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Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

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cuppachaplz
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Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

Postby cuppachaplz » Thu Apr 16, 2015 9:20 pm

Hello and thanks in advance, wise ones.

The special needs health visitor visited yesterday. Amongst other things, she mentioned weaning.
She said that it is sometimes recommend to consider weaning babies with additional sensory needs early, as in closer to 17w than 6m, and definitely not to wait past 6m. Apparently, he could benefit from increased textural and taste variation in his mouth. She wasn't telling me to wean Percy early, far from it, but advising that I discuss his needs with SALT, physic and portage.

Has anyone heard of this aspect of weaning before?
I had assumed that he got taste variation from breast milk, and textural sensation from the various toys he stuffs in his mouth?
I had also thought that any weaning before 6m was largely purees rather than BLW, so no textural variation???

I'm fairly certain that I don't need to say this on here, but please be gentle!
I mentioned this at a local group, and got a total flaming. No matter how many times I repeated that 1) she had not said to go out and wean Percy tomorrow, and 2) I was not planning to change what I was doing, I was hit by several lectures about how wrong this was, culminating in someone saying to even consider feeding before 6m was tantamount to child abuse. Lost patience and walked away at this point...

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Sunset
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Re: Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

Postby Sunset » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:23 pm

I've not heard of it from that aspect but it doesn't feel as if weaning before 6m is perceived as so terrible now as it was a couple of years ago. There are some big studies going on looking into the impact of weaning at different ages. Both my boys started at around 5 months, we did a bit of baby rice/porridge and BLW.

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Re: Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

Postby ems101 » Thu Apr 16, 2015 11:41 pm

Oh no! Sorry for the flaming!

Agree with Joy, weaning before 6m is ok. Advice from a consultant in a peads feeding team was that by 6 months they shod be well on their way to 3 'meals' a day.I blw the boys pre 6m.

No advice on whether children with additional needs should be earlier than others,worth investigating, but above all I'd go with your own feelings on what is right for Percy as an individual. Is he interested. Does he put things in his mouth to try (toys, scented objects- lemons. Tea bags, large tomatos) you get get extra sensory experience, taste and smell through this without them ingesting anything...

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Dancing mum
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Re: Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

Postby Dancing mum » Fri Apr 17, 2015 1:02 am

Sorry to hear you received such an ear bashing, that's not helpful at all :evil:
I BLW my LO and started at 5.5 months after reading lots of articles (many of which were shown to me by other lovely mummies on the Tree :) ). Juliet doesn't have any special sensory needs so in that sense (pardon the pun) I'm not much help, but from what I remember the key things to look for which indicates your baby is ready are things like:
Are they sitting up (ideally unaided)?
Do they have good head and neck control?
Do they have hand/eye co-ordination to be picking things up and putting them directly in their mouth?
Are they putting lots of different things (toys etc) in their mouth as discovery?

I'm sure Ive forgotten a few but others are bound to fill in gaps that I've missed.
I'd definitely say it's individual as all babies will reach these stages at a different time and not necessarily bang on the day they turn 6 months!
I guess the concern of starting before Percy is physically ready to digest food for the sake of the sensory discovery is that it could be tough on his digestive system? But I think ems101 idea of food that he can't actually break off and swallow (particularly if he doesn't have teeth yet which could chip bits off) is a great idea which might keep everyone happy then :thumbsup: If he doesn't have teeth maybe he could discover taste and texture through sucking and gumming things like raw carrots / cucumber / apple / raw celery? For a soft texture maybe even something like a cooked large field mushroom cut into long, thick pieces or something cos that would be soft (and kind of slimy) with a very different sort of taste but I don't think he'd be able to break it off to swallow any of it... Just a couple of ideas anyway, I'm sure someone else a lot more knowledgable than me will come along to help :wink:

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sim
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Re: Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

Postby sim » Fri Apr 17, 2015 8:41 am

I did BLW with both boys and we (they) started before 6 months on 'real' foods.

Have a read of the Gill Rapley website for the indicators or readiness for weaning etc.

The only caution I'd give is to only give foods you can squash against the roof of your mouth with your tongue or dissolve through sucking. Things like raw veg or hard uncooked fruit like apples can present a choking risk if a piece breaks off in their mouth.

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Re: Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

Postby littlesez » Fri Apr 17, 2015 10:02 am

Leon has sensory issues. He just played with food til about 15 months ! if I could go back in time I would tell myself to stop worrying and chill out about food because now he eats like a horse. He is fussy and I have to just accept that and let him do his own thing. So my advice would be follow bubs lead. Leon first tasted sweet potato after his sister gave it to him at 4 months thinking she was being kind! And then just grabbed bits and bobs from about 5 months. I don't think it would have made any difference whatsoever had that been 6 or 8 months as he just messed with food for months. He got stressed if I tried to actually feed him, as did I !

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Re: Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

Postby clothsister » Sat Apr 18, 2015 6:13 pm

I'd follow your mummy instincts, if he looks like he's interested in a 'safe' food then let him have a play with it. I'd be inclined to pay more attention to the sensory specialist than to women on a forum who think that mentioning early weaning is a reason for public flogging

Yet another reason I love CNT. X

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cuppachaplz
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Re: Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

Postby cuppachaplz » Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:59 pm

So spoken to Percy's portage key worker today.
She has arranged for his physio to recommend an appropriate chair, as he's so small.
The idea is to help with sensory needs and social development.
More messy play with food joining in family meal times than actually ingesting anything.
She wants me to offer purees, gravy, spaghetti etc on a tray. Basically, anything goopy and strong smelling/tasting. Mainly for touch, but to taste if he wants, but no need to actually feed or offer finger foods until later on.
Rather glad the weather is nice! Definitely planning a few garden meals from here on! :giggle:

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Dancing mum
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Re: Early (ish) weaning for babies with additional sensory needs

Postby Dancing mum » Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:03 am

Sounds like he's going to have a great time, mucky pup pics would be nice :)

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