Friday, March 18, 2011

When To Wean?

The world of weaning has left me flummoxed.  It's not difficult to confuse me to be fair!
If you have a weaning story or any advice you'd like to share then please leave a comment, it really helps us new mums!
My baby will be 12 weeks old on Tuesday and he is bottle fed, (see my LAST POST ).  Now I know all the experts in the land say that we should wait until our babies are 6 months old but now there is talk of reducing that to 4 months.
When I speak to other mums about this I have found that many started the process anwhere from about 10 weeks onwards but feel the need to do it in secret, like they're doing something wrong.  I am astonished at the pressures 'society' puts on new mums without offering up help and advice when they do thigs a bit differently according to the needs of their own children.
We are expected to breastfeed at home but bottlefeeding is more acceptable in public...we simply can't win.
When I discussed weaning with my health visitor several weeks ago I mentioned that I would start weaning whenever Bubba was showing signs of being ready.  By that stage he was already taking 6-7oz feeds every 3 hours, reaching for his gym animals and pulling them into his mouth and, more amusingly, staring intensely whenever we were eating or drinking.  The Health Visitor recoiled in horror and reeled off the information she had memorised from the 'How to be a most excellent parent' guide that all baby professionals must have to study.  I was told that weaning earlier than 6 months would really harm my baby, giving him allergies and feeding problems as well as bunging up his intestinal system.  And yet, when I turn on the tv I'm told that waiting until 6 months will have the same effect and I should start at 4 months.
Why does everything have to be so secretive and confusing?  The whole system is designed to make us feel like failures when we realise that babies don't fit a single developmental structure...they are all different and the best people to analyse a babies needs is us, the parents.
Having said that, Bubba tried a spoon of baby rice and pulled a face illustrating his disgust at me placing vomit in his mouth.  Think I'll give him a couple more weeks before I try him on the more 'colourful' flavours!!

I don't think he's any the worse for having tried some baby rice...this is the view I have of him as I type:


  1. Don't blame him, baby rice is rank, lol

  2. I believe the whole reason a lot of people feel tempted to start weaning at 4 months is because there's a big growth spurt around that time, where the baby does seem to be more hungry than usual.

    Both of my kids have been very different with weaning. With my daughter I was being a very obedient first time Mum, and I waited until she was exactly 6 months before giving her anything other than milk. In retrospect she was ready for solids at about 5 months, and we had to "mop her through" the last month by switching on to "hungry baby" formula to keep her full.

    I made the decision with my son that if he showed the same signs I would be happy to start weaning him any time from 4 months. Of course he is a completely different child, and he didn't show any signs of being ready, so we again started at 6 months.

    The fact of the matter is that kids are ready at different times, but the official guidelines have to be written as if we are all incapable of making informed choices for our own children, hence the dogmatic insistence on waiting until 6 months.

    My advice would be, don't push it if he's not ready. The main sign for me would be him appearing more hungry than previously - i.e. if he suddenly won't go 3 hours between feeds. My son was up to 9oz feeds before starting weaning, but these were satisfying him, so I didn't push the solids.

    At the end of the day, advice changes. Many of us were weaned well before 4 months, and our parents were putting baby rice in our night time bottles to get us to sleep better! I think we all turned out OK for it didn't we? :)

  3. wee robyn had her first solids at 2and half months she loves it and now we have a happy little baby trust yourself kerry xx

  4. I weaned Madeleine at 4 months, and the transformation was amazing! She started sleeping for longer, was much happier and loved her meals!

    I was most successful with stuff like butternut squash, sweet potato and fruit etc

    You can also get one of those wee hand held mesh things for them to munch on and experience the taste of fruit etc.

    I fully intend to wean Marley at 4 months, if not before! He is already showing strong signs, he had a wee lick of a strawberry yesterday and loved it! (I hope the parenting police are not reading!)

    Trust your gut! xxxxx

  5. The second video in this review post shows exactly what my little man thought of baby rice!

  6. Sarah - I must be a freak because I love the taste of the baby rice...then again I loved semolina at school so there's no accounting for taste!
    Geekymummy - It really is brilliant that you left this comment, it shows that even kids within one family are different so trusting the cues from my Bubba is the best way to decide when to wean.
    Maria - My bubba is a bit of a grump at the moment so good to know that with decent sleep and a full tummy he will start to lighten up a bit!!
    Clever Togs - Yum, I really want to lick a strawberry I'm excited to wean Bubba and watch him grow in front of my eyes!
    Qwerty Mum - Just read the whole post and it's inspiring, really useful. The video is very funny but totally illustrates how much Baby Boy preferred the Ellas kitchen range.

    Thanks for you comments everyone xxx