WHEN TO INTRODUCE SOLID FOODS TO BABIES
This week the New York Times published an article which clearly identifies the best time to introduce solid foods to babies. “Infants Are Fed Solid Food Too Soon, C.D.C. Finds,” was published on the heels of a research study published in the journal Pediatrics. Researchers discovered that many parents are feeding their baby solid food long before the infant’s system can handle it. Some parents fed their infant solid food as young as early as 4 weeks. The recommended age for feeding babies solid foods is six months, states the New York Times article.
MYTHS ABOUT FEEDING BABY SOLID FOODS
Researchers found some common reasons that parents feed babies solid food before they were ready. The article identifies the following myths which are not reasons to feed babies solid food: to help improve sleep, because they are hungry, baby is growing rapidly, it helps baby put on weight, or because it is easy to feed them a small portion of the meal prepared for the family. In fact, studies show problems such as obesity can result when babies are fed solid food too soon. It is very important for parents to understand not to feed baby solids until he is 6 months old.
BABY DEVELOPMENT FOR EATING SOLID FOODS
The development of a baby includes the achievement of certain milestones which prepare baby for the milestone of eating solid foods. These important developmental skills enable a baby to sit and chew food that is taken from a fork or spoon. These skills include:
- ability to sit
- ability to keep his head lifted or upright
- ability to chew
- ability to close the mouth when food is put into it
- development of gut bacteria in the intestines (not a motor skill)
Once a baby has acquired these abilities and is 6 months old, check with your pediatrician to confirm that it is time to start feeding him solids. Remember to ask the pediatrician for a list of recommended solids to feed baby and a list of foods to avoid feeding baby.