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health visitor advises rusk in fromula milk for "hungry" 10 week old baby!

(32 Posts)
jasper Wed 03-Jul-02 21:46:49

I cannot believe what I have just heard. A friend of a friend has started to give her 10 week old formula fed baby a rusk dissolved in her lunchtime bottle at the suggestion of her HV.
The mother in question is delighted as her baby is much happier.
What's going on??

Bozza Wed 03-Jul-02 21:57:23

My MIL also advised this, but as far as I was concerned this was "pinch of salt" advice and I ignored her. Can't believe it from a HV though. Isn't there supposed to be a risk of choking besides the "no solids before 4 months" guideline?

BTY didn't work that well for MIL - DH and SIL are both v. skinny!!!

Tissy Thu 04-Jul-02 08:27:52

Your friend of a friend should inform her GP of the advice that their health visitor is giving out- it sounds like a disciplinary offence to me!!
(But as she's happy she probably won't!)

Joe1 Thu 04-Jul-02 09:33:46

I know people, some family, who have given rice to babies in their bottles, one was only a few weeks old.

Snugs Thu 04-Jul-02 09:58:58

My mum recently confessed to me that she gave my (now nearly 5 yr old) ds rusk in his bottle when he was about 10 weeks old. She knew that if she had told me at the time I would have hit the roof. It didn't do him any harm and I must admit that in the early, stressful weeks he did seem to settle very easily when my mum cared for him - maybe he was extra hungry and this old method helped fill his belly.

I am not advocating feeding them in this way - but I am aware that many mothers of my mums generation did this (crushed arrowroot biscuit was a big favourite) without adverse effects.

I've got to be honest - my main concern would be the clogging of the teat and insufficient cleaning afterwards. Weaning age advice has changed so much over the years, 10 wks wasn't always considered early. My strapping 40 yr old db apparently had his first arrowroot 'cocktail' at 6 days old!

PamT Thu 04-Jul-02 10:19:29

Jasper, how old is this HV? It is something that was done in my mum's day. I thought that the main reason for delaying weaning was to cut down on intolerances so rusks would be a risk because they contain gluten - don't they? I was always told to leave weaning as long as possible, preferably until around 4 months but not introduce gluten until at least 6 months. Your friend should have been pushed towards a formula for hungrier babies rather then adding cereal to the bottle.

SimonHoward Thu 04-Jul-02 10:34:35

DW started DD on SMA White after about 5-6 weeks and started putting rice in one bottle a day, usually the last one about the same time.

DD was and is very hungry and we started her on Rusks by about 8-9 weeks and on other very soft solids by about 12 weeks. She's now on 3 meals a day and bottles.

Does anyone else have a problem with their little ones getting their noses into the food on the spoon though?

tigermoth Thu 04-Jul-02 12:09:06

Jasper, my toddler son's first childminder sugested I add some rusk to his evening bottle of milk to help him sleep. He was six months old at the time. She was in her mid thirties and had used this method to get her own young children to sleep, so as you've found also, this practice is alive and kicking. I didn't go along with her advice because I was worried about the cereal expanding in my son's small stomach and causing him distress at night (remebering that uncomfortable full feeling you can get 10 minutes after eating a bowl of wheetabix) I also remembered reading that it was very inadvisable to mix food and drink in a bottle.

However, I have seen tins of cereal drink next to tins of formula at our local chemist. I think these are marketed as cereal additives to help line the stomachs of hungry babies. I'll try and check up on this.

Joe1 Thu 04-Jul-02 14:27:41

Why is it people are happy to feed up their baby so it will sleep instead of perhaps giving larger bottles, different milk or just spending time with it. My mil was happy that dh was on bottles (I believe he had rice or rusk in his bottle at an early age) as it gave her those 4 hours to get things done while he slept instead of those 2-3 hours I had with ds in the early days of breastfeeding.

mears Thu 04-Jul-02 15:31:49

I am absolutely appalled by this advice coming from a H/V.
It is inadvisable because of the risk of choking - often the teat needs to be made bigger to get the thickened milk out. The baby will probably develop those large puffed out cheeks because of the extra suction required to get the gloop out the bottle.
If a baby cannot take rusks off a spoon it certainly should not be sucking it out of a bottle.
It is very short sighted to say that a sleeping baby is worth the inappropriate diet from a young age. Adult diseases are programmed by the food intake of babies such as colitis, ulceration, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes to name but a few. The rates of asthma and eczema and type I diabetes in children are thought to be linked with such practices.

I do not want to be alarmist but these are very real risks that are taken just because the desired outcome of a sleeping baby is sought after. It is impossible to say that no harm is done by introducing solids so early.I certainly would not advise anyone to take the risk.
Don't get me started as I can be obsessed over this. I would have the H/V disciplined and sent on immediate professional updating !!!

Bozza Thu 04-Jul-02 16:18:40

Snugs - you are obviously much more tolerant than I am. Even after five years I would still have hit the roof.

ionesmum Thu 04-Jul-02 16:59:23

I was given the same advice by a g.p., a practise nurse, my fil, and my cousin, who also gave her baby melted chocolate and cleaned her dummies by licking them! My mum did say that she did the same with me but didn't actually suggest that we did.

susanmt Thu 04-Jul-02 20:06:11

The rusk in a bottle thing horrifies me, esp as the advice is being given by a HV. However, I am guilty of giving ds's dummy a quick suck and sticking it back in!
I heard this definition : STERILISATION : What you do to your first baby's dummies by boiling and your third baby's dummies by sucking!

Eulalia Thu 04-Jul-02 21:02:45

This also appauls me. I thought it was standard practice for any health professional to state that solids shouldn't be introduced before 4 months. Strangely though it seems to be taken with a pinch of salt. At my health centre they state "16 weeks" which isn't strictly speaking 4 months. And I can imagine some mothers thinking a week or two before that won't matter. No matter what people used to do before research has shown that early solids are bad. And Snugs surely it depends what you mean by "adverse effects". Some effects can take years to show as mears points out.

Babies often go through a growth spurt around 3 months of age and many parents put them onto solids becuase of this. A bit of extra feeding and often things will settle down again. Anyway what is wrong with feeding your child more often?

Certainly as far as breastfeeding goes you just feed more often for a few days and your body adjusts to the extra demand. Don't know much about formula but have heard that these milks for hungrier babies are just a marketing con.

jasper Thu 04-Jul-02 21:28:37

PamT, not sure how old the HV is.She had also advised the "hungrier babies" formula.
The mother is about 21 and the best friend of a friend I work with who is about the same age. The girl from work was here for tea last night and I was breastfeeding my baby and she asked if it was not a lot of bother to breastfeed, and she began to talk about her friend's baby and that is when the rusk in the milk came up.It was almost as if she was giving me a few tips on how to make my life a bit easier!
I had heard of this practice before but thought it was only ignorant people who did it, and not as a recommendation from a HV. I did not feel in a position to say that this was a really bad idea .
Mears, the baby does have really fat cheeks.

Enid Thu 04-Jul-02 21:43:28

Mum gave me egg yolk at 6 weeks old and I do have hay fever but no food allergies to speak of. I think that the rusk advice is just old-fashioned, I doubt it could really do any harm.

aloha Thu 04-Jul-02 21:58:52

I also think early solids are a complete waste of time. Ds was a poor sleeper but did not sleep a minute longer or better on solids than he did on milk. Time and patience saw him develop good sleeping habits, not stuffing food into his immature stomach. My MIL went on and on about giving him solids and also put my dh on cereal in the bottle in his first few weeks of life. She even used to ring me up just to try to persuade me to give him baby rice at 3months. Drove me MAD. I had to give him formula in hospital as my milk took a long time coming in and he was hungry and a bit dehydrated (though Mears mentioned medication that could have kick-started the milk) and I would have preferred to have exclusively b/fed him and for longer because of the immunity thing.

PamT Thu 04-Jul-02 22:00:16

Jasper, when I went to parentcraft classes for DS1 (nearly 10 years ago) our near retired MW told us never to put anything in our baby's bottle other than milk. I think the advice that they pass must be all down to personal preference. This particular MW was involved with tests at Queen Charlotte's hospital where the babies on the maternity ward were all given the same food as their mothers but liquidised and bottled. I don't know what the outcome of the tests was but current advice certainly seems to go against this practice.

Deborahf Thu 04-Jul-02 23:41:40

I think giving a baby solid food in a bottle is a bad idea - clogging the teat, etc.

However, at 8 weeks old my ds was having a small amount of baby rice mixed with breast milk as he was so hungry!! He's now 6½ years old and doing fine. It certainly didn't do him any harm and I had a much happier baby. On the other hand, my dd, now 9½ months old didn't start on any solids until she was 4½ months old.

tiktok Fri 05-Jul-02 09:30:33

Adding stuff to the baby's bottle also risks dehydrating the baby - the younger the baby, the greater the risk. Rusks would be worse than rice, too, because there is more sodium in rusks. At 10 weeks, the risk of dehydration with one rusk added to one bottle is probably not very great but it is still very poor advice for a health professional to give. There is a reason the advice changed - babies were being made ill, and the risk of allergy in susceptible babies was shown to be increased. I think this HV should be challenged as well, but who's going to do it, if the mother herself is happy?

leese Sun 07-Jul-02 18:27:38

Bad, bad idea - tantamount to force feeding. The baby wants the milk, and in order to get it, has to take the solid matter too, whether he/she wants to or not. Agree with all points made - a definite no-no.

Rosy Mon 08-Jul-02 12:30:46

My mil tells me how she was putting rusks in my bil's bottles when he was 10 days old! When I expressed alarm at this, she told me she had to because he was so hungry. (I thought privately that he was probably crying so much because he was so thirsty). He now has severe asthma which is controlled by drugs & inhalers - not that I'm saying he would have been in perfect health without this.

My HV was concerned when I hadn't started weaning dd at 13 weeks. I did what she said because at the time I thought she was very wise, but I'd do it much later the next time round.

Bumblelion Mon 08-Jul-02 12:39:23

All this about putting food in a bottle, if a baby was being solely breast fed there is no way you would be able to add food to your breast milk - if your baby was hungry or unsettled, you would just feed him/her for longer.

Tissy Mon 08-Jul-02 12:44:49

Perhaps mears or leese could enlighten us about the training that health visitors receive? I've posted elsewhere about my awful health visitor- I, too, was concerened that the "party line" was no solids till 4 months, and she was pressing me to wean soon after dd turned 12 weeks. That and telling me to get my totally b/fed baby sleeping by topping up with formula! Oh, I could go on and on...

Philippat Mon 08-Jul-02 13:58:31

My HV advised me to encourage dd to take a bottle (as opposed to breastfeeding) by putting sugar in it.

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