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Thinking about weaning

Little Mr is now 17 weeks old (he was officially 4 months old yesterday) and I’m beginning to think about the next stage in his development which is a biggie, weaning.

I’ve been reading the NHS guidelines which suggest that weaning should be started at 6 months old, that gives me around 2 months to get ready and prepared for it. I know he’s definitely not ready for it at the moment. He has four x 8 ounce bottles through the day and will struggle to drink the whole bottle on most days. He’s not a hungry baby and he’s still putting on weight so he seems quite content at the moment. If and when he wants more then I’ll happily give him more milk.

The guidelines suggest there are clear signs that a baby is ready for weaning;

1) Babies can sit upright on their own without slouching and can hold their head up independently
2) Babies can swallow food without their tongue pushing it back out again
3) Babies can use their eyes and hands together to pick up food and put it in their mouths.

Based on all that information, Little Mr ticks 1 out of 3. We tried him on some very diluted baby juice at the weekend for the first time and he did spit some most of it back out again and although he wanted to hold the handles on the sippy cup, he did briefly then got bored. I was impressed he put the cup to his mouth once but I’m not sure if that was fluke or not as the second time he tried, he managed to get juice in his eye. I’m not sure he liked it to be honest, his face is a right picture!

The false signs that could be mistaken that your baby is ready for weaning include chewing their fists, waking at night for a feed and demanding a higher fluid intake. Little Mr always has his hands in his mouth but I know this is a developmental thing for him so I’m not worried.

So to prepare myself for weaning, there are two schools of thought; baby led weaning and spoon feeding. Both with their benefits and downfalls so over the next few weeks I’m going to be looking at all the options and seeing what is best for Little Mr and our family way of life. I’m not sure if I can do both by offering baby rice or porridge in the morning then introducing finger foods at lunch and dinner times so I’ve got a lot to read up on.

I want to be able to feed Little Mr healthy tasty foods that he’ll enjoy and that we can eat together. I don’t want to be making two different meals at dinner time. If you’ve written any posts about weaning, I’d LOVE to read your posts so please leave a link for me to read it.

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20 Comments

  • Reply Zoe Corkhill (Mama Geek)

    Here is the post I wrote back when I started weaning Georgie:

    http://mamageek.co.uk/2011/11/12/weaning-adventures/

    We went with primarily baby led weaning, giving her whatever we ate at lunch & dinner, and then for breakfast she either had toast or baby porridge to start with. She found baby rice too bland & rejected it out right!

    If you go to the breastfeeding help page on my site you’ll see a link to the UNICEF leaflet for introducing solid food – it’s really helpful.

    We found that baby led weaning really helped to introduce Georgie to a variety of tastes & textures from early on & meant that she was a great eater later on. I’ve known parents to do 100% purees & jar food who’ve ended up with a child who won’t eat anything lumpy!

    In fact, the only thing georgie used to reject I was the odd jar of baby food we tried.

    I really would recommend BLW, it’s messy, bu so is ALL weaning.

    12/06/2013 at 12:12 am
  • Reply Bex @ The Mummy Adventure

    We did a mixture with Dylan, giving him porridge for breakfast, finger foods for lunch and puree for tea and it worked great for us so I am hoping to do the same with Archie although he is still a long way off being ready yet. I am in no rush to wean though as suddenly there is so much more to lug around in the nappy bag!

    12/06/2013 at 12:23 am
  • Reply Helen Gallery

    Hi hun. The wean at 6mth thing is guideline only and I for one would like to see proper research done on it (as well as co sleeping but thats another issue!) Go with your gut not what someone else istelling you! My girls were both weaned before 6mths with no detrimental issues!
    I am a huge advocate of baby led weaning too. And of giving them proper food that you would eat yourself. There’s no problem with muxing the 2 styles either from my experienc. And I didgive a soft spoon fed breakfast and then finger foods for the rest Iif the day. Don’t waste your money in baby food, dont wase your time batch pureeing and freezing!. I will be doing the same with my son when he is ready too.
    My best advice is involve him in family meals now. If he can sit in a hifh chair then bring him to the table while you eat. That’s how they learn! I’ll be following with interest!

    12/06/2013 at 6:18 am
    • Reply Jem

      There are lots of studies on the current weaning guidelines with plenty of evidence to support waiting til 6 months.

      12/06/2013 at 9:06 am
      • Reply Helen

        There are also studies that suggest weaning before 6mth is better too.I remember reading lots of different evidence and advice when I weaned my second (at 21wks, baby led weaned as far as I could) in fact I recall one study which suggested waiting to wean may cause anaemia or intolerance.
        I don’t think anyone has a definitive answer just like they can’t agree on co sleeping either. I think the problem is we have stopped trusting our instincts and being led by our children because we are given orders by professionals.

        12/06/2013 at 7:10 pm
        • Reply Jem

          The problem with “instincts” is that they can be wildly wrong. I’ve seen people online talking about giving their 2 week old baby rice in a bottle because their instincts say baby is hungry. :(

          Thankfully there’s a world of difference between 2 weeks and past 17 weeks in terms of development of the gut etc!

          13/06/2013 at 9:37 am
  • Reply Karen

    I started by giving JD a little very mashed banana and then tried her on the creamy cow and gate porridge that she loved! She had fruit and vegetable puree’s at the start, single favours at first and then a couple together. In the last couple of weeks I gave her fingers of toast for breakfast and she loves sitting feeding herself. I don’t know if it’s coincidence but now she won’t take porridge but when I give her toast she’s flying. I think she loves it because she can feed herself. She tries to take the spoon too sometimes so I let her help. She loves having one hand in her food to feel the texture. I’m now struggling of toast what else to give her but blending doesn’t take that much time, a hand blender is perfect. Really it’s up to you both as which choice is better for you’s. It’ll be wonderful seeing his reaction to new tastes Xx

    12/06/2013 at 7:13 am
    • Reply Helen

      If she can handle toast then you’re on your way :) I remember a blw forum that had loads of ideas for recipes for finger foods. One of which is porridge pancakes – overcook normal porridge til it goes solid let it cool and cut it into fingers. Give pieces of fruit or cooked veg frozen melon is great especially when they are teething.

      12/06/2013 at 7:16 pm
  • Reply Jem

    We’re baby led weaners. It was really important for me for my kids to have complete control over what they ate and how much because I have quite a LARGE family who over-eat. Oh, and I’m lazy – the thought of puréeing a million batches of weird vegetable concoctions fills me with dread. :S

    Honestly, enjoy this relatively clean period on babies life because when you start weaning, irrelevant of the method, it’s MESSY! ;)

    Just my tuppence worth of course, but I *personally* wouldn’t start on baby juice when you begin weaning – from what I gather it’s incredibly sweet and there’s a school of thought that if you start them on very sweet things they’ll be less inclined to try savoury stuff. (Not to mention it’s nutritionally pointless and a waste of money!) Both of mine have just water and we’ve never had battles of sugary squashes/juice, touch wood. Although, you watch now I’ve said it… ;)

    12/06/2013 at 8:10 am
    • Reply Helen

      That is a good point about the baby juice being a waste of money and not necessary water is perfectly fine (I occasionally offered mine very dilute pure juice admittedly but only at mealtimes)) I avoided all baby foods as it is scary just what they do contain! Much better (and cheaper) to give normal food!

      12/06/2013 at 7:20 pm
  • Reply Jade Pirard

    We weaned and these were brilliant. Ted was more than ready. Out weaning story is there too xxx Ella’s Kitchen Pouches http://late-for-reality.blogspot.com/2013/05/ellas-kitchen-pouches.html

    12/06/2013 at 8:50 am
  • Reply Lauren

    I’ve no personal experience obviously, but I’ve heard great things about BLW from a developmental point of view and also just the ease of having them eat what you eat. Like others I couldn’t be arsed with cooking and pureeing all the time (even though I love cooking!) I think what makes me lean more toward BLW is the fact that hubby and I are both ridiculously fussy eaters (him more than me, but I was awful as a child) and I’d want to prevent that as much as possible! The other beauty of BLW is that you don’t need to worry yourself about him getting enough nutrients because you keep the milk feeds as normal so he gets his nutrients from that. It’s making food an exploratory play thing, and less stressful for both of you. @genuineplacebo on Twitter is a big BLW fan so maybe chat to her x

    12/06/2013 at 10:48 am
  • Reply James

    Personally I think you’ll know when the right time is. We just tried Olivia on some puree just after 4 months and it was obvious it was right for her so we continued.

    I say trust your gut every baby has different needs etc .

    12/06/2013 at 1:10 pm
  • Reply Katie @mummydaddyme

    Eeek it scares me having to think about weaning! They are growing up far too quick! x

    12/06/2013 at 2:51 pm
  • Reply Donna @genuineplacebo

    I started Blogging to document our Baby Led Weaning Journey – this is the first post I did http://redandbabyled.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/introduction/

    I have to say that doing BLW was the best decision we made. Yes it’s messy, but so is traditional spoon weaning once you give them the spoon to use themselves. The other ‘negative’ is the ‘choking’ however babies don’t tend to choke unless you interfere with them – put food in their mouths etc. The only thing that happens is they gag to move to food back to the front of their mouths and if you leave them to it they manage amazingly.
    The BLW book http://www.amazon.co.uk/Baby-led-Weaning-Helping-Your-Baby/dp/0091923808 is a really good read and very reassuring, I would definitely recommend it.
    We have never really cooked seperate meals for A, She has always eaten what we have had although slightly modified in the early days. Only things to watch are salt content and no honey or seafood before 1.
    Also, BLW motto is ‘food is fun before they’re one’ As long as they are still having the stated amount of milk then they don’t ‘need’ anything extra from the food until they’re over 1, so food is for learning and playing with. By 1 we found that A would eat a huge amount and with a lot less mess – next to nothing on the floor! Now she’s nearly 2 and will eat a side plate of food at each meal, uses adult crockery and uses cutlery really well. It has been an incredible journey and I’m looking forward to doing it again this time!

    12/06/2013 at 5:11 pm
  • Reply Single Mother Ahoy Vicky

    I don’t have a blog post, but I started S on solids around 5 and a half months, after she didn’t have a poo for 18 days and I thought some pears or prunes might help. As it was, she wasn’t interested in any of it until she was well past 6 months. I was intending to do BLW but found that she just wasn’t putting anything in her mouth. She wasn’t interested in feeding herself until she was around 8 or 9 months so I ended up spoon feeding her.

    12/06/2013 at 5:45 pm
  • Reply Helen

    I think it’s important to add as well that they won’t starve. If they don’t eat don’t fret. They make up for it. Look at what they eat over a week not a day. Even at 4 1/2 my eldest will eat next to nothing some days and other days I can’t fill her up!
    The motto of fun until they’re one is a good one because it reminds you not to make it into a battlefield too. Let them enjoy messing with it, exploring it etc.
    Oh and I did mean to say ignore all those people who say it’s stressful because it’s not. Wasn’t for me anyway! It was fun and exciting and rewarding too :)

    12/06/2013 at 7:28 pm
  • Reply Bryher

    We started just after 17 weeks with tiny tastes of porridge and then single purées. Charlie didn’t sit independently until he was 8 months so that’s not a great indicator! I found a really good book from the library that explained the different types of weaning. BLW in its purist sense involves no spoons at all. We do a mix of purée/mash and finger foods here and Charlie loves his food :)

    12/06/2013 at 9:36 pm
  • Reply Anca

    There are many false signs of readiness when it comes to solids. You should really check the signs of readiness before getting started ’cause there are many risks associated with introducing solids too early. More info about that you could find here: http://blog.earlystart.me/?p=95 Hope it helps!

    13/06/2013 at 10:57 am
  • Reply Cass

    When my first son was born he recommendation was to wean at 16 weeks, which we did. We used baby food in jars and puréed home cooked meals… It was ok for us, he’s a healthy child, but it did take a long time for him to manage normal foods. (Lumps etc)
    With my second he weaned at 5 months and it was mainly his own doing as he could grab food and always put it in his mouth. By 8 months he was eating normally with us! Then with baby number 3 I went with a mixture of the two at around 5-6 months, he struggled with finger foods until he was 8/9 months but then he was fine. He’s quite a lazy child so perhaps he preferred spoon feeding? I always put a spoon on the tray of the high chair for him even if I wasn’t going to spoon feed. This changed into a knife and fork as he got older. I found my 2nd boy didn’t want to use cutlery well into into his 4th year as he finger fed as a baby… But that’s not something I have heard a lot of.
    I am waiting for baby girl to show an interest , I think we will go with baby led weaning. It’s so hard these days… People have their opinions and you feel like you can’t do right! It’s a big adventure :)

    13/06/2013 at 11:37 am
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