Solid Foods

 


 

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Delaying Solid Foods

     Breast milk helps an infant build immunity. Therefore, by introducing solids too early an infant might experience more illnesses, because he or she has not built enough immunities. "One study has shown that babies who were exclusively breastfed for 4+ months had 40% fewer ear infections than breastfed babies whose diets were supplemented with other foods" (Kellymom). 

      Also, delaying solids provides the digestive system time to mature and it decreases the risk of food allergies. An immature digestive system may cause the infant to experience an upset stomach, gas and constipation, because there are certain substances in solid foods, which cannot break down properly. Also, solids do not provide antibodies such as breast milk does, which coats the digestive tract and helps provide immunity against illnesses and allergies.

     Another reason to delay solid foods is because it will protect the child from iron-deficiency anemia and possibly help prevent obesity in adulthood. With the early introduction of solid foods, an infant is more likely to lack better stability in iron levels, than if he or she were instead, breastfed for at least 6 months or longer.

 

Introduction of Solid Foods

     There are clear signs that your child is ready, and usually this occurs around 4 to 6 months of age. The first sign is head control, where your baby is able to hold up his or her head in an unright position. The second sign is when your child loses the "extrusion reflex," which is when your child uses his tongue to push food out of his mouth. Therefore, in order for your child to put solid foods in his mouth and to swallow it, it is important that is reflex is gone. The third sign is that your baby is able to sit up well with support, which allows your baby to swallow food. The fourth sign is when your child had developed chewing motions, which is when his or her tongue and mouth works in sync with the digestive system. Around this time your baby might be drooling less or begin teething. The fifth sign is weight gain, where your child had gained double the weight and is at least 4 months of age. Finally, another sign is the growing appetite of your baby, even with the numerous amounts of feedings of breast milk or formula, and the growing curiosity of what you are eating on your plate.

     However, although your baby will now be eating solid foods, there are a variety of foods that your baby should not consume. It is important to learn about foods that might pose a certain health risk such as, an allergic reaction or choking.

Please refer to the "Forbidden Baby Foods" link for more information.

Forbidden Baby Foods