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. Nearby Printing Services

    This page really has all the information I wanted concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 19, 2021 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Leak Riverside


    May 19, 2021 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Fabrication Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 16:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Social Media Marketing Specialist Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 17:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Video Marketing Specialist

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website. I'm hoping to see the same high-grade content from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own site now 😉


    May 20, 2021 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Internet Marketing Firm

    Your style is so unique compared to other folks I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just bookmark this web site.


    May 20, 2021 at 02:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Google Marketing Services


    May 20, 2021 at 03:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Content Marketing Agency

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy that I stumbled across this during my search for something concerning this.


    May 20, 2021 at 04:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Internet Marketing Business


    May 20, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Google Marketing Consultant

    I really love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my own site and would love to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named. Appreciate it!


    May 20, 2021 at 05:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Social Media Marketing Services Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 05:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. https://mbee.com.vn/dia-chi-ban-vach-ngan-ve-sinh-compact-tai-ho-chi-minh-hcm/

    I am not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wonderful info I was looking for this info for
    my mission.

    May 20, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Social Media Marketing Business


    May 20, 2021 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Video Marketing Agencies

    Great post! We will be linking to this great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 20, 2021 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Social Media Marketing Specialist Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Internet Marketing Consultant

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this site. I really hope to see the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal blog now 😉


    May 20, 2021 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. chứng minh tài chính du học

    Greetings from Florida! I'm bored at work so I decided
    to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I enjoy the info you present here and can't wait to take a look when I get home.
    I'm shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone ..
    I'm not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, awesome site!

    May 20, 2021 at 13:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. trailer repairs near me

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


    May 20, 2021 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Alignment Riverside

    An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your web site.


    May 20, 2021 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Internet Marketing Companies Near Me


    May 20, 2021 at 14:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. rv repair shops

    Your style is unique in comparison to other people I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just book mark this site.


    May 20, 2021 at 15:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Driver Seats Los Angeles


    May 20, 2021 at 16:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. body shop orange ca

    I truly love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own personal site and would love to know where you got this from or what the theme is named. Many thanks!


    May 20, 2021 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. motor home repair parts

    This is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 20, 2021 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. RV Dent Repair Orange County

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own blog now 😉


    May 20, 2021 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Social Media Marketing Market


    May 20, 2021 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. solar freakin roadways busted


    May 20, 2021 at 21:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 2006 Sprinter Transmion Repair


    May 20, 2021 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. trailer repair shop near me


    May 21, 2021 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. cyclomune

    cyclosporine pharmacology cyclomune eye drops 1%

    May 21, 2021 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. chloroquineorigin

    buy chloroquine phosphate tablets hydroxychloroquine coronavirus buy chloroquine online canada https://chloroquineorigin.com/

    May 21, 2021 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Body Shop California


    May 21, 2021 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. rv repair in riverside ca

    When I initially commented I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. There has to be a way you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!


    May 21, 2021 at 17:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Remodeling Los Angeles

    You're so interesting! I don't suppose I've read through a single thing like that before. So great to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is required on the internet, someone with some originality!


    May 21, 2021 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. frame repair shop near me

    Howdy! This article couldn’t be written any better! Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept talking about this. I am going to forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!


    May 21, 2021 at 18:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RV Lighting Los Angeles


    May 21, 2021 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Social Media Marketing Agencies


    May 21, 2021 at 22:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Internet Marketing Firm Near Me

    This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Kudos!


    May 21, 2021 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. how to repair rv blinds

    I was more than happy to discover this page. I wanted to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you book-marked to look at new things on your website.


    May 22, 2021 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. camera shop orange county


    May 22, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. camper van restoration

    Good info. Lucky me I recently found your site by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!


    May 22, 2021 at 03:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Solar Panels Systems Los Angeles


    May 22, 2021 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. anything rv service center


    May 22, 2021 at 05:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Local Marketing Services

    Hi, I do believe this is a great website. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to revisit once again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.


    May 22, 2021 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Los Angeles

    Very good blog post. I certainly appreciate this website. Keep it up!


    May 22, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. brimonidine

    combigan eye drops 2% combigan

    May 22, 2021 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Technician Orange County

    bookmarked!!, I like your site!


    May 22, 2021 at 20:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Upholstery Riverside


    May 23, 2021 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Streaming Jav Online Free - JavPlay

    Hi! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I'm trying to get my blog to
    rank for some targeted keywords but I'm not seeing
    very good success. If you know of any please share.

    May 23, 2021 at 03:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. windshield repair orange ca

    Good info. Lucky me I recently found your website by accident (stumbleupon). I've saved as a favorite for later!


    May 23, 2021 at 06:36 | 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 Kayleigh Santacruce


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.