Medical journal: Parents are feeding infants solids too soonA study published in the journal Pediatrics says many parents are feeding infants solid food before their bodies can handle it.
By: By Shamane Mills, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A study published in the journal Pediatrics says many parents are feeding infants solid food before their bodies can handle it.
A young child's life is full of milestones. The timeframe for potty training and walking may vary, but for introducing solid food, doctors recommend waiting until a baby is at least six months old.
A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates as many as 40 percent of mothers gave their infants cereal or baby food prior to four months of age. Marianne Merrick is a registered dietician with St. Mary's Hospital in Madison. She says babies ready to eat solid food need to have adequate muscles in the mouth and neck. Parents can look for these signs: “Opens their mouth for a spoon; the up and down munching kind of movement; sits with support; again, head good control; can use their hands to grasp objects can swallow liquids; that kind of thing.”
Feeding solid food too soon can lead to health problems in babies like obesity, eczema and celiac disease. Parents sometimes introduce solid food early, thinking it will help babies put on weight or sleep longer; Merrick says it is not a good idea: “They think if they give them cereal in their bottle that they'll feel satisfied — they won't wake up. There's no studies that support that.”
The study in Pediatrics found those who fed their babies solid food early were more likely to be young and less educated. Researchers found formula-fed infants were about twice as likely to be introduced to solids early, compared to breast-fed babies.