It turns out many of us are rushing to this milestone too early and experts are warning against it.
Many parents wait excitedly for the day they can introduce their little one to solids. Having your little one enjoy food at the table with the rest of the family is a huge milestone and an exciting time.
However, it turns out many of us are rushing to this milestone too early and experts are warning against it.
According to a new study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, 54 percent of parents introduce some type of solid food to their infants before the age of six months.
“Introducing babies to complementary foods too early can cause them to miss out on important nutrients that come from breast milk and infant formula,” says Chloe M.Barrera, MPH, CDC lead investigator.
For the study published this week in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, CDC researchers analysed reports on 1,482 children from the 2009-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
They found 16.3 percent of parents start their babies on solids such as rice cereal before infants are four months. Another 38.3 percent start when the infants are four or five months old.
In fact, according to the study, only one-third wait until the six-month mark, which is what’s recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Waiting until babies are six months old—but not much later—is an update on traditional recommendations; one recommended you start solids at just three months old.
“Efforts to support caregivers, families, and healthcare providers may be needed to ensure that children are achieving recommendations on the timing of food introduction,” says Barrera, who suggests the upcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americans include recommendations for children younger than two years old to achieve better consistency nationwide.
The WHO (World Health Organisation) formally recommends exclusively breastfeeding until babies are six months old. Between six months and one year, solid foods should be used alongside milk but not used as a replacement to breast milk or formula.
The World Health Organisation does advise parents should speak with their own Public Health Nurse or GP for advice specific to their babies.
Laura Doyle, Mum of 4. Kyle 9, Noa Belle 4, Briar 2 and Milla 12 months. Breastfeeder, co-sleeper, coffee drinker. Staying positive and inspired by the chaos of it all. Follow her on Instagram.