Weaning!

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About 3 or 4 weeks ago Amelia started waking more at night. When I say more I mean it got to the point where for several nights she was waking every 2-3 hours. This followed a period where she was starting to sleep longer and a few nights even treated us to 5-6 hours straight from midnight onwards. Frustratingly this was also accompanied by a refusal to take a bottle (having done so really well previously). This was becoming really tiring. Especially since I recalled asking someone what the best baby age was for mum and dad. Their answer had been “4-5 months because they are more interactive, still not mobile and sleeping more”. After extensive googling and chatting to fellow parents I was even more confused! Was this the start of the wonder months, change in sleeping habits, or ready to begin weaning. The only one I felt I had any control over was weaning.

I had always been set on waiting until 6 months to wean Amelia. To those who questioned why, or blamed the health visitors for changing their minds so frequently I didn’t have a clear answer. However, what I did know from reading leaflets, websites, etc. was that the feeling was a baby’s gut was not well developed until 6 months, and early weaning increases the risk of food intolerance and gut problems in later life.

Pretty much everything I read seemed to suggest that baby was definitely not ready before 17 weeks – the gut is certainly not ready and there may be too much pressure on the kidneys too.  At this point I thought about myself – I am certain my own mother did not wait until 6 months to wean me, and I know that she was a big fan of rusks to help her kids sleep through the night (she had 6 in total – I don’t blame her for wanting a good nights sleep!).

So I procrastinated, thought about it, chatted about it to anyone that would listen, rambled on whatsapp at 3am to my fellow nocturnal mothers! I made a plan that I would wait a couple of weeks, see if things improved and if not would start the weaning process. I downloaded some ebooks (see recommendations page) and read about how to wean. My decision was made when one of the big supermarkets had a baby event on. The baby rice and baby porridge was discounted and this spurred me on to take the plunge. So last week I started. Day 1 was baby rice for dinner – she gobbled it up! However, she woke every 2 hours that night and didn’t poo for 24 hours. I then tried porridge – she seems to enjoy this even more, it doesn’t constipate her and she seems to sleep well after having this at dinner. Well most of the time she sleeps better.

This week we have started with a portion of puréed vegetables each lunch, in addition to the porridge. I opted for vegetables after having read that trying vegetables with a slightly more bitter taste first may be helpful in ensuring they like a wider range of food in the long run. I have also been adding some breast milk to the purée to provide some familiarity to the taste. So far we’ve tried potato (didn’t seem to enjoy much), carrot, parsnip and courgette (which she surprisingly loved!). I have also given some small tastes of banana and papaya.

Last night she slept from 7.15pm until 3.20am – best run she’s had yet, so I’d say weaning is going well. Though it’s funny how I still feel slightly ashamed to tell people that I’ve started weaning and she’s not quite 5 months yet. I overhear other mothers saying “I’m waiting until 6 months”, and I think fair play but Amelia is loving food, getting some more sleep, and now I don’t feel quite so guilty as she stares at everyone longingly whilst they’re eating!