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Early weaning (post 17wks but before 26)?

(10 Posts)
Crazycatlady Mon 25-May-09 19:12:20

My DD is exclusively BF and is 20 weeks. I had fully intended to keep her this way until the recommended 26 weeks as per DoH/WHO before introducing any solids and had originally liked the idea of BLW.

However, over the last few weeks she has shown all the signs of readiness for food that I have read about (and I know there are conflicting opinions on some of these):

- Sitting up happily in her highchair
- Very interested indeed in any food DH or I are eating, reaching out for it and lip-smacking with an excited little cry
- Has been stuffing everything in her mouth for weeks
- Getting very hungry for food much earlier between BFs (an hour after BF rather than 3 - 4)
- Tongue thrust reflex diminished
- Not settling easily for naps and taking short naps where previously she had learnt to nap really well
- She has doubled her birth weight

Today I 'gave in' and offered her a teaspoon of HIPP Organic baby rice mixed well with breastmilk about an hour after her (huge) 11am BF. She loved it, grabbing the spoon and sucking the 'rice'. She was then calm, happy and smiley and satisfied with her food. She hasn't behaved like this for weeks and has been a little on edge quite a lot of the time. After this feed, she went down for a lunchtime nap very happily and slept for 2 hours, something she hasn't done in over 2 weeks.

Now I know that rice is less calorific than breastmilk and I have also read all the posts on here that rightly talk about the risks of early weaning. I've also read up all about the 4-5 month growth spurt and teething which can unsettle things. However DD enjoyed her rice and was so settled afterwards in a way that doing more frequent BFs over the last 2 weeks just hasn't seemed to placate her.

So I'm planning to offer her rice again tomorrow after her 11am feed, perhaps with a little stewed pear to make it easier to digest and prevent any constipation, which I have read the rice can sometimes cause. I plan to take it very slowly, offering only mid-morning for now and not introducing any other flavours for a while, and certainly no gluten or dairy until she is many months older. I will continue to BF as frequently as she needs and always BF before offering any solids.

I know the majority view on mumsnet is that weaning of any kind pre-26 weeks is frowned upon, but DCs are all different...I don't intend this post to be inflammatory or start a debate, but I am interested in others' experiences.

My question is, have any other mumsnetters experienced a similar thing with their DCs and decided to wean early? If so, how did you go about it (puree, rice etc and when did you introduce finger foods?), did you follow any particular plan or go with your own instinct? And what advice/reaction did you get from HVs? I haven't consulted mine yet as some of the advice I've had has been a little odd and frankly baby clinic is a nightmare.

I'm trying to be led by my baby on this one and use common sense, but as a first-time parent it's always useful to hear what others have done.

beansprout Mon 25-May-09 19:17:03

I completely hear everything you are saying but this could also just be timing - there is a really tricky growth spurt at 4 months which could explain all of the above. There is more info on Kellymom (fab website if you are b.feeding). smile Might be worth having a look before you make your decision. Good luck with whatever you decide to do. smile

nickytwotimes Mon 25-May-09 19:23:26

I weaned a bit early and it went very well.
There are quite a few people who do it and don't admit it. Take it slowly. Like you say, no gluten or protein for months yet.
I take my hat off to anyone who makes it to 6 mths exclusively and it is what everyone should aim for, but not everyone can make it.

nickytwotimes Mon 25-May-09 19:24:23

...though I would second consulting the Kellymom site. I wish I had had it when ds was wee.

belgo Mon 25-May-09 19:25:04


you're probably right. Don't see the point of baby rice though, just try vegetables instead.

Crazycatlady Mon 25-May-09 19:26:25

oh yes Kellymom is fab, I found it a lifeline when DD was fussy with feeding when very tiny. Haven't checked out the info on there re weaning etc/growth spurts... thanks for the reminder!

Nicky that's interesting what you say about people not admitting to it. I have wondered sometimes hmm

curiositykilled Mon 01-Jun-09 21:52:12

It's hard to know when to start weaning, you can only really give it a go or not based on your instincts and advice.

I did it with my two and it went well. I started with pureed apple or pear and gradually introduced other vegetables and fruit then adding baby rice to purees when baby was needing more sustenance and finally moving on to more fingery foods and then cooked meals. Most of the research about risks and early weaning is about weaning pre 3 months. Be careful not to give things which contain salt, wheat or grains too early (ground/baby rice is ok) and avoid allergenic fruits and veg like strawberries and kiwi fruit (sometimes tomatoes can be allergenic too), anything too acidic or mushrooms which contain protein.

Sweet potato is a nice thing to move to after apple or pear and in-between baby rice combos. I never bothered skinning fruits and veg in my purees once the baby could handle baby rice purees well (thought the fibre made the meal better nutritionally), but if you do this it is best to only use organic as pesticides are linked to breast cancer. However, washing non-organic fruit and veg in fairy liquid water (rinsing after) can remove up to 90% of chemicals.

Be careful to read nutritional values and ingredients on baby jars if you ever choose to use them as the can contain salt and sugar or other unsuitable things.

Oh and be aware that your baby might start rejecting milk and may need some drinks of water - this just depends on what their intake is and you can tell by how much they are weeing and how solid their poo is (should still be relatively loose). If they get diarrhoea or constipation or vomit (not regurgitation type) seek medical advice.

mews Tue 02-Jun-09 16:47:06

I must admit I've been struggling with this and I have given in and started weaning. My baby is 19 weeks and I began about 2 weeks ago as she was showing all the symptoms of needing weaning. She was facinated by food and constantly trying to grab food, sitting in a high chair, not really setling after a milk feed and her weight was dropping slowly down the growth chart over a month or so which although was nothing to worry about it all added up to one conclusion to me.

She started on baby rice with a fresh fruit pureed into it once a day or a crushed low sugar rusk and milk with apple or banana puree and no more than a teaspoon or two a day.

She now eats twice a day two or three teaspoons at a time and she is so much happier than before. She has fresh veg in the evening. She seem to only eat what she wants and although her stools are more solid they are still quite loose and she goes with the same regularity as before (twice a day).

Although ideally I would have left it a lot longer I do feel (rightly or wrongly) I've been led by her and I canonly hope I'm getting it OK if not right......

NaccetyMac Wed 03-Jun-09 21:03:13

Hi, DS2 is 22 weeks and has been weaning for 6 days. I am shock at how keen he has been! My other two were BF to 6 months (although DD had some FF). He is biggish, and sitting/ mouthing/ passing things from hand to hand.

I had thought it would have to be pureés as he is so young, but yesterday I tried him with a couple of rice cakes, and he had no problem at all in gumming them to death and swallowing the results.
I'm off work at the weekend, so I'm going to do a little naked baby led weaning/ exploratory play/ large amount of mess time - it may be he can go straight onto finger type foods as my other two did. grin

Crazycatlady Thu 04-Jun-09 10:58:09

Oh that's interesting about the rice cakes naccety... DD is grabbing the spoon and feeding herself her pear puree so may try her on a rice cake at some point soon.

Thanks for your messages ladies, sounds like many of us are in the same boat!

DD is still LOVING her pear/rice/milk combo that she has for 'lunch' after her 11am breastfeed. Have upped the quantity a bit but no sign of her slowing down on the milk thankfully and nappies still the same but I have a much more settled little girl.

Saw the GP this morning (not connected) and he was more than comfortable with the idea of her having food. I know GPs aren't necessarily the experts on weaning, but he's generally very switched on and up to date.

On to sweet potato next...

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