Weaning and Feeding Updates
Weaning before six months
As most of you are aware, earlier this year I revised The Contented Little Baby Book of Weaning to fall into line with advice given by the Department of Health, that babies should not be given solids before the age of six months.
However, I included two sets of weaning guidelines, one for weaning at four to six months, and one for weaning at six months. I did this because I was aware that all babies are different, and was not convinced that all of them would manage to get through to six months on milk alone.
I know that weaning can be a worry for many of you, especially if you have decided to wean early. Therefore I thought that you would be reassured to hear that Scottish Health Authority has changed their weaning guidelines back to advising parents that solids can be introduced between the age of four and six months.
In England the guidelines remain the same, and parents are advised to wait until six months. My advice remains the same as I stated earlier this year. If you plan to wean at six months, you may have to continue with night feeds until the baby is weaned. However, if your baby is over four months and showing signs of needing to be weaned, as long as you introduce the foods slowly and carefully there is no reason to delay weaning. Further advice on previous statement: http://www.contentedbaby.com/WeaningGuidelines.htm
Here is a link to an extract taken from Gina's latest updated edition of The Weaning Book: http://www.contentedbaby.com/ExtractCLBWeaning.htm
If you check the CLB book and the CBW book, they both advise that from six months finger foods should be introduced, and food should become less smooth. And that you should continue to introduce more chopped and diced food at each meal. During the second half of the first year your baby's growth will start to slow down, therefore the amount he eats will also reduce slightly. If you continue to give the bulk of your baby's food in a pureed form, you could end up overfeeding him. This could result in a reduction of his milk or, as Gwen has experienced, your baby being sick after some meals.
A quote in Gina's Contented Baby to Confident Child by Elizabeth Morse should be observed when you get to the third stage of weaning:
"If a child grew at the same rate as in the first year he would 29 metres long and weigh 200 tons by the age on ten"
Nutrition: Important Food Facts
Young babies should not have salt added to any of their meals as it can be harmful to their immature kidneys. Salt is naturally present in many foods and babies over six months who are weaned, along with young children, will get all they need from this source. The advice as to when salt can be added to the food of young children varies. Some experts say that from one year onwards a small amount of salt added to their meals, is unlikely to cause any harm. Gina recommends that children under two years should not have salt added to their food, with the exception of low salt stock used in soups and casseroles. If you are unsure about whether you should add salt to your children's food it would be advisable to discuss the matter with your health visitor.Too much salt can be very dangerous for babies and can lead to high blood pressure, strokes and heart disease in later life. For more information on salt intake and the health of your children, please read this.