Too Soon for Solids

by Anita Sethi, Ph.d.

Too Soon for Solids

You’ve heard that the American Academy of Pediatrics says 4 to 6 months is the optimal age to start solids. But your 3-month-old is cranky and hard to soothe, and your mother-in-law insists he must be starving. Some reasons to hold the rice cereal for now:

* Starting cereal before 4 months (or after 7 months) may put your baby at a higher risk for Type 1 diabetes.

* Your baby’s odds of developing eczema and allergies may be higher if you offer solids before 6 months, particularly if there is a family history of allergies.

* At this age, he still pushes his tongue forward when he swallows, which can make solid-food feedings a frustrating experience for both of you.

* You are more likely to overfeed solids than liquids. A newborn has few ways of communicating, and it’s easier to read his signals at the breast or bottle.

* Giving him solid foods now will decrease the amount of breast milk or formula he drinks, which could leave him shortchanged on nutrition.

* No matter what Grandma says, solids won’t help him sleep through the night.