“If you wean your baby too early, your baby will be fat…”
“If you wean too late, they will be a fussy eater.”
“They should be on solids by now!”
So when exactly is the right time to wean?
The current NHS guidelines suggest introducing solids at six months, but as early as four months if necessary for the child. My health visitor, when I saw her at clinic on Tuesday, seemed quite concerned that Baby Turtle is showing no real interest in solid food at almost seven months. Up until today, I had just been making food available and following Baby Turtle’s leads, assuming that she would take food when she was ready for it. Up until today I had no concerns about my cheerful, active, alert little girl.
The health visitor’s concern shook me up a little bit. I began to wonder if I should be more proactive with my approach to weaning. I started to think I had perhaps been a careless mum and wondered if I was unintentionally causing harm to Baby Turtle and her development. I posted about my worries on a forum, and the responses I received were unanimous. What a load of rubbish. A couple of mums shared that their children had also been uninterested in food long after the standard six month guideline, and that this had caused no harm at all. All of the mums agreed that breast milk would provide everything Baby Turtle needs at this age.
So I’m writing this with a renewed sense of confidence in my abilities and choices as a mum. I have no concerns about Baby Turtle’s health, so I’m letting her lead the way. Boob she wants and boob she will get, for as long as she wants it. It is her tummy we’re feeding, after all.
When is the right time to wean? When your baby is ready.
People are so varied at all stages of their lives, babyhood included, and are ready for different things at different times. It’s easy to get bogged down in all the guidelines, but I think we should remember that as parents and carers, we know our children best. Guidelines are just guidelines, not steadfast rules. As long as our children are happy and healthy, let’s not be afraid to do what feels right, even if that means doing things a little differently.