Starting weaning at 5 months – one mum’s story

Weaning mum of one, Nicola, explains why and how she introduced solids at 5 months

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Just when I thought I had finally mastered the art of breastfeeding, after 4 months of recurrent mastitis, the ‘when to wean’ dilemma began. I knew the guidelines and recommendations from the Department of Heath were to wait until 6 months old, and I wanted to stick as close to that as possible, but I had decided that Annabel would dictate when she was ready.

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When she was around 5 months old (21 weeks) my daughter Annabel was clearly ready to be introduced to food. She started waking more in the night for feeds and demanding more in the day. Although she couldn’t actually sit unsupported, she was able to sit in her highchair with a liner in place. I hadn’t had her weighed for a while so wasn’t sure if she had actually doubled in weight since birth. Although Annabel wasn’t achieving all the recommended milestones I felt confident that the time was right.

Annabel’s first meal was planned for Sunday breakfast, so her dad could be present. We had house guests staying, so instead of a calm, quiet environment, Annabel was introduced to porridge while 6 of us ate sausage sandwiches, drank tea and listened the radio. We are a sociable family and eating is a great joy for us, our dining table is often full of people with laughter and lots of food. It was important to me that Annabel was introduced to food as a social concept early on. She ate all the porridge given to applauds and shouts of “well done”.

The big challenge that we faced is that Annabel started to have a tantrum once she finished her evening meal. I have tried to increase her portion size and have given her breast-milk immediately post solids and have given her the spoon to play with – but we still have tantrums. It’s a work in progress.

So far, both Annabel and myself have enjoyed the weaning process. I have made her all homemade food but I am nervous about the concept of baby-led weaning so have been pureeing so far. I am hoping to try a little bit of baby-led fingers foods within the next few weeks, once I feel more confident.

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