The NHS guidelines on weaning are absolute rubbish.
How’s that for a controversial opener? Who do I think I am making such a bold statement? I’m doing this for the first time, I need to do it by the book, right?
If only there was a bloody book. Instead there is a constant flow of conflicting advice which depends on your era, your midwife, your health visitor, your beliefs, your lifestyle, your country and – lest they forget – your baby. The wee man is five months old now and I’ve decided I am absolutely sick fed up of the pressure masquerading as information.
I have worried myself sick over breast feeding and bottle feeding – you know how I feel about the EBF6. I still believe it is a near-impossible goal even for women with tiny babies and massive boobies. So I went with my gut – and against my health visitor – and introduced a bottle at bedtime and then, at 12 weeks, another at lunchtime. When he was 16 weeks I decided to introduce a tiny amount of baby rice. The official advice is to wait til 17 weeks, but the wee man was ten days over so technically I did. He LOVED it and had the best night’s sleep for weeks. A week ago, as he was scoffing the lot and then waking up in the night for a full feed from me and a 7 ounce bottle and wanting to play for hours, I decided maybe he needed a second small bowl after his lunchtime feed. Again, he slept brilliantly. So this direct quote is b*llocks:
Starting solid foods won’t make them any more likely to sleep through.
It also says you should wait until they “stay in a sitting position” before feeding them. My nephew is ten months old and can’t stay in a sitting position. So, again, b*llocks.
I’m coming over all defiant but I have honestly agonised over this decision as much as any other where the single most precious thing in my life is concerned. (Sorry Rod). So I mentioned to a neurologist that I had started him on “just a tiny spoonful” of baby rice at 16 weeks. He smiled at me, shook his head, rolled his eyes slightly and said, “That’s more than fine”. And he has more letters after his name than in it.
So to any mother reading this who has a hungry baby eating way more than the recommended 25 ounces a day, who’s doing her best to still feed him a couple of times a day herself and who believes that sleep is the key to a happy motherhood… I say do it. You know best what your baby needs. Don’t let yourself be bullied by health professionals who are more worried about their next audit than you. Don’t apply health advice to your baby if it feels inherently wrong. Enjoy the joy on his face as you feed him baby muesli and strawberry and banana porridge and hear him go “mmmmmm” and “ooooooh” like a proper adult. Notice how content he is when you are content because you’ve slept a good few hours in a row instead of singing “Twinkle twinkle” 45 times at 3am.
Ah well, it’s just food for thought.
What do you think?