When To Wean Your Baby

“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.

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11 thoughts on “When To Wean Your Baby”

  1. All 3 of mine weened at different times and stages, all when they were drinking too much formula milk after i stopped breast feeding between 2 months and 8 months. I followed the book to the letter with my first child and suffered endless sleepness nights as he was hungry, so i did what i felt was best with the next two and that included having them in bed with me, having them in their own room, ignored crying, ran in to settle them every 5 minutes and let them sllep on their front, bottom of cot, top of cot…..
    cant remember which piece of information was given for which child or in which year (1992, 1995, 1999)

    1. I still now find it quite amazing how varied children are, even within the same family. It also amazes me how often they change the guidelines. I have had different guidelines for all three of mine as well (’06, ’09 and ’11), which is different from what people I know have been told at various times. It’s pretty hard to know what to do. I suppose it must also be quite tricky for health visitors having to work out which guidelines are relevant to each child.

  2. All 3 of mine were weaned very early, but only because they seemed to be very hungry babies, and I was advised by the health visitor to supplement their diets with baby rice. So, I guess I agree with you :o) L will let you know when she needs more :o)

    xxx

  3. I think the only thing babies don’t get from breast milk is iron. They have a store of it from birth that they use up and eventually have to get more from eating once this runs out. They say that’s around six months but I’m sure when that actually starts to depleat will be entirely dependant on your baby, their size and growth rates and how much they had to start off with. Both my boys were big and obviously hungry at four months so I was happy to give then the usual stuff (baby rice, fruit purees etc) which they wolfed down. If your daughter’s not interested then there’s a good chance she just doesn’t need it yet. Don’t let the HV worry you.

    1. Thank you for your support and the information. I shall keep just making food available if she wants it and let her let me know when she begins to need more.

  4. I tried to follow the advice but was told at 5 months I needed to start weaning straight away by HV as lb was ready. Wish I had done it earlier and we would not have ended up bf every hour and a half all day and night. Next time will follow babies lead not Hv guidlines!

    1. I think it’s very hard as a first time parent to figure out what to do, and the guidelines often aren’t flexible enough. I think perhaps if they said something like ‘between 4 and 10 months’ we wouldn’t panic so much! Thank you for taking the time to comment.

  5. Yes, I agree with you, let your baby lead. There is no point getting all frustrated and making mealtimes a stressful situation – you can save all that for when she is a toddler (fnar!). My daughter was really, really not interested in eating anything solid at 6M and even at just over 2 years she still isn’t a consistently good eater. BUT, what she does eat is always really healthy, she drinks plenty of milk, she is a good sleeper in general, has bags of energy and is doing all the other stuff that a 2yr old should (oh I do hate that word) be doing. So, I don’t worry too much about it – though I do sometimes have days when I wonder if I should make the food and then pop it straight in the bin. You stick to your guns and do things yours and your child’s way.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I think it’s hard but we have to have faith in ourselves and what we’re doing as long as the children are happy and in good health. They will (usually very vocally) let us know if there’s something not right.

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