Mothers feeding babies solid food too soon
Some parents feeding babies solid foods too early. (March 25, 2013)
The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advised that babies don't get solid food until they are four to six months-old. But 40 percent of the nearly 1,300 mothers surveyed in the study said they introduced food before that.
Babies are better developed at 4 to 6 months of age, including having the ability to hold their heads up and open their mouths for food. They also weigh enough to handle solid foods.
Moms who fed their babies formula were more likely to introduce solid food early.
The reason for giving babies solid food were that the baby seemed hungry or moms thought it would help the baby sleep longer at night. Others thought the baby was old enough. Many doctors signed off on the decision, the study found.
The study author's said that babies given solid food early may miss out on the benefits of breast milk and face increased risk of some chronic diseases.
Early introduction of solid foods is concerning because babies’ bodies are not yet prepared for these foods and it may increase the risk of some chronic diseases.
Many of the mothers were low-income and on public assistance, giving evidence that money may play a role in their decision.
The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.