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Help- very hungry but way to early to wean!

(93 Posts)
Paintyourbox Fri 19-Oct-12 14:02:34

DD is 17 weeks old, exclusively BF. She has always been on the bigger end of the scale weight and height wise and a very hungry baby.

She refuses a bottle so the chance of popping her on some hungry baby milk is slim. I know we shouldn't wean her until 6 months but she's taking a huge interest in food- trying to grab what's on my plate and can sit up unaided.

Several times I have put large bits of veg in front of her to play with while I make dinner, over the past few days I have been astounded that she has picked them up and tried to put them in her mouth and licked them.

Anyone had an experience like this so early?! Should I try some food for her or just leave her a bit longer? She's started waking up in the night again to feed when she was going 10pm until 6am without.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 14:35:06

Paint, yes I've got experience of weaning at that age, back in the olden days grin. Its a lot of faff, DD will take ages to eat a small amount and probably won't be getting any more calories as, before 6 months you can only really offer fruit and veg. There are far more calories in BM and having weaned 2, one at 16 weeks and one at 23 weeks I really, really would recommend waiting.

As for the hungry baby milk, did you know that it does not contain any more calories then regular formula? It just takes longer to digest. If you baby is hungry, then feeding less often means less calories, not more.

When you say she is hungry, how often are you feeding in the day? Is she feeding more often than every 2 hours? Have you tried breast compressions? Are you getting enough wet nappies and is she bright an alert at times?

Hungry babies are often lathergic and from what you've said she sounds like she is meeting all of her milestones and watching what you do, eating, cooking, putting on your makeup, is all normal baby behaviour.

As for waking at night, it could quite easily be the the 4 month sleep regression. It could also be the 4 month growth spurt or any number of other reasons. Babies do wake and it is normal. By 12 months half of all babies still wake, no matter how you feed them or parent.

Also, by offering formula and/or solids you might actually get less sleep. DDs digestive system isn't mature enough to handle solids really and she may wake with indigestion. Certainly my experience of weaning at 16 weeks was that my baby was more hungry and woke more often, sometimes screaming with tummy ache. Have a read of Will offering solids or formula help my baby sleep?.

Personally, I would stop offering the bits of food to play with too. 6 months is only a guideline but I would be worried about choking at that age. If you do want to perserve with the weaning I'd recommend going on a Paed First Aid Course. Could you just give her an empty bowl and spoon to play with instead though?

MN has got some good information on weaning here, the NHS stuff is here and you may also find this interesting reading.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 20:03:57

Did you get a chance to read any of the links paint? Keep posting and let us know what you decide smile

FamiliesShareGerms Fri 19-Oct-12 20:08:59

Not that long ago 17 weeks was the point at which weaning was advised, and DS started solids about then (we skipped baby rice because it's rank, and did purees and finger food). It's a very unfashionable approach now, and as Jilted says,there are other reasons for waking etc, but I would say not to discount weaning yet.... <prepares for flaming>

3bunnies Fri 19-Oct-12 20:13:49

Dd1 was weaned at 16 weeks, she was desperate to eat, HV said to try but she would spit most of it out. Dd didn't realise this, after 16 spoonfuls we changed from camcorder to stills. She was trying to feed herself as we couldn't get it to her fast enough. She slept a little but not much better. The other two were weaned at 5/6 months, because they didn't need it sooner, incidentally their allergies were far worse than dd1. All babies are different, the evidence is that most are better to wait, but dd1 was better after weaning.

Mankychester Fri 19-Oct-12 20:35:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 20:37:10

Still 6 months in the UK manky, well unless they've changed it today and I've missed it grin

Mankychester Fri 19-Oct-12 20:42:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 20:47:18

It's been 6 months for quite a while manky, it was 6 months when Dd was weaned 4.5 years ago and I know it was introduced before then.

Paintyourbox Fri 19-Oct-12 22:00:56

Hi everyone, have taken the time to read the links- thanks so much Jilted

I give her massive bits if veg (e.g. A whole peeled carrot or whole washed potato) for her to move about so not too worried about bits coming off.

She tends to be a very awake and alert baby, she does 6-8 wet nappies daily so I am confident that she is getting enough food. Interestingly if we are having a quiet day at home she will feed more frequently, the days we are out and about she can go as long as 4 hours as she is simply too interested in her surroundings to eat for very long.

I think in her case the 4 month regression article is very relevant so I feel quite re-assured. There seems to be conflicting advice out there- 2 of my friends who live in North Scotland were told by their HV to wean around 4 and a half months but all the literature I have (and my own HV) says 6 months.

Going to try and hold off for as long as possible!

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 22:12:07

Try not to let her go more than 3 hours in the day if you want her to sleep at night. I know that's easier said than done. Have a google of kellymom reverse cycling and it may explain what's happening on your busy days smile.

Your friends HVs are incorrect too, current guidelines are still 6 months in this country and have been for several years.

Have you signed up for the wonder weeks emails too? You might find those helpful smile

JiltedJohnsJulie Fri 19-Oct-12 22:14:06

Oh and get in touch with your local la lechwe league, they often have talks on starting solids.

Paintyourbox Sat 20-Oct-12 12:50:24

Thanks so much for your help- we have an HV appointment next week so going to chat to her about it. Also the local Children's Centre are doing a talk on general baby care so going to see if they have any advice too.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 20-Oct-12 20:04:51

Yeah, I'd see how that goes. The advice from our HVs is weird shite slightly outdated. Hopefully yours will be better smile.

Nigglenaggle Sat 20-Oct-12 21:58:44

17 weeks is the earliest you can start weaning - the gut is mature. We did this, I think you will be fine if you take it slowly (we went a bit fast, with hindsight). My rule with weaning is, if Annabel Karmel says its OK, its fine - she has done an immense amount of research and is more factual and laid back than the health visitors, who have to give you the advice which is currently in vogue.

SarryB Sun 21-Oct-12 19:37:53

I started weaning LO at 19 weeks. Just a spoonful of fruit/veg puree for the first week, before we moved on to an ice-cube sized portion. It's only in the last 2 weeks that he has regularly started having 3 'meals' a day.

I took it slowly, but it wasn't long (maybe 3 or 4 days?) before I'd sit him in his chair, put his bib on him, hand him a spoon and his smile just beamed out!

I chose to wean early because :
- he has been able to sit with very minimal support from 18 weeks. I think had his head not been so big he probably would have been sitting unaided by 20 weeks.
- by the 2nd day of a spoonful of fruit puree he had got the knack of swallowing it. He is a very 'clean' eater, very rarely does he push food back out. It only gets messy when he grabs the food spoon!
- he has suffered from awful reflux since he was born, but after the first few days of solids, his reflux pretty much stopped. I have noticed however, that baby rice makes his reflux much worse!

SarryB Sun 21-Oct-12 19:39:39

Also, my HV had no problem what so ever with me starting him that early. She even gave me a couple of spoons and a sippy cup.

Paintyourbox Mon 22-Oct-12 18:37:47

I went and bought some spoons and a sippy cup today- just for her to play about with before we actually start the process. My aim is to get to 20 weeks and then think about some baby rice.

seeker Mon 22-Oct-12 18:43:17

It's been 6 months for more than 10 years. Just saying.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 22-Oct-12 20:00:28

[smike R seeker. Paint is there any particular reason that you want to give baby rice? Can't do links ATM but try googling booby whisperer 9 good reasons for some information on baby rice smile

Nigglenaggle Mon 22-Oct-12 20:32:09

On the baby rice plus side I will add that we started with some fruit and veg like good modern parents, and the wind was awful, really bothered him. We had a short break (a few days) and restarted with a small amount of baby rice and all was well, he found it much easier to digest. Only a case study of one of course, but while it may not be the most nutritious thing you could give your child, I dont think its always a bad start. I will start with it again next time, and save my lovely purees for later. You dont have to use it for long if you dont want to.

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 22-Oct-12 20:45:29

If you wait till the recommended 6 months, there is no need to start on fruit and veg, you can just offer family meals. There is also usually less problems with wind and indigestion as the babies gut is more mature. Just saying.....

TimothyClaypoleLover Tue 23-Oct-12 15:35:43

Guidelines say 6 months but also that you shouldn't leave it any later than 6 months. You are allowed to wean from 17 weeks which is what I have done with both my DC. So OP if you want to give your baby some food that is perfectly fine.

I have also read studies/heard from HVs that there is more and more evidence that you should wean before 6 months rather than waiting for a baby to reach 6 months.

LittleBearPad Tue 23-Oct-12 16:13:26

I don't think picking up the bits of veg is a sign your DD wants solids. My daughter puts everything and anything in her mouth. It's how she learns about things.

Guidance is six months and whilst baby food manufacturers say four months this because legislation and guidance haven't yet been joined up.

If you wait until six months then there are only a few things you can't give your DD, you don't have to sterilise everything or purée everything into oblivion. Much easier grin

mamalovebird Tue 23-Oct-12 16:23:09

I weaned DS at 17/18 weeks as he was feeding constantly all day and it felt a bit like I was going backwards. Started with baby rice with a bit of veg mixed in. He gobbled it up and has had no isses since, he eats a varied diet and eats pretty much anything I put in front of him. This was 2.5 years ago. He was a big baby though.

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