Starting Solid Food

02/17/2010 12:00 PM

11/18/2010 11:35 AM

  I know a young mother who's been told that babies should get no solids until they're six months old. That sounds just plain wrong. When should you start solids?

 

Advice for infant nutrition has changed throughout the years.  In the 1970’s, rice cereal was introduced at around 4 weeks of age.  But after a myriad of studies, recommendations have changed.  Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocates exclusively breastfeeding until 6 months of age for optimal infant nutrition.  Solids can typically be safely introduced between the ages of four and six months- once a baby has good head control and is able to sit up with little support. 

 

Studies have shown that there are many benefits to delaying the introduction of solids including obesity prevention, decreased allergies, and better overall nutrition, to name a few.  Breast milk is the best source of fat and protein for a rapidly growing infant.  In the past, people have believed that introducing rice cereal would help an infant to sleep longer; however, this is a myth.  So, although it may be hard to believe, the young mother that you know has received the best advice.

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