It seems that there are a lot of moms who introduce solid food to their babies who are less than four months old, but according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics featured on MedicalNewsToday.com, children shouldn't eat solids until they are between four to six months old.
Researcher Kelley Scanlon led a group of experts who gathered data from 1,300 mothers who have started feeding solids to their babies who were less than a year old. They were interviewed about why they thought that switching from milk to solid food was okay. Reasons given included many old wives' tales and wrong perception on childcare such as, "my baby seemed hungry" or "my baby wanted the food I ate."
The study revealed that 40.4 percent of the participants fed their infants (who were younger than four months) solid food. On the other hand, 52.7 percent were given formula milk, while only 24.3 percent continued to be breastfeed.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving solid food to babies only upon reaching four to to six months old, as it is at this age that they can be more capable of opening their mouths and holding their heads up on their own.
Although some doctors and medical professionals sometimes give advice about early food switching, it's still better to assume that these are isolated cases, and may not be applicable to other babies. Experts note, "Early introduction of solid foods is concerning because babies' bodies are not yet prepared for these foods, and early introduction may increase the risk of some chronic diseases. It can also mean that the many benefits of breastfeeding are cut short."
The best way is always to wait, and to seek professional advice. It's also good to continue breastfeeding up until the child is two years old, as he or she can still benefit from the nutrients supplemented by it, even after starting eating solids.
(Photo by Toshimasa Ishibashi via Flickr Creative Commons)