Starting Baby on Solid Food

Did you read the latest study from the CDC about the number of infants who are starting solid foods too soon?  One of the only things that I think has stayed pretty constant since I began practicing medicine (and what I did with my own children), was waiting until they were around 6 months of age to begin solid food.  

Beginning a baby on solid foods is not really momentous, in that it does not make a baby sleep through the night, it does not make them less fussy, or gain weight faster, but it certainly is a little more work.  A baby really does just fine on breast milk or formula for the first 6 months of life.  It is wonderful to watch a newborn grow and thrive, and it all happens with milk alone. 

While many new parents are anxious to start solids, there is no rush. Actually, once you are starting baby foods you soon figure out that it is really more work, and you get to fix meals for the next 18 years! Formula or breast milk seems like a great meal when you are too tired to cook one night when they are older.  Milk for dinner just doesnt work for a 10 year old. 

Early introduction of solid foods may be linked to obesity, diabetes, eczema and celiac disease. While the studies on these issues continue, why risk any of these problems when your baby is doing well on breast milk or formula alone for 6 months?  

When beginning solid foods your baby should be able to sit up in their high chair and open their mouths when the spoon is introduced.  There is no magic as to how much a baby will even eat when you start baby foods. For some babies, eating solid foods is cosmic and they may love it and continue to eat more and more.  

For others, the spoon and baby food just doesnt hold the same excitement, and they push the spoon out of their mouth and are less than thrilled.  Experiment with pureed foods for your 6 month old, but dont be worried if it takes some time...let your baby lead this dance. 

I typically have parents puree as many different foods as they can, and introduce a different one every 2 to 3 days.  The more different foods the better.  At this age your baby will like all sorts of things that might surprise you.....broccoli, asparagus, black eyed peas,kale, beets.  Same thing for fruits...try kiwi, melon, avocado, papaya, grapefruit and mango.   

Even as your child is beginning solid food they are still getting the majority of their calories from breast milk or formula.  It will be several months before they are eating enough solid food to change their milk intake. 

No rush....solid foods have nothing to do with sleeping through the night either. That too comes with time.




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