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A 'worrisome' risk: Most babies are fed solid food too soon, study finds

Posted by on Nov. 17, 2013 at 9:45 PM
  • 20 Replies
A 'worrisome' risk: Most babies are fed solid food too soon, study finds

Linda Carroll NBC News contributor
March 25, 2013 at 3:17 AM ET


Most mothers may be starting their infants on solid foods months sooner than specialists recommend, mistakenly believing their children are old enough to graduate from breast milk or formula – but many say they’re simply following doctors’ orders, according to a study published today.

Parents should wait until their little ones are at least 6 months old before offering them solid foods, say many child-nutrition experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.


But researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – who surveyed 1,334 new moms – discovered that almost 93 percent of those women had introduced solid foods to their infants before 6 months, that 40 percent did it before the 4-month mark, and that 9 percent had offered solids to their babies before they were even four weeks old, according to the study, published today in Pediatrics.

“Fifty percent said that their health care provider told them it was time to introduce solid food,” said Kelley Scanlon, a co-author of the study and lead epidemiologist in the nutrition branch in the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the CDC.

“That, for us, indicates that health care providers need to provide clearer guidance and really support women in carrying out the recommendation,” Scanlon said.

Physicians' groups settled on the 6-month cut-off after earlier research determined that children who get solid food at too early might be at a greater risk for developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, eczema and celiac disease, Scanlon said.

The mothers who volunteered for the CDC study filled out food diaries and questionnaires designed to ferret out their opinions on why and when solid foods should be offered.

Among the moms offering solid foods to infants younger than 4 months, the most commonly cited reasons for doing so included: “My baby was old enough;” “My baby seemed hungry;” “I wanted to feed my baby something in addition to breast milk or formula,” “My baby wanted the food I ate;” “A doctor or other health care professional said my baby should begin eating solid food;” and “It would help my baby sleep longer at night,” researchers reported.


What’s more, moms who fed their babies formula were far more likely to start solids too early versus those who exclusively breast-fed (53 percent versus 24 percent), the study showed.

One food expert unaffiliated with the CDC study suggested that some health-care providers may simply be unfamiliar with current baby-feeding recommendations.

“I think this is worrisome,” said Ann Condon-Meyers, a pediatric dietician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. “I think it may show that word isn’t getting out that … it is 6 months before solid foods should be offered.”


Still, the study’s findings didn’t surprise Condon-Meyers, who added: “I work in pediatrics and we see a lot of early introduction of solid foods when we do patient histories.”

In addition to possibly boosting, a child’s risk for contracting certain chronic diseases, introducing solid foods too early often means babies don’t drink an adequate amount of breast milk or formula, and that can translate into poorer nutrition, Condon-Meyers said.

Breast milk and formula have all the nutrients and vitamins a baby needs and in the right proportions, Condon-Meyers said.

“If you start giving solid food too early then you are diluting the nutritional intake,” she said. “You’re getting more calories, but less of the nutrients a baby needs to grow.”



http://m.nbcnews.com/health/worrisome-risk-most-babies-are-fed-solid-food-too-soon-1B9049487
by on Nov. 17, 2013 at 9:45 PM
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Replies (1-10):
JanuaryBaby06
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 9:57 PM
1 mom liked this

Yeah I know alot of people who started solids earlynsaying their Drs said it was fine as long as they did one kind a week, once a day with either breast milk or formula the rest of the day. My younger sons Pedi recommended it to us but we waited because we had waited with my 1st so I just did what I knew worked.

29again
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 9:59 PM

How long till they decide that solids should be introduced at 1 year, or 6 weeks, or 9 months, or whatever?  How was this done back, way back, in the day?  When did the pioneers introduce solids?  I raised 4 kids and I started solids with each one of them at 4 months.  Well,  maybe a few days before the real day, but very close to 4 months.  And at around 11 months I started the switch to whole cow's milk, so that at 12 months, they got real milk. 

How much formula does a baby need, anyway?  I mean, there should be a number of ounces per day that is recommended.  So, what do you do when your baby wants MORE than that?  Isn't that bad, to give too much formula?  IDK, I am not too excited about the "experts" changing the rules all the time.  There were a lot of changes between my 1st and my 4th.  Oh, and one more thing... if these rules are so important, why don't the doctors know them, know what is best?  Why do you get differing advice from different doctors?

kcangel63
by Amanda on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:25 PM
1 mom liked this
I think the best is to follow baby's cues. My babies all wanted foods at different times. My last baby (baby #8) who is now 10 months didn't want food until last month. Now, it's her favorite thing, other than boobs. LOL She loves chopped up green beans, eggs (yes I give eggs), cottage cheese, and anything else she can eat.

Quoting 29again:

How long till they decide that solids should be introduced at 1 year, or 6 weeks, or 9 months, or whatever?  How was this done back, way back, in the day?  When did the pioneers introduce solids?  I raised 4 kids and I started solids with each one of them at 4 months.  Well,  maybe a few days before the real day, but very close to 4 months.  And at around 11 months I started the switch to whole cow's milk, so that at 12 months, they got real milk. 

How much formula does a baby need, anyway?  I mean, there should be a number of ounces per day that is recommended.  So, what do you do when your baby wants MORE than that?  Isn't that bad, to give too much formula?  IDK, I am not too excited about the "experts" changing the rules all the time.  There were a lot of changes between my 1st and my 4th.  Oh, and one more thing... if these rules are so important, why don't the doctors know them, know what is best?  Why do you get differing advice from different doctors?

DSamuels
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:29 PM

When my kids were little you started solids at 3 months, first fruits, then a month or 2 later adding veggies. Switched from formula to milk at 6 months. I believe you could add fruit juice when you added fruits. My kids were born in 1978 & 1979.

Quoting 29again:

How long till they decide that solids should be introduced at 1 year, or 6 weeks, or 9 months, or whatever?  How was this done back, way back, in the day?  When did the pioneers introduce solids?  I raised 4 kids and I started solids with each one of them at 4 months.  Well,  maybe a few days before the real day, but very close to 4 months.  And at around 11 months I started the switch to whole cow's milk, so that at 12 months, they got real milk. 

How much formula does a baby need, anyway?  I mean, there should be a number of ounces per day that is recommended.  So, what do you do when your baby wants MORE than that?  Isn't that bad, to give too much formula?  IDK, I am not too excited about the "experts" changing the rules all the time.  There were a lot of changes between my 1st and my 4th.  Oh, and one more thing... if these rules are so important, why don't the doctors know them, know what is best?  Why do you get differing advice from different doctors?


-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:30 PM

My kids wanted solid food around 4-6 mos old. We gradually gave specific foods that I pureed and froze in the freezer. 

They have no food allergies either..

kcangel63
by Amanda on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:36 PM
The only child I have with food allergies was the only child we vaccinated on schedule.

Quoting -Celestial-:

My kids wanted solid food around 4-6 mos old. We gradually gave fed specific foods that I pureed and froze in the freezer. 

They have no food allergies either..

29again
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Mine were born from 1988 - 1999.  With my first, I did what I thought was right.  With the 2nd, I started that way, then the docs found out, b/c I was naive enough to let the experts know what I was doing/not doing...  I then found out that I should let the experts believe I was doing things their way.  But I found out the hard way that their way was not good for my baby.  So #3 and #4 were raised like #1.  And all are healthy.  #2, the one who got formula, got pnuemonia when she was 13 months.  And that is the only serious thing that happened to any of my babies.

Quoting DSamuels:

When my kids were little you started solids at 3 months, first fruits, then a month or 2 later adding veggies. Switched from formula to milk at 6 months. I believe you could add fruit juice when you added fruits. My kids were born in 1978 & 1979.

Quoting 29again:

How long till they decide that solids should be introduced at 1 year, or 6 weeks, or 9 months, or whatever?  How was this done back, way back, in the day?  When did the pioneers introduce solids?  I raised 4 kids and I started solids with each one of them at 4 months.  Well,  maybe a few days before the real day, but very close to 4 months.  And at around 11 months I started the switch to whole cow's milk, so that at 12 months, they got real milk. 

How much formula does a baby need, anyway?  I mean, there should be a number of ounces per day that is recommended.  So, what do you do when your baby wants MORE than that?  Isn't that bad, to give too much formula?  IDK, I am not too excited about the "experts" changing the rules all the time.  There were a lot of changes between my 1st and my 4th.  Oh, and one more thing... if these rules are so important, why don't the doctors know them, know what is best?  Why do you get differing advice from different doctors?



-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:39 PM

I'm Sorry to hear that. We vax'ed our oldest 2 on schedule and the last one I waited for on the MMR, when all the news started coming out about it. Thankfully, we had no side effects.

Quoting kcangel63:

The only child I have with food allergies was the only child we vaccinated on schedule.

Quoting -Celestial-:

My kids wanted solid food around 4-6 mos old. We gradually gave fed specific foods that I pureed and froze in the freezer. 

They have no food allergies either..


grandmab125
by Gold Member on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:51 PM
1 mom liked this

 In the olden days, per dr's instructions we usually started with cereal at about 6-8 weeks, then fruit, then meat.  And, OMG, they had eggs before 6 months also.

I started my girls with cereal at about 5 weeks at night (11pm feeding) as instructed by their pedi, and surprise.....they slept until 6 o'clock in the morning....It was wonderful for me to get 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

By 12 months they were completely off the bottle and drinking milk from a cup with a lid (pre sippy cup days).

I have two perfectly healthy adult girls (36 and 39) who are not over weight and have never had  any health problems.  None of their friends who were fed in the same manner have any health problems either.  There were only a few obese children in school with them.  Usually these obese children had obese parents who over ate too.

My generation was pretty much fed on the same schedule as I stated above, and we had very few obese children.  A lot of us gained weight in our 40's or 50's.

Childhood obesity is not because of babies eating solid foods before 6 months.  It is caused by mothers who feed their children junk instead of cooking proper meals, mothers who allow their children to guzzle soda instead of milk, and mothers who allow the tv, computer and video games to be their baby sitter instead of getting their kids up off their butts and outside to play.

 

 

kcangel63
by Amanda on Nov. 17, 2013 at 10:58 PM
I completely agree with your last paragraph.

Quoting grandmab125:

 In the olden days, per dr's instructions we usually started with cereal at about 6-8 weeks, then fruit, then meat.  And, OMG, they had eggs before 6 months also.


I started my girls with cereal at about 5 weeks at night (11pm feeding) as instructed by their pedi, and surprise.....they slept until 6 o'clock in the morning....It was wonderful for me to get 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep.


By 12 months they were completely off the bottle and drinking milk from a cup with a lid (pre sippy cup days).


I have two perfectly healthy adult girls (36 and 39) who are not over weight and have never had  any health problems.  None of their friends who were fed in the same manner have any health problems either.  There were only a few obese children in school with them.  Usually these obese children had obese parents who over ate too.


My generation was pretty much fed on the same schedule as I stated above, and we had very few obese children.  A lot of us gained weight in our 40's or 50's.


Childhood obesity is not because of babies eating solid foods before 6 months.  It is caused by mothers who feed their children junk instead of cooking proper meals, mothers who allow their children to guzzle soda instead of milk, and mothers who allow the tv, computer and video games to be their baby sitter instead of getting their kids up off their butts and outside to play.


 


 

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