke up a million times through the night though, surprise surpise sad

Think I'll leave it for a few more weeks.

SarahScot Fri 22-Jul-11 09:00:07

WriterofDreams, she's not large, weight wise she's between the 25th and 50th centiles.

MigGril Fri 22-Jul-11 09:08:31

Size has nothing to do with it. It' wearther the gut is ready for solids and research has shown that this gute development happen's alongside them being able to sit independently, being able to bring food to there mouths and a reduction in the tongue thrust.

Not saying baby's arent ready before six months just that more night waking has nothing to do with it at all. Ovously if your baby take's your food and eat's it themselfs then they are ready.

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