I signed up to HiPP Baby Club a while back to vote for a friend’s picture in a competition they were holding. When signing up, you’re asked to specify details of your children such as how you’re feeding them (I specified breastfed), their age, etc.
So, there’s me checking my e-mail first thing this morning to find an e-mail from the baby club titled “5 months old – Weaning special”. Now, Isabel has only just turned 5 months today. You’re not supposed to start weaning until at least 6 months (see NHS no rush to mush page). This is based on studies that show early weaning is damaging to the digestive health of babies. I’ve already made clear my thoughts on early weaning so I won’t go on about it, but I just couldn’t believe how bloody blatant this push to early wean was.
It wasn’t even subtle about it; there were several misleading lines, including:
6 months is the recommended age to begin (for development reasons you shouldn’t leave it any later than this), but some babies may be ready sooner.
Signs to look for
Baby still seems hungry, even after more milk has been given
Showing an interest in your food
Putting toys and objects in their mouth
Able to sit up well with support
For starters, milk (either breast or artificial) is the only source of nutrition a baby needs for the first year of life; food is for fun, to explore tastes and textures. Even hungry babies don’t need early weaning because solid food contains less calories! Secondly, there is no “developmental” reason to delay solids, it is in fact recommended by many professionals to delay solids (more so if there’s a history of allergies). As for the signs to look for… total tosh! Isabel has been doing those things since under 3 months old, are they suggesting I should have weaned at 12 weeks?!
I tried to unsubscribe to the mail and the web page gave me an error, so I sent them a ranty response and smugly deleted their mail thinking it’d be the last I heard from them.
No such luck. The postie interrogated me at lunch time to give me a bright green cellophane-wrapped package. I could barely hide my excitement! ;) Mind you, it was short-lived. Lo and behold, yet more HiPP weaning crap. Free samples of follow-on and night time formula (don’t even get me started on this shit) and a sachet of baby rice. Nowhere on the accompanying letter was it mentioned that the recommendation is to wait until 6 months before weaning. In fact, the wording positively encourages you to start asap: “the perfect start”, “Babies love organic goodness” etc.
I can’t stand this sort of aggressive marketing, and rest assured that the whole lot went in the bin. I’ll start weaning Izz after 6 months, not before, and certainly not on to HiPP products!