View Full Version : Self-weaning at 5 months!
Hi, I am wondering if anyone can give me any pointers. I have been surprised by the 'solids' issue a bit early - my daughter decided that rice cereal was preferrable to breast milk at 4 months! She is absolutely LOVING her teaspoon / day of cereal mixed into mush and she seems to not want to look back.
This is all terrific but unexpected and I haven't got much clue about how to continue to introduce a new meal regime. She was always a bit of a foraging feeder (no routine but many many feeds during the day and sleeping through the night) and so we didn't have a set pattern. I am concerned as I don't want to wean her off breastmilk yet, but see that she is going to choose solids or breastmilk in a bottle over boob more and more (she is a very independent missy)
Did anyone else experience this? I am confused by the literature as it says things like 'replace one feed with rice' - I don't know how to do this because like I said we never had set 'feed' times to start with!!! I honestly don't know how to start regulating her food / milk intake.
So far we have offered only 1 teaspoon rice mixed with milk and 1 teaspoon avocado mashed with milk / day. The avocado is new and only every 2nd day at the moment. She seems to refuse breast milk more and more unless it comes out of a spoon or bottle so I'm keen to get my head around how to proceed!
Any help out there?
I first started my daughter on solids when she was only 8 weeks old because she was such a hungry baby. She is also on formula, has been since she was a week old because I couldn't give her what she needed. She didn't like the rice I was giving her for the first two weeks, but I changed to another brand and kept on persisting with her. Once she was finally happy I started feeding her up to 2 tablespoons mixed with boiled water twice a day, with her breakfast bottle and with her dinner bottle. Once she was content on that I swapped her dinner feed of rice to a meal, eg. Sweetcorn and Pumpkin, but only 1/2 a jar.
Now she is 4 months old and has 3 meals a day.
Chenae's typical day is as follows:
5.30am 150ml Formula
8.30am 2 Tablespoons Rice mixed with Water, 150ml Formula
12.30pm 1/2 Jar Custard or 1/2 Jar Fruit, eg. Pear and Banana and 200ml Formula
4.00pm 1/2 Jar of a Dinner and 200ml Formula
6.00pm (only sometimes to get her off to sleep when all else fails) 100ml Formula
I wouldn't suggest stop feeding your baby milk, either breastmilk or formula, because she needs all of the nutrients that comes from either of these. Just increase her meals gradually, but make sure she is still getting her milk with every meal, for now anyway!
You will have feeding times once it is all underway.
Hope this helps :)
Have your tried offering breast first and then solids? If you want to encourage her to have as much BM as possible, this would be something to try. I know what you mean about little/no schedule, with DD1 I was the same, sometimes feeding every 1.5 hours during the day (but only once at night :) ).
When I was starting solids with DD1, we offered BM first and then solids until she was 6 months old, when we swapped the order. I never "replaced" a feed with solids, just offered both. At this v early stage they are only "experimenting" with solids, not getting any substantial nutrition from them. If you still have concerns, talk with your GP or CHN sooner rather than later, many babies start to prefer the bottle to breast (its EASIER) and if you feel v strongly about bf you might want a few tips to give you the greatest chance of continued success.
Best of luck
I agree with the advice from xkwzit - the food at this stage is not meant to provide nutrients, so offer the food after the breast. I didn't have a "routine" with either of my girls and didn't introduce solids until 6 months - and the lack of routine meant that some days I forgot to give them solids (bad mother), so what I did in the end was made a set time eg lunch time to give some solids. But I didn't "drop" any breast feeds - I kept feeding as normal. My oldest was still having 6 feeds a day (none at night - yay!) until she was about 10 months old, when I finally convinced her to drink from a cup with a straw (she would never take a bottle no matter how desperate we all were) and then we started to drop some feeds.
If you keep offering her BM in a bottle she will probably prefer it as it is easier - if you are worried about it, maybe stop the bottles for a while to re-establish the breast as the easy option? Again - something your child health nurse might be able to help with.
Thanks for the replies!
they were very helpful. I had already talk to child health nurse actually - which is one of the places I found confusing answers - all this talk of not 'dropping' feeds is well and good but it doesn't help that Phoebe has completely changed her routine of her own accord.
Its a great theory that babies aren't meant to be getting nourishment from their solids at this stage - but I think it doesn't take into account big babies who are independent little souls!!
I too planned on concentrating on breastfeeding - so much easier! And until the last couple of days we were only feeding Phoebe rice cereal on the odd occasion - e.g. when we felt like it or thought of it.
And I always offer breast before cereal too - but she's just not interested. In fact taking tonight for example. She used to cluster feed on and off in the early evening - ending with a long feed around 6:30- 7pm & off to sleep. Tonight she wasn't having a bar of it. - it wasn't until we gave her a teaspoon of rice cereal and BM that she fed. And then under protest and much screaming. I think she would have been much happier with more rice!
I personally want to keep breastfeeding her. I don't offer her bottles as the norm (I think she's had a bottle twice in unusual circumstances) - but she does seem to prefer them!
I am wondering whether I just give up on BF and go to formula and to more solids - she wakes up in the night several times now and she never used to do that. It seems to be the only time she'll take breastfeeding now.
I will go back to child health nurse & see if we can't nut it out but I have to say the original answers I got from there didn't really take into account the way Phoebe has changed HER routine - not something I am pushing onto her at all. (lordy if I could push her into staying on boob I'd be thrilled as its easier!)
She is watching every single thing we eat and drink like a hawk too. And reaching out for it. Even though we are now feeding her 2 small meals of solids / day - I feel very strongly that although it isn't MEANT to replace breastmilk - she is drinking less from me (by comparison to her usual rate in increasing volume she feeds) She's growing fine and healthy - I just feel mean not feeding her more solids but on the other hand am concerned that BM is what she needs for nutrition!
(after a very trying evening)
Just wanted to sympathise! Going through a similar stage too - it's very frustrating when CHN's tell you that breast is best and to offer both sides and perservere etc etc etc... aargh!! When my daughter is physically fighting the breast - scratching, pushing and arching her back offering the other breast dosen't help!!!!! It's so frustrating when they say keep trying when my concern is her lack of fluid intake!!
Anyway I have to say she has been better these last 2 days.... am trying to convince her that formula is YUMMY - no luck yet :o !! just wanted to sympathise.. good luck and goes with what works! :D
don't you hate conflicting advice from CHNs? They are meant to be our guide in the dark and they sometimes make it even less clear. I don't have any other suggestions, but thought I would share with you what my 6 month old is doing to put your experience in some perspective. dd2 has been on solids for about 10 days, and is up to about a teaspoon of rice cereal or fruit twice a day but isn't overly interested in it, other than to try and grab the spoon and put her hands into it. Over the last month or so she has reduced the number of breastfeeds she has per day but has started feeding from both breasts for the first time. Previously she just had one and then wasn't interested. She is also waking three times a night to be fed, and in the depths of sleep deprivation despair the other day I remembered that dd1 at 6 months started waking during the night after having slept through from 8 weeks (I was very spoilt), so it makes me think that the waking in the night thing is not connected to food or BM but to a stage in their development. dd2 has also started to pull off the breast at the slightest hint of any sound or movement - which means that breastfeeding in public is now a lot more public than it used to be as she likes to have a good look before putting herself back on. So, putting all of that together, my take on it is that she is becoming more efficient in feeding and that is why she doesn't need as many feeds.
Maybe just keep offering her the breast and her food - she will not starve herself and she will find her own balance between the two? Anyway - let us know how you are going.
Well thank you guys for writing in. I just wanted to let you know what has happened.
We are feeding Phoebe solids at every feed (except middle of the night ones)
She wanted it this way & is taking lots and lots more BF this way than the 'recommended' way!!1
our 'routine' (using term loosely) is something like
7am BF (snack sized!), then her 'taste' food with breast milk so it could be nana or avocado at the moment - going to try a vegetable tomorrow; then 2 teaspoons of rice cereal mushed with either cooled boiled water or breast milk
then say at 9 or 10 (she eats often!) it will be more like
30 ml expressed milk cup fed (she LIKES it that way!)
then back to meal like 7am (solids)
then she'll have a HUGE breastfeed and fall asleep (heavenly!)
so we tend to repeat the process through the day. And she is sleeping better - and GROWING - not just bulking out which they say is what happens when you start solids too early, but growing in length as well.
Thats our happy story of how yet again our DD does not fit the mould
Very glad to hear that you have found a way to keep her and you happy and healthy - big brownie points for perservering!! (sp????)
just wondering when to strat my bub on solids, he is a very large bub, not so much fat but long and robust (like his dad :) ) i have been mixing a bit of rice cereal in his bottle to get him used to the taste before spoon feeding and he is taking that well. My CHN says not to start until 6months but if you have seen my other post you will understand i dont get on with her at all. I beleive he is hungry for it, but i dont want to do him any damage (as my CHN says i will do)
he is 4 months next week
any advice or similar stories
The reason that the nurse was pushing for 6 months for solids is based on the recommendations of the World Health Organisation, and has a lot to do with allergies in children later in life and the strong links to early introduction of food. So it is a decision to think seriously about. That being said a lot of parents need to introduce solids earlier for all sorts of reasons.
My advice is to think about why you want to introduce solids - from reading several of your posts he is a large healthy baby who is not fading away, so he is obviously thriving on the formula you are providing and doesn't need solids to help him grow at this point. Both of my girls were large and healthy and so I was able to hold off until 6 months for introducing solids. Apart from the benefits of all the research that nurses etc will talk about, a baby who is on just BM or formula is a lot easier to go out with than one on solids (more things to remember to put in the bag), and their nappies get steadily smellier and more solid once you introduce solids. But that is my humble opinion and I know that there are lots of people on here who start their babies on solids at 4 months and are happy with their decision. At the end of the day you need to think about why you are doing it and what is right for your baby and your family.
Well I feel like this is an area I am fast learning a lot about. My Phoebe is certainly hale and hearty and robust - she has maintained her growth off the top of the percentile chart for length (she was born that way so is just steadily growing along), she is five months old, and she now has a variation of a 'solids' diet. So..thats whats going on here...and in the process of getting to this point I've been over a few things to reach where we're at now.
firstly about the large size of Phoebe (and your boy Natalie) - I think it is true that if the bubs are flourishing then it is certainly EASIER at the very least to hold off on solids. I introduced solids with Phoebe because despite still growing, she had slowed down - this wasn't a reason by itself though - the reasons we introduced solids were more behavoural in nature. For starters Phoebe's been watching like a hawk everything we put into our mouths since she was about 8 weeks old & in the last month, grabbing for it too! Also she began to wake up for night feeds after being a baby that slept through, then she started refusing breastfeeding altogether (gums hurting mainly) - basically we tried everything we could until we got to the routine we're in now. As soon as we started her on rice cereal every meal she began to really flourish - she didn't get fat, just grew a bit faster - she is still pretty much a giant beanpole baby :)
To do with allergies both my husbnd and I are allergic people and so we feel in one sense she is genetically doomed. Also the positive of her behaviour going back to our cheerful happy baby and clearly more 'nourished' with some extra food to me far outweighs the 'risk' of allergies (which is already high!)
There is also a thought that their digestive system is not ready for solids - one of the challenges of a big bub i guess - phoebe is in the 50% percentile for a 12 month old, but she only has 5 month old digestive system. So I have tried to keep her food simple, I've tried to keep it as mushy as possible (so its not so 'solid') and tried to keep the solid parts of meals really small (to go easier on her system). also she feeds before or after a 'meal' to keep the breastmilk the majority of her food sources. A lot of people who do start solids early seem to just leap straight into it and begin with 3 large meals quite quickly - I am hoping to not increase Phoebe's solids intake until she is over 6 months.
I've read that it is not recommended to mix rice cereal in with the bottle - we never did so I can't remember the reason - I think it was either something about the cereal staying in their mouth if they fall asleep OR about the consistency / swallowing mechanism being inappropriate. However I'm sure we all had it in our bottles and we lived!
If you are worried about how he'll take the spoon, try a little spoon of food - if he pushes it back out with his tongue, apparently that is a sign he is not ready developmentally. Phoebe doesn't push her food out she slurps it up off the spoon, tries to feed herself and especially wants to control her cup herself (we just bought a sipper cup today - until now we've been cup feeding her from a newborn bottle!) I guess these things were also all factors in our decision to feed her!!!
So..there you go. My little opinion about solids pre-6 months - if they are behaving like they want it, if they are showing developmental signs of wanting it then what I did was go at it gung-ho but with caution about the amount etc.
That gives you an idea of what happened here & maybe a different perspective on the 'when to start solids' debate
thanks for your responses... i gave him a teaspoon of rice cereal this morning and he loved it, he didn't spit it out or push it out of his mouth with his tounge :p . i didn't mention in the other post but he has been grabing at our food and drink for the last month and watching us eat very intently
thanks again guys and i will take you advice and just take it slow with him, giving him small amounts
My boy self weaned at four months! He down right refused the boob, very upsetting for me! I managed to express for a month, so tiring, and have only just stopped, no milk left! He was a lazy eater, didn't want to work for his meals and is now quite happy to feed from the bottle. Don't despair, you're not alone, and he now enjoys one meal a day of solids! I guess whatever works for you is all that really matters, as long as bubba is receiving the necessary nutrition either from EBM or Formula, go with the flow. Good luck
I recently went through a similar situation with Morgan weaning himself once starting solids but just kept offering and offering him BF and he is taking 4 or 5 good feeds again. I find he will take the best feeds if I offer it to him as soon as he wakes from a nap when he is still relaxed. I am so glad I perservered as it is so much easier is so many situations!!!
Glad you got it worked out as well.
Hi Morgans Mum
Just when I thought I had it worked out - it gets worse. we just had a 2 hour battle to get a small breastfeed in. Then again it could just be the same but I'm more tired.
I find that if I catch her straight away after a nap she's great, also she feeds better after solids. We also found that when she was really tired or we were out sshe will only feed if I'm standing up walking around.
Otherwise it is on the bed lying down or propped on pillows.
I like that one Mum said it was coz our babies are not oral - lets hope there is a good bonus to this problem.
Anyone else experienced this and have any suggestions re hydration / nutrition?
hi i have faced the same things with introducing soilds it only took 1 week to establish 3 meals a day, becasue she was refusing the milk feeds i did want a un happy baby, i still gave her milk feed first before solidsright up untill 9 mths even when CHN said not nessccary. it this would give her her quoter for the day and sleep well, if we didn"t she would wake for an extra milk feed.
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