WHEN CAN WE START?

Your Baby & Toddler - - Newborn -

Q:MY BABY IS FIVE MONTHS OLD. WHEN SHOULD I START SOLID FOOD? THERE IS CON­FLICT­ING IN­FOR­MA­TION. I’M SO CONFUSED.

A:This is a hotly de­bated topic and can def­i­nitely be con­fus­ing for new moms. Even the ex­perts do not give us a clear an­swer.

Let’s have a look at the science first from var­i­ous sources: The World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­mends that ba­bies can be of­fered com­ple­men­tary foods (solids) in ad­di­tion to breast­milk from about 6 months of age. The Euro­pean So­ci­ety for Pae­di­atric Gas­troen­terol­ogy, Hepa­tol­ogy and Nu­tri­tion (ESPGHN) says that “the introduction of com­ple­men­tary foods should not be be­fore 17 weeks, but should not be de­layed be­yond 26 weeks.” The Aus­tralasian So­ci­ety of Clin­i­cal Im­munol­ogy and Al­lergy rec­om­mends: “Solid foods should not be in­tro­duced be­fore 4 months of age.”

Lastly the Amer­i­can Academy of Al­lergy, Asthma and Im­munol­ogy rec­om­mends that solids be started be­tween 4 and 6 months as re­search shows this may de­crease the risk of de­vel­op­ing food al­ler­gies.

So there is no real def­i­nite an­swer. So when should you start? It is gen­er­ally rec­om­mended that solids can start to be in­tro­duced be­tween 4 and 6 months, but this is more de­pen­dent on the readi­ness of your baby. All ba­bies are in­di­vid­ual and de­velop dif­fer­ently – some will be ready for food at 4 months while oth­ers will only be ready at 5 or 6 months and will be con­tent with milk feeds un­til that time.

It is also very im­por­tant not to start in­tro­duc­ing solids too early (be­fore 17 weeks of age) or too late (af­ter 6 months of age). Late introduction of solids can con­trib­ute to prob­lems such as growth fal­ter­ing, mi­cronu­tri­ent de­fi­cien­cies, re­duced mo­tor skills devel­op­ment and poor ac­cep­tance of new foods. Some im­por­tant signs to look out for that will give you a clue as to whether your baby is ready to start solids: ✓ Your baby can sit up­right with sup­port and hold her head up straight ✓ She can keep her chin off her chest and turn to­wards food or a toy ✓ She shows an in­creased in­ter­est in your food by watch­ing you take food to your mouth and reach­ing for your hand while you eat ✓ Seems dis­sat­is­fied af­ter milk feeds ✓ She has jaw sta­bil­ity and has lost her tongue thrust re­flex (push­ing ev­ery­thing that’s put into her mouth back out) ✓ When your baby starts to show the above signs and falls into the age range of 4-6 months, it is time to start some solids.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.