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Experiences of weaning before 6 months?

(25 Posts)
eepie Tue 25-Nov-14 08:37:38

Hi there just wanted to get some experiences of parents who have weaned before 6 months for whatever reason... My DD is 19 weeks, EBF, and she's always been fascinated by food even from 2 months old she was a very alert baby and stared at my food and made lip smacking when she smelt it. She has been able to hold her head up from birth and was a big baby (9lbs 3oz) ( I know this is not a reason to wean early but just giving info) From 16 weeks she started to lunge and grab at my plate. The other day my DP was standing up holding her and was eating chips - she followed it with her eyes, hands and mouth and quite forcefully grabbed it and put it in her mouth - my DP let her lick it for a second and then took it away.
She was getting very frustrated at my breast and screaming when the milk flow slowed down so I started taking my placenta capsules again to increase my milk supply (within 1 day my boobs were bursting with milk like when she was a newborn! placenta caps are amazing!) She was really pleased about this and now chugs down a feed - has a longer one now that the milk flows more and seems more satisfied. She feeds every 1.5 hours and sometimes every hour ! Has one breast at each feed and sometimes starts on other one too. I've tried to stick to rigid 2 hourly (pah!) routine just so that she has a FULL feed each time rather than snacking but she whines & is cranky and then chugs down a feed desperately at 1.5 hours after last feed !
She sleeps well at night though but was waking much more than usual in the night recently until I started taking my placenta caps I think it has now calmed down to once or twice rather than 3 or 4 times. Is she maybe ready for weaning? The few spoonfuls I've given her she's lunged at and been thrilled with but kind of let fall out of her mouth until last night I tried her with some blueberry, banana and baby rice and she actually swallowed and loved it ! This might sound silly but the only reason I'm thinking of giving her solids is just that she is SO interested in our food and clearly wants to join in. Her little pleased face when I gave her some houmous that she saw me eating...was so lovely....I just have an instinct that she really wants to explore food. I am absolutely fine to keep breastfeeding her on demand in the day time though, that's not the reason I want to start weaning really.

Imeg Tue 25-Nov-14 08:52:54

I started at about 5 months for a variety of reasons but I was very cautious what he had before 6 months i.e. stuck to very bland fruit/veg purees. I think it did mean that by the time he got to 6 months and was allowed to have other things he was used to having solids three times a day. I had intended to do BLW but because I started before 6 months I started on purees (my HV was very strict that under 6 months they musn't have anything with lumps in it). Once we got to 6 months I gave him a mixture of purees and finger foods, and then phased out the purees as he got the hang of finger foods because I'm lazy!!

This is the NHS advice about foods to avoid before 6 months:
www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/solid-foods-weaning.aspx

HugeFurryKnittingBalls Tue 25-Nov-14 08:55:58

My kids are mid/late teens now and when they were babies everyone weaned around 4 months so I wouldn't overly worry about it. Certainly start with sloppy mush and slowly build it up to a thicker consistency before giving anything lumpy or more solid.

wheresthelight Tue 25-Nov-14 08:59:05

discuss with your hv but as others have said as long as you stock to quite bland simple things like porridge and pureed fruit and veg then there shouldn't be too much issue

eepie Tue 25-Nov-14 09:27:06

Thanks very much for responses ! Also she has doubled her birth weight already I think is one of the things that HV's would worry about because weight gain can slow down if starting solids too early ? But my little one already has thunder thighs just one breastmilk !...haha !

babybarrister Tue 25-Nov-14 09:30:29

I weaned at 4 months - he is fine now aged 8! just follow your own gut feeling and don't mean onto McDonalds!

TobyLerone Tue 25-Nov-14 09:41:31

You've basically already started, so I'm not entirely sure what you want from this thread confused

I'll be in the minority compared to the 'my baby was eating a full roast dinner at 6 weeks and is fine' posters, but I think that the 6 month guideline is there for a reason. Babies are interested in food because they're interested in everything. They watch you and copy everything, hence the mouth movements. This doesn't necessarily mean they need food yet.
I say all this as someone who weaned at 4 months as per the guidelines in 1999, when DS was born. I waited until 6 months with DD, born this year.

So personally I wouldn't rush into it. But like I said, you've already started, so this post is pretty redundant.

ZingOfSeven Tue 25-Nov-14 09:45:11

only ten years ago it was fine to wean after 4 months. so I did that with my two eldest. (13 & 11 now)

if your baby is healthy, hungry and is interested in food why not?

TobyLerone Tue 25-Nov-14 09:47:12

Only 10 years ago you could smoke in a pub. Rules/guidelines change because we know better now.

NotCitrus Tue 25-Nov-14 09:50:08

Conversely there's not much to gain - babies are interested in everything, not just food, food is less dense in calories so can lead to them sleeping less long, and there's correlation between early weaning and food allergies and other issues.

Most parents I know gave food a bit before 6 months for baby 1, thanks to family etc nagging, but waited with baby 2 onwards just. because why create such mess when you don't have to?

BabyHaribo Tue 25-Nov-14 09:54:20

I agree with toby. The guidelines are there fora reason. Baby's under six months have immature guts and don't need food.

They are interested because they are exploring the world and they do this by copying and by putting everything in their mouths. She doesn't have any concept of 'eating' so cannot possibly want to join in.

eepie Tue 25-Nov-14 10:18:50

Interesting to hear the point made by NotCitrus about the food having less calories and nutrients than breast milk and therefore they may sleep less ....It's obvious really but I hadn't thought about that. She has probably swallowed in total about 5 teaspoons of puree and licked a bit of houmous, & pear etc but not swallowed any so I haven't properly started weaning...I guess I was just testing the water to see her response. My MIL & DP are very keen for her to have solids so they can feed her as she won't take a bottle yet...and I guess I wanted to satisfy her curiosity about food, but I suppose posters are correct when they say that she is interested in everything and wants to put everything in her mouth, not just food ! Although she goes for food with gusto - forceful lunges ! But maybe that's because she can see me putting it in my mouth and wants to do what I'm doing. I think I will hold off a bit longer with any more spoonfuls as I guess she really doesn't need it right now and 4 or 5 weeks until she's 6 months so I can hold off til then if it's better for her. And less mess for me I guess !

Littlef00t Tue 25-Nov-14 10:37:51

Nhs says around 6months. If she is fairly stable sitting unaided, and can pick up food and take it to her mouth, chew and swallow, then she is fine to start blw, a,though I would stick to fruit and veg til 6 month mark.

Hoggle246 Tue 25-Nov-14 10:41:15

I started at 5 months. Just veg purée, he loved it immediately. Waited a few weeks to introduce fruit purée then did wheat/protein/dairy about 6.5 months. Starting a bit early gave us plenty of time to take things really slowly and ds is now a fantastic eater (now 11 months). I started a bit early because he had silent reflux and didn't enjoy taking milk.

Mrsgrumble Tue 25-Nov-14 10:46:06

I started at five and a half months but only on first fruit and veg tastes and I honestly wouldn't start earlier than that.

ReluctantCamper Tue 25-Nov-14 10:46:52

The 6 month rule is from WHO guidelines. In a third world country where it's hard to keep utensils clean, provide clean water etc, it makes total sense to bf for as long as possible. Over here it really doesn't. Go slowly, but it sounds like what you're doing is fine.

kiki0202 Tue 25-Nov-14 12:10:10

DS was 3 months when I started he seemed to have some sort of issue with formula milk that made him sick and sore so I tried real food and it helped him so much though he still needed formula obviously (all problems gone when we moved to cows milk?) anyway he was great with it totally ready could eat properly and by 4 months could do finger foods. I gave him just fruit and veg for the first month or so then started to give him other things slowly.

I think you know your baby and if she seems ready let her eat I have friends who had kids with no interest in food until well over 6 months it's totally dependant on each child.

EmbarrassedPossessed Tue 25-Nov-14 15:22:14

Your relatives wanting to feed the baby is really not a good reason to introduce solid food to a 19 week old baby.

The "around 6 months" advice from the NHS is not to do with safe preparation of food, it's the fact that your baby's gut is unlikely to be mature until around 6 months. There are no benefits to starting early, and several risks. I'm always surprised how many people say "ppffft" to the current best advice from the NHS on this.

museumum Tue 25-Nov-14 15:34:17

weaning foods are pretty low calorie compared to breast milk as you have to start a young (pre-6mo) baby on things like pureed veg.

i started my ds on porridge at 5.5mo because he was ebf and refused milk from a bottle or cup and i had to start work so we made him porridge with lots of formula or ebm. I wouldn't have started till after 6mo if it wasn't for needing him to take something not from me.

BotBotticelli Tue 25-Nov-14 16:44:31

Can I just say, Tobylerone that your analogy with smoking in pubs is fatuous and unhelpful!

Smoking in pubs has now been banned because there is a scientifically proven causal link between second hand smoke and cancer.

There is no proven link between giving your baby puréed carrots and sweet potatoes and other veg/fruit before 6 months old and ANY kind of disease as far as I am aware?? Unless you care to correct me?

This kind of hysteria about weaning really ticks me off on MN.

Yes, the guidelines say that most babies will be ready for food around 6 months. Guidelines SAY a lot of things. But they are just guidelines. And I say that as someone who works for a national health organisation that develops guidelines!

Read the guidelines, take note, become aware of the evidence and then make a decision about what feels right for your baby.

If weaning before 6 months was dangerous there would be a law about it (like the law which says babies need to sit in car seats for example).

There is no law. There are guidelines which are not mandatory.

MiaowTheCat Tue 25-Nov-14 16:59:31

We did with DD2 under the supervision of the head dietician in the area because of DD2's reflux. It didn't help the reflux, just made the vomit more interesting.

We were advised to stick to fairly simple fruit and veg puree initially, avoid pureeing things into oblivion and go straight to fork-mashed consistency, and chuck in whatever finger food she got hold of from her older sibling on the side.

I went with the specific medical advice given about the child in question - rather than overarching NHS general guidelines or internet hand wringing.

Incidentally now they're both toddlers - you can't tell which of mine I weaned waiting till 6 months on the dot trying desperately to do everything "right", which one I weaned early under the dietician, which one had more of a "feed the bloody baby however works best" approach and which one I tied myself up in knots about whether I was being mean doing spoons of puree vs baby led weaning and everything else... the eldest is better with a spoon - but only in proportion to the age difference between them.

EmbarrassedPossessed Tue 25-Nov-14 18:54:53

There's been no "hysteria" (intensely dislike the use of that word given it's origins) about early weaning on this thread, as far as I can see. Just some people saying "I weaned at 3/4/5 months and it was fine", versus some others saying "I weaned at around 6 months as there's no benefits and some potential risks to doing it earlier". These are the two sides of the issue, clearly put.

BotBotticelli Tue 25-Nov-14 20:49:29

Sorry but there were definitely benefits to weaning my son at 5mo.

1. He stopped crying all day
2. He started napping again
3. He slept much better all night
4. He stopped crying he stopped crying all day.

Its just not accurate to say there are no benefits to weaning before 6 months. It would be more accurate to say that the published evidence shows no benefits in the population.

Does not mean there are no benefits for individual babies.

TobyLerone Tue 25-Nov-14 20:54:01

I'd have to say, actually, that the only confrontational post on this thread has been from you, botbotticelli.

I wasn't comparing smoking in pubs with early weaning from a health point of view, as everyone apart from you seems to have realised. I used it as an example of something else which was deemed to be ok 10 years ago and now isn't, because more research has been done. It's not to do with pedantry about laws vs guidelines.

Anyway, the OP appears to have actually taken the advice given on board, and decided to wait a while longer. It's good to see that happen.

EmbarrassedPossessed Tue 25-Nov-14 20:59:00

Yes, that's what I used "no benefits" as short hand for - no discernible benefits shown in the research available to date generally for the population as a whole.

Lots of people report benefits for their individual babies, but there's no evidence that any of those reported
benefits are actually related to weaning early.

If a parent is looking to make a decision on when to wean, take the guidelines into account, consider the signs of being ready to wean and decide what is appropriate for your baby and family. In nearly all cases the advice of "around 6 months" is sound.

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