So although Lo-Lo is on breast milk I’m a believer in range of experiences when it comes to food. This we’ve been trying since day dot. By week 3 she had tasted expressed milk, then formula in the evenings and by week 12 she started having boiled water. Not to mention that I’ve tried a variety of different foods whilst breastfeeding: french cheeses, steak tartare, snails, lots of fruit and veg etc.
With the thought of weaning at 6 months part of me feels she shouldn’t wait so long before she is introduced to the idea of food. I try to have her sat with me when we’re eating sometimes. I have also let her lick certain foods so she’s had a chance to TRY some food. She’s licked: a carrot, a grape, an orange slice, an apple, pineapple, had the tiniest peice (2mm x 2mm) of soft avocado, she’s even tried the tiniest bit of duck sauce on holiday.
There’s even slightly conflicting information on when to notice a baby is ready. NHS suggest it’s when 1) They can stay in a sitting position and hold their head steady. 2) They can co-ordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so that they can look at the food, pick it up and put it in their mouth, all by themselves (really?! aren’t they feeding themselves by this stage?) 3) They can swallow food. Others suggest; a) crying b) irritability c) frequent waking in the night demanding more feeds d) not being settled by the usual means, like changing a nappy.
The NHS suggest that you should wait til 6 months so that baby’s digestive system (has) time to develop so that they cope fully with solid foods. And yet many people start weaning their babies much earlier by order of their doctor for one reason or another. We understand that we want the baby to gain as much nutritional value from mother’s milk also. I originally thought it was to do with them not being able to swallow, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Interestingly they do say if you HAVE to start feeding before 6 months that there are foods to avoid: You should avoid giving your baby certain foods as they may cause food allergies or make your baby ill. These include foods that contain wheat, gluten, nuts, peanuts, peanut products, seeds, liver, eggs, fish, shellfish, cows’ milk and soft or unpasteurised cheese.
However the newer report states that leaving weaning til 6 months might in fact, it might even put them at increased risk of iron deficiency anaemia, food allergies and unhealthy eating in later life, because it can reduce the window for introducing new tastes, particularly bitter tastes associated with leafy green vegetables.
Research at Southampton University suggests it is not when solid food is introduced into a baby’s diet that is important, but whether they are being breastfed at the same time. Having an overlap period helps babies’ bodies to accept and tolerate new foods, researchers found.
Soooo… I guess the bottom line is check with your health visitor/Dr, but realistically start weaning when you feel your child is ready.