One of Peter Andre’s latest Instagram snaps has reignited the debate over the right age to start weaning.
The image shows Peter’s 10-year-old daughter Princess feeding (what appears to be) a puree of some sort to her (nearly) 5-month-old brother Theo.
Dad-of-4 Peter clearly hadn’t intended to land himself in the middle of a row. He simply commented on how lovely he thought the sibling snap was, writing: “This is just… I mean”
But the photo sparked controversy, when several of his followers strongly disagreed with the decision to wean baby Theo, given that he’s not quite reached 5 months yet. They reminded Peter that official World Health Organisation (WHO) advice is to wait until your baby is 6 months before starting solids.
“Every health professional may be different but the WHO guidelines remain the same regardless,” wrote one upset fan. “It’s nothing to do with physiological cues, it’s to do with gut maturity.”
“Well, if I’m right, he isn’t yet 26 weeks old? I would have expected them to be educated on the effects of early weaning… I am assuming he isn’t yet 6m judging by the other comments that have been deleted. Also, I kind of expected a [black and white] approach,” another mused.
One commenter even picked up on the fact that Theo’s mum Emily is a doctor, and suggested she should have acted differently.
“Isn’t she a doctor for god’s sake? She should know the detrimental effects of early weaning more than anyone. It’s 26 weeks for a reason, and has been for over 10 years.”
But many of Peter’s fans jumped to his defence, revealing they’d started their own babies on solids earlier than 6 months, too, for a variety of reasons…
“Every health professional I have spoken to advised to start food at 4 months. You go on babies’ cues. All babies are different and it has nothing to do with us what [Peter and Emily] are doing with their son. It’s just meant to be a cute picture x,” one reasoned.
While another added: “I was advised by the paediatrician to wean early due to an intolerance he had to milk so you don’t know their situation or why he’s being weaned early tbh.”
While official advice from the Department of Health and the WHO is to wait until 6 months before introducing solid food to your baby, it’s important to remember that every situation is different, and the reality is not all parents wait until the 6-month mark.
One mum shared her story with us about why she started weaning her baby at 5 months – after 4 months of recurring mastitis while breastfeeding, and noticing her baby was getting hungrier and hungrier.
And she’s certainly not alone. When we asked over 1000 MFMers when you started your baby on solids, we found 54% of you began weaning at either 4 or 5 months.
Here’s what we know for sure: if you do decide not to wait til 6 months, it’s so important to make sure you speak to a medical professional (like a health visitor) first, and that you should always remember that it’s NEVER safe to introduce solids to a baby younger than 17 weeks.
Images: Instagram/Peter Andre