Too-early solid food could lead to problems for babies
March 25th, 2013
02:36 PM ET

Too-early solid food could lead to problems for babies

At least 40% of moms are feeding their infants solid foods far too early, according a new study published in the medical journal Pediatrics, and that may lead to problems for their children later in life.

Researchers wanted to know how many babies were being fed solid foods (including cereal and baby food) sooner than recommended, whether breast-feeding or formula feeding made a difference and why solids were being introduced early. When the study began in 2005,  the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which also publishes the journal Pediatrics, recommended introducing solid foods when babies were between 4 and 6 months old.

In 2012, the AAP changed those recommendations. Now it says babies shouldn't be eating solid food until they are about 6 months old.

Study and findings

As part of the two-year study, 1,334 mothers filed out monthly questionnaires about what their babies ate during the last week, says Kelley Scanlon, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and one of the study authors. Scientists then analyzed the data reported by the mothers to determine at which age babies were being fed solid food.

They found 539 moms, or 40% of moms, gave their babies solid food early. Previous studies had put that estimate at 19% and 29%. Researchers believe based on this study, they may actually be underestimating how many moms introduce solids early because the study was more likely to have older, more educated and higher income moms participating. "Mothers of lower socioeconomic status are at a higher risk of early solid food introduction," the study says.

Giving your baby solid food too soon has been linked to a higher risk of obesity and diabetes, according to the study. Also, "starting infants on solids before 4 months can lead to allergies and eczema," says Dr. Jennifer Shu, an Atlanta pediatrician and AAP spokeswoman who was not involved in the research.

Among the 539 moms who did introduce solids early, nearly 1 in 10 gave their babies solids before they were 4 weeks old.

Researchers found formula-fed infants were about twice as likely to be introduced to solids early, compared to only breast-fed babies.

Moms were also given 12 reasons to choose from to explain why they introduced solid food early. Among the top answers:
- 90% of moms said they thought their baby was old enough to start eating solids.
- 71% said their baby seemed hungry a lot of the time.
- 55% believed their doctor or another health care professional said their baby should start eating solids.

Scanlon cautioned that this last point reflected a perception that health care professionals were recommending when to start an infant on solids; researchers couldn't actually confirm that's what a doctor or nurse actually said.

Shu says she was surprised by the findings, but notes that some doctors and nurses may have been trained at a time when babies were fed solids earlier and says it's hard to change behaviors when medical information changes so quickly.

Bottom line

"There's a lack of awareness of what the recommendations are," Scanlon says, adding babies are not developmentally ready for solid food before they are 4 months old.

Some of these moms are getting information on when to feed their babies solids "from generations (ex. grandparents, nurses, friends) who may have started their babies on solids at an earlier age," suggests Shu.

According to the latest AAP recommendations, moms are supposed to exclusively breast-feed their babies until they are about 6 months old if possible, so babies can reap all the benefits of mother's milk including extra immune protection and possible protection for future chronic illnesses like obesity and type II diabetes.

Every baby develops at a slightly different pace, but there are some signs to look for to help parents figure out if their child is ready for solids:
- Is the baby sitting up? Can she hold her head up?
- Does your baby open his mouth when food comes his way?
- Is she big enough? (Babies typically double their birth weight by 4 months)
- Can he take food off the spoon and actually swallow it?

The takeaway

Parents need clear and accurate guidance on when to introduce solid food to their babies, and pediatricians and health care professionals need to support them, says Scanlon, by explaining to the parents that crying doesn't always mean the baby is hungry - it could also be wet, sick or lonely.

soundoff (907 Responses)
  1. RV Repairs Nearby

    Great site you have got here.. Itís difficult to find good quality writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!


    June 15, 2021 at 04:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Repair San Clemente California

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be useful to read through content from other writers and use something from other websites.


    June 15, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


    June 15, 2021 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 15, 2021 at 06:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 15, 2021 at 07:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 15, 2021 at 07:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 15, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Shops Near My Location

    Iím impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog thatís equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I stumbled across this during my hunt for something concerning this.


    June 15, 2021 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


    June 15, 2021 at 22:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Places Near Me

    Can I simply just say what a relief to find somebody that actually understands what they're talking about over the internet. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people ought to look at this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.


    June 16, 2021 at 02:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Repair Mission Viejo


    June 16, 2021 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Sprinter Repair Near Me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up and the rest of the website is really good.


    June 16, 2021 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Repair Near Me

    bookmarked!!, I love your website!


    June 16, 2021 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. walk in clinic near me


    June 16, 2021 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ups store near me

    Itís hard to find educated people in this particular topic, but you sound like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks


    June 16, 2021 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. papa johns near me


    June 16, 2021 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. cheap apartments near me

    I really like reading through a post that can make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!


    June 16, 2021 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. outdoor dining near me


    June 16, 2021 at 23:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Repair Shop

    Great post. I'm dealing with many of these issues as well..


    June 17, 2021 at 00:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now

    Everything is very open with a precise description of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your website is extremely helpful. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 17, 2021 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 03:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Repair Shop Near Me

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    June 17, 2021 at 06:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. restaurants open near me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of the site is also very good.


    June 17, 2021 at 06:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. old navy near me

    I really like it when individuals come together and share ideas. Great site, keep it up!


    June 17, 2021 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Repair Shops Near Me

    I blog frequently and I seriously appreciate your content. This article has truly peaked my interest. I will bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed as well.


    June 17, 2021 at 07:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 17, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Repair Shops Near Me Now


    June 17, 2021 at 10:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Camper Repair Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. rent a car near me


    June 17, 2021 at 13:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. rv sales near me


    June 17, 2021 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. krogers near me


    June 17, 2021 at 17:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. health food store near me

    Saved as a favorite, I love your blog!


    June 17, 2021 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. lenscrafters near me


    June 18, 2021 at 00:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. popeyes near me


    June 18, 2021 at 03:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. bank near me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and the rest of the site is very good.


    June 18, 2021 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. amazon jobs near me

    Hello there! This blog post could not be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I'll send this post to him. Fairly certain he'll have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!


    June 18, 2021 at 10:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. RV Repair Orange County


    June 18, 2021 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 18, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Sprinter Repair Orange County


    June 18, 2021 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. sears near me


    June 18, 2021 at 17:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Repair Fountain Valley

    When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a way you are able to remove me from that service? Many thanks!


    June 18, 2021 at 21:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repairs Near Me

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you should write more on this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but usually people do not speak about such subjects. To the next! All the best!!


    June 18, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Repairs Near Me

    I used to be able to find good information from your content.


    June 18, 2021 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repair Orange County California


    June 19, 2021 at 03:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Orange County


    June 19, 2021 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Repair California

    Hi there! I just would like to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you've got here on this post. I'll be returning to your blog for more soon.


    June 19, 2021 at 07:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. aaa near me

    You should take part in a contest for one of the most useful sites online. I will recommend this site!


    June 19, 2021 at 10:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Nearest RV Repair


    June 19, 2021 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. vegan restaurants near me


    June 19, 2021 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Repair Nearby


    June 19, 2021 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Leave a Reply to things to do in azusa ca


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.