When to wean: You decide!
A friend of mine came over for a cup of tea she was very distressed, upset and confused about when and how to start weaning. She gave permission for me to share her story with you.
Once Alfie became 4 months, his paternal grandmother (my friend's mother in law) became obsessed with starting him on food. She would say he was hungry when ever he cried, and would constantly tell my friend she was mean to ´leave him hungry´. My friend had been advised, like we all have to start weaning at 6 months (approx 25 weeks). My friend felt very guilty and unsure as what to do, she didn't want to offend, upset or disregard the advice given by her mother in law, but equally wanted to listen to recent research and guidelines and wait. My advice was as follows:
You will know when the right time is to wean your baby. The World Health Organisation advises as close to 6 months as possible. This is fairy new advice so many of the older generation still consider 4 months to be the best age, some may even suggest weaning at 3 months. The absolute minimum age recommended currently is 17 weeks, so 4 months and not before.
It is advised that your baby can hold his/her head up, is interested in your own food, has doubled his/her birth weight and has possibly stopped (if they ever were) sleeping through the night. But not all babies will conform to the above, but you still may feel they are ready, equally babies may have met all the above milestones but you're not ready.
You must follow your gut feeling and instinct, if you think your baby is ready and you want to start weaning, see your Health Visitor, buy a weaning book, speak to your friends, visit babyexpert.com/weaningvillage, but make sure you are a 100% happy and ready. Do not let peers, older relatives or others push you into making a decision too quickly.
Weaning is a really fun and enjoyable part of your little one's life journey, it should be enjoyed by you, baby and those around you. So please don't feel pressured into starting before your time is right, or waiting if it safe to start. If you are feeling pressured, confused or have concerns discuss them on this forum to get advice and hear other people's stories.
Annabel had her first foods at five months ( 21 weeks). It was absolutely the right time for us.