weaning / allergies(12 Posts)
We have a history of allergies in the family so ds has only had breast milk so far. I'm getting lots of conflicting advice about introducing solids - HV says we should wean at about 4 months so that mouth muscles develop well for speech, NCT say leave it until 6 months. Does the timing affect the risk of allergies? Can anyone recommend any unbiased books, websites etc or have any other tips for avoiding allergies? Is it okay to introduce cows milk proteins (formula) before 6 months? Thanks.
amyce - there's a very similar thread called "late weaning" under the bf section. I'm in a similar position with dd 4 1/2 m and still bf despite battling with the hv who wants me to wean now. The thread has lots of great advice from other mumsnetters. Stay in touch and we can keep each other posted on our progress!
amyce, we were advised by our dietician not to wean ds until 6 months.
As for mouth muscles, I think that if your child has no underlying problems with muscle tone and gets the opportunity to chew toys etc there shouldn't be a problem (but that's just my opinion). After all weaning is a very cultural matter and most of the world's population aren't weaned till at least 6 months and you don't hear of whole countries having problems with speech development!
Our dietician also advised putting a small amount of food round ds's mouth and waiting a while to see if the skin went red, or had any other reaction. If there is it's an indication that your baby may react to it. Ds has to go in for a milk challenge in the local hospital when he is two as he has a milk allergy and they do this before even considering giving him any milk.
Also when you do start weaning, give any new foods during the day and not at dinner time incase there's a reaction that takes a little time to come up.
HTH and good luck!
I would follow your own instincts and, given the issues you have raised on the breastfeeding thread regarding weight gain and the history of allergies and exczema, I would personally not rush into weaning. Also don't fall into the trap of offering formula instead of bf on a regular basis as this could affect your supply and may be counterproductive.
You could think about starting to express a little milk, perhaps just a little at the end of a feed, and freezing it in ice cube trays to use when you do choose to start weaning, for the first few weeks at least. At least then you would have the opportunity to introduce one new thing at a time and could monitor his reactions to specific foods more easily.
I would not try formula before 6 months at the earliest if you think he may have allergies. My ds had eczema (sorry for spelling, I can never remember!) so I suspected he might have allergies. I had started giving him baby rice made up with breastmilk at 5 months, as I thought he really needed it, and pureed vegetables shortly after that, all with no problems. Then at just over 6 months I tried formula, and he had an awful reaction. I also tried goats milk formula, and he had exactly the same reaction. I took him to the GP, who gave me Piriton in case he had another reaction, and referred me to the dietician at the hospital. She prescribed Nutramigen, a non-allergenic formula, which was disgusting and my ds refused it entirely, even when I mixed sugar in.
The dietician also gave me Calcium Santos syrup, explaining that if he was not having dairy from 6 months, my breastmilk alone would not give him enough calcium from that point.
I have never heard anything about mouth muscle problems - some HVs seem to be obsessed with weaning and will say anything to get you to do it. Its a long time before they start really chewing food anyway, and surely their mouth muscles get plenty of exercise from bfeeding, chewing teething toys etc. My ds started talking very early, despite his comparatively late start on solids.
Amyce, my elder son has a severe allergy to peanuts and an allergy to milk. My younger had problems when I had any milk protein, so I gave it up when he was a few weeks. Anyway.. I was crap at expressing and when he got very very hungry at 5 months or so, started weaning him with the usual rice cereal, etc, except mixed with water instead of breast milk. (He was completely breastfed-- tried Neocate and hated it.) There have been no problems. He's a happy, healthy 17 month old boy. And, just to reassure you (I hope), whatever you've eaten, he's eaten. If you've been having any milk protein, he has too.
I found it impossible to wait to wean at 6 months. There's no magic age.
(He's fine now.. grew out of it sometime before 10 months.)
We too have a histories of allergies and HVs keen to get my two onto solids.
I bf exclusively till nearly 6 months with dd (sending HV demented as she fell through the centiles, and causing me grief and guilt)and five and a half months with ds (rather hungrier). Then they both got fruit and veg and not much else, in tiny quantities, trying one new thing at a time, in the middle of the day. Dairy, including formula, we left until 7m+ I think. Anyway, dd reacted to beans and we've been lucky enough to see a paediatrician with a real interest, who advised me to resist all blandishments of formula with ds, and stick to bf. She said exclusive b/f for six months if you can manage it is absolutely the best thing you can do, but not to beat yourself up if you can't as there are many factors at play.
I think the four-month advice is old hat, and HVs do it baecause they are seeing mothers then for routine jabs and so have a chance to hassle them about it. By 6 months, you might never go to the clinic.
Bottom line is - I don't know how anyone gets puree into babies anyway. Leaving it a bit later just means you spend less time pushing green goo into small people's ears and they can get to finger food - the good bit - just as soon.
I'd trust your instincts and point HV to DH and WHO advice.
My mother has a lot of food allergies (wheat, soya, dairy etc) so I was very careful with DS1. As he was born in France (where they don't have HVs) the pediatrician advised weaning at 5 months on fruit only at the "tea-time" feed, starting with pear (which apparently has no allergens) and then progressing to apple/banana etc but no red fruits until later, around 9 months I think. He also recommended hypo-allergenic milk until 6 months. I had to start mixed feeding at 4 months because I was having problems b/f. (Wish I had known that there were such things as B/F counsellors). Introduced vegetables at 6 months at lunchtime feed, then at dinner at 7 months with white meat and fish at lunch. FYI the pediatrican recommended jars as opposed to home prepared because of the strict controls in preparation and also because all fruit must be cooked. This was fine when we were in France but when travelling in the UK DS refused English brand babyfood. Now he will eat anything!!!(17 months) HTH
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