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So what harm have I done to DS1, weaning him at 4 months?

(13 Posts)
LynetteScavo Tue 29-Jul-08 23:07:53

He's now 9, and I obediantly followed the advice of my HV, as you do when you are a new mum.

So what's the damage?

thisisyesterday Tue 29-Jul-08 23:12:36

who knows? maybe nothing, maybe something. I (and this is just a personal opinion) do think that the increase in things like IBS and food intolerances could be at least partly caused by early weaning.
But it would take a lot of work and a long, long time to prove anything

you'll never know, so don't worry about it

thisisyesterday Tue 29-Jul-08 23:12:52

if he is happy and healthy that's all that matters

gagarin Tue 29-Jul-08 23:14:01

None at all.

Unless he was one of those unlucky few prone to allergies (possible link); obesity (firmer link); coeliac (if given wheat products early); kidney problems (high salt can exacerbate problems) etc etc.

And the HV was obediently following the Dept of Health Guidelines at the time!

Milco Wed 30-Jul-08 16:03:12

I don't know the answer to your question LS, but wondered, for those who are v clear that one shouldn't wean before 6 months (and that it is likely to lead to specific problems)- where are you taking this from?

I know the DoH guidelines are currently 6 months, but from what I can find so far, a significant reason for this is that they wanted to be in line with the WHO, whose guidelines also cover developing nations. Previously the guidelines here were 4-6 months. I know people do worry that weaning before 6 months can cause problems, my question is, can anyone point me in the direction of the research which supports this? FWIW, the guidelines for premature babies (which my son is/was) is 5-7 months (this is from BLISS, the govt guidelines exclude prems.) Thanks - and sorry LS if this seems like a hijack - hope any answers will help answer your question.

Milco Wed 30-Jul-08 16:04:03

Oh, meant to add, I know some foods are definitely best avoided until after 6 months eg gluten

BouncingTurtle Wed 30-Jul-08 16:27:41

Why delay solids

Info here, Milco.

Traditionally, weaning before, I think, the 1940's wasn't done til 9mo - 1 year. AFAIK - early weaning seems to be a relatively new phenonemon. Can anyone more knowledgeable than me back this up?

Lynette - a lot of the links on that site I have linked refers to recent research which won't have been available when you were weaning your ds. At the end of the day, you made your decisions based on the info available at the time. Have you had any particular concerns about his health which has prompted this questioning?

LynetteScavo Wed 30-Jul-08 19:42:04

No, I have no concerns about his health what so ever. He's increadibley healthy. There just seems to be a lot of concern (on Mumsnet and in RL) about letting food pass a babys lips before 6 months.

I know I was weaned even earlier, in the 70's(I'm not sure exactly how old) and my mother was very keen for DS to be weaned earlier.

DD was almost 6 months before she had any food, but that's because, as an experienced mum, I could see she just wasn't ready.

Not all babies are born at 40 weeks geatation, and I don't think there is an exact age for weaning that is suitible for every baby; they are all different.

Caz10 Wed 30-Jul-08 19:47:36

BT I am not anyone knowledgable! grin

But I know from DH's granny now in her late 80's that common practice was 9mths at the earliest when she had her children (in their 50's-60's now).

LynetteScavo I think the thing is that you just don't know. In all likelihood you have done no harm whatsoever. It's just one of these things isn't it, that there's no reason to do it before 6mths, and in that case why potentially put your child at risk of health problems, even though the risk is teeny weeny weeny?

Also, say your ds develops something like IBS as an adult - there could be a gazillion other reasons for it I presume?

wannaBe Wed 30-Jul-08 20:07:56

none. IMO.

But tbh I have only ever come across this opposition to weaning at 4 months on mn. I don't know a single person in rl who waited until 6 months, and I only know one child who has alergies and these presented themselves before he was weaned.

Bear in mind that the advice to wean at 6 months is only a guideline, and that all babies are different. I weanted my ds at 4 months as per the guidelines back then. But I did it based on the signs that he was, at the time, ready to be weaned and i never looked back. And if I had the chance again I would do it again.

I always find it a bit hmm when people are adament that babies are not ready to be weaned even when they are showing signs of readiness (and I'm not talking lack of sleep here - there are other signs), mothers have been aware of their babies needs for centuries, I do not believe that every mother who weaned at 4 months because she felt her baby was ready, got it wrong purely because the guidelines hadn't been adjusted by then.

wannaBe Wed 30-Jul-08 20:17:50

and Fwiw I think that the increase in alergies has more to do with environmental factors, and the additives that are now found in food than early weaning.

If you look at the developing world, these alergies just aren't as prevalent. And IMO that is because diets in the developing world are much simpler, with much more basic ingredients. Whereas in the developed world we have additives and preservitives and e-this and e-that so if they preserve the food and add flavour and add colour and increase the bulk and God knows what else, what impact do you think they must have on your insides?

I do think it would be interesting to see whether there is a difference between babies who were weaned on jars, and those who were weaned only on home-cooked food, to see whether there is any difference in the prevalence of alergies.

Also, there has recently been a lot of suggestion that nut alergy is on the increase because nuts aren't introduced early enough.

Caz10 Wed 30-Jul-08 20:30:09

I am just a bit cynical that before we had blenders and teeny tiny tupperware pots etc people were weaning at 9mths plus. Then along came a shiny new money-making industry and suddenly it's 4mths?

Milco Wed 30-Jul-08 21:54:24

Thanks BouncingTurtle - I'll have a read.

I guess I like wanneBe have been a bit surprised about the level of opposition to weaning befor 6 months on MN - my local health centre (and my HV in particular, who I have a lot of time for) are a lot more relaxed about it - certainly not pushing anyone to wean before 6 months but definitely acknowledging that some babies may be ready before this point. Some posters on this site seem to be v adament that this is not a good idea. I wasn't convinced this was backed up by the research evidence - but I am no expert myself. I will read the info on Kellymom with interest.

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