Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Israel's ministry of health recommends earlier introduction of solid foods

Yesterday, we heard that Israel's ministry of Health gave a set of new recommendations regarding introduction of solid foods to babies. The updated recommendation is to start giving solids beginning from the time when baby is four months old, and to start replacing full meals by solids from six months onward.

As a mother of a four-months-old, naturally I'm interested in hearing more about the specifics of these new guidelines. I didn't find much information about it online - here's a link to an article for those visitors of mine who read Hebrew.

I would very much like to know details such as why the recommendations were changed, what is the research behind it, and whether other countries are following the same lead. We're not talking about a slight variation from the previous recommendations, but about a substantial change - in the new list of foods for babies four months and older you'll find even fish and eggs, which previously weren't recommended as first foods because of their potentially allergenic effect.

In the article I linked to, I found a rather vague explanation that "early introduction of solid foods helps to prevent food allergies"; however, until now it has been thought that early introduction of solids might be a cause of allergies. No information could be obtained from the official Ministry of Health website. Could this be a fad?

During the years while I studied for my degree in nutrition, perhaps the most important thing I learned was that nutritional recommendations change constantly, and one shouldn't follow blindly. There's also a variety of opinions by a variety of experts on any given topic at any given point in time.

My personal belief is that introduction of solids, as well as weaning, should be mostly child-led - we can offer, but if the baby shows no interest, it's better to wait a bit and then try again. I'm against arbitrary guidelines such as "all babies must eat such and such amount of solids by such and such time" - all babies are different. As for potential allergies, to me it seems that it's safer to wait rather than rush.

I will certainly be on the watch for further information about this.

37 comments:

Bethany Hudson said...

I get the feeling that it might be a fad if you had trouble finding the research to support the change. The data here in the US is pretty much the opposite. We are encouraged to breastfeed exclusively until 6 months, then introduce foods one at a time. However, we ARE encouraged to feed our children eggs and fish (though no shellfish, and not if there is a history of family allergy to these foods) in addition to fruits and veggies. For our daughter, who has a very high metabolism, full-fat milk products and eggs were essential for her health when we started solids. Hope you have luck in finding more research on the subject, Anna!
~Bethany

Steve and Paula said...

This is a far better way to feed babies.....Ancient wisdom is usually best in my opinion. www.westonaprice.org/children/feeding.html
A wise supplement for all babies-whether breast fed or bottle fed-is an egg yolk per day, beginning at four months. Egg yolk supplies cholesterol needed for mental development as well as important sulphur-containing amino acids. Egg yolks from pasture-fed hens or hens raised on flax meal, fish meal or insects are also rich in the omega-3 long-chain fatty acids found in mother's milk but which may be lacking in cow's milk. These fatty acids are essential for the development of the brain. Parents who institute the practice of feeding egg yolk to baby will be rewarded with children who speak and take directions at an early age. The white, which contains difficult-to-digest proteins, should not be given before the age of one year. Small amounts of grated, raw organic liver may be added occasionally to the egg yolk after six months. This imitates the practice of African mothers who chew liver before giving it to their infants as their first food. Liver is rich in iron, the one mineral that tends to be low in mother's milk possibly because iron competes with zinc for absorption.

An unfortunate practice in industrial societies is the feeding of cereal grains to infants. Babies produce only small amounts of amylase, needed for the digestion of grains, and are not fully equipped to handle cereals, especially wheat, before the age of one year. (Some experts prohibit all grains before the age of two.) Baby's small intestine mostly produces one enzyme for carbohydrates-lactase, for the digestion of lactose. (Raw milk also contains lactase.) Many doctors have warned that feeding cereal grains too early can lead to grain allergies later on. Baby's earliest solid foods should be animal foods as his digestive system, although immature, is better equipped to supply enzymes for digestion of fats and proteins rather than carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate in the form of fresh, mashed banana can be added after the age of six months as bananas are rich in amylase enzymes and, thus, are easily digested by most infants. Some preindustrial societies give a gruel of cereal grains, soaked 24 hours, to babies one year or older. Soaking in an acidic medium neutralizes phytates and begins the breakdown of carbohydrates, thus allowing children to obtain optimum nourishment from grains. It also provides lactic acid to the intestinal tract to facilitate mineral uptake.

At the age of about ten months, meats, fruits and vegetables may be introduced, one at a time so that any adverse reactions may be observed. Carbohydrate foods, such as potatoes, carrots, turnips, etc., should be mashed with butter. (Don't overdo on the orange vegetables as baby's immature liver may have difficulty converting carotenoids to vitamin A. If your baby's skin develops a yellowish color, a sign that he is not making the conversion, discontinue orange vegetables for a time.) Lacto-fermented taro or other roots (page 102) make an excellent carbohydrate food for babies. It is wise to feed babies a little buttermilk or yoghurt from time to time to familiarize them with the sour taste. Above all, do not deprive your baby of animal fats-he needs them for optimum physical growth and mental development. Mother's milk contains over 50% of its calories as fat, much of it saturated fat, and children need these kinds of fats throughout their growing years.

Gombojav Tribe said...

My baby is four months old, also, as you know. I haven't even THOUGHT about introducing food yet! It honestly hasn't even crossed my mind. Too early for us!

Audrey said...

Hmm... that seems kind of odd to me. Our case is different though. When my daughter was a tiny baby (she's 22 months now), she was breastfed. I planned on nursing her for at least a year. I started her on solids, and since she was getting nutrition elsewhere, my milk supply dried up. Not slowly, either. I stopped producing milk. After months of trying to figure out why my breastfed baby was losing weight (she was very small and looked very unhealthy), we discovered that it was because my milk supply dried up. When we discovered this, I spent endless weeks nursing as often as my daughter would nurse, and pumping in between feedings. But, to no avail, she was weaned by 9 1/2 months, when I had not a drop of milk left in me.
While I can definitely see where introducing a food early can prevent allergies, I wouldn't necessarily start them on solids too early because their digestive tracts are not mature enough to handle much. But even if I disregard that, I had a very hard time weaning my daughter (I cried! A lot!), so in order to prevent my milk supply from drying up, we will not be starting our new baby (who is due in October) on solids until he/she is at least 7 or 8 months old, possibly longer. Although it's fun and great to introduce solids early, babies don't even need any nutrition besides breastmilk until they are a year old.
Also, allergies tend to be hereditary. My family has no problem with food allergies, so I am not worried about it. My daughter has no allergies, so I would be shocked if the new baby had allergies, no matter when he/she starts solids.
I guess it's just a very personal choice. One of those things that is best left up to maternal instincts. If you and the baby feel it is time to start solids, go for it, but if not, don't. I didn't feel right introducing my daughter to meat until she was 10 months old. I was told I could, but I knew it was hard for me to digest, and I'm an adult! So we waited to introduce meat because my maternal instincts told me to, and I trust them.

Margaret said...

Goodness, that is odd. Somehow I don't think this is such a good idea. I wonder who funded the studies and is behind the recommendations. Follow the money trail and you might get more insight into the 'reasoning' behind it. In the U.S., formula and baby food companies have been known to fund 'studies' that somehow miraculously come out with a result that would benefit their bottom line.

Rebekka said...

Very curious. I looked up the official Danish recommendations, and it is still full breastfeeding to six months and partial breastfeeding to 12 months (or longer if that is what works for the mother and child).

They do note that the transition should not be forced, however. There was some conflicting info, though - on one page they noted that the reason to introduce solid foods from six months was that in Denmark/the West (as opposed to an undeveloped country) children can be offered a varied diet full of vitamins and minerals and "especially iron". On another page they pointed out that one of the most important reasons to breastfeed was the ideal combination of vitamins and minerals, so that seemed like it was going at cross purposes. But I don't know enough about infant and maternal nutrition - perhaps the mother's iron deposits are getting low around the age of 6 mos?

Tereza said...

being a mom of 9, i agree still agree with you!!!!!!!!!:)

Mrs. Anna T said...

"I wonder who funded the studies and is behind the recommendations. Follow the money trail and you might get more insight into the 'reasoning' behind it."

Precisely what I was thinking.

Tovah said...

I'm glad your little daughter has a mama who carefully thinks things through instead of just following public recommendations.

We let our babies taste and experience food from the time they are old enough to show a strong interest, but we don't begin trying to schedule "meals" of food until they are at least 10 months.

Karen (Canadian Soldier's Wife) said...

I have tended to avoid the fads and even the recommendations, and just follow my mother's instincts. My first daughter started solids at 4 months - bananas, applesauce, oatmeal, yellow beans, carrots, rice, etc... we had no history of food allergies in our family so I didn't worry about that and just went along with what held her interest. As soon as she was chewing well, I moved on to giving her pieces of table food. I fed her a tablespoon or two twice a day and kept nursing until she weaned herself at 19 months.

My second daughter had no interest at 4 months, so I didn't pursue it. She was 6-7 months old before we did any real solid food, and with her I did less of the jarred baby foods, and more just mashed up table foods. Once she was ready, she loved it. She's 19 months now and still nurses twice a day. She did have some issues with dairy as a baby - she would be fussy and get rashes if I had much dairy - so we held off on introducing dairy for quite a while. Now she will eat yogurt, pudding and some cheese, but will absolutely not drink milk.

Both of my girls have healthy appetites, eating pretty much whatever is put in front of them. My four year old will ask for spinach and my 19 month old will ask for broccoli. :) I credit a lot of that to introducing a variety of real food early on, rather than just giving them bland baby cereals and baby foods.

Long story short... trust yourself, watch your baby and follow her cues. Use your own good sense and you won't go wrong. :)

Mrs W said...

The baby knows when he is ready. My first was ready for solids at 3 months and I gave them to him despite all the criticism I got (from people who later did the same thing with their babies...they had no babies at the time which is why I was not really concerned with what they said).

My second child loves his formula. He's nine months old now and he does eat solid foods, but still prefers his bottle. I didn't give him solids till he was 8 months because he couldn't sit up. To me if he couldn't sit up (which he needs to be able to do to eat solids) then he certainly wasn't ready for solids. But with him, he just likes food, he doesn't care how it comes. He practically inhales it anyway.

I would ditch the guidelines and just do it however you feel you and Shira need it. While I think that four months is NOT too early to try solids (it worked GREAT for one of my sons) it is not too late to wait till later either. Shira will tell you what she needs.

J in VA said...

I would follow LLL's advice for solids. They have the best nutritional information for breastfeeders in the world. Many times these "health" recommendations don't have breastfed babies in mind at all--or they lump all babies in together.

Recently I read a study that explained why breastmilk is low in iron--apparently you must have a certain amount of iron in the system to "support" e coli in the gut. If BF babies have less iron in the system they are less likely to get e coli which is a major source of diarrhea (and could kill a baby, when no medical support is available.) The small amount of iron in breastmilk is more readily available and actually absorbed. Because the bio-availability of the iron in other milks is so low they often add huge amounts to compensate--therefore often constipation, stomachache etc....

Something to consider: we started solids with my dd when she was about 7 months old. The only thing I fed her with a spoon was oatmeal or grits. Otherwise I just put tiny bits of whatever on her tray and she picked them up and ate what she wanted. She never had "baby food." Much less messy and no difficult transition to table food. She will eat anything set before her and loves to try new things. I think feeding babies with a spoon is highly over-rated.

Country Mouse said...

My youngest did not even want to eat solids until he was about 11 months old, I wouldn't have changed it for the world, I enjoyed the exclusivity of caring for my child.

My oldest started showing interest at 9months, but around six months I tried forcing solids on him because I was excited to see him learn new things. It was a mistake and one I won't repeat.

I always wonder if the baby is truly ready for solids at such a young age, or if its just wishful thinking from a mother who would like her child to sleep through the night better....

Mrs W said...

Country Mouse, my kids sleep through the night LONG before they are given solid food. Baby will tell you when they are ready. No need to try to make up stuff about those of us who found out our kids wanted solids earlier than you might be comfortable with.

Mrs. Jacqueline said...

I absolutely agree with all the ladies whose advice is to follow your child's lead. My daughter (She's almost three now) was born hungry. She was nursing AND taking 4 ounces of formula as a newborn (FYI, I did not exclusively breastfeed). She always took the breast or the bottle eagerly- I began to feed her solids at four-ish months for several reasons: 1)She could sit up in the highchair and had excellent head control 2)She had two teeth and 3)She was STARING at me when we were at the dinner table, watching the food go from my plate to my mouth :) My baby was hungry, so I fed her! I also rarely fed my girl commercial baby food- she ate table food and it's easy enough to mash up "regular" food with broth. You're an excellent mother Anna, follow your instincts and you can't go wrong!

Original L said...

My mom always said to wait until a baby is starting to teeth and leans forward and makes chewing motions while trying to get food. Apparently that is when their digestive system is far enough along to start tolerating food.

Another recommendation here for Weston Price - I don't agree with everything, but I do think they have a LOT of really good recommendations. Just their dairy recommendations have made a big difference to me. My body LOVES raw milk and I have never had a milk allergy - but I can still tell a difference.

Anonymous said...

My mom told me that a baby doesn't actually NEED anything other than the mother's breast milk for the first year... whether they want it or not is another story. (My mother is a nurse.) I waited 6 months before giving my daughter anything and for a long time she didn't even eat solids every day. She did very well on just breast milk (she was quite chubby and tall for her age).

Christine said...

I haven't had the chance to read all the other comments, so this may be a bit of repetition. However.

I don't agree with starting solids at 4 months, but I do agree with babies eating eggs and fish. I think this recommendation may be as a result of a study done recently, which I will try to find a link to. Basically, it was a study of how many Jewish children and adults have allergies to eggs, nuts and fish in Israel and England. The reason the study was done only on Jewish children and adults was because it was an isolated genetic group living in areas with different cultural effects. The result was that more allergies were present in the children in England because of (presumably) underexposure to allergens.

Kari said...

My understanding about the baby's need for iron is that a newborn actually has iron stores in their system from being in the womb. This supply seems to only last around six months, which is why iron fortified cereals, etc., are recommended by six months of age. We've been told by the public health system to avoid egg whites until after age one, but egg yolks are fine. We also have a history of milk allergy, so we don't introduce that to our kiddos until after age one as well.

That being said, each child is so different, and there's no proven research that points to what actually causes food allergies. My oldest was allergic to baby cereals, and most of the health care providers I spoke with told me that was "impossible". I had a six month old baby who begged to differ while she would throw up for hours on end!! Now, the girl can and will eat anything!

As other commenters mentioned, I think using common sense is important in this area!

Anonymous said...

I, too, believe solids for babies shouldn't be rushed. With my own children, they were satisfied at the breast for many months, & I saw no reason to introduce anything else. I have to disagree with this "new" recommendation about the connection to allergies. I'm convinced that babies who are nourished on breastmilk exclusively have a lesser chance of suffering allergic reactions to various foods later on. Just my 2 cents!

Brenda

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

Peapod opted to start solids at nine months of age when she stole kimchee from Sean's plate and shoveled it into her mouth, followed by a fistful of rice, before he could stop her. Previously we had tried offering some mashed avocado, sweet potato, and banana here and there, but she had no interest in these foods other than throwing them at us. ;o)

After she began solids, we took our time introducing potential allergens and grains in general, opting instead for organic fruits, veggies, and freerange/grassfed/wild caught proteins. We also held off on legumes until she was a bit older. Peapod has still not had any soy and only very little whole grain gluten, in preparation for her celiac blood test in the near future. I'm also still very cautious with peanuts and related products, as that allergy runs in the family as well.

Otter Mom said...

My daughter is what is considered to be highly allergic. Quite a few of her allergies are food related, and I am suspicious of any new theory like this one. I don't think it would have made a bit of difference if we'd started her on solids earlier than we did, as her allergies are probably inherited from me and my genetic heritage. But I have heard different theories at times, about how babies should be weaned early - and it seems like usually those theories come out of studies that were paid for or at the request of companies that produce formula. I was unable to breast feed, so we had to switch to formula very early - and my daughter turned out to be allergic to some of the formula. She's 17 now, and still dealing with allergies but they have gotten better as she got older.

Marianna said...

I think one of the biggest problems with reccomendations like these is that it takes away a mothers natural instinct regarding what is best for her child. As a first time mother with a child that simply refused to adhere to the "introduce solids at 6-months" guideline that was in effect when he was an infant I spent many agonizing moments worrying about him when I should have been following his cues!

Kyle, Amanda, and Tobias said...

Personally, I've found that introducing solids at 4 months is better because they babies are more receptive to the new textures. I've nannied for many babies who weren't introduced to solid foods until 6 months and took until up to 2 years old to truly begin to enjoy their solid food.

I introduced my son at 4 months and ignored the current American guidelines which are along the lines of the older guidelines you were talking about for your country. He ate happily from the start after just 3 tries. I also agree with not forcing the issue. I simply offered the cereal once a day for three days in a row. I'd offer just a few bites, then stop. On the third day he figured out how to manage the texture (and I figured out I had to make it thicker because he hates runny foods) and he gobbled his cereal happily.

My son is now 10.5 months old and eats wonderfully. He eats all fruits and veggies, whole grain bread and cereal, whole milk yogurt, as well as anything we eat, including the spicy foods that are common in our home. He has never had an allergic reaction to a food.

In Great Britain, babies are introduced to solids early and without the strict rules about which foods are okay at specific ages. I honestly don't know any numbers, but this is very common there as well as in Mexican-American culture. I'm not sure of other nation's general guidelines.

Serena said...

I agree with what Country Mouse said about "wishful thinking from a mother who would like her child to sleep through the night better...."

I think that when a baby is ready for solids, you'll know (like I think that when a baby is ready to sleep through the night, they will!). I don't think that many babies are ready for solids, nor do they need them, before six months.

I started my first on solids at seven months, but probably could have waited longer. My second, though, was quite ready at seven months, even though I wanted to wait!

We do have food allergies, specifically peanut butter (me; my brother is allergic to whey; and my other brother thinks he's allergic to everything), so I was very conservative in introducing the more allergenic foods to my older daughter. I waited until she was three (since the gut is fully formed at three) to introduce her to peanut butter, especially since I developed the allergy when I was pregnant with her.

I think that these new guidelines are verrrry interesting and verrrry unwise. Of course, with baby dependent on solids, it's easy for mom to go back to work. Also, I think that introducing solids too early (4 months?!!) could also lead to formula feeding. If you're preparing that much food anyway, how much more work is a bottle?

In any case, Anna, I'm sure you'll make very wise, healthy choices for your children!

Terry @ Breathing Grace said...

My youngest (a year old yesterday, in fact) didn't want solid foods at all until she was about 9 months old. She just wouldn't eat them. Gradually, over the last three months has had an increased appetite for solid foods.

Jenn said...

Child-led with a large dose of mother's wisdom.

Sounds way too early for most babies, unless they are showing signs of needing solid food.

Anonymous said...

When my Casey was 5 months old she was sitting in her high chair to play with small objects while I kept a very close eye on her . Her 2 year old sister was having a snack at the table when all of a sudden Casey lunged forward mouth wide open pounded her little hands on the tray and made a horrible roaring noise!She had never shown any interest in any food before but this was obviously the moment!!
I opened a small jar of baby pears which she ate as fast as I could shovel them in, Then the pounding and lungging began again so I broke out a jar of sweet potatoes then she continued to roar so all I had left was a jar of broccoli!!She inhaled it!!. Wow what a wild few minutes ,Then of course Momma fashion I realized what I had done was totally the wrong thing and the guilt began to grow as I imagined allergies or at the least a very upset belly ,not to mention reinforcing demanding behavior.....And of course the results were just a happy baby that settled back in her seat with a huge and messy smile!! This has caused me years of joyful laughter as I play it back in my memories!!
Sometimes being a Momma is so entertaining!!

Mrs W said...

You ladies who think that it's just wishful thinking from moms who want their babies to sleep through the night (even though their babies already sleep through the night) must be nursing nazi's so I wouldn't take a bar of your advice anyway. It was people like you who were VERY cruel to me when I couldn't nurse even though I badly wanted to and tried hard.

My kids have both slept through the night by about six weeks, and my first son started solids at four months. If my kids didn't, I was making 8 oz bottles every half hour.

My philosophy is, if the kid is hungry, feed him. Mama knows best, not the government or nursing nazi's or anyone else.

Serena said...

Mrs W~ I make no bones about the fact that I am a huge proponent of breastfeeding. I think that there is not enough support for and education about breastfeeding in our culture. Old wives tales, such as "If you feed baby solids he'll sleep through the night sooner" are alive and well. I have had mothers say to me that they started their baby on solids in hopes that he would sleep through the night (one was a nutritionist).

My two daughters have been exclusively breastfed until seven months, when I started solids along with breastfeeding. My older daughter still doesn't sleep through the night. My younger daughter slept through from the beginning.

You have made it very clear that you had no choice but to formula feed. I am truly sorry that some breastfeeding women were rude to you about that, however; that doesn't mean that every nursing mother who promotes breastfeeding is rude to formula-feeding mothers. It would be quite uncomfortable at family get-togethers if I was as snotty towards formula-feeding mothers as some breastfeeding mothers were to you.

Karen said...

I read an article recently that would seem to support that somewhat. It said that they used to think giving solids at 6 months caused allergies, but now they say as long as the child is not recieving cow's milk or formula, they won't have allergies either way. Food allergies are highly linked to giving formula early on. But I don't know that anyone has ever RECOMMENDED giving solids earlier.

I have read research that says it's really more what the child is ready for developmentally. Some children can't even sit up yet by 6 months, let alone 4. For me, when my babies seem extra hungry even after feedings, and constantly try to grab my fork or look longingly at my food (and can sit up without slumping over) I think it's time to start a little rice cereal.

nineveh-uk said...

Rebekka, I don’t think those two points are necessarily at cross purposes entirely (and minerals may well be an important point). Similar recommendations are made by the NHS. I would imagine the point about recommendations for introducing foods in industrial societies is that a mother starting her baby on solids in northern Europe is likely to have access to a wide range of foods that – with some milk – form a complete diet. This applies even where families may restrict their diet for religious or other reasons. This is not the case for an impoverished woman in the developing world, whose options are essentially breast milk or very poor nutrition, with added issues of clean water supply, so that there may be major differences in survival rates for a toddler breastfed until 2 over one weaned as a baby. Also, telling women in the west that they must breastfeed completely until a child is two, when nutrionally this is not actually necessary and is culturally extremely rare, would be a complete non-starter, and so it is better to promote breastfeeding for young babies and make sure that parents have the information to wean their older children effectively.

Sally said...

We all want what's best for our children. I have 2, 8 years apart. During those 8 years, many recommendations changed, including when to start solids.

I started giving my older girl baby rice cereal and jarred baby food fruit at the recommended 4 months. She loved it and never had any problem. I nursed and supplemented with formula, too. I'd mash avocados, bananas, or cooked vegetables for her and she gobbled them up. She grew up slim, smart, and healthy, with a healthy appetite.

When my younger girl came along, the doctors were recommending breast milk or formula ONLY for 6 months. My little girl was hungry! I tried waiting, and made it to 5 1/2 months, but she was thin and when she cried when we ate, it was too much. I made her some rice cereal with some breast milk that I'd pumped and gave her a tiny bite. She cheered! Though I gave her the same kind of variety of foods I did my older girl, she was and is pickier. She's now a smart, healthy, normal-weight (she has a bigger build than her sister so she's not slim) middle schooler.

All this to say: as much as we fret about it, it probably doesn't matter as much as we think it does. You're not going to give Shira something harmful and you're not going to withhold something she needs. As our very-pro-breastfeeding pediatrician said when I told him I started my younger on solids, "She's happy, she's healthy and she didn't read any of those recommendations. You're her mom and she was hungry and you knew it."

Anonymous said...

Recently, there has been a lot of research supporting letting babies eat foods that may potentially cause allergic reactions. An allergic reaction is basically a misguided immune reaction. The longer that the body goes without being exposed to a certain type of food (eggs, fish, etc), the more time your body has to develop strange immuno-reactions to it.

The saying "Your immune system: use it or lose it," appears to hold true in this case. So, if your family doesn't have a history of food allergies, feel free to introduce these new and exciting foods to your baby!

flourishing olive branches said...

i also agree that mama knows best. i have 4 children, and one on the way, and each one started solids when they were ready, at different times. my last two children were breastfed only until just over a year of age, and it seemed they decided to begin weaning themselves. here's so much advice out there about the 'rights' and 'wrongs' of it, and even here, it seems some have some very strong feelings about what ways are best. sometimes it's very hard to sift through and figure out what is even worth listening to, and what will just make you crazy with worry that you aren't doing the 'right' thing. its the same with babies sleeping through the night. western culture, with all of it's 'independent' ways of thinking, have created a culture in which people think their children should be sleeping through the night. why? why should they? who aid a babies schedule need be anything at all like that of an adult?? it's the same with eating. my own opinion, while i don't think it's bad or wrong to start solids at 4 months, or 6, i think it depends on the child. i never even thought to introduce solids that early, but then, my kids seemed happily satisfied at the breast. if they weren't, i'm sure i would have done differently.

Thursday's Child said...

Methinks it's an attempt to push babies and mothers further apart at an earlier age. We're already pressured into giving our babies formula instead of breast feeding. Why not pressure us into feeding them solids earlier too?

tales_from_the_crib said...

I live in the US, but my pediatrician told me that early feeding (before six months) is mostly recommended for babies who aren't gaining properly on formula diets. And that nursing is still preferrable until the infant seems more interested in your food (probably around six months.) She's mostly quite well informed about nursing and the issues around it, which I find helpful as it let me nurse my older son to 18 months when he self weaned. So me and my DD are sticking to nursing exclusively for another month or two before adding in cereals or other foods.