Feeding FAQ: 4-6 months – Weaning

Is twenty weeks too early to introduce protein?

I just wondered if there is anyone there who can give advice on starting protein. I weaned my very large son (9.9lb at birth, and 14.5lb at 8 weeks!) early. We started on Gina’s weaning guide at 13 weeks rather than 4 months as he was going spare, waking all time and draining 12oz at a time and still screaming. However, as such he is now 20 weeks and is at the end of the 5 month meal planner (ie. 3 spoons of cereal with 2 cubes of fruit for breakfast; 5 or 6 cubes at lunch; and 5/6 rice plus fruit at supper – and this is on top of 7/8 oz at every feed, plus another 5/6 oz at 6.30pm!) He sleeps brilliantly from 7pm-7am and well at all his daytime sleeps. He is now just 20 weeks and weighs nearly 9kg and I’m wondering if I should move on to protein? The book says to wait until 6 months, but I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do, rather than give him so much milk and vegetables?
I would really appreciate an expert opinion on whether the 6 months is a very strict guideline on starting protein, or whether it is a bit more weight-dependent. My health visitor is not very helpful.

I can see from your details that your son is very big. As he appears to be contented with the amounts he is on at present, I would leave introducing protein until he is six months. The current Government guidelines suggest delaying weaning until six months if possible. With a son your size I can see that this has not been possible but I would not introduce protein this early in case his digestive system is not yet mature enough to cope or allergies occur.
If you feel he is not satisfied with his food you can increase the vegetables a little more. If he began to wake early in the morning or in the night you could also put back the 10pm feed for just a few weeks until he is old enough to start protein.