- The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life. This means your baby needs no additional foods (except Vitamin D) or fluids unless medically indicated. (American Academy of Pediatrics) Along with…
- Your baby hits 4-5 months and all of a sudden they are fussy, not sleeping well anymore and you think “they must be hungry!” It’s easy to mistake a growth spurt and common sleep regression for hunger – hold off for a week or two and see if it was just a growth spurt. You can feed them breastmilk or formula more often and keep doing your usual nightly routine and they will most likely go back to their usual happy self.
- Let Your Baby’s Intestines Mature. “Between four and seven months a baby’s intestinal lining goes through a developmental growth spurt called closure, meaning the intestinal lining becomes more selective about what to let through. To prevent potentially-allergenic foods from entering the bloodstream, the maturing intestines secrete IgA , a protein immunoglobulin that acts like a protective paint, coating the intestines and preventing the passage of harmful allergens. In the early months, infant IgA production is low (although there is lots of IgA in human milk), and it is easier for potentially-allergenic food molecules to enter the baby’s system. Once food molecules are in the blood, the immune system may produce antibodies to that food, creating a food allergy . By six to seven months of age the intestines are more mature and able to filter out more of the offending allergens. This is why it’s particularly important to delay solids if there is a family history of food allergy, and especially to delay the introduction of foods to which other family members are allergic.” (AskDrSears.com)
- Delaying solids helps to maintain Mom’s milk supply. Always nurse your baby before offering solids so their main source of nutrition is breastmilk or formula for the first year. “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.” -www.kellymom.com
- Baby’s gut doesn’t produce enzymes to aid in digestion until 3-4 months, and the ones that break down more complicated fats, starches, and carbohydrates won’t be produced until 6-9 months, meaning lots of gas, constipation, vomiting, and wasted nutrients before then. Even generally fussiness months later is noted in babies who were started too early. -thestir.cafemom.com
It’s impossible to tell if your baby really is ready to start solids without looking with a microscope in the gut, so waiting until 6 months is a great idea. By then your baby’s tongue trust reflux will also be diminished and will give your baby a greater chance of actually moving that food to the back of their mouth. While introducing your baby to new foods is one of the most exciting things you can do with your new bundle of joy – my only advice is not to rush it!