SHOULD I IN­TRO­DUCE SOLIDS?

Your Baby & Toddler - - Baby Files -

Q

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?

A

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

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