Friday, January 29, 2010

The solid food debate

"Is he a good baby? Is he sleeping through the night?"

Why is it that people equate "good" with "sleeping through the night?" This is one of the most common questions new moms hear, and it's usually followed by some really bad advice about mixing cereal in with the baby's milk at a way-too-young age.

According to Marianne Niefert, M.D., author of Great Expectations: The Essential Guide to Breastfeeding, feeding a baby solid food to make them sleep through the night is just a myth. And it's not a healthy solution.

Introducing solid foods too early can lead to a lifetime of allergies for your child. If you are breastfeeding, there's rarely a need to introduce cereal before six months, although babies can be ready between four and six months. Prior to that, it's just foolishness. If your baby is formula-fed, you can start solids closer to the four-month mark, but not before!!

Some babies are sleepers and some are not. If you're blessed with a baby who sleeps through the night, good for you. If not, try to catch a nap during the day when he or she does.

Babies will give you clues they're ready to eat something from a spoon. Does she watch you intently while you're eating? Can he hold his head steady while sitting up? Does she accept the food, or does she push it out of her mouth with her tongue? If your baby is refusing the food, wait a few days and try again.

Save your little one from the lifelong difficulties that accompany food allergies. Ignore Aunt Cecilia, ignore Grandma Jones, ignore well-meaning friends who all tell you to slip some cereal into the bottle. It's not a good idea, period. And that is that.

Keeping it healthy,


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