On Monday, one of the teachers stopped me and asked the question I’ve been dreading. “Hey, we were wondering if we could start feeding Mason solids this week.” Fortunately, when I said that no, we were waiting until he was six months old, I didn’t get “the look” that I get from most people.
I realize a lot of babies start solids at 4 months of age. I realize this is a huge milestone a lot of people look forward to and that each new food is a fun new adventure and all that. And that millions of babies have started solids by now and have had absolutely zero adverse affects. But after doing my research, we’re holding off until Mason is 6 months, or at least pretty close to that.
Why? Because all of these organizations
- World Health Organization
- US Department of Health & Human Services
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Academy of Family Physicians
- American Dietetic Association
- Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
- Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- Health Canada
recommend that babies receive NOTHING but breast milk and/or formula for the first 6 months of age.
Why do they recommend this? (Information below taken from Kellymom.com)
Delaying solids gives baby greater protection from illness.
Although babies continue to receive many immunities from breastmilk for as long as they nurse, the greatest immunity occurs while a baby is exclusively breastfed. Mason is in daycare with 7 other babies, most of which who have school age siblings. There is at least one baby coughing and sneezing there every single day. We need all the immunity we can get!
Delaying solids gives baby’s digestive system time to mature.
If solids are started before a baby’s system is ready to handle them, they are poorly digested and may cause unpleasant reactions (digestive upset, gas, constipation, etc.). We’ve been lucky enough to not have to deal with any reflux, constipation, or anything liek that. I don’t want to take unnecessary risks.
Delaying solids helps maintain milk supply.
Studies have shown that for a young baby solids replace milk in a baby’s diet – they do not add to baby’s total intake. The more solids that baby eats, the less milk he takes from mom, and less milk taken from mom means less milk production. Babies who eat lots of solids or who start solids early tend to wean prematurely. I have every intention to breastfeed until Mason reaches a year old. I’m already seeing my supply start to dip a bit at just 4 months and I don’t want to end up having to feed him formula at 10 months after I’ve done all this hard work.
and the big one
Delaying solids decreases the risk of food allergies.
It is well documented that prolonged exclusive breastfeeding results in a lower incidence of food allergies. I have all sorts of allergies – peanuts, peanut butter, peaches, apple peels, and then a bunch of non-food allergies and if there is any way for me to have less of a chance of passing these on, I’m game! I already plan on having him avoiding peanut related foods until he is three, but if we can avoid other possible allergies, that would be great. I know all too well the feeling of my throat and tongue swelling up because of something I ate!
So, that being said, you won’t be seeing any adorable pictures of Mason eating solids until at least September (he turns 6 months on September 16th, but he’ll be 25 weeks by the beginning of the month) despite the fact that every single person who asks keeps acting like we’re depriving him of his basic needs and are being “crazy” for not just following the “norm” of starting solids at 4 months.