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Starting Solid Foods

Can You Introduce Solid Foods Too Early or Too Late?

It is not recommended to introduce complementary foods and liquids before a baby is four months old. This is because there are no known benefits; yet, there appears to be some risk. Some of the problems with starting solid foods too early include:
 
  • Increasing the risk for choking
  • Interfering with the ability to get enough calories through breast milk or formula
  • Increasing the risk for food allergies, atopic dermatitis (eczema), and other allergic conditions
  • Increasing the chances for type 1 diabetes or celiac disease in those already at high risk.
     
It can also be very frustrating for both the infant and parents. This is because most babies still have their extrusion reflex at this age, which makes feeding difficult.
 
What happens if you wait too long (after six months of age)? Research has shown that delaying the introduction of solid foods can:
 
  • Decrease an infant's growth rate from inadequate calories
  • Lead to a dislike for trying solid foods
  • Lead to iron deficiency in breastfed infants.
     

Can You Feed Too Much?

Absolutely. Babies are very good at knowing when they are hungry or full. Look for cues that they have had enough to eat (leaning back or turning away).
 
Also, there is no truth to the belief that if you feed your baby cereal right before bed, they will sleep through the night. All you are doing is increasing the chances that you are overfeeding your infant.
 

Final Thoughts

Now that you have the basics of why and when to start feeding your baby solid foods, it is time to learn how.
 
(Click Feeding Solid Foods to Infants for the ins and outs, including what you should feed your baby and in what order.)
 
7 Easy Tips for Starting Solids

Guide To Feeding Infants

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