Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Many moms introducing solids too soon

Forty percent of mothers start feeding their babies solid food before the recommended minimum age of four months old, according to a new study. Pediatricians warn starting solids too early could cause health problems for the baby.

Many moms introducing solids too soon

iStockphoto

When should an infant get solid food? For over 20 years, we have been saying after four months.  Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics changed that to a recommendation that an infant should get nothing but breast milk for the first six months of life, or infant formula if breast milk is not available.  

A new survey of over 1,300 mothers showed that 40 percent fed the baby solid food before four months and almost 10 percent before four weeks, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the April issue of Pediatrics, released online today.

Why are pediatricians worried about early feeding?  Babies that are fed too early are more likely to be obese when they get older - that is proven.  Doctors also worry that children fed early develop abnormal bowel flora (the germs in our gut that help us digest our food and prevent diseases such as celiac and inflammatory bowel diseases) and are more likely to get severe self-allergy diseases such as eczema and asthma. The evidence for these is not as strong as for obesity, but is a very strong suspicion.

Another problem is that some babies fed solid food too late (after eight months in some cases) simply do not learn to chew food.  So there is a narrow window that is the right time to feed infants.

Development is probably as important as age when it comes to introducing food to babies  The best clues as to when to start solids include, when they can sit up well by themselves, they grab at food and are eager to get the spoon in their mouth.


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The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Temple University Hospital
Peter Bidey, D.O. Medical Director of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Christopher C. Chang, MD, PhD, MBA, FAAAAI, FACAAI Associate Professor of Medicine in division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Clinical Immunology at UC Davis
Mario Cruz, M.D. St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
Magee DeFelice, M.D. Division Chief of Allergy and Immunology at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Gary A. Emmett, M.D. Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Crozer-Keystone Health System
Jessica Kendorski, PhD, NCSP, BCBA-D Associate Professor in School Psychology/Applied Behavior Analysis at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, R.D. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D., ABPP Director of Integrated Health Care for American Psychological Association
Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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