I have see this article around Facebook recently. I also hear lot of talk about parents introducing solids to their 8/9/10 week old babies.
The fact that I hear of many parents introducing solids too early really concerns me so I wanted to share some information.
Whilst there is still debate in regards to the timing of introduction of solid foods (4-6 months vs 6 months), there is unilateral agreement from health authorities worldwide that babies should NOT be introduced to any form of solid food before the fourth month of a babies life.
Countless studies have shown that introducing supplementary foods before at least the fourth month of life poses significant risk and health problems to infants as before this age, – the digestive system, immune system, kidneys and ability to chew and swallow are not yet fully developed or ready for solids.
Early introduction of foods has been proven to increase the risk of asthma, allergies, coeliac disease, digestion problems, gastroenteritis, respiratory tract infections, ear infections, obesity, diabetes and SIDS death.
For over 20 years now many health experts (The World Health Organization, Unicef, American Academy of Paediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, Australian National and Medical Research Council, Health Canada, SIDS and Kids association, Le Leche League and Australian Breastfeeding Association) agree that it is best to leave the introduction of solid foods until at least 6 months.
The current recommendations from all advisory bodies mentioned include: babies should be exclusively breastfed (no cereal, juice or any other foods) for the first 6 months of life.
Not only does introducing solid foods prior to the recommended time frame increase health risks for the infant but also impacts the breastfeeding relationship and the mothers ability to maintain her milk production.
By replacing breastfeed with solid foods and enforcing artificial spacing of feeds (especially in the first three months when milk production regulation is establishing) the mothers milk production may decrease.
You can read more on my thoughts on when and how solids should be introduced here.