Most new parents know that for the first year of life, breastmilk or formula is all their baby needs in order to thrive. That said, giving your baby solid food means introducing them to new experiences, and many of us are excited to be able to get that journey started! I know that for me, my pediatrician said we could begin introducing food at any time after four months of age – and he’s supposed to be an expert.
An expert who’s wrong, according to the latest study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which found that solid foods shouldn’t be started until at least 6 months of age. In fact, 6 months is the recommendation of the American Association of Pediatrics as well, but since guidelines have changed so much in the past couple of decades, it seems as though a lot of people (even doctors) aren’t on the same page.
The study consisted of 1,482 babies from 6-36 months of age and was conducted by the CDC. They found that only a little over 32% of babies were being introduced to solids at the right time – over 54% were introduced too early.
Why does it matter? Well, the study also went on to claim that children who were put on complementary solid foods too early could miss out on important nutrients in their breastmilk and formula. Even when you do introduce new foods to your baby if they’re under 12 months, they need to remain on the same intake liquid intake level. “Food before one is just for fun.”
Don’t err too far on the side of caution, though – kids who don’t start on solids early enough may suffer from nutrient deficiencies, allergies, and poorer diets as they grew.
So stick with the 6 month guideline, and most importantly, have fun!
h/t: Cafe Mom