The Best Proven Time To Feed Your Baby Solids
April 24, 2013
According to a recent report done by the New York Times, 40% of parents are feeding their child solid food before they’re 4 months old. For the past 20 years, The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents wait until the child is 4 months old before giving them solid food but this last year they modified this recommendation by requesting that parents wait 6 months.
1) The cells that line your child’s gut haven’t closed yet which makes them more susceptible to developing allergies to the foods that you give them. Since these gut cells also don’t produce fat and carbohydrate digesting enzymes until the child is 3-4 months old, most solid foods that you give them can’t be broken down for a few months and will cause your child to have gas, constipation, vomiting, and wasted nutrients.
2) The is a lower chance of your child developing gastroenteritis, diabetes, ear infections, and obesity (as much as six times) when they are older.
3) Your child is less likely to choke if you wait until they are older and can sit upright on their own. Even pureed food can be dangerous! Never feed babies when they are lying down.
4) Breastfeeding for at least seven months decreases the rate of anemia.
5) Although some babies seem ready before 6 months, it’s impossible to know without looking at the gut with a microscope.
6) Babies will naturally develop to the point where they demonstrate physical signs that they are ready to begin solids foods. If they can sit up on their own, have the ability to know when they are full by turning away from their bottle, and gum foods then it is likely that they are ready. The Department of Health’s Infant Feeding recommends allowing babies who show readiness signs before 6 months to play with finger foods, as it’s unlikely they will swallow before they’re biologically ready.
7) If you start your child on solids early, there is a higher likelihood of your child being fussier in the following months.
8) There are a variety of reasons that parents have for pre-maturely giving their children solids. Most of these reasons are based on myth; not fact. Don’t get tricked into believing your friends wive’s tales!
9) The American Academy of Pediatrics has done a great amount of research on this subject and they make their recommendations based on this research.
It all comes down to the simple fact that there are no benefits, only risks if you attempt to start your baby on solid foods before they are biologically ready. As a parent, the best thing you can do is to have a set date to start feeding (6 months old) and spend time learning about the signs that your baby will show when they are ready for solids. Doing these two things will decrease confusion about how to feed your baby and it will give you the confidence to know that your child is developing normally.
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