More on babies and solid food
A few weeks ago I blogged about a report questioning whether it's really best for all babies to be exclusively breast-fed until they're 6 months old, as do World Health Organization recommendations.
Current U.S. guidelines call for feeding babies nothing but breast milk until they're between 4 months and 6 months old, or as close to 6 months as possible. But some argue that delaying the introduction of solid foods might actually promote unhealthful eating habits by preventing babies from developing tastes for such things as bitter foods (including leafy greens).
A study published this morning in the journal Pediatrics adds new information to the mix. It found that among babies who had been formula-fed or who had been weaned by 4 months, those who were introduced to solid foods before 4 months were at greatly increased risk of being obese at age 3. That relationship wasn't explained by rapid early growth among those infants, the study found. The timing of introduction of solid foods to breast-fed babies didn't appear to affect their risk of obesity.
The authors say their work supports existing recommendations that solid foods not be introduced to babies until at least 4 months, at least for babies who are fed formula or are breast-fed for less than four months.
Why is this all so important? The study explains:
Our data suggest that increased adherence to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines has the potential to reduce the risk of obesity in children in the United States, given the relatively high prevalence of infants who are formula- fed or breastfed for less than 4 months. Approximately one-quarter of infants in the United States are never breastfed, and approximately half are breastfed for less than 4 months.
Lots of you shared interesting comments when I last wrote about exclusive breastfeeding and introducing solid foods. Let's hear more!
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