Health Risks for Starting solids too early? It's not what you would think.

Katherine - posted on 01/17/2011 ( 190 moms have responded )

65,420

232

4877

We’ve all heard the advice commonly given to fussy babies: He’s starving -- start him on solid food early! My friend’s mother-in-law even said her pediatrician told her to put cereal in his milk as early as 6 weeks -- it was supposed to make babies feel fuller, therefore calmer.

Just one problem. According to the latest research, giving solid food too early can cause obesity in babies and children. And while we love a chubby baby, there's that too-much-of-a-good-thing problem.

So how early is too early? And what babies are at risk?

The study followed 200 babies over a four-year period. They were all from a low-income background and had agreed to be part of a poverty and obesity study. At their three-month visit, 77 percent of these babies had been fed solids, 25 percent were getting juice, and only 6 percent were exclusively breastfed.

These babies were given solids so early because it was supposed to stop them from being so fussy. The study also found that obese moms were more likely to start solids early. Depressed moms would start juice early. One of the study’s authors says these moms are overwhelmed, and will try anything to soothe babies they are having trouble caring for.

But the long-term effect is that these are the kids who end up obese themselves. First, they pack on the pounds even in infanthood, because they’re getting up to a full extra day’s worth of calories each week. Chubby babies are great, but that’s too much extra food. They also form the idea early that when something is wrong, you can soothe yourself with food. Hello, emotional eating.

Ultimately, the purpose of the study is to encourage women to breastfeed longer, and to discourage early introduction of solids. Here’s what I want to know: How can a woman already overwhelmed by poverty, depression, and other issues change this kind of behavior without help?

I guess that’s the other purpose of the study -- to serve as proof that there are real benefits to lending a hand to struggling moms. If we can intervene early and change patterns, surely we can become healthier as a country and save some Medicare dollars to boot, right?

Bottom line, though, is that if you’re just slipping in under the 6-month mark to give your baby solids because he’s clearly ready (he reaches for food, tries to grab it as it goes past him), you’re not dooming your child to obesity -- so if a random mother-in-law is giving you a hard time, tell her to can it.

Were you told to introduce solids early? How early, and did it work for you? 


http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/114983/t...

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

8,942

36

754

A 4 week old can't even see an object clearly at 12 inches. They can't discern sights and sounds. They are considered legally blind until 6 months of age. (http://www.babycenter.com/408_when-will-...) Their digestive tract isn't dully developed and cannot handle solid foods. Babies reach for EVERYTHING at that age. Did you also give them a knife when they saw something shiny in your hand? I'm sorry, but no 4 week old is ready for solids. Period. They can't even sit up.

You were doing what you thought was best and no one should judge you for that or berate you for feeding your baby so early. But suggesting that there is no harm in feeding a new born solid foods is dangerous.

Charlie - posted on 01/19/2011

11,203

111

401

I started my oldest one on rice cereal at 10 days old.. she is now 16 and is NOT over weight.


And not all smokers get cancer , what is your point ? just because it didn't affect your child doesn't make it ok .

Jodi - posted on 01/19/2011

26,031

36

3891

":your style of parenting is totally diff to mine and yours aparantly must be right."



Feeding your child solids at 3 weeks (and yes, I am including rice cereal in that, just so we are clear as to what *I* consider solids) is not a *parenting style*. Seriously, this isn't about the right or wrong of a parenting style in any way whatsoever. This is about the fact that a baby does not NEED solids at age 3 weeks, and that in fact, there is plenty of evidence to show that it causes a myriad of medical problems, aside from the obesity issue at hand.



And if you are stating you fed your children at 3 weeks and 6 weeks, but you aren't suggesting that anyone else should, you are still sure as shit saying it is ok to do it.



Anyway, given you obviously don't have a good reason for it (because otherwise, why not explain?), my opinion stands.

Jodi - posted on 01/19/2011

26,031

36

3891

Peggy, 1 ounce is pretty normal for a newborn you know? If your newborn is drinking 1 oz, there is no need to worry. That's all my daughter drank. My daughter had a very weak sucking reflex, she was 5lb 2 oz. She would exhaust herself just trying to feed. She struggled to breastfeed, so I expressed and the first 10 days in the hospital, they tube fed her my breast milk every other feed because she didn't have the energy to latch. Honestly, she was only drinking 1.5 oz when we left hospital at 10 days old. No-one felt the need to tell me I needed to feed her rice cereal because she wasn't getting enough. She never drank much, I just had to feed her more frequently. IMO there is no justification for giving a 10 day old baby rice cereal just because they won't take more than 1 oz at a time. Just feed them more frequently.

Krista - posted on 01/19/2011

12,562

16

842

She NEVER drank more than 4 ounces EVER... and she refused to drink it out of a cup.



Holy barreling arseholes, are you serious? At 10 days old, it is completely and utterly normal to not drink more than 4 ounces at a feeding. That is why baby bottles for infants are...you guessed it...FOUR OUNCES.



And a cup? Really? You tried her on a cup at 10 days old? Did she not have a sucking reflex?



Anyway, your kid is okay, so that's good, but like Loureen said, just because you got lucky and things turned out okay, it certainly doesn't validate your choice. It just means you got lucky.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

190 Comments

View replies by

Christal - posted on 05/19/2014

1

0

0

I agree the longer you wait the better. I still haven't fed my baby rice cereal and he is 9months old. I stared feeding him solids at 7months and just started feeding him twice a day at 9months.

Dee - posted on 01/28/2014

1

0

0

Hooray you are one case out of a thousand and must be a psychic too
Maybe they'll get early diabetes, did ya think of that?

[deleted account]

i started my son on cereal at 12 weeks. he's 14 months and the health nurse has no concerns about his weight she said he's heavier than most babies his age but he's also the height of a three year old so it makes sense that he's heavier. He does eat a lot and I was concerned with him gravitating towards biscuits more than anything so i've now provided him with more fruits vegetables cheese and yogurt to snack on and restrict his biscuit intake to one a day. I think obesity in babies and children depends on the parent's attitude towards food and not feeding the baby solids too early. My attitude towards food I believe is very good I am a lot bigger than what I was before I had my son but I set a good example by always eating lots of fruits and vegetables around him and to be honest the only "junk" food i keep in the house is a packet of arrowroot biscuits and my son and I tend to enjoy just one as a snack while i have a cuppa and he has water.

[deleted account]

When Ethan was a newborn he wouldn't even take an ounce at each sitting, he was fed my breast milk off a 5ml medicine spoon because he wouldn't/ couldn't latch, we fed him from this spoon until he was 5 days old - 5ml's at a time and then we moved to a 10ml 'cup' (like a really small jug) and fed him from that until 10 days old, so at 10 days old he was only eating 1/3 of an ounce at each sitting. We tried using a syringe before we moved to a bottle but I hated it so we moved to a bottle at 14 days he was just about eating an ounce at his sittings. It is not abnormal for babies to eat the tiniest amount of food, their tummies are tiny!

Also I'm not suprised your daughter never drank more than 4oz if you were feeding her solids that early, she learnt that if she didn't drink the milk she would get something else - solids are more filling than milk because they are heavier in the stomach! I appreciate that things were different when you had your daughter but even back then people knew newborns didn't need solids!

With the growth dip at around 4-6 months my health visitors told me to expect it (even on formula) because it is when babies become more active and exercise does cause weight loss, so I should imagine that the health visitors allowed the same thing for bf babies (here at least).

Charlie - posted on 01/20/2011

11,203

111

401

It is said that infants have an "open gut" or a "virgin gut". This state of the gut (intestines) extends from birth to between 4 and 6 months of age. "After birth the gut mucosa is challenged by a myriad of antigens, from viruses to commensal microbiota and dietary antigens. Although controlled in the mature gut, these antigens may induce inflammation in the developing gastrointestinal tract." Pediatrics, Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics



Studies have shown that an immature gut allows whole proteins, microbes, pathogens and possibly bits of foods to pass into the bloodstream. It is quite possible that this is a causative factor in developing food allergies and "colic".

Yes that's right feeding your newborn food is not just being ingested by your baby into their stomach but into their BLOODSTREAM .

[deleted account]

There are different foods for different ages. But the youngest says 4-6 months ( was in the baby food isle 2hrs ago) but some things say 6months + some say 8 months and so on.

Stifler's - posted on 01/19/2011

15,141

154

597

It's 4-6 months now on the Farex box. I don't know why people are in such a rush with the food. It will not kill them to wait til 4-6 months to try them on solids, milk is fine until then.

Jodi - posted on 01/19/2011

26,031

36

3891

I was telling my husband about this last night and he was shaking his head and had this look of "WTF?" on his face. He couldn't understand why anyone would think a baby that age would want something other than formula or breastmilk. As he said, there is a reason most things have "4 months +" or "4-6 months" on the box or jar.....(not sure if it still has 4 months + or if they have changed all to 6 months + it since we had our kids). He said there IS no baby food on the shelf that tells you it is for infants under 4 months.....INCLDUING rice cereal. That's right, even the rice cereal companies have it recommended for babies OVER 4 months. So I honestly call into question anyone who feels so compelled as to try and feed this crap to their much younger infant.

Charlie - posted on 01/19/2011

11,203

111

401

I seriously wonder how a person can look at a newborn baby and think " im gonna feed them food " it boggles my mind .

Their poor virgin , open gut's being bombarded with things they shouldn't be taking in at that age .

[deleted account]

Jenn, I know people have explained it but i thought i'd share why my son had formula as well. We had been oing well with the colostrum in the first 24 hours but after that he wouldn't stop crying and all we did was latch him but he wasn't getting anything, I even had a midwife try and milk me like a cow and we didn't get enough to even stabilise his sugar levels that were apparently to low. So they gave him 30mils of formula once at 4am and another at 10am after both he conked out. Hasn't hindered me feeding him he is almost 7 month now and we are still going strong with no other problems.

Betty - posted on 01/19/2011

2

4

0

by 2 months of age my children were given solid foods,they were not obese at all and neither am I,they are now grown and doing ok

[deleted account]

Roxanne was given formula in the NICU for several feeds until I was awake and conscious from my emergency c-section. After that I breastfed as much as I could, while they supplemented her with formula in the NICU. We both had a rough go intitially but after we managed to get over that hump I exclusively breastfed until 5 months when I introduced rice cereal.

That's my story! :) Just thought I'd share

Jodi - posted on 01/19/2011

26,031

36

3891

Jenn, they don't usually recommend formula in that time between birth and when your milk comes in because the colostrum is enough in normal circumstances. That's all my son got when he was born, LOL. It is perfectly normal for a baby to lose weight for a few days. But there are circumstances where allowing this to happen will put the baby's health at risk, so that is when they give it formula.

In my case, they didn't even ask, they just did it. Her blood sugars were that low that they wouldn't even let me hold her for 12 hours because it took them that long to stabilise her. So they did what they had to do.

Melissa - posted on 01/19/2011

472

1

12

That is the problem with the growth charts they do go by formula fed babies and they do expect breast fed babies or all babies for that matter to fit into the so called norm.

My milk took a while to come in with my first baby Im sure it was 6 or 7 days...sounds like Peggy did the best she could for her child at the time and sounds like she was suggested these things so I think that is fair enough., Some babies need extra help and sometimes its not the ideal way to go about it but it works

Charlie - posted on 01/19/2011

11,203

111

401

I was told to use a syringe to finger feed my youngest before my milk came in , I had no colostrum for a whole week it was two days before the hospital realized my baby was severely dehydrated it happens a lot if a mother goes through major birth trauma or blood loss the body works on fixing itself first before producing colostrum .

[deleted account]

Oh, totally normal. My son also lost 8 ounces after he was born, but he started at 7lb 2oz so losing 8 wasn't a big deal. When I left the hospital at 5 days w/ the girls.... neither one of them were up to 5 pounds. ;)

Jenn - posted on 01/19/2011

2,683

36

93

Sorry - it wasn't really directed at anyone - I just didn't understand why that would need to be done. That makes sense (both explanations) thanks. :) I guess I must have had a lot of colostrum or something - my milk never came in until like day 5 with my son and with the twins I think it was day 3, but it was never suggested that we use formula so I guess they must have been getting enough. I can't remember off hand how much 2 of my kids lost after birth, but I do remember Shelby because she was the smallest of all 3. She was born at 5lbs 14oz and when we left the hospital 2 days later I think she was 5lbs. I guess I thought that was normal to lose some weight and then regain it again.

Stifler's - posted on 01/19/2011

15,141

154

597

They told me to use a cup for comp feeds too. I never did though and he ended up on the bottle.

Jodi - posted on 01/19/2011

26,031

36

3891

Jenn, they fed my daughter formula while my milk came in because colostrum wasn't enough. In general, a baby will lose weight while you are waiting for your milk to come in. Already my daughter was very small, they were struggling to maintain her body temperature because her body didn't have the energy to do it, and her blood sugar levels were so low they needed to regulate them immediately. There are circumstances under which colostrum and waiting for milk to come in isn't viable. So they tube fed formula for a few days, plus put her to my breast for whatever colostrum she could get until my milk came in.



Basically, they were just trying to prevent the weight loss. And we did avoid it.

Kate CP - posted on 01/19/2011

8,942

36

754

I would say something but everything I was going to say has already been said by everyone else. Carry on. :)

[deleted account]

Is that question for me, Jenn? Most babies, yes I agree w/ you, but the girls were born at 5lb 4oz and 4lb 11oz and lost 10 and 8 ounces respectively. They were only cup fed small amounts of formula after each nursing attempt in order to stop losing weight. Once they were able to maintain their weight.... the cup feeding stopped.

Jenn - posted on 01/19/2011

2,683

36

93

Why would they have you feed formula while your milk comes in? Isn't that what colostrum is for?

Stifler's - posted on 01/19/2011

15,141

154

597

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. My kid sometimes didn't drink much in a feed at 3 months. Does that mean he wanted solids instead? I think not!! Maybe they're just not hungry. WHY IS EVERYONE OBSESSED WITH FOOD.

Rosie - posted on 01/19/2011

8,657

30

315

and lisa, i wasn't actually talking about feeding more solids to an INFANT either, lol! i was talking about a child over the age of 1. also breastfeeding vs formula feeding would probably make a difference as well. our doctor recommended more powder in their formula to get more calories, not more solid food (which they threw up anyway, threw up the formula as well, but i digress). formula (or BM) has way more growing stuff than solid food ever could. :)

Peggy - posted on 01/19/2011

193

59

0

FIRST of all I NEVER forced my child to drink milk.. she at first wouldn't drink more than an ounce..I was saying up until she was a year old NEVER took more than a 4 oz bottle and NEVER wanted it from a cup (which she started drinking from a straw at 6 months old). I NEVER force fed my child, she ate when she was hungry and I let her eat till she was full. I NEVER said it was okay for everyone!! I said people need to do what they feel is best for their child.. PERIOD!! And she was formula fed.. she just wouldnt latch on and after a few days we tried a bottle and she would suck.. so thats what we went with.. but when your child wont drink what they "suggest" I went and mixed it with rice cereal. And for the one who talks about a baby "chewing", a baby doesnt chew they learn to move the food to the back by sucking hence the fact it comes back out the mouth and why beginner baby food isn't chunky Her Pediatrician had no issues with it.

[deleted account]

The girls were cup fed small amounts of formula in the hospital to stop them losing anymore weight until my milk came in. They do the cup to not risk interfering w/ breastfeeding.

Minnie - posted on 01/19/2011

7,076

9

786

Yes, cup feeding is one method used to feed a newborn to avoid flow preference if the baby needs to be supplemented while a mother is working to increase her milk production.

You just hold it at the baby's lips and let it lap it up.

[deleted account]

It was a medicine cup and he sucked it up and didn't spill any. I was amazed i didn't think he would do it but the midwife said that a newborn has an amazing relex and he was starving at the time so i think that may have helped. I did try him at different times after that and he still did it but not anywhere as fluently as he did in hospital. Of course i held it for him to.

Becky - posted on 01/19/2011

2,892

44

92

10 days?! Aack! I don't think most 10 day olds would drink more than 4 oz at a time! Alot probably wouldn't even drink 4 oz. at a time.
Zach had barely gained his birthweight back by 10 days. It's completely normal for babies to lose weight in the first few days and to take up to 2 weeks to get back to their birth weight. This is NORMAL! It doesn't mean they need to start solid foods! Gah, the lack of information out there is astounding!

Bonnie - posted on 01/19/2011

4,813

22

257

How does a new born drink from a cup? My son couldn't drink from a cup until he was 3 otherwise it just went everywhere and he barely got anything in his mouth.

[deleted account]

"And a cup? Really? You tried her on a cup at 10 days old? Did she not have a sucking reflex?"

Krista, In hospital my son needed formula before my milk came in and they fed him from a cup. So it is possible.

Carry on as you all were just thought i'd throw that in.
Also, i didn't realise this was now a contest on who fed their child first and how young tehy were. thats just sad those poor children :(

[deleted account]

WOW! I just need to get in on this....I'm really surprised by some of the responses. I have a few pages to finish reading so I'll be back! (not that anyone cares but I had to comment so I can get email updates and keep up with the thread)

Carry on...

Krista - posted on 01/19/2011

12,562

16

842

Yeah, the taste of formula is pretty vile. Sam never seemed to mind it, and always sucked it back pretty happily. But I was very glad when the time came to switch him to milk.

Nikkole - posted on 01/19/2011

1,505

31

49

@Lisa my dr tried to push me to feed my daughter more and more often so we can up her calorie intake but i cant make her eat and i told him that!

Minnie - posted on 01/19/2011

7,076

9

786

Well I can say my daughter never drank the amount of oz's that they wanted her to drink..She NEVER drank more than 4 ounces

See, I find this interesting, because an average breastfed baby gets about two ounces every couple of hours from a nursing session. Why is a child being -forced- to take at least four? The average breastfed infant up to 6 months needs about 25 oz in 24 hours.

But if she was formula fed, maybe it was the taste? I've heard it's pretty interesting...as opposed to human milk :D.

Nikkole - posted on 01/19/2011

1,505

31

49

My mom said my sister refused to drink from a bottle by the time she was 3months she had to use a sippy cup or regular cup! But my daughter is 6months and she will still sometimes only eat 4ounces

Minnie - posted on 01/19/2011

7,076

9

786

Oh, yes, of course, Kati, and we did get our first checked out. But when our second turned out the exact same way, we just felt to let things be. And -not- force the solids just because she's skinny. All's good!

[deleted account]

Overweight is only one factor, digestive problems, being underweight, having improper bowel movements, any number of things can result in starting solids too early...

Peggy - posted on 01/19/2011

193

59

0

Well I can say my daughter never drank the amount of oz's that they wanted her to drink..She NEVER drank more than 4 ounces EVER... and she refused to drink it out of a cup... She still hates milk and she is now a 16 year old bright, healthy and smart girl. I did what I thought was best for my child and when her Ped. Doc found out he said they normally dont suggest it but she obviously was doing perfectly. She walked at 8 months and was putting 2 words together at 1. All kids are different...my 2nd child LOVES milk.. always have and so I waited until she was about a month or two old before giving her rice cereal....and she has never had any food issues either. Neither one of them have any food allergies nor have they ever been picky eaters. Just like some say that a child should NEVER have cows milk till they are one... the doctors put my little brother on it when he was just a month or two old because he wouldnt keep down any formula.. Regular, Soy, Sensitive ..none of it. He started on Whole Milk and stopped projectile vomiting.

[deleted account]

10 days old?! Well, we've got the 3 weeker beat folks.....



How can you not be a big milk drinker at 10 days old? That's all they're supposed to get....

Rosie - posted on 01/19/2011

8,657

30

315

oh i agree they may be perfectly fine lisa, i did say that,lol! :) i just think it may be wise to get that checked out as well, just to make sure.
i was little (still am) when i was younger, and there's not a damn thing wrong with me. i remember in first grade getting measured and i wasn't even 3 ft. yet. i have chicken legs and arms but no matter what i couldn't gain weight. i wanted to drastically though. it sucks being so damn scrawny and short, lol! i'm fine with my height now (i've gained weight with my last 2 kids, sigh) but that ever so fabulous middle school age royally sucked when you are so small. :)

Peggy - posted on 01/19/2011

193

59

0

I started my oldest one on rice cereal at 10 days old.. she is now 16 and is NOT over weight. Matter of fact she was on all fruits/veggies by the time her Ped. Doc said to start cereal. My daughter is NOT overweight. I had WIC when she was first born and they didnt know I was giving her cereal and they kept telling me to give it to her before she went to bed to help put weight on her, she was 6lbs9oz and 21 inches long at birth. I started my daughter early because she wasnt a big milk drinker, matter of fact she still HATES milk. Neither one of my kids have any food allergies nor have they ever been picky eaters. And I am not obese either.. I was 115lbs and 5'7 when I got pregnant. So I say do what you feel is best for your child just dont do it for the wrong reasons like to get them to sleep thru the night. When people use that excuse they are just down right lazy!!

Minnie - posted on 01/19/2011

7,076

9

786

I'm pretty sure that some people are allowed to be thin :). Some people even make money off of it.

For the record, my 27 month old, who is in that ever-so-scary third percentile, is 37 inches tall. That puts her somewhere in the 95th for height. And she eats a boat load a day AND nurses, crawled at five months, walked at ten months and has been going at full-steam forward ever since.

I never felt an indication that I should get it checked out.

Rosie - posted on 01/19/2011

8,657

30

315

um the first percentile means that there could be some other factors contributing to their absence of weight gain. all 3 of my children were less than the 1rst percentile and all 3 of them have something wrong with them.

they are perfectly healthy other than their diabetes insipidus, but that doesn't mean there isn't something "wrong" with them that could potentially kill them. not very likely, but it does make them sick if not controlled properly.



i do get what your saying about children who are small and down to the 5th percentile. but after that there is definitely a need for concern. they may be fine, but it'd be wise to get that checked out if they are less than the 5th percentile.



and weight DOES matter when they are older, especially if you have boys. my oldest is already bearing the brunt of attacks on his size. hearing about your 11 year old being bullied, and listening to him wishing he was bigger, basically having a break in his self esteem breaks your heart.

Minnie - posted on 01/19/2011

7,076

9

786

as long as baby follows the same weight track then there is no need to stress



There usually isn't an issue if a baby drops in percentile either. Unfortunately, the charts that doctors are still using are based off of formula-fed babies' growth rates. Breastfed babies grow differently. A large drop off around 4-6 months is very normal, but too many doctors think it is a cause for concern.



A better indication of health is the child's demeanor. Despite weight percentile decrease (NOT weight loss) the child should still be meeting milestones, should appear active, happy and alert.

Bonnie - posted on 01/19/2011

4,813

22

257

I would like to see a 3 week old baby try to eat solids. They have no chewing motions at that age whatsoever. And even if it is just a small amount of rice cereal in a bottle; that is a choking hazard.

[deleted account]

All my kids were given solids at four months old, not because anyone told me to or because i wanted to breastfeed less or sleep more. I gave my sons solids at that age because they were literally trying to grab the food off my plate and shove it in their mouths. They showed all the signs of being ready. I dont believe in studies and scientists who have never met my kids. Trust your instincts i say. P.s None of my sons are obese or have any stomach problems. Myself and my siblings were fed solids at 3 months old and out of the four of us none of us are obese or have stomach problems either.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms