A new study calls into question World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines regarding when to start feeding babies solid food. It suggest that weaning can begin as early as four months and that waiting to wean babies leads to higher incidences of food allergies and vitamin D deficiency.
Currently the WHO recommends breast feeding until for at least the first six months and worries that encouraging mothers to wean before that could endanger children who live in parts of the world where clean water and appropriate baby food is limited.
Window of Opportunity
The study noted that the six-month guidelines could limit the window for introducing new tastes to babies, thus making it more likely that as older children they would shun green leafy vegetables. Earlier introduction of solids, it argued, might expand a child’s food preferences as he/she grows.
Dangers of Early Weaning
Some experts, however, believe that solid foods too early could compromise immature digestive systems and are choking hazards.
What Do You Think?
I breast-fed my own daughter, who shunned baby food that wasn’t a yellow fruit or veggie, for her first year and now, at nearly nine years of age, she will eat a wide variety of foods that many of her peers wrinkle their noses at, so I am a bit skeptical.
But what about you? Do you believe babies could be introduced to solids earlier? My own mother was shoveling cereal into my siblings and I at about three or four months of age, but that was back in the 1960′s. Tells us about your experiences. Share your thoughts and stories.
Photo credit: The First Supper by Stev.ie