In honour of the fact that my niece is rapidly approaching weaning age, I thought I'd do a few articles on weaning. Over the next few weeks, I'll cover the topics:
When to start weaning
Today, let's look at when to start weaning.
The Department of Health and the World Health Organisation say that breast milk or formula will meet all your baby’s nutritional requirements until they are 6 months old. They both agree that solid foods should not be given before 17 weeks old (4 months).
The Department of Health advises that your baby should be able to sit up, want to chew and is putting things in their mouth and reaches and grabs accurately.
The European Society for Paediatrics, Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) recommend weaning between 17 weeks and 26 weeks.
So, although there is a slight discrepancy in advise, general consensus is between 17 weeks and 26 weeks.
It's important to remember that all children are different. With my first child, I thought I would hold off weaning him until he was 6 months. But from an early age, he showed all the signs of wanting to be weaned. He would watch us as we ate and seemed very interested in food. His evening feeds were getting earlier and earlier as he was clearly hungry. I ended up weaning him at 17 weeks and he took to it like a duck to water.
With number 2, I thought I'd do the same thing. I started at 17 weeks and it was as if I was trying to poison him. I delayed a few weeks and everything turned out fine.
Don’t leave weaning too long after 6 months as there is a window of opportunity. Babies who are weaned too late can develop problems swallowing lumps and also, they will need more calories and iron than milk alone can provide.