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Gas pain with first foods - 5.5mth old

(10 Posts)
time2deal Fri 06-Feb-15 21:50:23

We've just started weaning our 5.5 month old, started with a bit of pureed carrot (went ok), then banana (constipation disaster), then waited a few days and tried peas yesterday and carrot again today.

He loves eating, but he seems to be in pain later on and it's ruining his sleep. Always a few hours later he has gas pain, silent reflux I think (he has always had reflux and is on Ranitidine). I don't want to stop the food, but this nightly pain and grumbling is no fun for any of us. It's clearly tummy pain as he will respond well to a tummy massage and pass gas, and also an extra dose of ranitidine seems to help. But still he is generally a bit miserable and struggling to settle and stay asleep.

Is it just normal for them to be in a bit of pain while weaning? Should we wait a while? He was 7 weeks premature and I was advised to wean early due to this, although I'm not really clear why.

If we keep going will he adjust to the new food regime, or is it just too soon for him?

FATEdestiny Fri 06-Feb-15 22:09:24

I have no experience of weaning early or reflux.

However in my experience it is not normal for weaning to cause pain. It's a natural developmental progression if done when baby is ready, so it does not cause any discomfort.

Milk (both formula and breast) has far, far more calories than pureed vegetables. Because of this I am not sure on what basis you are weaning early. It was suggested because he was premature you say? I have seen people on the September 2014 post natal thread (which I'm on) mention the same thing so it must not be unusual.

It would logically follow to me that
(a) premature young babies need as many calories as possible and this can most easily come from more milk, and
(b) one would imagine (I have no experience) that premature babies are slower than full term babies to be physically ready to wean, not quicker than term babies who wait until 6 months.

So in short, I am flummoxed by the idea of weaning early on medical advise. I cannot understand this at all. But apparently must be a common suggestion made to parents of premature babies.

time2deal Fri 06-Feb-15 22:28:34

I think they need extra calories and although weaning early temporarily reduces calories it allows you to ramp them up quickly so soon you will have more going in.

He is small. 9th centile for his corrected age (4 months) so we need to find a way to get more for into him as he gets older.

It's the clear advice though for premmies. We got given booklets when we left NICU about it.

FATEdestiny Fri 06-Feb-15 22:43:52

Could his reflux and/or prematurity mean he has an under-developed digestive system?

I don't know, just an idea <shrug>

Chunderella Sat 07-Feb-15 13:45:56

I had heard the early weaning for premies thing was to do with iron rather than calories. Most babies are born with 6 months stocks, then start solids around the time those supplies are running out. So it doesn't matter that neither breast milk nor formula contain very much of it, because they'll never be relying on either as their major source (there are iron rich formulas but they can cause problems in themselves, so the NHS doesn't recommend them). A premie hasn't had the opportunity to build up their stocks. However, I've no professional expertise and never had a premie either, so I might be barking up the wrong tree entirely.

time2deal Sun 08-Feb-15 13:26:33

Yes, I've heard that too. He gets a daily iron supplement as well as his vitamins.
Well we are taking a little break to see if his current grounchiness is related to food. Its hard as he seems hungry and now he has tried it he is watching us eat and constantly grabbing my mouth. I'd like to feed him! But will take a couple of days off.

Showy Sun 08-Feb-15 13:44:09

I think that part of the problem is that there isn't actually clear information about weaning premature babies. Presumably because of the massive number of variables. My friend has just started weaning her preemie and was advised to follow the same advice as with a term baby. To feed when he was sitting up, with no tongue thrust reflex and able to put food in his mouth, chew and swallow. The advice she was given was that it might be later than with a term baby which was fine and that milk, milk and milk was absolutely the best thing for them until well past weaning age. In her case, she was given the opposite advice to you. To ensure calories, milk was the most important thing. Her son is just over 7 months and started a week ago.

Don't worry too much about watching you eat. They do that. They watch you drive the car and wield a hammer too. It doesn't mean they're ready.

I've had a quick google and what information is out there seems to agree:

"For a preterm baby deciding when to wean is based on his or her chronological or uncorrected age – the age from the day the baby was born – not the corrected age. According to the charity Bliss, weaning can begin between five and eight months. Whatever premature baby milk is being used is fine until then. However, a premature baby may not have a digestive system developed enough for food, so don't rush into weaning just because the baby has turned five months old. If the baby's digestive system has not developed enough, some foods may trigger an allergic reaction."

This pretty much sums up everything I read. Were you advised to wean now recently or were you given information when he left NICU and you're applying it now? Might it be worth asking for information based on where he is now and whether it is medically advised in his individual case?

My gut reaction is that he's not ready by the sounds of it. Weaning shouldn't cause these problems if he's ready but I've never weaned a premature baby or one with reflux issues. My niece had gastrointestinal problems from day one and weaning caused some new problems due to intolerances which only became apparent once solids were introduced.

time2deal Sun 08-Feb-15 14:48:22

HV advised us to start, but I've not got a huge amount of faith in her, she seems to just agree with anything we vaguely suggest. His weight gain is slowing and he's stopped sleeping through the night. But the HV doesn't have any specific premmie experience from what I can tell.

I'm a bit desperate to get back my good sleeping baby which might be influencing by decision. I imagined being full would help his sleeping.

But you are all right. Everything is saying he isn't ready so as I said I'll give it a break for a week, there's no rush really. I'll see if we can get him to take an extra bottle a day to boost his weight. He's breast fed but I've also just had my period return so have had poor supply for a few days. I've read it can change the taste too so make the baby irritable.

Thanks for the help. Sometimes you just need to write it all down to see the obvious answer.

Showy Sun 08-Feb-15 15:01:21

The weight gain does slow down and often they do wake up in the night where they haven't done previously. This is very common and a separate thing to weaning readiness. The weight gain has to slow down a bit or they'd all be massive and the waking in the night is developmental. Seems to coincide with all sorts of sitting, rolling, pulling up, babbling type stuff which keeps their brains busy and their bodies awake. Burns more calories too which accounts for a slightly slower weight gain.

Annoyingly, weaning often makes sleep worse rather than better. Certainly no link has ever been found between solids and better sleep.

I think if I were you, I'd do the same and back off for a while. Try again later. Writing it down is very cathartic and helps to order it all.

Best of luck with it.

amanda966 Sun 14-Feb-16 21:26:37

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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