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Do you have to start weaning at 6 months?

(37 Posts)
newmum234 Sat 26-Sep-20 10:03:16

My little boy is getting on for 5.5 months so I’m starting to think about weaning. The problem is I just don’t know where to start! He’s also not able to sit up without support yet, so we don’t have a highchair. Should I wait until he can sit up on his own before purchasing a highchair and starting weaning? What’s the latest age you should start to wean?

OP’s posts: |
Persipan Sat 26-Sep-20 10:18:52

I'd suggest getting a couple of books on the subject, having a read and then formulating a plan from there. Re: the highchair thing, I'm planning to start weaning my baby in a week or so, so I got a highchair a couple of weeks ago and have started sitting him in it at mealtimes to get used to it and I have to say he's getting much less slumpy in it than he was to start with - I think seeing other people sitting up around him is encouraging him to give it a go. I got the IKEA one, which with the cushion insert is really very supportive.

newmum234 Sat 26-Sep-20 10:26:49

Thanks @Persipan - do you happen to have a link to the Ikea chair?

OP’s posts: |
NannyR Sat 26-Sep-20 10:28:17

I think the official guidance is that babies must be able to sit unaided before you start weaning but in my experience there are some babies who are ready for food before they can reliably sit on their own. I'm not talking about weaning a baby who is totally unable to sit upright in a highchair, but some babies are ok if they just need some added support like an insert cushion or a rolled up towel.

peakotter Sat 26-Sep-20 10:32:31

Check the NHS advice rather than a book- they all have their own agendas.

I looked into it a lot due to having a premature baby. It is important for their gut to be receiving small tastes of food from 6 months. But the quantities can be absolutely tiny. I just let mine lick things, or suck on a strawberry etc. They don’t need to be getting any decent quantity until they are 1.

I put my premie on my lap and let him play with my food or mashed veg. The others had the ikea high chair.

Persipan Sat 26-Sep-20 10:36:59

This is the one: www.ikea.com/gb/en/p/antilop-highchair-with-tray-silver-colour-white-silver-colour-s29067293/

Plus there's an inflatable cushion and cover which it links to from that page

pastabest Sat 26-Sep-20 10:54:12

NannyR

I think the official guidance is that babies must be able to sit unaided before you start weaning but in my experience there are some babies who are ready for food before they can reliably sit on their own. I'm not talking about weaning a baby who is totally unable to sit upright in a highchair, but some babies are ok if they just need some added support like an insert cushion or a rolled up towel.

The sitting unaided thing relates to in a high chair and not that they have to be able to sit without any support at all.

Providing they can sit up in a high chair without having to be wedged upright in it it's fine.

Babies who are exclusively breastfed do need to start weaning at around 6 months as their iron reserves start running low. There's less concern about formula fed or mix fed babies as formula is fortified with iron.

GunsAndShips Sat 26-Sep-20 11:01:41

Sitting with some support is fine. Lots of babies still need a bit of support to sit for a few months past weaning age. It's about them having the strength not to slump and also not eating whilst reclined. So no bean bags and bouncy chairs while eating and they should be reasonably stable in their high chair or on your knee without slumping.

RosaBaby2 Sat 26-Sep-20 11:38:58

No you absolutely don't have to start. Food under 1 is just for fun. Just a taste here or there is fine as long as you think they're satisfied. My son was barely interested until about 11 months old. Milk is all they need really. Don't worry yourself xx

newmum234 Sat 26-Sep-20 12:51:20

Thanks all!

Once they start weaning, do you reduce the amount of formula you give them or just keep it the same?

OP’s posts: |
Lockdownseperation Sat 26-Sep-20 12:53:32

Keep the amount of formula the same. At first you offer food 30 to 50 min after milk when they aren’t hungry so they can explore the food.

Stinkyguineapig Sat 26-Sep-20 12:59:12

The guidelines change all the time. When I had first DC the advice was 4-6 months. At 4 months my baby wasnt interested in food and wasnt showing any of the signs that suggest you should start weaning. But the HV was really badgering me to try, saying they wouldnt have enough protein and iron. I was influenced by her and tried and it was awful and I found it really stressful as my DC wasnt ready. 3 years later with next DC they were showing signs if being ready at 5.5 months but the official guidelines then were wait til 6 months, and same HV encouraged me to hold off weaning. I went with my own instinct and started a few weeks early and it was so much easier 2nd time round.

GrumpyHoonMain Sat 26-Sep-20 13:03:32

To wean before 6 months babies must be able to sit unaided. But 6 months is when iron stores run out so you are risking major growth and nutritional difficulties by not weaning on time - if he can’t sit straight prop him up and go slowly with purees.

Lockdownseperation Sat 26-Sep-20 13:03:52

The guidelines have been 6 months for over 20 years.

BertieBotts Sat 26-Sep-20 13:08:06

There's no guideline saying they need to sit unaided, just with support.

You should start at 6 months but there's no rush. Milk continues to be the majority of their nutrition until 12 months.

There a great post about baby led weaning myths by analytical armadillo if you want to look that up.

BertieBotts Sat 26-Sep-20 13:08:40

You can start with him sitting on your knee if you like smile

mylittlesandwich Sat 26-Sep-20 13:17:09

6 months was a great time for us to start weaning.DS was interested in food and could sit comfortably in his high chair. He was 8 months before he could reliably sit unaided. He's 10 months now and loves his grub. We've found that as his food intake increases his milk intake decreases. He's still on 3/4 bottles a day and I'm aware than needs to be cut down but we'll get there.

NoRoomInBed Sat 26-Sep-20 13:23:26

I was told 6 month even if they cant ait unaided and you can before that if they can sit. I've weaned all of mine at different ages. It was whenever they could pick things up to their mouths and was interested in food copying chewing

ChelseaCat Sat 26-Sep-20 13:27:54

I did an online weaning course with Baby Steps - it was brilliant and gave me so much confidence with starting weaning. It was about three hours and cost about £20

www.baby-steps.co.uk/weaning

Ihaveoflate Sat 26-Sep-20 13:28:55

I agree that the NHS pages on weaning are probably all that you need, but if you are looking for a sensible, pragmatic book I can recommend Weaning Made Easy by Dr Rana Conway. I got a cheap 2nd hand copy off Amazon and I found it really helpful.

killerofmen Sat 26-Sep-20 13:31:40

At 6 months, weaning consists of put food in front of them. 90% of that food will end up on the floor and in their hair.

CoffeeDay Sat 26-Sep-20 13:46:34

DD was weaned at 7.5 months as she was still too wobbly to sit upright at 6 months and we had a trip to a friends wedding at 7 months with lots of overnight stays at different hotels. Not sure how it works in the UK but we booked one session with a private midwife who gave us basic tips about weaning.

DD always had a very sensitive gag reflex so the tiniest crumb or lump would make her throw up. BLW was impossible as she had to bite and chew herself which involved too many lumps. In the beginning she could only manage a few spoonfuls of very smooth carrot or sweet potato puree or a bit of baby porridge. Up until 12 months she got the majority of nutrients through breast milk or formula.

I found it useful to just go with your baby and not worry about what is written in official guidelines. DD ended up a very slow weaner and only managed to eat a biscuit without gagging around 13-14 months. Between 12-16 months she was still on fully pureed foods (a mix of fruit, veg, meat and grains). Starting at 16 months I started giving her BLW style snacks that most babies get at 8-12 months. She got over the gag reflex and learned how to chew and swallow. She's 21 months now and eating perfectly normally!

CoffeeDay Sat 26-Sep-20 13:52:15

Forgot to mention that even at 7.5 months she was still a bit wobbly in the high chair. We also had the Antilop from Ikea and the cushion helps a bit to wedge her in place. I think sitting upright isn't a huge problem as long as they can keep their head up long enough to eat and swallow some puree. The huge majority of babies around that age should be fine

newmum234 Sat 26-Sep-20 14:03:13

DS is 100% formula fed - is there still an issue in terms of iron reserves after 6 months? I thought formula would contain the full amount needed?

OP’s posts: |
GrumpyHoonMain Sat 26-Sep-20 18:08:24

newmum234

DS is 100% formula fed - is there still an issue in terms of iron reserves after 6 months? I thought formula would contain the full amount needed?

Formula only gives the amounts needed until 6 months. Beyond that it’s just a supplementation - the diet should contain most of it

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