This week on my Instagram “Why Wednesday” slot,  I was asked about signs of weaning …

“Should I start weaning if my baby is less interested in milk aged 5 months?“

Parents are often thrown by the fact that milk intake can decrease around month 4 – 5 and assume their baby wouldn’t be ready to wean because of this, expecting appetite and milk intake to increase around the weaning stage. 

What often happens is that babies become bored of milk and then intake plateaus. When your baby is ready to wean, milk no longer has the same sustaining ability to support sleep as it once did during the newborn stage. 

Most babies are ready to wean between the age of 4 – 6 months and can often show one, two, all or even none of the following major signs of readiness:

  • Sleep and settling regression, 
  • Actively interested in food and eating (watching you eat while salivating) 
  • Reduced stool movements
  • Increase of watery stools. 

As you might know I don’t always agree fully with the NHS guidelines, and it’s no different when they advise you about looking for signs as to when to start weaning…

1:  NHS Guidelines – Stay in a sitting position, holding their head steady.

✔️ Babies can support their own head fully by 6 – 12 weeks however some 6 month olds are unable to sit up unaided. 

2: NHS Guidelines – Coordinate their eyes, hands and mouth so they can look at their food, pick it up and put it in their mouth. 

✔️  By month 3 – 4 a baby can coordinate hand to mouth but would need to learn how to negotiate a spoon to mouth. This advice only addresses the baby led weaning method and not spoon feeding which is appropriate for the age of 4 – 6 months offering purées, which are easy on digestion. 

3: NHS Guidelines – Swallow food (rather than spit it back out)

✔️  Whether you start at month 4, 5 or 6 there can be period of learning how to eat where often food seeps out, this is a normal process and why we kit our babies out in overall bids.  I wouldn’t be deciding a baby isn’t ready to wean because a spoon of food goes into the mouth and some is pushed out by the tongue. 

For more help and advice book a weaning support consultation.