The thing about this Motherhood malarky is knowing what to do, when and why. I spend half my time taking Emily-Rae to baby classes that she sleeps through because she is possibly still too young to really get anything out of them & the other half of my time is spent thinking that she spends too much time in her bouncer and worrying that I’m not doing enough with her. One subject that came up recently was weaning, I was under the impression that you did this at six months but other people have said to me that I should be giving her baby rice and other basic foods from four months old. The thing is there is SO much conflicting information that it’s hard to work our whats right for us. After asking The Gram and spending hours reading various articles I have decided to wait until she is six months old and these are the reasons that lead to me that decision. This information has been complied from information on the NHS website as well as an interesting article on cafemom.com. I thought I would share it as after interacting with so many new Mamas over on Instagram it would appear that we have all be wondering the same thing.
When To Start Introducing Solid Foods
Introducing your baby to solid foods which is sometimes called weaning or complementary feeding should start when your baby is around six months old. It’s a really important step in their development, and it can be great fun to explore new flavours and textures together. To begin with, how much your baby takes is less important than getting them used to the idea of eating. They will still be getting most of their nutrition from breast milk or infant formula. Babies don’t need three meals a day to start with, so you can begin by offering foods at a time that suits you both. Gradually, you’ll be able to increase the amount and variety of food your baby eats, until they can eventually eat the same as the rest of the family, in smaller portions.
10 Reasons Why It Pays To Wait
1. It’s recommended by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, The American Academy of Family Physicians, National Health & Medical Research Council, and many prominent paediatricians. The lower range numbers, and many of the reasons along with it, have been outdated for quite awhile.
2. Waiting until the cells lining the baby’s gut have closed helps prevent many allergies, gas, rashes, and medical issues.
3. Waiting also shows less incidences of gastroenteritis, diabetes, and obesity (as much as six-fold) and even ear infections.
4. Breastfeeding for at least seven months actually shows decreased rates of anemia.
5. Baby is much less likely to choke (even on purees) when baby is older, and can also sit upright of their own accord (babies should never be fed foods leaning back).
6. Baby’s gut doesn’t produce enzymes to aid in digestion until 3-4 months, and the ones that break down more complicated fats, starches, and carbohydrates won’t be produced until 6-9 months, meaning lots of gas, constipation, vomiting, and wasted nutrients before then. Even generally fussiness months later is noted in babies who were started too early.
7. While some babies may be ready between 4-6 months (no evidence has ever shown anything but risks earlier), it’s impossible to tell without looking with a microscope in the gut, so waiting until 6 months minimum is a safer move for all babies.
8. Waiting until your baby can pick up and put food into their own mouth while sitting up straight is a clear sign of readiness, especially if they can gum and swallow the foods. The Department of Health’s Infant Feeding recommendation actually suggests allowing babies who show readiness before 6 months to play with finger foods (that’s right, no purees), as it’s also unlikely they will swallow before they’re biologically ready.
9. The tongue thrust reflex is to help prevent choking, but spoons of liquid purees can often get past it, since the reflex point is farther forward than an adult’s gagging reflex. Putting food in the front of the mouth and allowing baby to move it back, which they can’t do until often after 6 months, helps prevent choking and is also, of course, a sign of readiness.
10. Most parent assumptions about when babies are ready are related to other biological norms — waking up at night, reaching for food, mimicking your eating, wanting to eat more — and are confused for signs of readiness. Having a set date AND a list of readiness signs helps prevent early introduction based on confusion about normal behaviours.
So there it is, the reasons why I am going to wait it out until October. What fills me with much excitement is the fact that she can have a mini Christmas dinner this year! I’m going to leave that thought there because once I start taking about Christmas (yes, I know it’s July) I can’t stop.