The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that parents are giving infants solid foods too early, increasing their risk of obesity, diabetes, allergies and autoimmune deficiencies.
According to a recent article in the Boston Globe, “Pediatricians, along with emphasizing the benefits of breast-feeding over infant formula, have recently been pushing parents to delay the introduction of solid foods until a baby is 6 months old” (Quenqua, A16). The article goes on explain that a study conducted by the CDC reported that more than 40 percent of mothers fed infants solid foods, like rice cereals, before they were four months old.
The New York Times, also reporting on the CDC’s study, notes that last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) raised its recommendations from 4 months to 6 months as the minimum age for introducing solids. Though the AAP still lists adding rice cereal to formula as a treatment option for infant reflux, their new guidelines warn that adding rice cereal causes excessive caloric intake. The guidelines also add that other commercially available thickeners using locust bean gum, also known as carob bean gum, “may present an option that does not involve excess energy intake by infants when consumed in normal volumes” (Lightdale, e1689).
Kotz, Deborah, “When to start infants on solid food,” The Boston Globe, April 01, 2013 (www.bostonglobe.com)
Lightdale, Jenifer R.; Gremse, David A.; Section on Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, “Gastroesophageal Reflux: Management Guidance for the Pediatrician,” Pediatrics, Vol. 131, No. 5, May 1, 2013 (published online April 29, 2013).
Quencua, Douglas, “Infants Are Fed Solid Food Too Soon, C.D.C. Finds,” The New York Times, March 25, 2013 (www.nytimes.com)