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Introducing solids at 4 months?

(49 Posts)
Psammead Tue 11-May-10 13:43:52

I am aware that the current advice in the UK is 6 months, but I wonder what people's opinions are about weaning a baby at 4 months.

My DD is 4 months today and weighs 14lb 8oz (6600g). She was 8lb 1kg (3650g) at birth and is on the 75% for weight and length. She's a super strong baby, can roll over, has been able to hold head steady for a long time and the paediatrician always remarks at how her musculature is remarkably 'advanced'. Sorry, I am not showing off or anything - it's just true.

The last 2 weeks, give or take, she's been needing top up feeds in the day time and at a party yesterday tried to stuff a cheese roll that I was holding into her mouth! She's fascinated by food and by people eating.

All my instincts say to try her on solids and see how it goes. And my approach to parenting is really to listen to my instincts and observe my baby's behaviour rather than to follow general advice to the letter, as I can't see how it can apply to all babies as they are all so different.

Anyway - I am interested in your opinions as some people I have mentioned it to have been horrified at the thought of weaning so early.

Psammead Tue 11-May-10 13:47:03

Should maybe add that I BF - don't know if it's relevant but want to give all info possible.

Lulumaam Tue 11-May-10 13:50:08

it is early. the NHS say no solids before 17 weeks. i would at least hold off until then.

if she has the physical development you could try her with , say , a piece of banana. if she cannot get it to her mouth, chew and swallow , leave it for another few weeks

if you do start giving food before 26 weeks, you need to avoid gluten, eggs and possibly protein.. i am not sure .. but if you stuck to fruit and veg it should be ok

personally, i wold not feel comfortabl, unless the physical development was demonstrating the internal readiness for food..

needing more milk is normal, and there are frequent growth spurts that would require more milk

even if you do introduce some solids, then you need to always offer mikl first and keep milk as the main sourve of nutrition for a good while longer

food is just a complement to milk at this stage

the weight is not really a sign

but sitting unaided , good head control, pick up , chew and swallow and loss of tongue thrust are better indicators

i would probably hold off a bit longer at least.. and offer more milk, as it is the safest most filling thing you can give a baby..

Psammead Tue 11-May-10 13:54:23

She was 17 weeks yesterday. She was born on the 11th January and today is that 11th of May - that's why I say she's 4 months, but she's 17 weeks, IYSWIM.

Thanks for your post - interesting to know about weight gain not being a sign - I was taking that to be one of the indicators.

I was thinking of baby rice to start with as an accompaniment to milk.

I'm really umming and ahhing over this! I guess if I umm and ahh long enough she'll be 6 months anyway, lol.

mama2moo Tue 11-May-10 14:00:23

My first daughter was like this and I so nearly weaned her early. I managed to hold on until 6 months and Im glad I did. I remember getting everything ready to wean and then I ummed and ahhed and put it all away again!

TBH, the amount of food they have when you wean is nothing and makes no difference to the amount of milk!

My 2nd daughter is 13 weeks old now. She was 8lb 13oz when she was born and is another strong baby. Im bf her (bottle fed dd1). Im going to hold on until 6 months for her.

Plus, when you wean before 6 months you need to sterilise everything - Breast feeding is a lot easier!!

sonsmum Tue 11-May-10 14:06:32

i would try to hold off until 6 months if you can....increase bf milk feeds....or supplement with formula if you can't.
There is research suggesting early weaning can increase risk of suffering from complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome. The gut is not really mature enough for solids prior to approx 6mnths.

joyjac Tue 11-May-10 16:37:18

This from LLL International website
"Breastfed babies do not need to have complementary food introduced until about the middle of the first year. Before that time, you will notice some signs that your baby is changing developmentally, in preparation for beginning solids in a few months. You will notice that:

* he becomes more sociable, playing and holding "conversations" with you during a nursing session
* he has a growth spurt and nurses more frequently for a while
* he imitates the chewing motions you make whilst eating -- he is practicing!

You will know that he is really ready to start solids when:

* he is about six months old
* he can sit up without any support
* he continues to be hungry despite more frequent nursing which is unrelated to illness or teething
* he has lost the tongue-thrusting reflex and does not push solids out of his mouth
* he can pick up things with his finger and thumb (pincer grasp)

Babies who are ready for solids can usually feed themselves. Mothers often report that they knew their babies were ready when they picked up food from a plate, chewed it, swallowed it, and wanted more.

Listen to your baby! Babies with a tendency to allergies may refuse solids until later in their first year. As long as they are growing well and are happy and healthy, there is no need for concern."

Don't know if any of that resonates for you. One of mine was very big baby at birth (10lbs) and massive at four months (just under 24 lbs) but did not start solids until 9 months despite being offered and even encouraged. Older child had started at 5.5 months ans was eating all around him by 6.5 months. Every baby is unique!

Mamalade Tue 11-May-10 17:17:41

I very proudly had DS2 fully weaned at 12 weeks.The child was a beast and I could not keep him fed!
He is 4 now and very strong and healthy.
Also DD3 weaned fully at 16 weeks.
It completely depends on the child.

MunchMummy Tue 11-May-10 17:27:12

I weaned my DD2 at 17 weeks. She was so hungry.
Even my HV said she wouldn't last until 6 months.

No problems whatsoever, just some baby rice for a few weeks then fruit etc. Before she was 7 months she was happily finger feeding herself everything she could get her hands on. She's 2 years old in 3 weeks time and we've had no problems. She was just ready to feed.

I'd say go for it. I know what people say about the internal organs being ready for food, but if they are ready they are ready.

Psammead Tue 11-May-10 17:47:38

Thanks very much for taking the time to reply, everyone!

FionaSH Tue 11-May-10 20:11:29

I started weaning my DS at 17 weeks - tried baby rice but he hated it so went straight to C&G creamy porridge mixed with EBM which he loved. Very quickly introduced a huge range of fruit and veggies and he's now 24 weeks so am waiting til 26 to introduce protein.

My DS was also very big at 17 weeks - approx 20lbs - and whilst some people say there is no link to size and being ready for weaning, he was ready to chew my arm off, and I could not physically make enough milk to keep him from going hungry. I'm already a stone lighter than I was prepregnancy, and still losing several pounds a week trying to keep up with the amount he wants.... I feel like a husk!!

jemjabella Wed 12-May-10 14:33:47

My friend was weaned early and now, as an adult, suffers from chronic IBS. Food for thought.

My daughter also met physical milestones early, but I still held on 'til 6 months. Given that milk provides all the nutrients babies need for the first year, I don't see the point in rushing.

CappuccinoCarrie Wed 12-May-10 14:38:19

My ds was weaned at 18 weeks, he was starving! Introduced new foods very slowly to check for any reactions, and held off on protein and bread etc til past 6m. I was told all babies' guts are ready by 6m, but many are ready by 4m.

charleyb Wed 12-May-10 15:26:25

Humm - I too am having the same dilema, my DS IS 18 pounds and is just approaching 18 weeks. Hes having top up bottles through out the day and night and is facinated by watching me eat.. Im not sre what to do either...

CappuccinoCarrie Wed 12-May-10 16:27:28

Also while I think there's a lot of sense in the guidelines that joyjac posted, my ds has never gone through the putting-everything-in-your-mouth stage. If we'd depended on him picking things up and trying them for himself he'd still be on just milk at 19m! And neither dc could sit before 7m, but both were ready for food before then (dd was weaned at 6m).

mrspooh Sat 15-May-10 21:11:21

i weaned ds1 at 17 weeks, screaming for food and am now doing ds2 who started at 21 weeks. no way was i going to wait till 6 months, both healthy boys, not big but needed more than milk. go for it.

Missus84 Sat 15-May-10 21:22:46

I think if a baby is sitting up, has lost the tongue thrust and is grabbing food and putting it in their mouth then they're probably ready!

Personally I think the loss of the tongue thrust reflex is probably the most important sign that they're developmentally ready - if you're having to push a spoon in to their mouth while they're pushing the food out again then it's too early.

lou4791 Sat 15-May-10 21:27:04

I would definitly wait until 6 months. Give baby as much of that lovely breast milk as she wants until then. Baby led weaning has worked really well for us this time ( mush fed last baby).xx

ShowOfHands Sat 15-May-10 21:34:51

The big baby thing is such a red herring. What made them big and healthy was milk and milk remains their main source of nutrition for a year. A few spoonfuls of baby rice that doesn't have as many calories as milk anyway, are not going to satisfy a baby more than milk.

And I speak as somebody who had an average 7lb baby at birth who shot off the charts by 12 weeks and was 26lbs when she tried anything other than bmilk.

If a baby is hungry the first thing to do is offer more milk. BFing works on supply and demand. The more the baby feeds not only the more there is but also it changes composition to suit a baby's growing needs.

There is no benefit whatsoever to early weaning.

And I do find the instinct thing a bit misleading too. Instinct cannot tell you a baby's gut is sealed and ready for solids. An age of 6 months and displaying the signs probably can. Why risk it?

MunchMummy Sat 15-May-10 21:50:07

My previous post mentioned that I weaned at 17 weeks. But my little one was FF. She was taking 9 ounces (the most you can possibly squeeze into a bottle for those of you who BF) and was feeding every 2 1/4 hours. I just couldn't go on like it, she needed more to fill her up. I had a 2 yr old to look after as well and just couldn't spend my whole day feeding the little one.
As I said, no problems with her, she's still a chunky monkey at almost 2, but slimming out nicely now, if a tad tall for her age.

If I'd waited until she was 6 months old I think I'd have been feeding her every hour, which wouldn't have been fair on my eldest DD.

ShowOfHands Sat 15-May-10 22:06:33

MunchMummy, my post wasn't a criticism of you. You make your decisions based on a myriad of factors.

DD did feed a lot and was sometimes feeding every 20 minutes or for hours at a time. She never lasted more than 2hrs until much, much older. She is an only though so I could commit to bfing on demand.

She was chunky too, rolls on rolls on rolls, but at 3 she's tall for her age, strong and muscular but slim. She's always going to be 99th centile or above but is just tall and strong. I quite miss the chubby little rolls. They grow up pretty fast. smile

BertieBotts Sat 15-May-10 23:19:08

I think if you are going to wean before 6 months then it really should be strict BLW or nothing - ie letting them self feed and completely regulate their own appetite. You don't hold a spoon for them or help them get food to their mouth or anything.

That way if they are truly ready and truly desparate for food, you're not depriving them, but you're also not pushing anything before it's ready if that makes sense.

And I would keep to "safe" foods ie fruit and veg really, before 6 months.

CappuccinoCarrie Mon 17-May-10 14:20:55

Sorry i disagree. As I previously said, ds has never put stuff in his mouth, but he was desperate for food, saw the spoon coming and did the most massive open mouth and excited face! We did baby rice wtih a bit of fruit and veg before 6m.
However dd was totally different, I really don't think there is a blanket rule for how to do weaning.

fufflebum Mon 17-May-10 14:37:51

Hi Psammead

It is a difficult one and I can see your dilemma. Advice tells you one thing and instinct another. Posting on mumsnet will just confuse you further I would imagine.

I have two Dc, aged 5 and 2. The 5 year old started baby rice at the age of 16/17 weeks. My DC2 started around 6 months. The advice changed between the birth of the first and second child. It has also changed since I was a baby too!

DC 1 was interested in food and so we tried a little baby rice and then a gradual introduction (now called BLW) to one thing at a time according to her response and interest. It was mainly pureed stuff.

Fastforward a few years and DC2 arrived he was not interested in food until much later and always feed differently to DC1. Anyway he was never interested in puree but would happily nibble on a runner/french bean or a soft piece of pasta.

Sorry it is a long post but the point is ALL babies are different. I appreciate that babies bodies and in particular guts develop around about 6 months however it is nonsense to suggest that one day they cannot have solids and then exactly at 6 months they can! BTW I had a long discussion with HV when DC1 was weaning about 4 months (is that 16 weeks or 4 calendar months!- quite different as you said in your post).

It is a GUIDE, it is ADVICE take it as that (I am prepared to be flayed alive)

Consider all options and take it slowly. At this stage it is just a chance for your daughter to try out taste and more importantly texture. Milk is still the main nutrition for a little while longer.

BTW my DC1 is a very good eater, eats a variety of foods and is not picky at all. She would choose a carrot over a chip and rapsberries over a cookie. My DC 2 is the same. Both children have always eaten with us and been encouraged to try and eat what we eat (that includes curry and spicy food).

Take all the advice and suggestion and make up your own mind.

Superene Mon 17-May-10 15:08:33

I say go for it. If she isn't ready for solids, she will show you! I put my ds in a bumbo seat on the kitchen table as he could sit propped by 19 weeks, and was desperate to start solids (started to wake at night, grabbed my food, watched others eating intently) even though he'd had bad reflux until 4 months. Try a couple of teapoons of baby rice first once a day for a couple of days. My ds wasn't wild about baby rice because it tastes of nothing except the milk you mix it with, but liked baby porridge. Then try sweet potato or carrot, pear or apple puree. If she rejects that then leave it for another week. And enjoy the experimenting - especially her facial expressions! Weaning at six months is a guideline, not a rule.

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