Government guidelines and the best(22 Posts)
Genuine question but this occurred to me the other day. It is widely promoted and known that breastfeeding is best. Although formula is a nutrionally compatible alternative, breastmilk is still better for mother and child.
I understand that when it comes to weaning that babies guts are not developed until they are 6 months. However some people decide to wean from 4 months and some baby food is marketed as 4 months plus as I understand it is in Europe.
What I don't quite understand is if there is a chance that weaning would pose a risk to a babies gut, why not toe the same line as breast is best, ie 6 months is best. It seems that there is no risk with formula (although it's not as good as bf) yet there is a possible risk with weaning before 6 months. It just doesn't make sense to me why one area is protected and not the other. I'm genuinely interested and wasn't sure if I was missing the obvious.
What country are you in?
In UK, the NHS has stated weaning at 6months since some time in the early 00s (change was between my last two DC).
In what countries do yo think the official position needs to be changed?
I'm in the UK. Perhaps I wasn't very clear, in hindsight my subject was misleadimh. I'm aware that the official position is 6 months, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm interested in is why there is still some food marketed as 4 months plus. Why not market it all as 6 months plus because it's best as babies guts have not developed sufficiently.
As I understand it, the recommendation to begin weaning at 6 months was not a medical one, not based on if food is safe at 4 months, or if the guy is developed etc. It was changed to support the breastfeeding policy to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months. The two policies contradicted each other and so weaning was changed from 4 to 6 months to support BF policies.
If FF anyway, there is no harm in beginning to wean your baby at 4 months - prepares to be flammed - but only if they are showing signs that they are interested in first foods and ready. The guidelines on the box are to help select the correct textures etc for 4 months +.
Breast isn't best anyway I hate that phrasing. Breast is the biological basic way to feed your child.
Interesting Meh, I didn't know that. So what bearing does the research about gut development have on weaning then. I thought but could well be wrong, that the WHO supported this view.
Incidentally i have mixed fed both of my children. My personal view is that "best" is that baby is happy and thriving.
My DS is 5 now so I'm not up to date on WHO guidelines. I read everything at the time and made the decision to start weaning at 5 months. He was FF and more than ready for food. I'd read some info about the gut, I was under the impression that long term adverse effects were due to very early weaning, before 16 weeks. The research wasn't based on babies who had a spoonful of baby rice and a lick of porridge. DS hasn't so far shown any adverse side effects - but is well known for his appetite! (And is very tall + correct weight for height). I'm glad I listened to my baby and gave him what he needed.
My HV said we could start at 4 months as the NHS only provided guidelines. We started offering food at 5 months and he wasnt interested but a 5.5 months he was wolfing 3 meals a day.
Baby food companies market from 4 months plus because they want to make money! Don't know why it's still alllowed!
I don't think the WHO guidelines reference gut development at all when it comes to solids at a 'normal' age i.e. after four mths. I have not checked today, though.
It's known from previous research that very early intro of solids ( before three months) may have risks, but the research on later solids (after four months) is just not nuanced enough to show a difference between four months and six months. The research that WHO used was the Kramer and Kramer work which showed there is no harm to babies who are breastfed in having solids 'delayed' to six months. There is nothing much at all about formul or mixed fed babies - policies are based on inference only.
Six months is a sensible guideline for most BF babies - very few show any signs of actually needing solids before then, so with BF babies, why give them something that could be inferior in quality and nutrition before then? OTOH, babies under six mths take only tiny quantities so we prob don't need to worry, esp if solids are not being shovelled in and parents are careful to go at the baby's pace (one of the big plus points of BLW, really, is that the baby is in charge, so no risk of over feeding).
Ff or mixed fed babies - some authorities think they might need solids earlier than BF babies, because formula does not change with the baby's development the way breastmilk does, and does not acquire subtle flavours that act as an intro to solid foods.
There is also recent research that shows we probably don't need to be so concerned about allergy or intolerance (one of the worries has been that early solids might pre dispose to this, but this does not appear to be the case as long as solids are not intro'd very early).
The basics are, I think, that for most babies, watching the baby is better and safer and happier than watching the calendar. For most babies, they will show signs of active interest and curiosity and ability to self feed round about six mths.
Baby wanting to self feed is proving to be a complete pain for me. Since starting solids at 6 months DS has refused to be fed anything on a spoon. Many people have said we wouldn't have had that problem if we'd started earlier when he was less determined to be independent!
Lenny why is that a problem? Lots of us use BLW where the baby always self feeds. It works well if they like to be independent!
Lenny, what's so great about spoons?? Useful for yoghurt, maybe, but not essential for anything
Any other suggestions for how to get yoghurt into him? Or porridge?
Not everyone wants to go down the babyled weaning route. If I was completely led by DS he'd eat nothing but raspberries.
lenny try having 3 spoons. One loaded up for baby, one for you to shovel in and a spare just in case of throwing or wanting to use both hands.
Lenny he can eat porridge with his hands if you make it thick enough
You'd be surprised how well some babies do when given the opportunity to feed themselves.
Do babies actually like thick porridge? The thought of luke warm thick porridge squishing through podgy hands makes me want to puke!
Lenny, maybe you were joking about wanting to puke?
If not, that's an over-reaction.
Thick porridge squishing through podgy hands is fine and not revolting at all for most people - obviously the usual precautions and protections apply, and the cleaning up process is essential
You can buy empty refillable pouches like Ella's Kitchen type and fill them liquidy stuff, like porridge, vegetable purees etc. if you dont want them to feed liquids by their own hands.
I'd go with what Zahrah says Lenny. My DC3 wants to be an independent feeder and that's fine with a majority of foods but I draw the line at yogurt. She usually has a few spoonfuls fine by herself but when she has had enough hurls it everywhere. I have neither the time nor inclination to spend my time wiping walls and floors. Sorry OP, rather derailed.
OP the phrase best is best was developed my formula manufactures.
Food manufacturers advertise food from 4 months because it is legal to do so but all baby food packets say that weaning before 6 months is not recommended.
Porridge and wheetabix can be made very thick and eaten with hands or you can dampen the wheetabix with milk so it still holds it's biscuit shape. Total Greek yogurt an also be eaten with hands.
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