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How to keep 5 month old on milk-only

(56 Posts)
Purplelooby Mon 14-Jan-13 22:31:30

Sorry if this should have been on the weening board - I couldn't decided!

DS (EFF, fed on demand, 21 weeks) is a greedy little monkey. He is now downing 8 oz bottled and wanting more - he is also getting hungry every 2 hours. He isn't acting how he normally does during a growth spurt and he only finished a quite big one recently. He is also getting also fussy during and after feeds and at the moment, feeding seems to be an easy way to ruin his good mood! Also, his reflux is getting worse again and if I up his feed, he gets really vomity and fussy.

He is showing a lot of 'ready for weening' signs - grabbing, putting objects in mouth, sits unaided (but only in 'tripod') and can sit in highchair, feeds himself water from sippy cup. He also now cries when he watches us eat (or drink). The thing is, I respect the research and want to push him as close to 6 months as I can.

Any ideas what I can do? Current suggestions from others are:
- Hungry baby milk
- Baby rice in bottle
- Deal with it (although this seems very unfair on DS)

What would you do?

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 16-Jan-13 20:42:00

You sound like you know your son extremely well purple and it is possible that this is a growth spurt in which case a few days and he will be back to normal. U will just need to ride thru it for a few days. I have had two formula fed babies and they have never fed two hourly not even as new borns. Formula fed babies often go longer than breast fed babies as its easier to suck from a bottle rather than a breast and therefor they take more milk. If this keeps up more than a few days then u might have to consider that he may need weaning.

You could try water. I heard that reflux babies often suck alot as it sooths what about a dummy? Do u think a bottle of water would be worth a try. It's often recommended with formula anyway to provide cooled boiled water as unlike breast milk it's not as thirst quenching ?

I really hope u find your solution op x

Iggly Wed 16-Jan-13 21:03:06

My two had silent reflux - I was going to suggest a dummy. It took a few goes to find the right one.

Also if he's got silent reflux, have you considered different milk ie hypo allergenic stuff? Cows milk protein intolerance tends to go hand in hand with silent reflux and I know my two's reflux was easier to manage once I cut all dairy out. Ds didn't out grow his until he was 18month plus - I remember giving him a kids jar meal with traces of milk at around 9 months and he ended up having acid coming out of his nose shock and if he had a yoghurt (I was testing his reaction), he's tell me it hurt sad

lotsofcheese Wed 16-Jan-13 21:16:18

I'd also wean him personally. There is evidence to suggest that early weaning can increase the incidence of allergies. But not that delayed introduction can protect. There is also the theory that waiting till 26 weeks means that a physiological stage is missed, regarding chewing.

I have a number of friends who are paediatric dietitians - all weaned before 26 weeks after reviewing the evidence.

And it may help the reflux too.

Finally, baby led weaning isn't the only way to do it & perhaps isn't the best approach for a reflux baby (who is more likely to struggle/gag going straight onto solids). Smooth consistencies might be easier to manage.

Good luck!!

Purplelooby Wed 16-Jan-13 21:33:31

caffiene, iggly and cheese thank you so so much - you've all cheered me right up after my last post thanks

DS uses a dummy (after experimenting we found that he likes the Mam dummies) and he is very very very sucky ! I did hear that silent reflux causes this and it seems true for him - when his dummy isn't in he sucks his thumb and sometimes he manages both which is impressive to behold. He also drinks water - he wouldn't take it from a bottle but now he uses a sippy cup - it does seem to give him some comfort and it helps his wind to come up.

cheese I've also been reading the literature in the last few days and you are right. I'm actually quite shocked at the lack of evidence for the WHO guidelines in developed countries. Every paper I could find (so far) in developed countries could only find links to allergies/grastoenteritis when weening occured before 3 months. Some didn't even find that. Also, that there are definite negatives if 6 months is reached and weaning has not begun. And... to agree with you even more grin I remember reading that baby-led weaning doesn't really work for reflux babies because they can't regulate their appetites.

To add, the doctor who delivered my son seems to have a strong opinion that, developmentally, waiting until 6 months is bad and that mothers should be supported to wean their baby at the individual correct time, even if it is less than 3 months.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Wed 16-Jan-13 21:45:32

Your baby, your choice smile you sound pretty well informed and holding out is great many do hang on til six months and some even beyond. I'm not saying ditch the data, after all it's there for a reason so people can research and make informed decisions. Unfortunately ur baby doesn't sound like he's listened grin no one can tell you what to do, but just don't torture yourself if u make a decision that goes against what you previously believed. As important as being informed is, it's also important to know your baby (which sounds like you do!! ) and to trust in yourself!!! You will make the decision that suits u and your son. There will ALWAYS be someone who disagrees!! They aren't important it's what YOU think is best!!!

Iggly Wed 16-Jan-13 22:06:19

The thing is, putting aside the silent reflux, he might be ready to wean.

Silent reflux complicates things as it changes how you wean.

lotsofcheese Wed 16-Jan-13 22:10:54

Just another thought: is your DS teething just now? It could explain a lot of his symptoms. My DS's reflux was much worse when teething.

WantAnOrange Thu 17-Jan-13 07:05:55

I totally get your point about feeling emotional about it and I'm sorry if my suggestion came across as critical in anyway, this was not my intention.

I would be interested in reading the evidence against waiting until 6 months. I'm doing a degree in Early Years Care and everything I've read suggests that before 17 weeks, weaning is not good, after 26 weeks weaning is fine, but inbetween that you dont know so its best to wait.

I also thought of teething. I spent 2 days last week thinking DD was having a growth spurt and, as another mumsnetter so beautifully put it, "trying to shove a tit in her mouth", before I realised she wasnt hungry, she has nearly cut a tooth! I found her behaviour to very similiar, so I didnt notice the difference.

Whatever you choose, you've clearly gone out of your way to make an informed choice so what more could anyone ask?

OnlyWantsOne Thu 17-Jan-13 07:19:42

With reflux, my dd would drink for comfort. Then would drink too much & vomit and be distressed. My money is on him drinking for comfort too.

Go back to your GP and get reflux meds sorted.

Please don't wean him earlier.

Purplelooby Thu 17-Jan-13 20:24:30

Update time!

I tried hungry baby milk for a day... disaster. Just as caffeine said, he drank less and then got hungry more often. But also, his reflux was so much work. Oh and his poos were like plasticine. So back to first baby milk.

onlywantsone DS is very much a comfort-eater. This is actually a pain in the arse for 1000 reasons, one of which links to your second sentance - I've been to GP so many times, but because DS is putting plenty of weight on (he's gome from the 2nd to above the 25th centile) and is clearly very healthy, he will not put me on more than Gaviscon. He also won't let me up the dose of Gaviscon even though it's much too low for his weight because I think he thinks I'm making it up. I've been to all 3 GPs in the practice about this too.

But also... is it worse to wean him than to medicate him at 5 months? Meds have a lot of ingredients other than the active which I'm sure are no better for the gut (almost certainly worse) than carrot and banana.

Iggly Thu 17-Jan-13 20:38:09

With ds, my PFB, I was adamant I must wait to wean. With my second, we weaned earlier. Both had silent reflux. Looking back I could have done it earlier with ds as he was ready.

So, read your Op again. You said he had the signs, so why not try? Small spoon of puree? What is your worry?

lotsofcheese Thu 17-Jan-13 21:18:51

Just to answer your question about reflux meds: it is better to have reflux treated, in order to avoid food-related behavioural issues with your DS. Reflux babies tend to be poor eaters as they have the association between food/milk & pain/vomiting. Treating the reflux is important in avoiding this. The acid irritates/erodes the bottom of the oesophagus & puts them off food, to say the least. I would say that's far more damaging to his gut than early weaning.

I sympathise with you in trying to get reflux taken seriously by GP's. "But all babies are sick" said my GP. Yes, but not 4-6 large projectile vomits daily when he's at the bottom of the growth chart, I pointed out.

Gaviscon only works in mild cases of reflux. Frequently other medications are required: eg omeprazole/ranitidine and domperidone. My DS was referred to a gastroenterologist as he was at the severe end of the spectrum, and is finally off medication just short of his 4th birthday.

Most outgrow reflux by the age of 2 & it improves with weaning & being able to sit up. Coughs, colds & teething made it worse.

Purplelooby Thu 17-Jan-13 21:58:12

Grrrr cheese it makes me so annoyed thinking about my times in the GP's office. They honestly treat me like a stupid, paranoid Mum. What really gets me is that he was actually first diagnosed with reflux on a children's ward (for a different reason) at 5 days old when he was sicking whole feeds up. The paed offered to help sort it out there and then, but it would have meant staying on the ward longer so I foolishly said that I would go to my GP. If I could rewind time... Anyway, it is worse because his reflux is silent and he piles weight on comfort eating, so the GP sees a fat, healthy baby. Who also has a habit of being all happy and nice and smiley in the GP's office even when he's been in a foul mood all day.

By the way, I had no idea that teething and coughs make it worse but that makes soooo much sense.

Iggly I've been doing some research into ways to wean reflux babies and have settled on mush and finger foods combined. Today, I made a carrot mush and offered it to him to see what he did. He snatched the spoon off me and shoved it in his mouth!! I think he's telling me it's time to wean.

Finally onlywantone sorry I can't do this links-in-posts business, but if you scroll up to caffiene's first post it links to a document which has references to why you should be weaning by 26 weeks. In fact, I seem to recall that the WHO advice is a little confusing about whether to be weaning by or after 6 months (it says both at different places). The reasons are: a) when BFing there is a slight risk of anaemia and b) there are suggestions that a developmental stage is missed by waiting until 6 months.

Can anyone link me to the research about weaning before 6 months causing later obesity/diabetes?

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Thu 17-Jan-13 22:36:23

Bless u still agonizing over this. It really sounds like you have done all you can in order to prevent weaning but if he's decided for you maybe googling links now on the diabetes and obesity with earlier weaning, I worry you will just now torture yourself over your decision to give him the carrot. Trust in yourself that you know your baby. There is nothing you can do but feed him if that is what he needs and u feel is best. He's not a statistic he's your beautiful ds he has an individual need that won't always follow what information is out there.

Please just he careful with what you look at now and trust yourself and please don't torture yourself xx thanks

breatheslowly Thu 17-Jan-13 22:55:55

If the weaning doesn't help with the reflux, could you afford a private consultation with a paed? Sometimes bypassing the GP is useful and GPs may even be willing to refer you privately when they wouldn't refer you on their NHS budget.

Iggly Fri 18-Jan-13 06:47:40

Ah that's good!

Te only research I know linked to obesity is to do with how you feed the baby. I'm on my phone so can't find it just now - it was reported on radio 4 and in the press a few years go.

Do be careful what you feed. Anecdotally I read that foods like carrots are difficult to digest for reflux babies particularly (hence why you sometimes see bits of carrot in their poo) - pears are a good thing to start with. There are reflux supprt forums out there. Again will link later.

RunningOutOfIdeas Fri 18-Jan-13 07:16:30

Purple your DS seems to be exactly like my DD1. I weaned her at 4 months because she could not take any more milk and needed something every 2 hours. Teething definitely made her reflux worse. She never pushed food out of her mouth and the second time I fed her she grabbed the spoon and put it in her mouth herself. I started with banana flavoured baby rice and then moved to single veg and fruit purees. DD was sick far less often once weaned.

I understand that baby rice etc have fewer calories than milk but they remain in the stomach longer so you feel full for longer. I don't think eating is purely about calories. As an adult, I know that I will feel less hungry after eating a steak than after soup even if they had the same number of calories.

The problem with WHO guidelines is that politics get involved. There is resistance to stating that in some countries weaning should be at one age and in other countries it should be different. Also, within one country, you will have differences in affluence and hence hygiene and access to good quality food. The end result is a blanket guideline giving the safest option for all.

DD1 is nearly 5. No food problems apart from slightly dairy intolerant. DD2 also has reflux and is much less able to tolerate dairy. She is 15 weeks. I will probably consider weaning her in 4 to 6 weeks time.

Figgygal Fri 18-Jan-13 08:38:05

Completely agree that looking into Links about obesity in early weaners is a complete waste of time what you feed them at this point I cannot believe has any influence on their weight in 5/10/20 years time it's about teaching healthy diet in that period not what you feed them now.

It sounds like he just needs weaned and u r just responding to his needs

tiktok Fri 18-Jan-13 10:14:13

Purple, there is very little evidence (none, I think) that formula fed babies are best off without solids until 6 mths. The WHO guidelines and the Cochrane review (all on web) only looked at exclusive breastfeeding. We just don't know about ff. In the UK, guidance simply took the bf info and extended it to ff babies.

There is no good evidence for a link between early solids and allergies. There is no good link between early solids and obesity (by early solids I mean before 6 mths, and actually before 4 mths). The Dundee cohort study found increased incidence of wheeze in babies (ff and bf) given solids before 15 weeks. The obesity link is with ff, not with solids.

For a bf baby, there is evidence (in developed and developing settings) to support, as a public health policy not necessarily for every individual baby, no solids till six months. For a ff baby, there is no evidence.

So - individual babies should be treated individually smile

Iggly Fri 18-Jan-13 11:30:07

spoon feeding vs finger feeding but actually it's a small study so hard to really be sure. I can see logically how spoon feeding might over ride a baby's feeling of fullness but if you go slowly and follow your baby's cues, should be fine.

CheungFun Fri 18-Jan-13 12:46:29

I don't have any experience with reflux, but I do have experience of a hungry baby! Figgy and I are both on the same postnatal thread and we both weaned 'early'. I have never felt so stressed as I did when trying to placate DS with yet another bottle of milk, he was feeding all the time and I couldn't keep up. He was producing so many wet nappies, the milk was just going straight through him.

My GP (who incidentally is female and at the time had a one year old) advised me to wean DS onto solids at about 18 weeks and the relief of having 'permission' was wonderful. I started off very slowly, but DS wanted more and actually took the spoon and put it in his own mouth and looked very much like a baby bird waiting to be fed! He started sleeping through the night again and he also stopped being miserable. I felt as though I'd been starving him when I saw the change in him.

I really agonised over the whole thing and spent a lot of time researching online etc. in hindsight I wish I'd saved myself the pain!

The argument on calories is a difficult one as I do accept milk has more calories than a carrot, and when asked by other mums at playgroup I tell them to aim for 24 weeks before weaning, but, if I eat a high calorie McDonald's meal for lunch, I don't know why but I'm starving by 3pm, whereas if I'd had a jacket potato I would be happy to wait until dinner time to eat.

BertieBotts Fri 18-Jan-13 12:55:39

I would stick with BLW - that way he can take in what he's ready for and all the research done on this (admittedly not much) points to BLW being a good route in terms of avoiding the usual risks of early weaning (the theory being that if they don't have the development to get the food to their mouth and swallow it they're not ready to digest it either).

I think I would personally go for hungry baby milk over "traditional" weaning if he wants more milk but can't tolerate it, and he's not yet passing the banana test, but that's just what I would do - am not an expert smile

ZuleikaD Fri 18-Jan-13 14:32:54

Agree with Bertie - if he can eat it, then he can eat it.

Iggly Fri 18-Jan-13 16:00:40

Mine would choke on bananas if you gave them one whole but would be fine with other finger foods.

Purplelooby Fri 18-Jan-13 22:59:49

Thanks everyone - I agree not to search any more - it will definitely confuse matters!

Incidentally, I 'shared' a banana with DS today and he bit right into it with his gums, but he got upset very quickly because he got hungry, so I guess the key is to try it just after a feed.

bertie I really wanted to do BLW because he can sit himself up (today he started sitting unsupported without doing a tripod) and he is so interested in food, but my problem is that he really can't regulate his appetite well. In fact, I found a fantastic article about this Reflux weaning (how brave I am doing a link?! Hope it works) which talks about doing traditional weaning with a BLW hat on. I like that idea a lot and I think that's what would suit DS. Also sadly (mentioned above) the hungry baby milk was a big disaster - I've moved him back to his first milk already...

Does anyone know where I can find a list of first-foods that might exacerbate reflux? Someone told be that baby rice sometimes does.

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