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Can I ask about weaning?

(16 Posts)
AngelF Mon 09-Oct-06 12:28:49

I'm fairly new here, so please don't jump on me if I make a faux pas

I have a 16 week old DD so I'm starting to gather information on weaning.

I know that the offical guidelines are 6 months and I have heard the suggestion that weaning early can result in more allergies. If the guidelines only changed a couple of years ago, then why don't older children and adults who were weaned early (I've heard as early as six weeks!) have a higher incidence of allergies? Can anyone point me to the evidence base of why it is thought that younger weaning=more allegies?

I'm also interested in the suggestion that the gut is too immature before six months. Does it then follow again that older children and adults who were weaned before having a "mature gut" have a higher incidence of digestive tract problems? Is there any evidence base for this?

rebelmum1 Mon 09-Oct-06 12:47:51

Some info from UNICEF

Allergic disease (eczema, asthma and wheezing)
Saarinen UM & Kajosaari M (1995). Breastfeeding as prophylaxis against atopic disease: prospective follow-up study until 17 years old. Lancet 346: 1065-1069. [Abstract]
150 children were studied up to the age of 17 years to determine the effect on atopic disease of breastfeeding. The subjects were divided into three groups: prolonged (>6 months) intermediate (1-6 months) and short or no (<1 month) breastfeeding. They were followed up at 1, 3, 5, 10 and 17 years. The prevalence of manifest atopy throughout follow-up was highest in the group who had little or no breastfeeding. Breastfeeding for longer than 1 month without other milk supplements was associated with a significant reduction in the incidence of food allergy at 3 years of age, and also respiratory allergy at 17 years of age. Six months of breastfeeding was associated with significantly less eczema during the first 3 years and less substantial atopy in adolescence.
Lucas A et al. (1990). Early diet of preterm infants and development of allergic or atopic disease: Randomised prospective study. BMJ 300: 837-840. [Abstract]
Preterm infants were randomly allocated to receive preterm formula or banked human milk, alone or as supplements to the mother's own milk. The use of human milk was associated with a significantly-reduced incidence of allergic disease, particularly eczema at 18 months in those with a family history of atopic disease. In those without a family history there was no effect.
Oddy WH et al. (1999) Association between breastfeeding and asthma in 6 year old children: findings of a prospective birth cohort study. BMJ 319: 815-819. [Abstract] [full text]
An Australian study followed 2187 children from birth to age 6 years and found that the introduction of milk other than breastmilk before 4 months of age was a significant risk factor for asthma (odds ratio 1.25; 95% CI 1.02-1.52) after adjustment for confounders. It was also a risk factor for wheeze three or more times since 1 year of age (1.41; 1.14-1.76), wheeze in the past year (1.31; 1.05 to 1.64), sleep disturbance due to wheeze within the past year (1.42; 1.07-1.89) and positive skin prick test reaction to at least one common aeroallergen (1.30; 1.04-1.61).

SoupDragon Mon 09-Oct-06 12:49:41

"why don't older children and adults who were weaned early (I've heard as early as six weeks!) have a higher incidence of allergies"

Ummm they probably do. The number of epi pens at a Sllergies have greatly increased.

Why do you want to wean before 6 months anyway? I've jus been through this with DD (8 months) and life was far simpler before she was weaned. I wouldn't be in any hury to do it.

SoupDragon Mon 09-Oct-06 12:50:14

The number of epi pens at a recent holidya playscheme was scarey. Allergies have greatly increased.

fluffyanimal Mon 09-Oct-06 12:56:29

Interesting that the research paper abstracts posted by Rebelmum only seem to talk about breast vs formula or other milk before 6 months. It isn't clear from these papers whether a baby who was given solids before 6 months together with breast as the only source of milk, would be more prone to allergies.

Angel, if you think your baby is ready for weaning before 6 months, e.g. trying to grab your food, waking more frequently at night, then I'm sure it is OK to do so slowly and with advice from your HV. Babies are all different after all.

rebelmum1 Mon 09-Oct-06 13:11:41

yes it's just a quick reference, statistics are easily available for breast v formula. Not sure of statistics available for just formula v food. There are signs to look for when a babies ready for weaning, my daughter was fairly early at just 6 months she had a teeth and was wanted to eat my food.

AngelF Mon 09-Oct-06 13:46:12

I have not decided to wean early, I'm just information gathering so that I am well informed. Its interesting that the studies quoted so far don't concern solids (although thank you for them they are very interesting).

I'd just like to make an informed decision, goverment guidelines are only as good as the quality of the research they are based on.

rebelmum1 Mon 09-Oct-06 14:19:23

I'm sure that the World Health Organisation and Department of Health will have researched the topic, more info here

Apparently if there is a history of allergy it is better to wean later.

Dazza68 Tue 10-Oct-06 10:12:49

My wife has just started weaning our 6 month old baby boy after exclusive breast feeding. Introducing him to solids is hard work, he only seems interested in yoghurt. Does anyone have any tips?

oops Tue 10-Oct-06 10:15:58

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oops Tue 10-Oct-06 10:16:26

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odbod Fri 13-Oct-06 21:17:35

Dazza68 - have you only just started weaning? if so ds probably won't get into food for a while - I was told they need to try food about 50 times before they know if they like it or even recognise it, probably likes yoghut because close to milk... keep going with it (and I'd recommend Annabel Karmel book for good receipes)

sorry guys that has nothing to do with orginal thread but hope it helps

jaxy1 Fri 13-Oct-06 21:39:14

hello i'new to this site but have a situation that im not too sure on, i have baby boy of nearly 8weeks he seems to want food all the time, when he was 4weeks we put him on aptamil extra as he was demanding bottles all the time, now he seems to take between 16 and 24 oz of milk before he goes to bed?? should i be worried? my health visitor doesnt seem to be, and said i cant wean him til 6months, he just seems constantly hungry, has anyone any ideas or experience of this??

Felix1 Sat 28-Jul-07 11:21:08

I have recently started weaning my son of 7 months, but he won't open his mouth for the spoon. As soon as I try to get the spoon in, he closes his lips tight.
We've been trying for a few weeks and it's not getting any better. Any advice?

kellogs Sat 28-Jul-07 22:40:51

hi all
my ds is 8 weeks & i've had to put him on organic baby rice once a day. this is due to him getting excited when he sees our plates of food, kicking, cooing, waving his arms about. he's also not wanting milk after 2-3 oz even though he's hungry (not wind or in pain as have given gripe water just in case) when i offered him a small amount he really enjoyed it licking the spoon & wanting more. he's also more settled since having the rice.
i know that 8 weeks is early but my little boy weighs nearly 14 lb!! so is not your average 8 week old baby.

kellogs Sat 28-Jul-07 22:48:10

hi jaxy1
go with your gut feeling i'd try him if he doesn't like it then don't offer it again, also get organic rice as better for baby hv told me this.
i personally feel every child is different & you have to listen to what your baby is trying to tell you. but only offer it once a day & a small amount i gave my son juice after the rice. (tbh i give my son a 5oz bottle of diluted baby juice everyday as it really does help with babies bowel movements) hope it works out ok & your little one is ok.

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