I was so excited to feed my first baby solids. I waited and waited until I couldn't wait any longer. He was five and three-quarter months old. I set up the high chair, the splat mat, the bib, the shiny new utensils and the rice cereal and then ... nothing. He didn't want it. Sure, a little bit went in, but more came out. I had waited until he showed signs of eating. He watched our utensils with hungry eyes. He mimicked eating. I hoped it would make him sleep. But he wasn't ready.
But I couldn't wait.
I am sure that sense of impatience, the bad information and mistaken belief in old wives tales is what is behind the new research that says 40 per cent of babies are fed solids too soon. Both American and Canadian pediatric societies recommend starting solids at six months of age. But almost half of babies are being given solids before six months of age, with some being fed solids at the age of four weeks.
Giving babies solids too soon has been linked to increased risk of obesity, eczema, and celiac disease, say specialists. They need more time to develop the proper gut bacteria to process food properly.
Which, of course, is the exact opposite of what mothers think when they give their babies solids early. Many mothers who were surveyed said that they thought solids would help their babies sleep better. (I cannot be the only one who was told to make the hole in the baby bottle larger and put some rice cereal in it.)
Women who were formula feeding were twice as likely to give their babies solids early. Formula is expensive and financial reasons were another reason cited by the new moms for choosing to give their babies solids. The women who started solids were more likely to be young, less educated and unmarried with lower levels of education.
Researchers were most surprised by the amount of new mothers who said that their pediatricians told them it was okay to start feeding solids to their babies.
Kelly Scanlon from CDC said: "Ninety per cent of mothers who introduce solids before four months reported that the infant was old enough for solids, so indicating a need for better communication of the recommendations on solid food."
“It makes me want to know more about the other advice that those parents were getting on infant feeding,” Dr. Scanlon said.
Once I figured out that feeding solids was not as exciting as I thought it was, I waited until just after the six months mark with my other two kids. Who wants to lug around all of that gear when you can just give them milk?
When did you start feeding solids?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about an amazing young girl with autism.