So your grandmother insists that your baby is big enough to start on solids and she thinks that you are ridiculous for holding out which is causing confusion in your mind.
Old wives tales range from ‘a full tummy will help them sleep better’ to ‘you can see they still hungry’. But these are not good enough reasons and there is far more sense in delaying solids until at least 6 months of age. Take these facts into consideration before rushing ahead.
- Delaying the introduction of solids allows your baby’s digestive system to mature which helps prevent allergies, rashes and gas to name just a few.
- The gut does not produce enzymes to assist in digestion until at least 3 or 4 months and even then the breakdown of more complicated starches and carbohydrates are only produced from about 6- 9 months. Without these necessary enzymes, complications such as constipation and vomiting increase.
- Baby is far less likely to choke when they are older and able to sit upright unaided.
- Being able to pick up food and put it in their mouths while sitting in the correct position, is a clear sign that they are more ready for the transition.
- Solid foods given too early may cause obesity, eczema and allergies.
- Breast milk or formula is more nutritious than solid foods as these can be lower in nutrition and higher in calories which can result in obesity.
- Your baby needs to learn how to use his or her tongue correctly by pushing food from the front to the back of the mouth and then swallowing; a skill which is not mastered before 6 months.
Don’t let signs such as putting things in their mouth, copying you while you eat or reaching for foods confuse your judgment on readiness. While we cannot see inside the gut and can only go on research, it appears that there are no benefits until the minimum age of 6 months so why risk early introduction for what may produce longer term problems.