Weaning at 18 weeks?(10 Posts)
DD is 18 weeks and breastfed. She is my first baby so I don't really know what I'm doing with regard to weaning - I have read a lot on here about baby-led weaning but I live in Australia and nobody I have mentioned it to here seems to have heard of it.
I am in a parenting group (kind of like NCT group?) with 8 other mothers. Every other mum in the group has started solids at 4 months and I'm receiving a lot of pressure to do the same, especially as she isn't sleeping well.
I spoke to my child health nurse and she said to start DD on baby rice. She said I could do it now. I asked about whether I should wait until 6 months and she said it was fine to do that but that if you wait until 6 months you have to do everything very quickly e.g. go from purees to lumps to finger food, making sure she has meat for iron etc whereas if I start now I can get her used to food slowly. On the other hand, I've seen people on here say 'food before one is just for fun'... in which case why would I be rushing her into different foods if I start her at 6 months?
Can I start at 6 months and do a mixture of purees and baby led weaning? Is there anyone on here from Australia who can shed light on whether this is just a case of different countries having different ideas about things?
I'm not in Australia so I don't know what's recommended there. You can do a mixture of purées and finger foods quite easily (unless you get a spoon refuser like mine then it's finger food only). Absolutely no need to rush with getting every type of food into her right away. Milk is the main source of nutrients and calories until 1 and it's a complete myth that food helps to settle them for longer.
Do whatever works for you.
1 of the great things about waiting till they are 6 months is that you don't need to bother with puree s (unless you really want to). In the UK a mixture of purees & finger food is known as traditional weaning or TW which is a perfectly fine way of weaning but it shouldn't be confused with BLW which is when, from 6 months or later, your child self feeds all food. The food is fun before 1 is an awful expression (not linked with BLW). Basically, at some point between 6 months and a year babies go from getting the majority of their nutrients from milk to getting it from solids. & no, it makes no difference to sleeping through the night (unfortunately!)
The way I started with Both of mine was to offer the same food that I was eating just in larger chunks so they could be picked up & held onto easily enough. We gave a selection at each meal they were awake so 3 or 4 different food items at each of 3 meals a day (unless asleep) & let them explore, touch, taste it. Both took to it really well & it meant we all ate together, ate healthy & I could eat my dinner hot without ever having to puree or spoon feed a single meal.
Good luck whichever weaning route you take but don't be pressured into weaning early as you can't tell what potential damage you might be doing to an immature gut so I would wait till 6 months whichever method you use.
I live in Australia and baby led weaning does exist...it might not just be called it.
My mother's group was the same, all but 2 of us had started their babies on baby rice at 4 months. I just did my own thing and DD1 started on a mix of purees and finger food around 5 and a half months. DD2 was first fed sandwiches by her sister and consequently won't entertain purees, so just has what ever we're having. Baby led weaning I guess. She started around five and a half months too.
Guidance is mixed and depends on your maternal health nurse. I had one nurse who was horrified I hadn't offered baby rice, while my current nurse is pro BLW. Government guidance seems to say start solids between 4 and 6 months, depending when your baby is ready. Apparently it's the optimum age to reduce allergies. They also say don't be too cautious about introducing foods, you don't need to do stuff one by one. Perhaps just key allergins - eggs, nuts etc.
To be honest, it's easier to wait until they're six months and just chuck proper at them!
Oh, and it makes no difference to sleeping. I've just found babies are expected to sleep more consistently than I think they are in the UK. If your Bub doesn't do a solid 6hours at night with a reliable few 90minute naps by 4months, then everyone screams sleep school!
Hi OP I found this to give you an idea of official Australian guidelines
The link above is well worth a read. The Australian breastfeeding association are a bit like the nct.
It might be worth finding out if there is a group local to you. They tend to have a wide variety of aged babies and kids at the meeting. The assosicate one guidelines are based in good research plus the information is given in a non directive way.
The Aussie guideline are almost identical to the uk ones.
I'm in Australia.
Food before one is not just for fun. You're right it gets said a lot, but never by a reputable organisation basing it on actual evidence. But equally, of course you don't need to wean at 18 weeks either. That's very early. You can absolutely wait until six months unless the recommendation to wean early is for a specific reason such as baby having been premature. Doesn't sound like that's the case here.
Thanks so much for all your responses - and thanks Focus for posting that link, it was really helpful.
I made the decision to wait until 6 months and from everything I'm reading it feels like the right one. I know all babies are different and presumably some may be ready earlier but I had been made to feel like I was harming her in some way by 'denying' her solids - it's strange how the advice differs so much. From everything I've been told I really had the feeling that everyone weaned earlier here but can see from that link that the official guidelines are the same as the UK! ICJump - I will look for one of those breastfeeding association groups. Thank you everyone
Weaning at 18 weeks isn't going to do you baby any harm, and neither is weaning at 26 weeks. So long as you're not weaning before 17 weeks or giving anything inappropriate then the rest is just parental choice - do what suits you and your baby, whether thats purees, finger foods or a mixture, 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, baby rice, no baby rice, breastmilk, formula etc etc etc.
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