Help - am confused!!(7 Posts)
I am so confused as I keep getting conflicting advice on when to wean my 4 month old. I exclusively breast feed and my health visitor and breast feeding counsellors say that we should not start weaning until 6 months. Our DS will never sleep for more than 2 hours at at time and seems constantly hungry. The HV says this is a growth spurt but other ''helpful" people have said that we should try weaning him with baby rice, or rusks mixed to a smooth paste with my milk. Most of the mums I have spoken to say that there is no reason why we can't try this as it might help him to sleep better. They have also said to try giving him a bottle of formula (eg. Aptimel no. 2 for hungry babies) before his bed time. We tried this but he wouldn't take the bottle and only wants the nipple!
The HV etc has said weaning should not start until 6 months.
I would be very interested to hear of any other experiences out there.
I wouldn't offer solids at this age, if your baby is hungry then they just need more milk. Babies are meant to feed A LOT, it's just that we're conditioned in to thinking they shouldn't feed very much. Apparently the biological norm would be for a baby to have 50-100 feeds a day! And if you study other mammals, their babies do just bob on and off as they feel like it.
However, it is annoying when they won't sleep a bit more. Could you try and encourage some longer feeds to see if he'll go more than 2 hours, or feed lying down so you can get more sleep?
People often think that not sleeping through is somehow being connected to weaning. Add to that the fact that in the past people often weaned at 12 weeks or even earlier, so older relatives can suggest this without realising that NHS advice has changed.
I wouldn't follow suggestions from friends over NHS advice. It's there for a reason, as our best understanding of the available research to date.
Particularly, rusks are not a good food for babies (no idea why they are so bloomin popular still). They are often full of sugar, and contain wheat which should be avoided before 6 months (due to the increased risk of coeliac disease, and possible allergy).
I do think though that it's worth remembering the NHS advice is to start weaning "around 6 months", when your baby is showing the signs of being ready (stick to the list on the NHS website as there is a lot of misinformation out there about supposed "signs"). So it could be 5 months 3 weeks, or 6 months 2 weeks, depending on the individual baby. It's highly unlikely that a baby at 4 months is actually ready for weaning.
Fwiw, I started doing BLW with my ds at about 5 months 2 weeks. He was 2 weeks overdue (no idea if this is actually relevant, but he always seemed to be a bit ahead with physical milestones) and extremely strong, could sit unaided and bring food to his mouth.
I think every baby is different but just wanted to say that my 6mo DS has had awful sleep for the past few weeks due to wind and constipation, presumably as his digestive system gets to grips with solid food. It has improved now with the introduction of diluted prune juice in the mornings but I just wanted to make the point that it certainly doesn't guarantee better sleep. Fwiw I weaned at 4 months as DS had reflux.
Good luck with whatever you decide and hope you get some sleep soon.
Oh and had he not had reflux I would have waited until nearer 6mo - a lot easier as they can pretty much have what you are having then, with a few exceptions.
Thanks for the replies.
Mrscog: Thanks. That's interesting about babies needing 50-100 feeds a day. I feel that I am currently up to about 50 a day as a lot are cluster feeds. I have been trying to encourage longer feeds esp during the night and have been offering both breasts. Often he falls asleep and can't wake up enough to have his second course!!
ExBrightonBell: Thanks for the info. I'm glad I didn't buy rusks or baby rice as they both seem pointless as far as nutrition goes. I may as well stick to breast milk. Things would be easier if I could express some but I can't seem to get the hang of it with the manual pump I have. Probably electric would be better but is far more costly.
Good advice about sticking to the NHS guidelines on when to wean. My ds cannot sit up on his own yet but he's extremely strong like your ds and is good at holding things and putting them to his mouth so he won't be long I don't think.
Gerty1002: Thanks. Interesting to hear about the diluted prune juice helping with reflux.
I tried to point out that early weaning does not necessarily guarantee better sleep but it didn't work. I give up!
Conclusion: I must stop listening to out of date advice. Friends and relations are well-meaning but all that happens is it leaves me totally confused and self-doubting.
I agree, some people just don't understand that guidelines change for a reason. There are some good reasons to wean early but I wouldn't say sleep is one of them.
Just to clarify, the prune juice helps with constipation, not reflux. He has medication (ranitidine) that helps his reflux, but we've seen a big difference since weaning has become established, too.
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