Weaning is one of those topics which really divides mothers (and prospective mothers, and even just incredibly nosey people). Some people believe we should be forcing tasty morsels down our baby’s throats from pretty much the second they cut the umbilical cord. Others see no rush to get onto solids and are happy to wait a few months before they try out proper food with their baby.
I’m firmly in the latter camp. I accept there are occasions where a health visitor or doctor may advise early weaning, usually if there’s some sort of medical problem which necessitates it, but other than that I think all the research screams ‘wait til six months’ so that’s what I’d rather do.
Now Alexandra is five and a half months there’s almost a temptation to start trying her with foods, but equally she’s not quite sitting up by herself yet and I just don’t think she’s ready. Yes she puts everything in her mouth: tasting things is part of exploring and there’s nasty teeth coming through making her want to rub her gums along things. Yes she watches sometimes when I eat: but equally she watches me while I fill my pill box every week, should I be encouraging her to try some warfarin? She’s five months old and the world is new and distracting and amazing, colours and noise astound her and she wants to know what’s going on.
As someone choosing to wait to wean it seems like there’s a lot of pressure to ‘cave in’. Examples of people being weaned early and not immediately keeling over are banded around regularly. I myself was on baby rice aged 12 weeks. But the facts speak for themselves. We know early weaning is more likely to cause problems later on in life.
Plus I invite anyone advocating early weaning to look at my child, really properly look at her. She’s 23 weeks old and putting on weight along the 50th centile. She’s been following the 50th centile for as long as the health visitor’s been tracking her weight. She sleeps all night and is a happy, smiley baby. Does it look like she’s desperate to eat? Does it look like she’s malnourished?
Alexandra is perfectly happy on a bottle. She knows no different. But as a mom I feel confident to rely on the experts as well as my own instinct that we’re fine solely on milk for the next few weeks. Yes it will be amazing trying out different foods with her and hopefully instilling her with a healthy appetite for the rest of her life. But she has years and years of eating solids ahead of her, there’s no rush to make her grow up just for the thrill of telling people your baby eats solids or a cute Instagram picture. My baby thrives on milk and I thrive knowing she’s fine and dandy doing just that!
Harriet and Alexandra X