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When should I wean my premature baby?

Guidelines on weaning designed for healthy term babies can be confusing for parents of babies born prematurely.

Parents can be unsure when their baby will be ready, and often tell us that they are worried about how to recognise when is a good time to start. This will also be different for every baby.

"Trust your instinct. You'll know when your baby is ready to be weaned. Follow their lead."

Claire, mum to Rose and Lily

Research is divided as to when exactly is best to wean a premature baby. Many of the studies into weaning premature babies agree that it is very hard to choose a single age at which all premature babies should be weaned, because their situations will all be very different.

What I get asked most as a…Paediatric Dietitian

From Caroline King

What signs can I look for to see if my baby is ready to wean?

"A key way that your baby can show you they are ready is through their facial expressions and body language. Are they holding out their arms, reaching for other people’s food or watching others eat? This can really help to show when they might be interested in their next foods. It can also be helpful to look at how well your baby is feeding and sleeping and if they are settled into a pattern.

"It's important to note that needing more milk may not mean your baby is ready to wean – this may just mean they are going through a growth spurt."

The most important thing is that your baby is ready. Click below to go to the next section, which shows you the signs to look out for.

Next: How do I know if my baby is ready to wean?

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