Weaning a premature baby(22 Posts)
I’m hoping for some advice or experiences about weaning a premature baby.
My daughter arrived at 32+5 and is going to be 6 months actual age soon and I understand I need to start weaning her at 6 months.
Shes holding her head up well but isn’t sitting unaided and I think she will just slump in a high chair and shes still getting used to her bumbo so I don’t think either of them are an option so what did people use to feed their baby in?
Also what did people start with and how quickly did they find they could progress to lumpy and actual food?
I’ve read the advice on the bliss website but would like to know how people found actually doing it?
Also when did people introduce a cup?
Everything talks about 6 months but she still seems so little to be doing all this.
Well, the thing is that in some way she's 6 months, and in other ways she's only a bit over 4 months. So she isn't going to be as ready as a standard issue 6 monther. At this age, you're not trying to get calories into her as weaning food, but only exploring the taste, the texture, the experience. When people used to wean at 4 months, it was almost always starting with barely tastes of totally smooth purees, then gradually working upwards. That's one way to try. If she's not sitting yet (and I'd be a bit gobsmacked if she was at 4 and a bit months corrected), she's probably not going to be ready for baby led. Though that's something to keep in mind if she had any problems with reflux, as some refluxers hate the spoon. I'm afraid that, quite literally, it's a case of suck it and see.
I started weaning at 6 months actual (ex 27 weeker) and it took us over 3 months for her to get the hang of 'chewing' (no teeth yet but you know what I mean). She has bad reflux so was told to expect for it to take a long time but then at nearly 9 months actual she finally got it. On two meals a day and she can get through a decent baby portion. It takes a few go's when I introduce something new but we're getting there now hopeful
Do you have a baby bouncer? I’d try that with a purée and a spoon. My DS was a 30 weeker, he was in his bumbo in the middle of the table during mealtimes and I would give him bits of boiled veg to explore
I weaned DD (34 weeker) at 6 months actual. You don't have to do it at 6 months actual though, the Bliss advice is between 5-8 months actual depending on how they seem.
I used a Babybjorn bouncer chair on the highest (most vertical) setting. It was ideal, very upright but supportive and had a washable cover !
I gave her a cup (tommee tippee first cup) at the same time but she couldn't hold it herself for quite a while, so I just fed her sips of water. She was still BF so that was her main liquid, plus I made the food very wet with milk or water.
I think I progressed quite slowly, she was still having ultra smooth pureed until about 7 months corrected though tbh I think she could have progressed much quicker, I was just cautious! She didn't have any issues with lumps or swallowing luckily. I didn't give her dairy (except brrastmilk or formula) or wheat until 6 months corrected but she did have meat before that, heavily pureed.
Baby led weaning was not an option as she couldn't hold food at that stage (tbh I hate the term baby led, ok I spoon fed but I was still baby led in the sense that I didn't force it on her!!)
Thank you everyone, bouncer is a good idea as she’s quite supported in that. It sounds like I need to approach it as if I’m weaning a 4 month old then see how quickly she’s able to progress onto lumps etc
I started weaning at 8 months actual age. He just wasn't ready beforehand. He still wasn't sitting at that age so I fed him purees in his bouncer and gave him pieces of soft fruit to suck. I didn't give him finger foods until he was sitting unaided.
I was very worried about iron etc so gave him a multivitamin.
He's 3 now and has turned into a fabulous little eater after a long phase of wanting mostly milk.
We started in the bouncy chair too, then onto a high chair with some extra cushions in it for support once he could hold his head up for longer
We found it better to make lunch the meal where we introduced new foods, because DS has never been a morning person, and by the evening he was tired and his head would be more floppy IYSWIM
Not much help, but just wanted to add that you can buy highchairs which have several recline positions, so baby doesn't have to sit bolt upright. We've just bought one from Argos, it's fab!
No need to start yet; wait until your baby is a little older
I have a 31weeker who is soon to turn 6 months actual too. We have the Fisher Price sit me up giraffe chair. He sits really comfortably and supported in it and it has a tray which will be useful for weaning. I'm starting with purees but not sure how I'm going to progress from there
We have just started weaning, same age baby as yours. It's going very slowly. I either get someone else to hold him while I feed or sit him in mama's and papas type of bumbo with a towel wrapped all the way round his middle so he is bolt upright. They can't really swallow if they are leaning back or reclining too much. He is having high protein stuff like fish or Greek yog. Don't bother with fruit or veg yet. We got referrerd to hospital dietition.. if you need more advise I would recommend it!
I didn't start weaning my DD1 until she was 6 months corrected, rather than actual as she was 3 months early so would not have been ready at 6 months actual. I think it depends on the individual baby, if they are not ready just leave it until they are. I started with a couple of small spoons of baby rice mixed with EBM, think I fed her sat on my knee to start with. Are you still having follow up appointments with the neonatal doctors, if so they should be able to give you some advice.
Hi my DS was born at 35 weeks and I’ve been told I need to wean him but HV. He’s just turned 5 months but was on 14oz of milk every few hours. He’s still behind developmentally but is getting there with his sitting up and he’s starting to put things to his mouth!
Unfortunately I’ve had to start on purees but hope soon to be BLW. I was told it’s more to do with how long they’ve been on milk rather than how early they were. It may be different for babies more prem than mine though xx
I would be careful with feeding in a bouncer as she'll be tipped back so may struggle if she gags on something.
With DD (29+3) we started weaning slightly early at 5 1/2 months actual, as she was having issues with her milk. We used the Ikea Antilop highchair and you used to be able to buy an inflatable insert which was brilliant. I'm not sure these are still available but there's some other sort of insert available now which you might need to bulk up with teatowels. You'd obviously watch her like a hawk in it still!
This is probably late but will help others
Preemies should be weaning at actual age rather than corrected. (HVs will try and tell you opposite so research!) The Bliss website does a good pdf to explain why and helpful tips
Actually Bliss has updated guidelines. Which leans more towards corrected than actual age and suggests waiting for a minimum of 17 weeks corrected before starting.
Actually Bliss has updated guidelines. Which leans more towards corrected than actual age and suggests waiting for a minimum of 17 weeks corrected before starting
That’s quite a change it’s scary how it can change on such a scale.
In our case it was hopeless for a long time anyway 🙄 we supplemented with iron for a long time and she didn’t managed to eat and keep much down for many many months(reflux, I hate you)
You wean at actual age, not adjusted as the digestive system matures from birth.
I believe the WHO guidelines for premature babies were actually from 4 months as they often don't have enough stores of the required vitamins and minerals to get to six months. But my premmie is a few years old now so they may have updated them.
I used an IKEA Antilop chair with the insert and a towel to prop him up.
As I said earlier the weaning guidelines have changed (my 26 weeker was born in Jan) and the consultant and the dietitian both suggested not rushing it. So 17w corrected minimum and preferably before 9 months actual.
Mine is on iron supplements which I believe is now the standard (all preemies are sent home on Sytron) as well as baby vitamins. So that's not an issue.
Honestly I found that at 17 weeks I was shoving food into his mouth. He was willing, of course. But it was around 24-26 weeks corrected that he 'got it' and began to enjoy his food, explore textures and self feed. I believe from other Preemie mum friends that more and more consultants are recommending that we wait to wean premature babies.
On a related but separate note we had a physiotherapist appointment (and we were then discharged) and she said that one of the things/reasons they were recommending not weaning early was that babies with very soft spines were being propped up in unnatural positions in order to be fed and this had its own consequences. That was fascinating and I hadn't considered that.
The reality is that the research on the ground is fairly thin on weaning preemies so it's not a surprise the advice keeps changing.
I have a 32 weeker, 7 months actual and 5 corrected. His consultant & dietician told us to crack on and let baby guide us. He can't sit up unaided so I feed him in his bouncy chair & he gets on just fine. I also hand him the odd bit of finger food to try/play with and I'm amazed at how good he is with his coordination already!
Just trust your instincts with what you think your prem can cope with as this is generally the right thing to do. If I buy any pre made foods (which isn't often) I tend to get ones that are tailored for his adjusted age, just to be on the safe side.
I must stress the obvious of supervising him when you feed!
I wouldn't worry too much about age. I had a 30 weeker who was definitely ready at 6 months so I did traditional weaning. I also sat him in his bouncy chair as he was too small for a high chair. When he moved on to lumpier consistencies he hated it though! He could eat them, he just didn't want to and meal times were a nightmare for months. He's 5 now and not too fussy lol. My 2yr old was born at 33 weeks and I wanted to do BLW with him as my first was such a nightmare with lumps I didn't want him being the same. He really wanted the food but couldn't swallow anything without gagging and being sick bless him, he was so desperate to eat but couldn't! He hated purées and wouldn't let me spoon feed him, so would just suck on mango or those carrot crisps that look like wotsits. He didn't eat properly until 9/10 months, and he is fine now (other than being fussy!)
As long as they are having plenty of milk I wouldn't worry about how much food they're having for a few months yet, so it wouldn't matter if you waited a bit longer, but try and see what your baby thinks of it
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