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Breast Feeding and weaning...help!! Too much contradicting advice!

(36 Posts)
traceface Mon 01-Jun-09 12:57:13

Hello!
Can anyone help? My 24 week old has been BF this far and has always been a frequent feeder. Her pattern had kind of settled as:
7am BF
10am BF
1pm BF
4pm BF
5.30pm BF
6.30pm BF
10pm BF
1am BF
4am BF

I started weaning 2 weeks ago and have now built up to solids 3 times a day (but only 2 cubes of veg/ fruit at each meal). The way I have slotted them in the day looks like this:
7am breakfast then BF
10am BF
11.30 lunch then BF
2.30pm BF
5pm tea and BF
6.30pm BF
11pm BF
3am BF

one HV has told me to keep offering BF after solids and at usual BF times. Aother has told me to keep up the inbetween BFs but don't BF after solids. Another has told me to offer BF after solids but cut out the inbetween ones. They said she is getting too much milk. She has always refused any kind of bottle/beaker/cup so even though I offer a cup of water every time I give her solids, she is actually not getting any fluid other than my BF and what is in the veg puree. What should I do?????? any advice gratefully accepted (i doubt it could confuse me any more than I already am!)
Thank you

traceface Mon 01-Jun-09 12:59:16

oh - and she was born on the 25th centile, has remained on it ever since and is very happy, chubby, healthy girl!

AnarchyAunt Mon 01-Jun-09 13:06:13

At 24 weeks she cannot be getting too much milk! Her main souce of nutrition should be mik for a good while yet - at this early stage solids are more about experimentation than filling her up.

Just offer BM as and when she wants it. And don't bother with water - BM has everything she needs.

norktasticninja Mon 01-Jun-09 13:09:14

What AnarchyAunt said. Milk should be her main source of nutrition until she's one.

missmama Mon 01-Jun-09 13:44:32

Hi Traceface, cant believe how old they are getting.
My DS is 22 weeks and we had to start to wean early under the hospital.
But the advice from the health visitor is to BF first then offer solids for a while, then offer solids first and BF after (Pudding as it weregrin)

curiositykilled Mon 01-Jun-09 18:57:41

If you're worried about fluid intake it's fine to offer water after you've started weaning but if she doesn't want it she must not be thirsty. I don't agree that main nutrition should be milk until one. Breastmilk is not actually superior nutritionally unless complimented by solid food as a baby grows bigger as it contains lower levels of, particularly, iron than a growing baby needs (actually from about 3 months on). I think better to supplement with food than artificial vitamins in formula which have not been proven to even be absorbed anyway.

It looks like she'd be perfectly hydrated by the amount of milk she's getting in the day providing she's having proper feeds but even then I'd only worry if she wasn't weeing! My two gradually dropped milk feeds on their own from the time they were eating solids and by around 6 months were only having milk after meals so had a beaker of water available during the day if they wanted it. Stop worrying, listen to your instincts.

Main things to be careful of with early weaning are to avoid allergenic things like strawberries, kiwi, honey, wheat e.t.c. (which I'm sure you know anyway) and to check salt contents. Salt is the main reason for advice that says not to try weaning till 6 months but if you avoid baby jars and puree fruits and vegetables like pear, apple, broccoli, sweet potato e.t.c. at home yourself you will know there's no salt.

When simple puree stopped satisfying my two I started bulking it out with a bit of baby rice rather than increase the portion size and then moved on to finger foods.

knickers0nmahead Mon 01-Jun-09 19:13:26

Ck, where is all this bollocks from? You are encouraging people to start early weaning when there-s no need

HumphreyCobbler Mon 01-Jun-09 19:22:58

early weaning is not discouraged because of salt, it is because the gut may not be mature enough to cope with food before that point.

AnarchyAunt Mon 01-Jun-09 19:24:29

curiositykilled what are you on about?

Breastmilk is 'superior nutritionally' for a 24 wk baby than solids. It has way more calories/protein/fats etc than fruit or veg or baby rice, and should remain the major source of nutition for the first year.

As for water, well BM is 88% water anyway.

Salt is only one of the reasons for not weaning before 6 months. Giving solids too early, even salt-free solids, is linked to allergies, digestive disorders, obesity, gut damage, and more.

And bulking food out with baby rice is increasing the portion size. Bulking out = making larger, no?

HumphreyCobbler Mon 01-Jun-09 19:33:50

yes, sorry, my post made it sound as if salt wasn't a problem when it obviously is to be avoided.

JonAndHate Mon 01-Jun-09 19:34:00

<curiositykilled sounds like an old school HV tbh blush>

curiositykilled Mon 01-Jun-09 19:41:15

Solids are NOT linked to gut damage - overloading with solids is linked to gut damage. Best to introduce in stages to help digestive system to cope at whatever age you start, I'd worry that BLW is a good way to overload the digestive system when babies have had no previous food experience but have not seen any evidence to support this opinion - it is just my own feeling.

Allergy research relates to giving babies allergenic foods such as strawberries and wheat. The biggest impact on increased allergies in modern societies, recent research has been suggesting, is over-sterilising and formula feeding - cows milk can be allergy provoking and formula is based on cows milk also breastfeeding helps reduce likelihood of developing allergies although I'm sure this is for a combination of environmental reasons as well as nutritional content.

Bulking out food with baby rice only increases portion size if you add it to a normal portion. It does not increase portion size if you don't increase the portion size e.g. if a normal portion of veg/fruit is one ice-cube, fill an ice cube tray with a mixture of normal fruit and a bit of baby rice so meal is actually the same physical size but contains a mix of fruit/veg and rice.

I am not telling anyone to early wean, just saying you should decide for yourself but if unsure best to stick to advice. This post was originally posted because mum had already started early-weaning.

curiositykilled Mon 01-Jun-09 19:44:37

oh and iron content is the main reason why research says breastmilk should be complemented with solids.

AnarchyAunt Mon 01-Jun-09 19:51:36

"I'd worry that BLW is a good way to overload the digestive system when babies have had no previous food experience but have not seen any evidence to support this opinion" - that'll be because there is no evidence to support that.

BLW means the baby is in control of how much they eat and when they start to eat it. As such it is a logical progression from the self regulation of demand feeding, which is pretty universally accepted as physiologically correct. A baby is extremely unlikely to overload themselves with solids through true BLW.

Why do you not agree that milk should be tha main source of nutrition until the age of one?

wombleprincess Mon 01-Jun-09 20:03:56

wtf is this about salt....what a loon

at 24 weeks, food is about exploring taste and texture, not about shovelling the calories in, so dont worry too much about timetables. your baby is still clearly happily breastfeeding, well done you ,i know what hard work it is. keep feeding your little darling food at set times as you are doing and you will probably start to see her dropping milk feeds or demanding the subsequent milk feed later.

perhaps one suggestion would be, however, to BF at 7 and then have breakfast at 8? then you might find the 10 bf slips to 10.30 or so, and you can do lunch around 12, sleep if dc naps around then, then onto what you are already doing in the afternoons. only a thought.

curiositykilled Mon 01-Jun-09 20:06:22

My opinion about BLW is based on my own knowledge of physiology. A baby surely is ineffective at chewing when they first have food and therefore would be swallowing bigger and harder to digest pieces of food. Pureed apple is very similar consistency to milk, it is the consistency of what is entering the gut which is linked to damage. BUT it is JUST my own opinion and I'm sure it has been a successful way for many people to wean.

Overeating is different to overloading the gut. The gut is overloaded by being asked to digest large cobs of food when it is used to only liquid or delicate and young (see post gastric band diet). It could be argued a baby is unlikely to over-eat doing BLW I would think as they'd take a long time to eat anything but not because they'd stop when full - I'd think it'd be more likely they'd stop when bored.

Because breastmilk alone does not give the baby enough iron and much research has been done into the nutritional content of breastmilk compared to a babies nutritional needs at various ages. I think breastfeeding and solids are the best combination up to around age one from the time that people choose to wean but it's your own choice when you start.

traceface Mon 01-Jun-09 20:42:09

Thank you all. I hadn't intended to start a BLW war!
Today she was so tired after her solids at lunch that I put her to sleep without a BF and she slept fine and fed (BF) when she woke up, then after her solids at tea she had a massive BF (!) so I guess I just need to be guided by her appetite. I'm just scared to do it 'wrong' as the HVs seem to have their views on what's right - even if they are all different!

AnarchyAunt Mon 01-Jun-09 20:44:21

"Pureed apple is very similar consistency to milk, it is the consistency of what is entering the gut which is linked to damage"

Consistency has bugger all to do with it. Baileys has a similar consistency to milk hmm

curiositykilled Mon 01-Jun-09 20:45:39

I'd say follow your instincts and revert to the advice if you feel unconfident but whatever you do you are very, very unlikely to harm your baby as they are very resilient traceface

plimple Mon 01-Jun-09 20:46:11

It sounds like a pretty normal pattern to me. Everyone has different views, but so long as your baby is happy and healthy and you are too that's all that matters. I know what you mean about doing it "right" though.

AnarchyAunt Mon 01-Jun-09 20:46:44

Traceface - apols for BLW sidetracking.

Be guided by your DD - if she wants milk, let her have milk. BM is 88% water so is a perfectly good drink for her as well as nourishment.

tiktok Tue 02-Jun-09 17:22:33

curiositykilled - where on earth are you getting your information from?

In one breath you say it is your own 'knowledge of physiology' and then in another it is your 'opinion' and yet in another you are urging someone to 'follow their instincts'.

Poor OP opened the thread because she was confused, and I bet she is even more so, now!

Your info about iron and breastfeeding is w...a....y out. Babies do start to need more iron than can be supplied by breastmilk alone from around the age of 6 mths or so (not 3 mths, as you say) but it's not an emergency...a gradual, baby-led approach to solids will meet that need well enough.

No idea where your fixation on salt comes from, either. True enough, babies do no need, and should not have, added salt in foods or foods which are naturally high in salt (like crisps!!), but the recommended age for weaning from milk only does not come primarily from this concern.

I think what bothers people is your tone is confident and authoritative, but what you are saying is largely <ahem> unreliable.

curiositykilled Wed 03-Jun-09 12:40:51

tiktok - why are those things mutually exclusive in your mind? I never claimed my knowledge of physiology was comprehensive, just my own knowledge and is the reason I have formed some of my opinions - not the reason other people should agree. For God's sake I'm not even asking people to agree, just to let me have my opinion.

It is my opinion/you should follow your instincts. Their instinct might be different to mine and they should do what they think as they are the parent and therefore most qualified to make the decision - what's the problem with that?

My info about breastfeeding is not way out. Breastmilk does not provide the necessary iron from around 3/4 months but most babies iron stores will see them through to around 1 year old. Breastmilk in composition is relatively low in iron and iron absorption has not been proven to be effective from formula at all. It is not a problem to wait - even to age 1, just not superior.

What is this baby-led approach to which you are referring? Making a baby who is ready for food wait till the guidelines say they can have food? Letting them have finger food first which is actually against government advice (not that I think it means it shouldn't be done)? Surely a baby-led approach would be to let the baby choose what kind of food it had and when?

How are crisps naturally high in salt?! They are not a natural food product, they are potatoes with added salt. Lots of everyday food products are too high in salt, protein or fibre for a young baby and much of the baby jars are too high in salt and sugar and other things which is where that worry came from as many parents trust baby jars and don't make their own food.

What's wrong in being confident and authoritative in the expression of my opinion. Why is it OK for you to say what I say is unreliable without any evidencial justification? What research suggests breastmilk contains enough iron to sustain a 6 month old baby without using iron stores? Kelly mom is not research btw.

She's probably confused because it is a confusing issue. All you can do is look at the research and make your own decision but if you are unsure just follow that advice. Why is this a lynchable offence?

Do you not think it is more damaging for you to confidently offer your own opinions as facts without any justification?

HumphreyCobbler Wed 03-Jun-09 12:48:55

tiktok knows her stuff

she has relevant qualifications and years of experience in her role as breastfeeding counsellor

she also KNOWS the research, lol at her getting her info just from kellymom. Do a search, she is always quoting research.

you are really missing the point about the salt thing too

also no one is lynching you, just pointing out where you are factually incorrect

Castiel Wed 03-Jun-09 12:54:44

Roffle at tiktok relying on kellymom for info.

curiositykilled, you are absolutely entitled to your opinion but it's important that we separate your opinion from the actual facts here. Not just for the OP but for anybody who might read this thread.

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