So there’s a new report out is there, that now says exclusive breast feeding until six months could be a problem.
I haven’t read the report. I’m not going to. I haven’t even read any of the newspaper articles about it. I’m not going to do that either. I just caught up on twitter that mothers, yet again, are spinning in circles, confused and demoralised by another batch of experts contradicting a previous batch of experts.
I can’t help feeling that it’s our reliance on experts that is a large part of the problem. They overrule our instincts, the things we learn from each other, the received wisdom that we could gather as a community. And, not to put too fine a point on it, a few too many of them have hidden agendas.
How many of these experts benefit from the behaviours that they are suggesting we follow? Ppl funded by babyfood companies trying to get parents to feed their babies earlier, for example? It’s like research into cloth nappies that decides that disposables are just as eco friendly, that oddly enough, is usually funded by disposable nappy makers.
Do you know what? If you watch your baby carefully, I suspect they will usually let on when they are ready for solid food. If they can sit up unaided, and get food into their mouth, chew it and swallow, they are probably ready. For some babies this will be after 6 months. For some it will be around 6 months. And shock horror, for some it might be *before* six months.
I didn’t do baby purees with baby number 3. I did baby led weaning. She’s still breastfed too, at 14 months, and she was very nearly 6 months before I let her start stealing my food. The spooning stuff into her mouth didn’t last long, as she much prefers to finger food it herself, and I much prefer her to do it that way too.
And you know what else? She eats very nearly everything she can get her hands on. So far the things that have been rejected include tomatoes and olives, but the list of things she will eat is enormous.
Now, I’m not going to claim that is purely because she is breastfed and we’re letting her lead the way. But I am going to say I think it’s a contributory factor. I also want to say that this isn’t supposed to be a smug holier than though post, it’s supposed to be an exhortation to have a little faith in what you believe. If you believe that formula and purees are best for your baby, then you being happy about that is probably going to be the most important factor. If you want to breastfeed and let them steal food off your plate when they are ready, then that is going to work best for you.
What isn’t going to help is feeling guilty over trying to do the best for you and your family when the experts decide to tear up the rule book yet again. Take what they are saying with a pinch of salt, and do what makes most sense to you and the parents around you that you trust.