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Early Weaning.. Help Needed!

(24 Posts)
lilstarry1 Fri 19-May-06 22:06:22

...I need some advice/reassurance...

My DD is 16 weeks old (although she was a week overdue). For the last month she's been teething (no seriously!)... She's been a little poorly this last week with a cold, however these last few days she's been completely insatiable. She had a growth spurt about two weeks ago, and this behaviour is different. Not only is she insatiable but she's grumpy on and off.

She's been showing interest in my food for a few weeks now (even grabbing at my spoon..!). So, this afternoon I fed her a very minimal amount of organic baby rice. I was expecting her to spit it out - instead she finished the lot and wanted more :shock: I'm breast feeding but topping her up with a bottle of formula each evening as I simply can't satiate her

I've spoken to a HV and she says parents will know best, ultimately.. But I know advice recommends parents wait to 6 months, so I'm worried I'm starting too soon. There is no history of allergies in our familes, and I'm not giving her anything with wheat etc.

Should I continue giving her baby rice? Stop entirely? Start the weaning process slowly and surely (i.e. start giving her carrot in a week or so?).
The HV isn't brilliantly informative, and as each baby is different I figure here would be the best place to ask..

So, any advice/experience?
Thanks in advance

suzi2 Fri 19-May-06 22:23:52

My advice would be to ride it out for another couple of weeks. My DS had never ending grumpiness between 4 and 5 months... waking every hour, feeding loads, grizzly during the day. I think it was just a huge growth spurt and a load of developmental things happening. At least in another couple of weeks she'll be 4 months+.

Personally, I feel that the research, guidelines and advice that says wait until 6 months should not be ignored. So waiting until as near 6 months as possible would be better. And at 6 months you don't have to faff with babyrice and purees too so it's easier all round

Oh, and grabbing for spoons etc is just a developmental thing and in no way indicates a baby is ready for solid food in a physical sense.

Does that help you any? Probably not what you wanted to hear - sorry

moondog Fri 19-May-06 22:29:50

Lilstarry,they are just intersted in everything mum does,not partic. the food.
There are also a lot fewer calories in carrots and baby rice than there is in formula/b/milk so logically,it makes no sense to wean early.

It is also a bloody faff,and well documented that delaying weaning is better for your baby's health (less likely to develop gut problems.) If you wait until 6 mths,the baby will go straight onto finger foods,cutting out the tedious pureeing stage.

Well done on the b/feeding front but be careful with the formula

Entirely your choice of coure,but the more formula you give,the less the demand on your boobs,and the less milk they produce and so it fgoes on........

Hope it works out.Lots of people in the same boat as you on MN.

lilstarry1 Fri 19-May-06 22:30:27

I am keen to wait, but am also keen to ensure she is happy and healthy. She wasn't putting on as much weight as she should have a few weeks back... I agree that it is a great deal to do with development, and I know that being a mum means being woken numerous times She's pretty good really, what I don't want is for her to be constantly hungry...I know her grumpiness pretty well, and this is different - restless, unsettled and sad?! I offer her my boob ALL the time (and I'm about to start drinking a tea that should help milk production)..

If she didn't want it, wouldn't she have rejected it? I read a book about weaning that talks of a certain reflex babies have that stops foreign bodies getting into their mouths (so they stick their tongues out..). As I said, she didn't do this - in fact she ate the baby rice and loved every minute of it!

It's SO hard! It's not easy knowing that guidelines used to say 4 but now say 6... Arg. I may start pulling my hair out

melissasmummy Fri 19-May-06 22:31:39

I weaned at 16 weeks, DD was just hungry not too.

My HV & her scbu nurse supported me in this, as did her consultant (she was 4 weeks prem & 4lb 4oz, hence the special care & consultant)

She is now 2.8 & loves her food, and has no il effects of being weaned early.

I would say, go with YOUR instinct on this one.

moondog Fri 19-May-06 22:32:00

Hope you saw my post re calorific content lil...

FillyjonktheSnibbet Fri 19-May-06 22:32:27

agree, you should wait til 6 months, thats what the WHO says, baby food manuractueres on the other hand push for 4 months. Wonder why?

Agree the grabbing food/spoon is a devleopmental thing. Doesn't mean they're ready for food. Thats a digestive maturity thing.

At 6 months, you don't have to sterilise.

And baby rice tastes foul. They fed it to Japansese prisoners of war to induce malnutrition.

Milk, especially breast milk, has loads more calories than any weaning food. And once babies are weaned, they become much less portable as you have to carry a bag of rice cakes and bibs and crap. Plus their nappies get vile.

bonkerz Fri 19-May-06 22:33:01

I know i probably run the risk of being shouted down and stuff but my DD is 5 months old today and is on 3 solid meals a day (3 tablespoons per feed). She has puree fruit for brekky, veg for lunch and fruit for tea. Do what you feel is best. I know my daughter is enjoying it and no ill effects.

FillyjonktheSnibbet Fri 19-May-06 22:38:05

ah, lilstarry, re weight gain, thats probably cos the charts aren't properly adjusted for breastfed babies. i had the same with both my kids, weight dipped at 4 months. its what (fully) bf babies do.

she will need more milk the next few weeks, she will feed a lot cos she's trying to increase your milk supply, and if you've fed her ok til now it'll work.

hang in there! if you can, just wrap your life round looking after her and yourself. its worth it.

suzi2 Fri 19-May-06 22:40:41

Not trying to scare anyone, but remember that any ill effects may be subtle to start with and may not show themselves for years and years and years. It's hard to say "my allergies were caused by being weaned at 4 months" because to pinpoint this would be miraculous. But research is showing very strong links between weaning before the gut is mature (happens around 6 months) and all sorts of problems.

I really think that if you can just take it a day at a time and breastfeed loads you'll get through this 'funny' bit. And I agree with moondog - I can't see what a bit of babyrice and carrot would achieve as it is filling up babys tummy with bulk instead of the calories they would take with breastmilk.

moondog Fri 19-May-06 22:42:22

And remember what Filly says.
These companies want you to buy baby foods,and over the years have done a very successful job of disseminating the
'Baby needs this food' message.

bramblina Fri 19-May-06 22:44:19

I agree that you should trust your instincts but I also second suzi and moondog.
If you stuck a few pebbles in your mouth 3 times a day your lo would watch that too, it's just something else she's noticing. She doesn't realise it's food until she tastes it.
Be aware of growth spurts, they really do catch you unawares, but settle down quickly. Your body can make enough breastmilk to satisfy her- mothers managed hundreds of years ago before formula was invented! As moondog says, giving formula will deplete your production of bm. Well done for getting this far though! Also wise to avoid the gluten etc as you say.
She may not be grumpy due to hunger, it could be the teeth on the move, growth, infection, a manner of things, and as a few have said- the weaning is such a faff! It's really difficult to even leave the house!
Hope I haven't come across too harsh- just wonder have you considered all the possibilities? A new mum I know weaned her 15 wk old (who was 4 lb at birth, 4 wks early) "because she was looking for it!" How exactly?! They really don't know there's anything else in the world but milk!
Hope she settles down for you soon.

VeniVidiVickiQV Fri 19-May-06 22:46:03

Agree with moondog. If your baby is hungry then solids wont help satisfy her, only more milk will do the job effectively. Milk has a higher calorific content, and remains in the stomach longer than baby rice or fruit purees.

Up the milk content - that should make much more of a difference.

suzi2 Fri 19-May-06 22:46:15

Regarding the tongue thrust/spitting out thing... I think that babies don't always show this reflex properly with babyrice as it's gloopy. But even if she has lost this reflex (which would be very early to do so I think) it again doesn't show that her gut is ready for anything other than milk.

bramblina Fri 19-May-06 22:51:28

Yes suzi, it's the gut and digestive system that I'd be worried about. The things you can't see.

hunkermonkee Fri 19-May-06 22:54:34

Hiya Lilstarry - echo what the others are saying re waiting. DS2 is 17wo and in no way ready for food - and he's massive and feeds loads. He watches me eating too, but he also watches DS1 running about and standing on balloons (not a good idea, as it turns out) and he's not ready to do that yet

FillyjonktheSnibbet Fri 19-May-06 23:09:39

I think dd seemed ready for food at 16 weeks. I think she could have eaten it and would have enjoyed it.

Thing is, it didn't hurt anything to wait another few months. And now I'm much more confident that she won't develop allergies or anything else.

Also she's sick noticably less often than ds who was weaned at 16 weeks (bf baby, weight dropping, over dramatic HV, 1st time mum...)

lilstarry1 Sat 20-May-06 08:37:21

Thanks for all your advice! I know that BF is the best thing for my DD, I always feed her as often as possible (sometimes every hour!)... as for the evenings, the top up of formula is the only way of getting her to sleep, which is important as for the first 8 weeks of her life she wasn't sleeping properly (no day time naps etc!). I also know that there isn't anywhere near as much calorie intake in baby rice, but I wouldn't substitute a milk feed with baby rice - last night she had a tiny amount as well as her usual breast milk feed!

I know little ones are extremely curious, but part of me genunienly believes she is ready! It's hard because I am VERY keen to wait until 6 months, yet I also want her to be satisfied and happy..

I'm going to go speak to another HV next week - see what they say. I'm also going to check out her next nappy (poo inspection! lovely stuff).

Thanks for all your advice and support... I guess ultimately I have to do what is right for her and me, I'm hoping this means postponing weaning for a few more weeks... I agree, baby rice is YUK and all the puree is a great faff (although there are some absolutely lovely recipes I might be tempted to try .. joked with DP last night we'll all eat her diet

CatBert Sat 20-May-06 08:52:18

OK - well, I weaned "early" (at 16/17 weeks with DD1 - before new guidelines were introduced, and about 18 wks with DD2 when guidelines were only starting to be introduced and stupidly ignored)... MY experience was that it was totally detrimental to b/f and as a result, my milk supply dried up so much that one day (at about 5m and 6m respectively) I realised that my milk supply was almost gone, and because DDs were getting very little every feed was stressful, with them breaking off and crying and fussing and generally unhappy - I just could NOT (and believe me I tried morning noon and night) get them to stay latched and feeding to build up my supply. I had happily and successfuly b/f up until this point with no problems and they refused bottles of XBM and formula of every kind with every style of bottle I could lay my hands on, and then at this desperate point I made up a bottle of formula and they drank the lot with a kind of "thank goodness there's something there" relief.

I was devestated at my sudden inability to produce enough milk, and it's only with hindsight that I believe that by filling up their tummies with other stuff, it was making them less efficient to feed properly enough to build up my supply, and despite never having latching / feeding problems in the early days and seemingly successful b/f - it's the only thing with which I can link their sudden lack of desire to b/f.

Anyway - who knows, but that's my experience. I can tell you for definate that if I had a third, I would b/f all the way without any other substance touching their lips if I could until at LEAST 6m.

melissasmummy Sat 20-May-06 08:58:02

When weaning it is best to offer normal source of milk (whether it be bottle or breast) then offer solids after, so you don't affect the intake. The milk will always be the most important part of the meal. The solids, at an early stage are realy just tasters.

CorrieDale Sun 21-May-06 06:40:31

Can I just add to what the others have said re: 4 month grumpiness? DS got this big time. He also began sleeping really badly - we were up 6 times a night to feed some nights . I was under serious pressure from my family to wean him - they were convinced I was starving the poor little mite. But it was definitely a developmental phase because it passed - by 23 weeks he was cheery as anything again and his sleep had started to improve. That was without solids. Solids at 26 weeks only made his sleep a little worse again. I know it's a pig while it lasts - I was completely exhausted. But it passes. And I was so set on not weaning before 26 weeks because I had heard about the gut being immature and allowing solids to pass through into the bloodstream (so as to maximise the beneift received from milk), which can cause allergies, IBS, general yuckiness. Check out this link for the reasons for the guidance

lilstarry1 Mon 22-May-06 09:04:49

Thank you for all the help, it's interesting to hear different peoples experiences, I knew it was going to be a difficult one, however I also know it's finding what is best for baby, they are all so different!

Anyone else out there weaned early? I'd love to know how it went for you, if you regret it etc!

mawbroon Tue 23-May-06 09:04:23

Hi Lillstarry1. I haven't read all the posts so sorry if I am just repeating what others have said.
My DS is now 30 weeks and was exclusively bf until 26 weeks. Between 17 and 23 weeks he only gained 11oz. The graphs kept going up, but he stayed still and reached the 2nd centile line. The HV suggested babyrice but I was so determined to wait that I completely ignored her. Lo and behold, between 23 and 26 weeks, DS gained over a pound on breastmilk alone.
It was very worring for me when he wasn't gaining much. I was looking for signs that he might be ready, including him showing an interest in us eating. Yes, he was very interested when we were eating, but he was also interested in the phone, the remote control, the washing machine and in fact any object or activity that he saw.
When I started ds on solids, I put him straight on to finger foods and he managed brilliantly and now after only being on solids for 4 weeks, he can feed himself anything that I present him with.
It was tough during the constant feeding in the last few weeks before 26 weeks, but I dealt with it by co-sleeping if he woke in the night (which was most nights) and MNing during most of his other feeds!
The decision is yours at the end of the day, but based on my experience, I would advise you to hang in there and wait until 26 weeks.

lorna3586 Tue 23-May-06 14:04:04

I agree there is no need to wean untill baby is 6months old. The effects from early weaning can cause liver damage in later life so its really not a good idea. I would say that introducing more formula would be safer than weaning at this stage, but do try to increase your milk supply as breast is best. My son was 9lb10oz at birth and a very hungry baby and i asked my hv if i should consider early weaning as thats what everyone was telling me i should do, she told me of the risks and i decided against it and infact breastmilk satisfied him till he was 7 months old. obviously i started weaning at 6months but he wasnt really intereasted and was proberbly only taking about a spoonful of baby rice a day. Hes now 8months old and has finger foods. Hes eating 2 to 3 startchy meals a day now and really enjoying trying out all the different tastes and textures. good luck and i hope all goes well with whatever you decide to do.

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