SHOULD I INTRODUCE SOLIDS?
My six-week-old baby seems to be really hungry – he just can’t stop feeding! My mother suggested that I start mixing a bit of porridge into a formula bottle for him to help make him feel fuller. What would you recommend?
Tammy responds: It can be quite disheartening to find that just as you are getting the hang of a reasonable feeding schedule, your newborn changes course and wants to eat every hour!
This is all too common for newborns as they approach a growth spurt, one of about five that they have in just one year. Growth spurts can happen any time during the first year, although the first occurs between one and three weeks of age and the second between six and eight weeks. After that, you can expect more around three months, six months and nine months of age.
Although you may feel tempted to try giving porridge at this stage, be careful of introducing solids too early. A baby who is younger than four months of age is not ready for solids yet and it may lead to serious health consequences, such as an increased risk for food allergies and developing diabetes. Be careful of putting cereal in a bottle as it may pose a risk for choking. In addition, the nutrient content of this combination is diluted and is linked to obesity later in life due to the high caloric intake. The appropriate age for introducing solids is between four to six months of age, so you have plenty of time to wait before starting solids.
Although parents and grandparents mean well when offering advice to new moms, they are not necessarily educated on feeding babies. Parents may also claim that their babies grew up “just fine” on these practices, but it is likely that their nutritional status was less than optimal. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies were common in infants many years ago, as well as illnesses and higher infant mortality rates. As science progressed, infant mortality rates began to drop because they began receiving the proper, optimal nutrition for their growth. It’s best to receive advice from your healthcare professional.
For peace of mind that your baby is well fed, visit your clinic every week to ensure that your baby is gaining weight appropriately, in addition to soaking six nappies a day. YB