New mum Amy Childs has been criticised for weaning her baby at four months.
Current Department of Health guidelines advise against feeding babies anything other than breastmilk or formula milk until they are around six months (26 weeks) old, in order to allow their digestive systems time to mature.
The NHS website states:
'Research shows babies can get all the nutrients they need from breast milk or infant formula until they are around six months old. Waiting till then gives their digestive system time to develop fully so it can cope with solid foods.'
Amy shared on Instagram:
‘Ok girls so here goes!!! Can't believe Polly is now 4 months where does the time go, right so I'm going to put Polly on baby rice, she seems to be getting so hungry. I was feeding her every 4 hours and now she is waking up in between wanting more food! I don't know why but I still think she is so small to be having baby rice but I'm going to give it a try.'
She added that other mums had told her not to wait until six months to introduce solid food, and asked her followers whether they had felt nervous about weaning.
Amy's post sparked debate, with one Instagram user urging Amy to increase her daughter's milk intake instead of starting her on solids. She wrote: 'Really no need for food yet... She's still really young. If you really must give her food, avoid baby rice, absolutely no nutritional value!'
Another mum added: 'Others who are shaming a mum for making a decision for her child should keep their opinions to themselves.... because it wasn't okay for your child doesn't mean it isn't okay for another.... I have two healthy children and both were weaned at 12 weeks but that was for their own health benefit... if you want to judge other people's parenting then start with yourself.... always be kind.'
Current UK advice to wean at around six months was introduced in 2003. However some baby food products, including the one pictured by Amy Childs on Instagram, are labelled as being suitable from 4-6 months. Prior to 2003, four months was the recommended age for weaning babies.
Some signs that your baby might be ready for solids include being able to sit up with support, being able to pick up food and place it in her mouth by herself, as well as the ability to swallow food with ease. Contrary to popular opinion, increased waking at night is not a sign that your baby is ready to start solids.
Always speak to your health visitor for advice about when to wean your baby.
What's your view? Were you nervous about introducing your baby to solids?