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SIL advised to wean her "big" 16 week old baby by her HV... I need evidence

(17 Posts)
Ewe Mon 19-Jan-09 22:53:20

and can't seem to find much, does anyone have the info or links to hand as to why she shouldn't do this and the potential problems?

The HV said that she would have to feed her DS almost constantly to provide him with all the calories he needs hmm so she is thinking of starting to wean him now as per advice. I want my advise to come over as helpful and factual as opposed to interfering hence the call for info!

SheSellsSeashellsByTheSeashore Mon 19-Jan-09 22:55:29

Can you not just tell her that all HV's are mental?

FWIW my sister was advised to wean her ds at that age for the opposite reason. Needless to say she did not follow that advise and her DS is now a lovely healthy bright little boy.

thisisyesterday Mon 19-Jan-09 22:57:53

she needs to complain about her health visitor.

guidelines are 6 MONTHS. not 16 weeks. and health professionals shoudl not be encouraging people to wean early just because their babies aren't on the 50th frigging centile.


Greatsweetkittyothepuddingrace Mon 19-Jan-09 23:04:41

big baby = wean early
small baby = wean early
reflux = wean early
any other health condition = wean early
not sleeping through = wean early

BF baby not sleeping = top ups
BF baby not gaining weight = top ups
BF gaining too much weight = top ups
anything else wrong with a BF baby = top ups

HV are in the most part mental

thisisyesterday Mon 19-Jan-09 23:06:29

apologies, as have cut and paste this from another site, but it cmight be useful

They state 6 months is a suitable time to introduce solids as evidence does not show there to be any benefit to introducing earlier. The DOH base their guideline on the recommendation of the World Health Organisation - so if we want to read more about the actual evidence, we need to see the results of the studies WHO used.

WHO commissioned a systematic review of the published scientific literature on the optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding; more than 3000 references were identified for independent review and evaluation. The outcome of this process was subjected to a global peer review, after which all findings were submitted for technical scrutiny during an expert consultation (Geneva, 28 to 30 March 2001).

A systematic review of current scientific evidence on the optimal duration of exclusive breastfeeding identified and summarized studies comparing exclusive breastfeeding for 4 to 6 months, versus 6 months, in terms of growth, infant iron status, morbidity, atopic disease, motor development, postpartum weight loss, and amenorrhea. It should be noted that the review was based on two small controlled trials and 17 observational studies that varied in both quality and geographic provenance. More info here.

You can see the actual study here - This is the paper that determined the change in guidelines from 4 months to 6.

thisisyesterday Mon 19-Jan-09 23:06:50

info from kellymom

thisisyesterday Mon 19-Jan-09 23:08:15

more WHO stuff here

thisisyesterday Mon 19-Jan-09 23:11:39

Problems associated with early weaning

Interferes with breastfeeding.
The early introduction of solid foods can reduce the absorption of nutrients from breastmilk (Department of Health, 1994)1. If solid food is given soon before or after a breastfeed, the baby is less able to absorb the iron from the breastmilk. Heinig et al (1993)17 found that solid food given before 6 months generally replaces breastmilk.

Exposure to the pathogens that are found in food can result in frequent infection in breastfed babies who are fed solids before 6 months (Naylor and Morrow, 2001)9. In particular, the researchers found fewer gastrointestinal and respiratory infections (especially diarrhoea) in infants who were exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months.

Chantry et al (2006)10 found that there is a decreased risk of respiratory-tract infections during the first two years for children who receive only breast milk until they are six months old. They found that infants who were fully breastfed for at least 4, but not 6, months were almost 4 times more likely to develop pneumonia than those who were fully breastfed for 6 months. Recurrent ear infections were almost 2 times more likely.

Breastfed babies are known to be less likely to be obese than formula fed babies in childhood and beyond (Reilly et al, 20023; Harder et al, 20054; and others). Similarly the early introduction of solids is associated with increased body fat and weight in childhood. Kalies et al (2005)5 found that exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months protected against elevated weight gain during infancy and early childhood. It is increasingly apparent that appetite and food intake in infancy is linked to weight in later life and there is concern about the rising rates of obesity in this country. Obesity is an underlying factor for many medical conditions, such as heart disease (British Heart Foundation)12 and diabetes (Gerdes, 2003)13, so the link between the timing of the introduction of solids and obesity in later life is an important one.

Blood pressure
A recent study found that children who were exclusively breastfed until at least 6 months had lower systolic blood pressure at 5 years of age than those who were breastfed for a shorter length of time. Since childhood blood pressure is a good indicator of adult blood pressure, the authors conclude that breastfeeding may be important for reducing blood pressure and thus cardiovascular disease risk (Lawlor et al, 2004)7.

Children who are exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months are 50% less likely to develop cancer before the age of 15 compared to children who are not breastfed (Davis et al, 1988)8.

Not giving solids before 6 months to children from atopic families greatly reduces the risk of eczema at 12 months (Kajosaari and Saarnien, 1983)11.

Iron deficiency
A common concern is that iron stores laid down before birth are quickly depleted and that babies need solid foods alongside breastmilk before 6 months or else they risk iron deficiency. But this is not the case. Pisacane (1995)16 found that babies who were exclusively breastfed for 7 months had significantly higher haemoglobin levels at one and two years of age than breastfed babies who also received solid foods before 7 months. There were no cases of anaemia within the first year in the exclusively breastfed group so the researchers concluded that breastfeeding exclusively for seven months reduces the risk of anaemia.

Growth problems
Babies who are exclusively breastfed for 6 months experience no growth deficits (Kramer et al, 2002)2.

Internal Development
Various enzymes are not present in sufficient amounts to allow adequate digestion of non-milk foods until around the middle of the first year; for instance, the pancreatic enzyme amylase is necessary for the digestion of starches, but it does not reach adequate levels until around 6 months. The carbohydrate enzymes (maltase, isomaltase and sucrase) take a month or so longer. Fat digestion does not reach adult levels until between 6-9 months because of low levels of bile salts and lipase.

cmotdibbler Tue 20-Jan-09 08:45:50

If it helps, my DS was on the 99.8th percentile for height and weight at 16 weeks and was exclusively bf. And continued to be until he was 6 months old without changing from his normal 3 ish hourly pattern.

The amazing thing with your body is that the breastmilk changes with time so that they don't need greater and greater amounts as they get older, unlike with formula.

bubbleymummy Tue 20-Jan-09 11:05:10

Doesn't really make much sense becasue bm contains more calories than most of the early weaning foods anyway. In any case, food is not meant to displace bm it is supposed to complement it... More info about calories in food from kellymom here

Ewe Tue 20-Jan-09 21:22:45

Thanks so much for your help. SIL is my polar opposite in terms of parenting, me more of a hippy attachment type, her GF and strict routine so I need to tread carefully but this info is great.

I agree she should complain about HV but she is quite keen to wean so it is just reinforcing what she wants to hear. As are her ILs and parents. I just wish everyone was informed about the guidelines!

dizzydixies Tue 20-Jan-09 21:24:40

load of shite, tell her to stick to her guns

my girls were 10lb 4oz, 11lb 1oz and DD3 was 9lb14oz and I've only started weaning her at 22wks - she's now 24wks and I'm doing baby lead weaning mixed with some porridge and purees

her HV is a loon and should be ignored, steer her in the direction of MN and we'll keep her right!

NotQuiteCockney Tue 20-Jan-09 21:25:58

Bigger babies have bigger stomachs, so should be able to go longer between feeds.

thisisyesterday Tue 20-Jan-09 21:31:23

oh NQC, i wish someone had told that tyo ds2 hmm lol

NotQuiteCockney Wed 21-Jan-09 08:10:27

Yes, babies are often really poorly trained in how breastfeeding works. They should do something about that. grin

Haribosmummy Wed 21-Jan-09 08:13:19


My HV told me this.... If a baby weighs more than 16lbs at 16weeks, you should wean early.

I took zero notice. I weaned at 5.5 months and we are still taking it slowly. He's 8 months now and still right in the middle of all the graphs for weights etc.,

wastingmyeducation Wed 21-Jan-09 09:05:13

It was 12lb or 12 weeks in my day. As the HV told me. Complete balls.

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