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On Call: A Solid Schedule

Q. My 5-month-old has no interest in eating solids. Am I feeding her the wrong foods?

A. Nope  -- she's right on schedule. Doctors long believed that babies should begin eating solids as early as 4 months, but these days, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until they're at least 6 months old.

The reason: Babies simply don't need solids before then  -- and getting them earlier increases the risk of food allergies and obesity. So I'd suggest you stop giving your daughter solids for now, and try again after she's 6 months old. Then, experiment with different flavors and textures, and try offering foods that are warm as well as cold, to see what she prefers. Even a new spoon can make a difference  -- some kids are picky about those.

Keep in mind, too, that some experts now believe that fruits and vegetables (either mashed, strained, or pureed) should be a baby's first foods instead of cereal, and I think it's a terrific idea. Cereals are very nutritious, especially when fortified with iron and zinc. Starting with fruits and veggies, though, may get kids to prefer those foods right off the bat, leading to healthier eating habits  -- and, hopefully, a lesser likelihood of becoming obese  -- down the road.

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