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Baby weaning: fact vs. fiction
Baby Food Hints/Tips
Member Name: stephbond89
Baby Food Hints/Tips
Date: 15/03/11, updated on 16/03/11 (134 review reads)
Advantages: Weaning your baby is a fun time in their lives, have fun with it, Experiment with flavours for them!
Disadvantages: Some health visitors advice is pretty dismal!
I am a first time mummy, but I don't want that to cloud your judgement of me. Many will think I am inexperienced and "don't know what I am talking about", but I have been a big part in the upbringing of 9 nieces and nephews since I was 7 years old, so I have pretty much seen and heard it all. I have seen the baby weaning advice change, change and change again. And once again, the advice is changing, and I think all that really tells us is that even the professionals don't know what is best...so just do what YOU think is right. This is the most important advice I can give you. Only YOU know your baby, advice may say 6 months (or 24 weeks) but your baby may have been 2 weeks late...or they could have been 3 months early...so does that mean that a baby at 6 months old who was born 3 months early and now weighs 10lb is fine to eat whilst a 3 month old 15lb baby born 2 weeks late is NOT ok to eat...I think not...so in this case, it really is down to the parents, and I really think you should use your instinct here.
First off, let me tell you about the professional advice on baby weaning:
You should stick to breastmilk or formula for the first 6 months of a babies life and you should start weaning no earlier than 4 months (or 17 weeks), and definitely not if the baby cannot hold their own head without support.
A good indication your baby is starting to want solids is when they are waking in the night when they have previously slept through (but you shouldn't feed solids just because the baby wakes in the night to get them to sleep through), they take an interest in the food on your plate.
Now on for my own advice:
The thing which annoys me about the professional advice is they do not give you an age that you should definitely have started weaning by, I have known babies of 8/9/10 all the way up to 12 months who are not weaned yet, because the parents think they have to wait and wait and wait.
Actually the advice is in the process of changing once again to a lower age than 6 months as it has been proven that babies who are weaned at 6 months or later are more likely to be at risk of speech impediments, and may be "fussier" eaters. But when this is going to be enforced by Health Visitors, I do not know...I think they are currently doing more research into it!
I weaned my daughter at just 4 weeks. I hear that sharp intake of breath you take...! My daughter was 2 weeks late and she was born holding up her own head and trying to stand up. She was always much more advanced than any of the babies her age. By 3 months she was sitting with support, and at 4 months she was sitting without support. And at 4 weeks she was telling me in her own baby way that she was ready for solids. She was holding up her own head, she was taking an interest in my food, she was grabbing out for it, and she was hungry ALL the time. I had tried giving her more milk, I had tried the hungrier baby milk and nothing was helping. So I gave her a tiny amount of baby rice, I gave her maybe 3 baby spoons of baby rice she she wolfed it, and cried when it had all gone. At around 8 weeks old, she seemed disinterested in food again, so she came off the baby rice for a couple of weeks, and we took it back up at 3 months, when she started having 3 meals a day within a week of weaning.
She is now having 3 meals a day and 1 pint of baby milk (she is 6 months old now), at this stage she should be just starting on baby food, but infact she is on "stage 2" baby food, which has bits in it, and will eat absolutely anything, she isn't fussy at all, mushrooms, peppers, fish, meat, pasta, beans, cheese, absolutely anything she will eat which is great, and it makes it super easy to feed her! She even has little sandwiches and "picnics" some days as she also has finger food (which helps with their coordination).
My advice for starting weaning, is to do it when you feel ready, but don't do it too early if you baby isn't ready. I know a baby who is 5 months old, and she isn't weaning yet, but she is very small, doesn't hold her head properly etc, and she simply isn't ready for food. There is in my own opinion no set "age" you can tell someone to wean a baby, for the reasons I outlined before, and I am not here to tell you to wean you baby as early as possible, I am telling you not to be worried about weaning earlier than the recommended 6 months if YOU feel your baby is ready.
Start off with a small amount, remember a babies stomach is very small and is only used to milk, you don't want to give too much and make the baby constipated. Give them a small amount of baby rice, this in my opinion is the best thing to start weaning with, it is smooth, and has a very bland taste, nothing too overwhelming to get your baby used to solids- spoon 1-2 baby spoons of baby rice into a bowl and add an oz of water, mix until you have a smooth paste- it shouldn't be too firm. Sit the baby in a chair suitable for their age- and feed them slowly, they may be a bit dubious at first. The way a baby eats is using their tongue, and so it may appear that the baby is spitting the food back out, but its unlikely this is the case, so just bear with them, they'll probably make a mess and it might take a while, they might not actually eat much of it, but persevere with it, they will soon get used to using a spoon and eating the food. Try the baby rice for a couple of days, in the morning is best as this tends to be when a baby is happiest, but again you know your own baby...so you decide what time of day your baby is happier and feed them at that time each day.
When they are used to the baby rice, you can start giving them other foods, like pureed fruit and vegetables, you can buy the jars or make your own...each new food may take a couple of "tries" to get used to it, you may be lucky and your baby will eat anything first time round, but sometimes it can take a few attempts, again don't be disheartened, they are starting to get more used to the foods, just give them time. After a week or two, you may want to up their meals from 1 a day to 2, and then 3, again remembering they are only small, so don't give them too much food!
Your baby may become slightly constipated, and remember their poo WILL change, now they are no longer on milk alone, their poo will be more "normal" looking, and smelling! So don't be concerned when it changes colour, and texture! Of course if they have constipation for more than a day or two after starting them on solids, it may indicate you are feeding them too much solid food before they are ready for it- if you want to continue with solids, try adding boiled water to their foods to water them down a little...or try them with a bottle of cooled boiled water through the day- solids actually helped my little girls bowels, before we started the solids, she had terrible constipation, but once she started on solids it cleared up right away, why I do not know, maybe coincidence!
Once your baby has been on "stage 1" foods (pureed) for a few weeks, you can start to introduce more lumps- I wouldn't recommend this until the baby is sitting at least aided and is really established on 3 meals a day. Never give them foods which can choke them, the jars of stage 2 baby food are a good indicator of how big your bits should be, and this makes it easier to make meals yourself for your child.
From 6 months there are no restrictions on what your baby can eat, apart from honey, salt and sugar. So feeding your baby gets to be very easy as they can literally have what you are having mashed!
Once your baby reaches 6 months and is fully established on solids, their milk intake reduces from around 35oz a day to 22oz or 600ml, this is around 3 bottles a day at 8oz each. But your baby tends to do this themselves when they are ready to reduce their milk intake- they will stop drinking as much, once they have reduced their intake for a week or so, adjust your bottles accordingly, it helps to get into a feeding routine, so they are having a bottle and a feed at roughly the same time each day. It makes it much easier to plan days out for you, and means your baby is used to having their meals at that time.
Weaning is a pretty easy thing when you have advice- but sometimes I think the Health Visitor advice can be a little misleading. I think some health visitors want to make you wait until your baby is 10 months old before weaning, whilst others use their common sense, and if they see the baby is the size of a 6 month old, and at the development stage of a 6 month old then there is no problem with weaning them early. As I said earlier on, use your common sense, if your baby is tiny, not holding their head up and is content with just milk, then keep it that way, no need to force solids onto a baby who isn't ready for it. But if your baby is starting to get interested in food, maybe not so interested in milk, stopped sleeping through the night...then it may indicate they are ready for solids.
I am not a health professional, and my experience comes from simply being a mummy and a member of a large family. I have taken the advice on weaning from the health books and leaflets I have been given at various points over my pregnancy and the 6 months of my daughters life, and i truly believe that they need to re evaulate their advice, and retrain the health visitors in the weaning advice, as I think many of them are confused themselves about what the advice actually is. Many say 6 months and no earlier, whilst others say 4 months and no earlier, but my own GP told me at my daughters 8 week check that she should be starting on solids due to her size and development speed!!!
Upon reading the comments on this review, I felt i needed to add a little more...I do NOT and I sincerely mean that, advocate weaning from a young age, I think that it should only be done under the advice of a health professional, I did not do this, and in retrospect, I should have done- but my worries were that I would be reprimanded by them and told not to be stupid...when in fact my own GP said my daughter should be on solids from 8 weeks at her check anyway. So I do think you are planning on weaning from before 3 months, that you should ask your GP or health visitor...they will take into consideration your babies weight, and development...if you get a sensible health visitor, then they will give you the correct advice...and you can always get second thirrd and even forth opinions from your GP and other health professionals.
Also, somebody mentions about nuts, please remember the advice on giving a child nuts before 12 months is still very contradictory, one group says no another says you should...basically they do not have the slightest idea. Always make sure your babies food is COOKED THOUROUGHLY, no matter what their age, whether it be 3 months or 9 months, eggs and meat should never be rare (or runny in the case of eggs!), but there are NO restrictions (and this is from a Health Visitor!!!) from 6 months other than honey, salt and sugar.
I am not the law, nor am I a health professional, I am a young mum (well I say young, I'm 22 so not a "young mum") who doens't believe that every single piece of advice is correct...if I followed all the "advice" I have ever been given, I wouldn't be me now would I? But I would be an idealised version of what the Government want us to be...I believe in doing as you think is best. I do think that on the most part, babies won't be ready for weaning before 3 months, not for anything more than baby rice anyway as this is just a step up from milk when prepared correctly...and many babies won't be ready until 4,5, or 6 months. But as I have said, I am trying to get across that not ALL babies will be the same, some will want food earlier than 6 months, and my review is trying to give advice about that! But it seems that dooyoo in the 6 months I have been away from here, has not changed much and you are not allowed to go against the grain in any way shape or form...! My basic advice on that is, if you don't like what I say, then don't listen...write you own review and contradict what I say if you like...give readers an alternative view...but this is afterall an OPINION site, and this is my opinion on weaning.
I do not in anyway tell anybody to wean their children at 4 weeks, I simply say that is what I did...I am not the Pide Piper...I do not ask you to follow me on this, but the rest of my advice is just that, do with it as you please, follow it, follow parts of it, or dimiss it completely and ask your health visitor- it is YOUR CHOICE, and thats what I am trying to say in this review. Clearly that crown I got the other day upset the long timers though...and so they had to put a spanner in the works as per.
Summary: Use your common sense, only YOU know your baby!!
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