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weaning at 20 weeks

Hi all
my health visitor suggested I start weaning at 20 weeks onwards as my DD is still waking 4 times a night for feeding, she is exclusively breast fed.

I was wondering if anyone else has done this and if so how did you do it? What did you feed LO and how did you get on?

Thanks for any advice

MG and Ettie ( almost 16 weeks old)

[Modified by: manologirl on 15 July 2010 18:29:48 ]


  • Hi. When you start before 6 months, it's recommended you start with baby rice, straight after the lunchtime feed, using some of lo's usual milk. I don't know if you express? If you give this for a few days, then you can move onto fruit and vegetables. You could put some fruit puree in with the rice if you wanted. When starting the veg, begin with root veg, give it for a few days, to ensure no reactions. Basically it's just building up when you feel lo is ready. As 20 weeks is still quite early (the earliest being 17 weeks), I'd just build up slowly one veg at a time, and leave it at one meal a day until you and lo are ready. HTH. xx
  • Hi there

    We started at 21 and a bit weeks (LO's five month birthday!)

    I am giving him baby rice (made up with his usual formula) about an hour after his breakfast bottle. I'll keep this up for a week and then move on to two meals a day (a veg puree for lunch).

    I have been advised to start with veg purees before offering sweet ones (i.e. fruit) as your LO might prefer the sweet ones and then resist the less sweet veg. So I'll make sure he has had some carrot, parsnip etc before starting to mix apple etc into his breakfast.

    Good luck and enjoy it! image

  • We started early, mainly to help with dd's reflux. We started on baby porridge and stuck with it for a few weeks and then started introducing vegetables etc..I think the trick is to start off nice and slow and I did it every other day for the first week and she took it to it all really well, now the only thing I cannot get her to eat is salmon!
  • I just wanted to add that weaning may not be the answer. My lo was exculsively bf and I weaned at 6 months -it took him another 7 months to start sleeping through the night, he had 4 feeds a night until he was around 8 months old-food made no difference at all xx
  • Just to second p.bob's point. My son was still feeding 4 times a night at 20 weeks and carried on until well over six months. Weaning didn't change a thing as far as nighttime milk went as he dropped daytime feeds first. Sorry, probably not what you wanted to hear, but I wouldn't pin your hopes on weaning as a way to reduce nighttime waking.
  • Hi there, I didn't wean early but just wanted to comment that I'm surprised that your HV suggested you wean early then not give you any advice about how to go about it!! That's not intended as a comment about early weaning, more the professionalism of your HV!

    Best of luck with the night wakings though. I'm still getting up several times a night with my LO and after 7 months it's KILLING me!
  • just to reiterate what pbod and the others said, because it's not your personal choice, but the 0-5 book from the nhs states twice on one page, that at 4 months a baby that has previously slept though during the night will wake again this does not mean they need food, but that they need more milk. i saw that your baby was 4 months. as others have said, weaning doesnt automatically mean she'll sleep through. if you dont want to wean early yourself and you dont think ettie is showing the signs, sitting etc, then go with your instinct rather than the hv, who's contradicting her employer. always risky. :lol:

    [Modified by: ***Calleigh*** on July 15, 2010 07:50 PM]

  • I weaned both my boys at around this time. I started really slow with baby rice for a week at 'lunchtime' (11zam for ds1 and 12noon for ds2!) I then introduced root veg by mixing it with the baby rice. After a couple of weeks I added a sweet after the savoury puree as a pudding.

    I would do a new food every 3 days to check for allergies. I then got to 6m and introduced wheat and dairy. By 7m they were on 3 meals and 2 puds had been introduced to most foods except egg and nuts. That's how slowly I took them!

    Good luck

    Just to add ds2 didn't sleep through until he was 7m and had been having 3 meals a day for a couple of weeks!

  • ps I followed a lot of Anabel Karmel's recipies. My boys loved them. She is worth looking at for ideas!!

  • Do you think that she is waking out of habit or is genuinly hungry? Does she feed a lot at these times or just for comfort? If she wakes at the same time of night then it could be habit, try offering her water first or a dummy if you use one. When my lo first started to sleep through, I noticed that she seemed more interested in comfort than food so when she woke I did the shush/pat and re-settled her that way, if she didn't settle and seemed really hungry then I fed her obviously. It took about 3 or 4 nights of doing this before she started sleeping through regularly.

    I only say that as another point of view, as it does seem strange for your hv to suggest early weaning as a way to help them sleep through as pretty much all the literature I have read says that it doesn't help them to.
  • We weaned the boys at 21 weeks, on the advice of our dietician as they had so many problems with milk that they were still refusing it.

    However, I have to agree with the others that it seems odd that your hv has suggested this - first as an answer to sleeping through (believe me, it doesnt help most babies!), and secondly, without offering any advice as to how. We were given leaflets, advice and answers to any questions we had when early weaning was suggested, along with the advice that we didnt have to start but their milk intake was quite low.

    We didnt bother with baby rice as it has to be mixed with their milk and they hated milk! We went straight onto root veg, and did one meal a day for 1.5 weeks, then 2 meals, then 3 meals, each starting after 1.5 weeks. We didnt give puddings until they were on 3 meals for a week or so.

    The boys were up 2 or 3 times a night until they were just over 6 months, but we realised they were waking for comfort when they didnt take much milk, so we started giving them water, which didnt help, so we shush/patted and gave them dummies for one of the feeds and still gave them the other one. They stopped this one themselves at about 7 months.

    HTH hun xxx
  • We started at 22 weeks because LO was trying to cram in so much milk through the evening/night that it was ridiculous, giving her tummy ache and making her sick. (She is also EBF)

    I started with 2-3 teaspoons of baby rice made with expressed milk about an hour before bedtime.

    She started sleeping through again from the first night. We stuck with this for a couple of weeks and then progressed to vegetables and fruit. We followed Annabel Karmel and it's been a huge success.

    The HV said that it was against the current recommendations but I said that I know my baby and she's so obviously ready!

    B x

    Just edited to say that I had also read what it said in the 0-5 NHS book but my LO most definitely needed food and it did help her sleep through again, instantly! - The change in her was astounding.

    They're all different and I doubt that many have read the NHS book - if she's showing all the signs and you feel she's ready, she probably is.

    [Modified by: Mrs Busby on July 16, 2010 12:06 PM]

  • I started weaning Grace at 17 weeks with support from the HV.

    We started with rice for one week, and then progressed to veg purees, followed by fruit ones.

    The first few veg ones were

    sweet potato
    butternut squash
    spinach and pea

    A favourite became carrot, parsnip and apple


    apple & pear

    I introduced finger foods at 5 months and Grace is now 10 months and and eats anything that we eat!

    I think the Annabel Karmel book is useful for ideas.

    Em xx
  • we started earlier than 6 months and we started with baby rice once a day, must say LO wasnt a fan until i put fruit puree with it, we then added a porridge for brekkie before going for puree veg at lunch then changed the rice for veg, we did this over 4 weeks,

    has your HV not given you any leaflets, we got one given with what byou should give and when from 4 months x
  • Hello I was advised to wean early for the same reason, my lo was waking between 4-6 times a night, did 3 weeks of baby rice and have only just started with veggies etc from he started weaning his nightime feeds have went right down to one on a good night and 3 on a bad which is excellent, he also did not sleep AT ALL during the day and will now go for a morning nap, (1hr) afternoon (1-2 hours) and a 30 minute cat nap at 4pm. TBH if I hadn;t have I think I would have ended up with PND as I wasn't getting a break at all and was also running around after my 5 year old. I was also unable to express and tried to give formula as well as an alternative to weaning early but to date ds will not have a bottle he loves the boobies too much, in some ways I'm glad too as if he took to the bottle I would have more than likely stopped bfing whereas although weaned early he is still getting most nutrition from me but at a level I can cope with LOL

    Good luck xx have to say my hv was v good gave me leaflet and a list of foods to avoid as under 6 months, she knew as well that my ds1 was weaned from 16 weeks (advice was this age when my ds1 was born before I get jumped on lol it about a year after I had him to 6 months)

    hope it works for you xx
  • Thanks for taking the time to reply everyone, its amazing the different advice given by different HV's. Its like witchcraft!!

    I was not given any leaflets just suggestions as to puree some vegetables.

    I will do lots of reading before I even think about starting as I like to be properly informed.

    Thanks so much for your ideas everyone

  • i started earlier than 20 weeks with 2 weeks of baby rice mid morning, then a week of baby porridge instead of rice then i added a pur????ed veg at dinner so I would go at a pace that you are happy with? I will say though, my lo still doesn't sleep longer than a 3 hour stretch ;\)
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