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starting on solids

(54 Posts)
Samuelkane Thu 29-Mar-01 20:07:47

My baby is 10 weeks old and I have started to offer solids for one meal a day he is having baby rice just one teaspoon with dinner time bottle. He was a big baby born 9lb 15 oz. I am getting such mixed advice and am worrying I am doing this two early and it will harm him. Any advice would be grately recieved.

Eulalia Fri 30-Mar-01 08:48:28

Samuelkane - 10 weeks is far too early. All health visitors now state wait till 4 months ie around 17 weeks. Just give your baby more milk if he is hungry. Early solids can be bad for his gut and may trigger food allergies and all sorts of problems in later life.

Marina Fri 30-Mar-01 08:57:15

Eulalia's advice is the same as I was given by my health visitor, and by my childminder too. Even if he seems hungry, there are lots of very sound reasons why solids should not be given before 17 weeks, to do with his long-term health and development. I agree with you about the advice generally being conflicting, as this is a guideline which has been changed a lot in the last 30 years. My parents' generation were encouraged to start weaning babies at a far younger age.
Why not have a word with your health visitor who may be able to suggest some strategies for satisfying his appetite with milk for now? Good luck.

Sml Fri 30-Mar-01 09:19:45

Conflicting advice I'm afraid ... the fact is that some babies do get very hungry this early, and you just can't satisfy them with milk. My last one was the same size as yours, and he got RAVENOUS around 10 weeks old. He was having milk all day and still crying with hunger. On the allergies front, rice is the food that, statistically, you are least likely to get allergic to. I don't think therefore it will do any harm to give him a bit of baby rice mixed with his normal milk at this age. It will fill his tummy up. I made the mistake of letting him have too much rice, so he ate less milk and gained weight less rapidly. So I reduced the amount of rice and he made up the weight again within 10 days.
I wouldn't start giving him other foods until around 4 months though.

I know that people say babies had only milk up to the age of 1 year in the past, but I don't see how this was possible if the mothers were breast feeding. My three went very hungry at 4 months, 3.5 months and 10 weeks, and there was no way I could fill them up with just milk. They would have 3 hour feeds and then ready for another feed after half an hour! and went on like that all day. Maybe it's all down to the weight of the baby and babies are born bigger now? I don't know.

Hmonty Fri 30-Mar-01 09:32:11

You don't say if you are breast or bottle feeding....If bottle, have you tried the 'hungry baby' version of your formula? Apparently, it's slightly thicker in consistency and so makes the baby feel less hungry. I used this on my youngest. Also, I agree with sml. I started feeding baby rice to my eldest at just over 3 months as he was so hungry all the time. He only had a little and never took less milk because of it and it made him much happier. He's never looked back. I know the latest guidlines say not to start until the baby is 4 months...but these are guidelines after all and all babies are individuals.

Tiktok Fri 30-Mar-01 21:59:43

10 weeks for solids? W...a...y...too early! The guidelines have been 4-6 months for 10 years now. In addition, there's research to show early solids is linked to wheeze and other ill effects - check it out in the British Medical Journal where studies have been published. Formula fed babies may need solids at the earlier end of things, as formula doesn't change with the baby's growing needs, but not 10 weeks....breastfed babies are fine until they start looking for extra stuff round about 6 months. Why give a baby something his digestion isn't ready for?

Janus Sun 01-Apr-01 18:08:22

I too have heard that anything you give before the 4 month period can potentially be very damaging for your baby. Although not immediately apparent, starting to eat this early can lead to long term digestion problems as the stomach is not yet developed to cope with food. You can also set your baby up for all kinds of allergies. I wish I could remember where I read this exactly but I have heard it too from a number of people so there must be some truth to it. I think you just need to increase the milk feeds at the moment. I certainly remember doing this for mine.
I hope this helps but do speak to your health visitor if you want to really clarify and I'm sure she'll say the same.

Bugsy Tue 03-Apr-01 10:19:25

A whole load of us were started on solids at 2 months in the 1970s and we've survived to adulthood! However, now that scientists know more about how infants digestive systems develop the advice these days is not to introduce "solids" until at least 4 months. If your baby is very hungry, you may want to discuss this with your health visitors and see what they have to say. Baby rice is very unlikely to induce allergies but it is not a particularly great source of nutrition either. Most experts strongly recommend that your baby should receive the majority of its nutrition from milk until it is 6 months old.
Maybe your little one is just going through a growth spurt that will tail off again shortly.

Eulalia Sat 03-Aug-02 09:00:27

Thought I'd start this thread off again.

My HV has advised me to start weaning my DD at 16 weeks. As we all know 'official' advice is 4-6 months. 4 months is actually strictly speaking 17.5 weeks. She even asked me if I had already started weaning her (she is 15 weeks) as if this is perfectly natural. I think HV should stick to their guns and not be 'woolly' about this issue. I wondered what other people had been advised.

I told her I wasn't interested and she conceded I could wait the whole 6 months but if I did so that I would have to introduce lumpy food very quickly. This is because as she stated current research has shown lumpy food helps with development of the mouth and of speech. I am confused because I thought breastfeeding helped with this. Then she said that I and my baby would have to take vitamins after 6 months (Vit D and A I think?). The implication being of course that my breast milk wasn't 'good' enough for her. I didn't do this with my son and he seems fine.

Anyone out there offer any advice on this (tiktok?)

Also it seems that big babies are supposed to be 'hungrier' and need weaning sooner. My baby is on the 75th centile but I wouldn't say she was hungrier. I mean just because she is bigger doesn't mean her digestive system is more mature. This is correct isn't it?

ionesmum Sat 03-Aug-02 13:25:14

Eulalia, I was told to wean dd at 12 weeks (I didn't). We did start weaning at 17 weeks as dd became constipated and I wanted to use fruit to get her going rather than drugs. When the hv found out she put us under pressure to get dd onto baby cereal etc which didn't agree with her. We now give dd one small meal of puree a day which she loves and she is fine. We saw dd's paedetrician this week and she said we'd done exactly the right thing and to ignore the hv advice, the important thing being to follow your baby's lead. As I understand it breast milk changes with your baby's needs so should be fine for as long as you want. I posted about dd's weaning problems (looking like a right idiot- I wish I'd followed my own instincts rather than the hv) and mears says that the need for early weaning being linked to mouth developement is rubbish.


leese Sat 03-Aug-02 18:59:38

I'd agree with you Eulalia - don't wean until you're good and ready. Think my dd was about 22 weeks when I started - yep, she was hungry and fed a lot (b/f) prior to this, but really wanted to wait. the b/f itself promotes jaw development as you thought, so you don't need to start lumpy food quickly either. Do it at your pace - what difference will a few weeks later make?
She's now 15 mths, and not overly keen on very lumpy stuff, but she'll get there - and her jaw/speech development is fime!

ScummyMummy Sat 03-Aug-02 21:03:17

I think that your HV is right that chewing lumpy food at the right stage is helpful for developing speech but I don't know anything about when the "right stage" is, Eulalia. Probably doesn't matter if their tummies are ready. Anecdotally, a couple of my friends who had kids who "gagged" on lumps found they were slightly slower to talk. Who knows if there really was a connection though? Go with your instincts!

Eulalia Sun 04-Aug-02 13:50:22

Thanks for comments. LLLI says wait for several indicators -

baby is at least 5 months old and is at least 14lbs

baby has doubled their birthweight

baby has first tooth

baby can sit up (supported) and turn head away

baby has lost gag reflex

Obviously not all of these may apply but I guess if non do then it isn't the right time to start. I thought I'd wait for dd to double her bw which will be around 22 weeks.

Khara Mon 05-Aug-02 22:05:07

My friend b/f exclusively for the whole six months and her dd was on the 91st centile throughout. So it can be done.

pupuce Tue 06-Aug-02 09:35:30

There are loads of people who wait until 6 months, we are conditioned (pressured) not to but US and UK peadiatrics recommend 6 months... even if HV don't !

Bozza Tue 06-Aug-02 10:31:31

Eulalia to reverse the logic I would have thought that if your DD is on a high centile this means that your milk is sufficient for her - if you're are getting her weighed reasonably regularly then I'm sure you would notice if she started to drop off down the centiles.

My DS who is is not yet very good at talking was weaned at 17 weeks (under pressure) and we had no problem with lumps. He has been on family food since before his first birthday.

oxocube Tue 06-Aug-02 12:29:28

my d.s was 6 months before any solids: before that only b/f but now at 9.5 months, eats almost anything. I don't think hurrying the weaning process makes babies any better or worse at eating TBH: we are all different!

Eulalia Tue 06-Aug-02 19:22:56

I guess I just needed some reassurance that I can do it. She just seems so big even now -she is long as well, but I suppose my milk will adapt and they do slow down a bit in growth. She certainly doesn't feed a lot. I sleep with her and she takes a couple of feeds in the night and again early morning - I hardly notice as I am usually half asleep and she really doesn't feed much in the day.

So ... I'll try for 6 months ... only another 10 weeks to go...! That seems like forever but I'm quite happy to carry on as solids are just a faff. I think also at 6 months they can hold things better and you can just go straight onto finger foods and you don't need to worry about heating things.

chinchilla Tue 06-Aug-02 21:25:04

It seems like you know what you're doing. My ds was weaned at 4 months (calendar, not 16 weeks), because he seemed to be permanently on the breast. He was obviously ready for solids, and took to them really well.

All babies are different, and you know your own baby better than anyone else. HVs can only give general advice, and they are not the founts of all knowledge.

Good luck when you do start to wean. It is a lot of work if you make your own purees etc, but worth it IMO. I used jars when out and about, and home-made food at home. My ds loved everything!

mears Tue 06-Aug-02 23:42:37

Eulalia - I started solids at 24wks - no.1
20wks - no.2
22wks - no.3
6 months no.4

I wished in retrospect that I has waited till 6 months with all of them. I started solids when they fed 2 hourly during the night. With number 4 I just continued B/F and foung that after 2 or 3 nights of frequent feeds she settled again and slept through after boosting my supply. The others probably would have done that as well. I just didn't have as much knowledge with them. You live and learn

jasper Wed 07-Aug-02 23:50:52

Mears could you please explain your last post - forgive me as I am probably being really thick here.
When you say "I started solids when they fed two hourly during the night" do you mean that at some time around five months they started to ask for more frequent (two hourly) feeds during the night whenthey previously slept more than that? And so you thought they were not getting enough from breastmilk and so you started them on solids?

Eulalia, I hate to contradict such worthies as LLLI but I would have thought eruption of the first tooth had almost nothing to do with readiness for solids bearing in mind eruption dates are so varied and lots of babies get their first tooth at three months (or less) while many others have none at their first birthday.Okay, so teeth are handy for chewing but to view eruption of the first tooth as some kind of biological indicator of readiness seems to make no sense in view of natural variations in time of eruption.

mears Thu 08-Aug-02 11:40:46

Sorry Jasper - on re-reading that post I was not really clear. All babies had been sleeping mainly through the night except ds no.3 who did not sleep through till 8 months. He only woke for 1 feed usually. They all 'went down'( to bed if that is a Scottish phrase) at 7.30 - 8.30pm.

So when their feeding patterns changed to needing fed 2 hourly throughout the night I knew they were hungry. With number 4 I rode it out and then she started to sleep through again after she had increased the supply by demanding more feeds.
Of course not all baby's sleep through the night before 6 months so their signs of hunger will be different. Starting solids is not a sure fire way of getting a baby to sleep through the night if they have never done it before.
Still doesn't read very well does it

jasper Thu 08-Aug-02 20:18:35

Thanks Mears , it does make perfect sense.
My baby is now five months old and having struggled so hard to establish bf this time around I have a kind of fixed goal of at least six months in mind...unless he sprouts a whole set of teeth and starts raiding the fridge by himself of course

Do you think in theory you could harm an individual baby by NOT introducing solids till 6m+ ? (assuming breastmilk is plentiful)

Eulalia Thu 08-Aug-02 21:07:45

Jasper - I think LLLI used the first tooth as being one indicator but certainly not as a complete sign in itself for starting solids. As you say it is variable but it seems to be around 6 months for the first tooth for most babies.

Mears - yes I noticed my dd had a growth spurt 11-12 weeks, some I am sure would have started solids then but my body adapted and has been fine since.

I started DS around 20 weeks but stopped and started again around 24 weeks as it was Christmas and he just didn't seem interested. One friend was amazed that he wasn't taking solids at 5 months, she kept saying "has he had his lunch, dinner ...", whatever and forgetting that he wasn't eating.

Call me cynical but a lot of early infant feeding is promotion by the baby food industry, not that I am suggesting anyone here is taken in by that.

Jasper - I've heard of later than 6 months, but generally speaking the baby's stores of iron are low by that age which is why solids are encouraged. I don't think a baby would actaully be harmed though if they carried on for a bit longer. I would say that ds was around 9 months before solids were well established.

mears Thu 08-Aug-02 23:57:40

No I do not think babies are harmed at all. A frieng of mine who had 4 fat boys did not introduce solids until nearer 8 months. Depends what you read regarding iron stores. There is less iron in breastmilk but it is in a form that is more readily absorbed. The study done looking at iron absorption was actually done with grown men! I don't think we give nature enough credit on the feeding front.

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