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Monday, July 5, 2010

When to Start Solids?

Meanwhile, my niece Anya is turning six months on Thursday and her doctor already gave the go signal for her to start solids. My sister commented that during meal times Anya always stares at them and at the food. They are still deciding whether to start her as soon as she hits 6 months or at 7 months (which is actually 6 months adjusted).
Anyway, during one of the LATCH workshops, the resource doctor presented a study from the American Academy of Pediatricians which again referred to 4 months as the minimum age for starting solidds:

If you need a clearer copy of the guidelines/statement, the same is reproduced in this webpage. This policy statement actually referred to a study entitled "Effects of early nutritional interventions on the development of atopic disease in infants and children: the role of maternal dietary restriction, breastfeeding, timing of introduction of complementary foods, and hydrolyzed formulas." Because of recommendation number 6 (as quoted above), a lot of doctors believe that there is not much difference if a baby starts solids at 4 or 6 months, as long as baby is at least 4 months.
I still strongly believe that baby needs to be at least 6 months to start solids and I was very happy to read about this news two weeks ago, that based on a Dutch study, "babies are less likely to develop a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection if they are exclusively breastfed for at least 6 months."
According to the researchers: "We observed protective effects of breastfeeding on infectious diseases mainly in the first 6 months of life. Exclusive breastfeeding until age 6 months tended to be more protective, than exclusive breastfeeding until age 4 months." I need to show my sister this study and hopefully, they decide to delay starting Anya on solids.

*Update: I had a conversation with Dr. Z last Saturday. Doctors generally recommend 4-6 months because that this time, babies are developmentally ready for solids. However, the WHO recommends 6 months because this recommendation is targeted to 3rd world countries where access to clean facilities, ingredients, water for preparing solid foods are not generally available. Thus, if you check the American Academy of Pediatricians' recommendations, they state 4-6 months. Interestingly though, the US is a 1st world country - and we are not. This is why I still do not understand why our doctors here recommend starting at 4 months despite the WHO recommendation.

4 comments:

Yen said...

I wasn't in a rush to start Marion on solids, but I started her on it when she turned 6 months. She would already stare at the grown-ups while we ate, but I kinda felt that I fed her solids too early. Looking back, I'd have waited a couple more weeks to a month. Oh, the other reason why I wasn't too crazy about starting her on solids was because I knew her poop would start to stink. Haha! :-)

Jenny said...

thanks yen! so how is marion liking the solids? :)

Dark said...

We started Quad on solids close to 7 months, and only because he was always staring at us at the dinner table and tries to grab at our spoons. We started very slowly. Only .5 ounce portions 2x a day. He took to it very well. Now at 10months, I wonder about how well he's eating-- he'll only take up to 2 ounce portions per meal, and not more than this amount! Currently on breakfast, lunch and early dinner times. He's not losing weight or energy, so I guess it's ok. :) There should be more information about appropriate serving sizes for certain infant stages, if not as a guide, then at least as a benchmark to know whether or not our babies are developing well, gastronomically speaking!!! :)

Dark said...

We started Quad on solids close to 7 months, and only because he was always staring at us at the dinner table and tries to grab at our spoons. We started very slowly. Only .5 ounce portions 2x a day. He took to it very well. Now at 10months, I wonder about how well he's eating-- he'll only take up to 2 ounce portions per meal, and not more than this amount! Currently on breakfast, lunch and early dinner times. He's not losing weight or energy, so I guess it's ok. :) There should be more information about appropriate serving sizes for certain infant stages, if not as a guide, then at least as a benchmark to know whether or not our babies are developing well, gastronomically speaking!!! :)

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