A new study published in the journal Pediatrics found that many mothers are feeding their babies solid foods before the age of six months. Many child nutritionists and the American Academy of Pediatrics agree that parents should wait until their babies are at least six months old before offering them solid foods. For the first six months of life, babies should receive either breast milk or formula or a combination of the two, exclusively. However, when researchers from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention surveyed 1,334 new moms, they found that approximately 40% had given their babies solid food before four months. When asked why they introduced solid foods before six months, the three most common responses were as follows:
My baby was old enough.
My baby seemed hungry.
I wanted to feed my baby something in addition to formula or breast milk.
Many experts and health professionals are concerned that before the age of six months babies may not be developed enough to handle solid foods. And, they worry that babies may have trouble swallowing before six months. Although more research is needed, other experts worry that the higher caloric intake and lower nutrition in solid foods versus breast milk or infant formula may be causing obesity and diabetes. They also are concerned about food allergies and cutting short the benefits of breastfeeding and/or infant formula.
If your baby is always fussy or seems to be hungry even after taking in large amounts of breast milk or formula, experts recommend that you contact your Pediatrician so that he or she can rule out other problems. If you have questions or concerns about what to feed your baby, talk to your Pediatrician today.