Hold That Cereal….Till Your Baby is 6 Months!
There’s a reason why you should wait until your baby turns six months before introducing solid food!
‘Worrisome’ Risk: Most babies are fed solid food too soon, study finds
By Linda Carroll, NBC News
Most moms may be starting their infants on solid foods months sooner than specialists recommend.
Parents should wait until their little ones are at least 6 months old before offering them solid foods, say many child-nutrition experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.
But researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – who surveyed 1,334 new moms – discovered that almost 93 percent of those women had introduced solid foods to their infants before 6 months, that 40 percent did it before the 4-month mark, and that 9 percent had offered solids to their babies before they were even four weeks old, according to the study, published today in Pediatrics.
Fifty percent said that their health care provider told them it was time to introduce solid food,” said Kelley Scanlon, a co-author of the study and lead epidemiologist in the nutrition branch in the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the CDC. “That, for us, indicates that health care providers need to provide clearer guidance and really support women in carrying out the recommendation,” Scanlon said.
Physicians’ groups settled on the 6-month cut-off after earlier research determined that children who get solid food at too early might be at a greater risk for developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, eczema and celiac disease, Scanlon said.
One food expert unaffiliated with the CDC study suggested that some health-care providers may simply be unfamiliar with current baby-feeding recommendations.
“I think this is worrisome,” said Ann Condon-Meyers, a pediatric dietician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “I think it may show that word isn’t getting out that … it is 6 months before solid foods should be offered.”
In addition to possibly boosting, a child’s risk for contracting certain chronic diseases, introducing solid foods too early often means babies don’t drink an adequate amount of breast milk or formula, and that can translate into poorer nutrition, Condon-Meyers said.
Breast milk and formula have all the nutrients and vitamins a baby needs and in the right proportions, Condon-Meyers said.
“If you start giving solid food too early then you are diluting the nutritional intake,” she said. “You’re getting more calories, but less of the nutrients a baby needs to grow.”