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Study: Many Parents Feed Babies Solid Food Too Soon

Baby Owen

Emily Mohsenian followed her doctor’s recommendation and waited until her son, Owen, was 5 months old. (Credit: CBS 2)

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GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Experts say just because your baby seems to be interested in what you are eating does not mean it is time to fix him a plate.

As CBS News’ Marlie Hall reported, pediatricians recommend introducing solids no earlier than 4 to 6 months old, when a baby’s body is developmentally ready. But a new study in the journal Pediatrics found that 40 percent of mothers are not waiting.

Of course, some mothers said they follow pediatricians’ advice to the letter.

“I started solid foods for her at six months; pea-sized chunks of food at about 10 months,” one woman, Melody, told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.

Another mother, Emily Mohsenian, said she followed her doctor’s recommendation and waited until her son, Owen, was 5 months old.

“He seemed ready,” Mohsenian said. “He was able to sit nicely in a chair, hold his [head] up straight, and he was showing interest in what his brothers were eating. So we thought it was a good time to start.”

But the study found that the two women’s habits may not be in the norm. Not only are 40 percent of mothers giving their babies solids before 4 months, but 9 percent give babies solid food before 4 weeks, according to the study.

“Oh my goodness,” Melody said. “Babies don’t do anything at that point.”

The study examined 1,300 mothers. And pediatricians said the ones who introduce solid foods too early are making a mistake.

“Often, starting solids less than four months of age can increase the risk of certain chronic illnesses such as Celiac disease, obesity, diabetes, even eczema and dry skin,” said pediatrician Dr. Elissa Rubin.

Mothers who introduced solid foods early believed their babies were old enough to start. They also thought it would help their babies sleep longer at night.

“That’s also been studied and known not to be true,” Rubin said.

In point of fact, Jones reported, pediatricians say the opposite will happen, and the babies will lose sleep due to an upset stomach.

Mohsenian said she is having success with solids while she continues to breastfeed.

“I’m just kind of fitting in solids in between the feedings once or twice a day,” she said.

She said so far, carrots are his favorite.

Parents — when did you first give your babies solid food? Leave your comments below…