Exclusively Breastfeeding for 6 months Causes Food Allergies?

Kimberly - posted on 01/14/2011 ( 201 moms have responded )

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ARTICLE TAKEN FROM BBC.COM AND THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-1218005...

Weaning before six months 'may help breastfed babies'

Relying purely on breastfeeding for the first six months might not be best for babies, experts in the UK have warned.

In the British Medical Journal, the team said breastfed babies may benefit from being given solid food earlier.

Current advice suggests weaning should occur at six months, but the UCL team say it could happen as early as four.

They suggest later weaning may increase food allergies and iron deficiency levels, but other experts backed the existing guidance.

Ten years ago, the World Health Organization published global advice advocating babies be exclusively breastfed for six months.

The research team, led by Dr Mary Fewtrell a paediatrician from the University of London Institute of Child Health, said it supported the recommendation for developing countries, where access to clean water and safe weaning foods is limited, and there is a high risk of infant death and illness.

But they added: "Many western countries, including 65% of European member states and the US, elected not to follow this recommendation fully, if at all.

But in 2003, a health minister said the UK would comply.

Parents 'cannot win'
The WHO recommendation "rested largely" on a review of 16 studies, including seven from developing countries.

It concluded that babies just given breast milk for six months had fewer infections and experienced no growth problems.

But another review of 33 studies found "no compelling evidence" not to introduce solids at four to six months, the experts said.

Some research has also shown that six months of breastfeeding does not give babies all the nutrition they need.

A US 2007 study found there was an increased risk of anaemia compared with those introduced to solids at four to six months.

Swedish research also found that the incidence of early onset coeliac disease increased after a recommendation to delay introduction of gluten until age six months, but fell back after the recommendation reverted to four months.

Dr Alan Lucas, director of the Institute of Health, said: "The WHO recommendation is very sensible for developing countries.

"But in the UK, it's important we take a balanced look at the evidence."

Dr Fewtrell added: "When you look at the figures, there are a lot of babies being weaned before six months anyway - and that's probably the most important thing in terms of hard evidence."

'Inappropriate feeding'
But the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the National Childbirth Trust defended current advice.

And Janet Fyle, professional policy adviser at the Royal College of Midwives, said: "I really must challenge the suggestion that the UK should reconsider its current advice on exclusive breastfeeding for six months.

"I believe that this is a retrograde step and plays into the hands of the baby-food industry which has failed to support the six-month exclusive breastfeeding policy in the UK.

"There is evidence that some babies do die in developed countries from inappropriate young child feeding, such as the introduction of solid foods earlier before their swallowing mechanism is mature enough or they have fully developed the capability to cope with solid foods."

And a Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Breast milk provides all the nutrients a baby needs up to six months of age and we recommend exclusive breastfeeding for this time.

"Mothers who wish to introduce solids before six months should always talk to health professionals first."

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is to review infant feeding and is due to report later this year.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

201 Comments

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Lo - posted on 01/19/2011

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studies show that beginning solids too early actually interferes with baby;s absorption of iron from breastmilk. yes, breastmilk is lower in iron as a baby nears six months, but that's as it should be.

Fiona - posted on 01/19/2011

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Emma, do you think that the only people who should have children are those who don't need to work to keep a roof over their heads? Perhaps the very rich or those who qualify for state benefits? Should the rest of the population just not bother having children? Perhaps you should outline the criteria for being a perfect mother and the rest of us can see if we measure up and decide whether we should be allowed to breed or not.

One of the great steps forward that women have made is to be seen as more than mothers and to be able to play an active role in the world of work as well as being mothers. We're no longer just defined by our biology. It's been hard enough to achieve that without other mothers criticizing those who need or choose to work. Every women's circumstances are different: not everyone lives the same life as you and it might benefit you to be a little more open minded.

Kelly - posted on 01/19/2011

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I continued to breastfeed until my children were a year old. They are both healthy and happy children that are doing quite well in school and activities. I think the longer a baby is breastfed, the better. if you can do it.

Sherri - posted on 01/19/2011

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I have plenty of time for them. Just because I choose to work and be a mother???? Seriously you are a single mother and have a child that doesn't even know his father and has never even laid eyes on him so why are you a mother?? Don't be judgmental my friend when you can be equally as judged.

Emma - posted on 01/19/2011

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Well I don't really understand Sherri why you chose to have children that you didn't have time for.

Anne - posted on 01/19/2011

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There has been information in the papers stating that the people in the latest reports against breast feeding have interests in baby formula companies so their opinion is not entirely honest as they want mothers to buy their products.

I had five children and introduced all of them to baby porridge and squash SLOWLY at about three and a half months and they all flourished, loved their food and none had any food allergies - all are healthy adults ranging from 44 to 55 years of age. I think babies really benefit from longer breast-feeding and the closeness they build up with their Moms! Good luck to all new Moms - enjoy your babies and follow you instincts!

Kelly - posted on 01/19/2011

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I breastfed both of my children exclusively until they reached 6 months and then I introduced rice cereal. Neither of my children have food allergies.

Sherri - posted on 01/19/2011

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Well I had two babies worked full time didn't even get home till 4:30pm at night to even see my babies. I just wanted to spend time with them since they had been at the sitter since 6:30am. I didn't want to then have to cook and process food, when it was more important to spend the 4 hrs a day I had with them. That was far more important to me Emma. I also was forced to give up bf'ing and switch to only bottles and formula feed by 3 1/2mo's because I needed to go back to work.

Lucy - posted on 01/19/2011

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Fiona, you are awesome! If you don't have time to cook, you don't have time. I didn't start my two on solids (see my comment) until they were both 9 months old and were determined to have no anemia issues. By that time, they were able to sit up alone and were grabbing anything and everything and transferring it to their mouths. Easiest thing in the world to fix steamed carrot sticks, green peas, roasted potato or butternut squash chunks, anything they could hold in their hand and smash into their mouths, that the rest of the family could enjoy as well. It didn't take much prep time other than chopping and that could be done the day before or anytime earlier that is convenient. I'm a grandma now, raising my granddaughter and have done nearly the same thing. Using jars of baby food can be convenient and there are much better choices out there now than there were 30 years ago, but homemade is still better, for baby and for YOU! Best wishes to you!

Cyndy - posted on 01/19/2011

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Right on! When I was nursing we just knew so little about allergies and intolerances. My first babies had lactose intolerances but I just didn't know how to deal with it. I continued to consume dairy products while nursing and they did have problems when they grew up. But as I learned about changing my diet subsequent babies had fewer issues with food. I had and nursed 8 babies and I can say that the younger ones have had no significant problems with food. I believe it's because they were nursed and not exposed to potentially offensive foods until they were older.

Emma - posted on 01/19/2011

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Ceri yes I am a single mum. So 'You bet my answer is no' couldn't be more wrong cos actually I've been a single mum since my son was born. My husband is 10,000 miles away and has never met his son because we cannot get a visa for him to come to England to be with us yet. I'm not sure why you're asking this and assume that I'm not. I have raised my boy single-handled from birth but yet I still find the time to make freshly cooked food for him.

Lucy - posted on 01/19/2011

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These studies are frequently funded by non other than the manufacturers of baby foods and formula.

I heard all of this back years ago when I breastfed my two children. Both of them were breastfed exclusively for nine months. I had them tested for iron deficiency because my pediatrician was dead set against delaying the introduction of solids.

Guess what. The tests all came back healthy; they were quite fine in that respect. No indication of anemia whatsoever. The doctor just couldn't understand it. I personally ate a very healthy diet, rich in minerals and vitamins. What a surprise. I began to introduce solids by giving them bits of easy to hold fruits and veggies, like banana, peas, lightly steamed carrots sticks, etc. I never mashed anything up; they didn't need me to. Neither of my children have any food allergies and they are now 33 and 35 years old. I would be willing to bet that the "increased risk of anemia" occurred in children whose mothers did not have adequate intake of natural sources of vitamins and minerals. Any study can be manipulated to show whatever the researcher wants it to show. Question everything and do what YOUR own sensing says do. That's my thoughts on the subject.

Cyndy - posted on 01/19/2011

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Interesting. Who'd have thought God wouldn't know that breast fed babies would have problems. We're so smart these days. Reminds me of the verse in Romans, "professing themselves to be wise they became fools." Not meaning to be abrasive, but maybe these studies should look into other reasons for their negative results on breast feeding. Why would we assume that the perfectly natural way of feeding our babies is faulty? I breast fed all my children exclusively until they were 8 months old and then introduced solids. I'm glad I did. I don't believe they suffered from this at all. Maybe the celiac problem is due to the fact that more and more products incorporate wheat and gluten until our society is just saturated. I'm sure there are other explanations which are much more plausible than laying the blame on the breast-feeders! Why is this an issue? Since the human race was created we have fed our babies at the breast. Why in last 100 years have we suddenly decided over 6,000 years of success should be tossed out the window?
Don't give up fellow nursers!

Manti - posted on 01/19/2011

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This makes me so cranky!! Human milk is for human babies, why do we find it so essential to put our children onto cow's milk (a totally different species whose milk is designed for 45kg babies not 4 kg babies) or highly processed foods like rice cereal and glutenous products. Surely there is enough time for our children to be introduce to our highly processed food world after at least 6 months. Why not let them grow on the ONLY natural food for babies... breast milk?!! I wonder if this study actually has more to do with what the mother eats during her breast feeding days than the age of introducing babies to solids??? Mother's nutrition goes through the milk... maybe check that out!

My mother didn't give me solids until I was 9 months old - I was a very big baby. Now I have no food allergies

Ceri - posted on 01/19/2011

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Emma, In response to why mothers are having children and why you would have them if you do not have time to make baby food. WOW that’s loaded. Many of the things are saying are HARSH. I could not BF my son. Tried for weeks. Sure BF is best but it’s not always a choice. I personally made baby food. I felt for me it was cheaper also for me It gave me a sense of doing something for him like breast feeding because I couldn’t. Not because I didn’t want to. (Not to say a mother who chooses formula is a bad mom for not BF at all) But just because a mom doesn’t certainly does not make her a bad mom, or a mom who doesn’t love her child. I worked FULL time and spent an hour a day commute. Some mom's don’t have the time, or the space in their fridge or freezer. Do you work 40+ hours outside the home? Are you a single parent? (Quite honestly that doesn’t matter but I bet your answer is no.) You did what you feel was best for you and your child maybe you didn’t do something else so you could do that. In one of your many posts you said you could not breast feed and had to choose formula. Maybe you’re so bent on making food for the same reason I was. You could not provide what you felt was best for your own child. Please don’t push your personal issues on other moms. I am sure it hurts you when people say OH Breast Milk is the ONLY thing you should give your baby, my child is ____ because of it. Statements like that sure are hurtful to me. So to condemn a mom for choosing to use a jar and asking why they had a child is wrong. No one is asking why you had your baby because you used formula. Am I a bad mom because I used frozen foods to make my sons food? Fresh is not always best. It can be full of pestisides and chemicals. Organic was out of the question for us, I used frozen because it was the best I could do. We do the best that we can for our children. And that’s what our job as their parent is. Do what you can with what you have where you are.

Monika - posted on 01/19/2011

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First of all, we know breastfeeding is the best way to avoid food allergies. However, by 6 months most babies should be eating foods i.e. fruits, veggies, etc. So what is the issue, no one is exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months, most babies are eating food by then and breast feeding is supplemental.

Ranjana - posted on 01/19/2011

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I only breast fed my daughter for a year as she would not eat any solids. And i introduced solids to my son at the age of 5 months. Both are healthy and brilliant kids!!

Candice - posted on 01/19/2011

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There's a whole different side to that MMR article story. I suggest people get both sides before judging.

Jessica - posted on 01/19/2011

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...I fed and feed my babies/baby a bit of Organic barley cereal as he eats alot!! I have alot of milk but honestly by end of night when he is being super hungry and tired/fussy it helps to give him a little more. He is healthy as an Ox, he has also shown major interest in food. It seems to be individual as my daughter didn't show interest until she was 6 months...

Candice - posted on 01/19/2011

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Utter HOGWASH. The food industry and the medical industry keep pushing us away from what is normal, natural, biological and healthy for us for *A PROFIT*. I refuse to trust anything this article has to say except for the comments made by Janet Fyle at the end.



And food allergies are more prevalent these days because of all the genetically modified organisms that go into it, the chemicals and preservatives.



Anyone who wants to jump on this bandwagon is doing their baby a disservice and frankly, is naive and ingnorant.

Cathleen - posted on 01/19/2011

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Introducing small amounts of food early on and working up to the 2 tbsp suggested made my sons ready to swallow and to eat the foods safely.

Hannah - posted on 01/19/2011

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I have met babies that start solid food as early as 4 months and love it. In my personal experience neither of my daughters had a clue what to do with solid food until they where 6 months old. My last daughter out right refused solid food until 7 months. I think the best method is to go with what your child is comfortable with. Some children are ready for solid food at an early age and some need a couple of extra months of breastfeeding.

Andrea - posted on 01/19/2011

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I have to say I don't put a lot of stock in this article due to my own experience. I breastfed all three of my children and introduced solids when they appeared to be ready for them. Only one of my children had a mild food allergy (to eggs), which he has since outgrown. He was introduced to solid foods earlier than the other two (at about 4-5 months). My youngest didn't want to have anything to do with solid foods (even though we tried) and was almost exclusively breastfed until she was a year old. She didn't have any deficiencies (iron, Vitamin D, etc.), was a good weight and never had any food allergies.

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my mom exclusively breastfed me for a full year. and back then, at least where we live, that was basically unheard of. i didnt have solid food until i was over a year old, i never drank out of a bottle, never had a soother. and on top of that, she continued to breastfeed me until i was 3 and my brother was born. and im allergic to cats. no food allergies. but every child is different. i think its better to follow your child's needs, they'll give you cues as to when theyre ready for what.

Diana - posted on 01/19/2011

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Isn't it funny that this article contradicts with my experience... of my 3 kids, the one with no allergies and the strongest imunesystem is the last one, and she was the only one who could be breastfeeded for almost 2 years. From when she was about a year and some weeks, she tried some solid food, but not much. More just for fun.
Now that we are some years ahead, we can see the differences.
I watched my kids, and did take action according to what they were ready to do, or ready to stop. And they are healthy kids with good selfesteem. Although the youngest is virtually never sick or having a cold or so.

As a microbiologist/molecular scientist I know that what the mom eats is VERY important for the nutritional value of the milk, maybe that' s something to be included in the future research too... wouldn't that be funny!!?

Vicky - posted on 01/19/2011

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I think there needs to be more researches done before any of these articles come out. Its discouraging and confusin to parents. I thinks these articles need to be read with caution.

Jodie - posted on 01/19/2011

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No need to be rude, but that is just totally untrue. It has been researched millions of more time than this one article. also it doesnt include other factors such as predisposition, lifestyle etc. Ignore it people!

Vlfrianeza - posted on 01/19/2011

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I think this is stupid. Introduced solid foods at 6 months and she has no allergies at 5 years old. She has pretty much eaten everything too. Shell fish, fish, beef, chicken, peanuts, gluten, wheat, ect..... I think if this concerns you talk to your pediatrician and see what they say. Women have exclusively breastfed their babies for how long now. I think the things that increase the risk of allergies is more of what they are putting in our food today. I mean horemones and antibiotics and what not. Just remember at 6 months old introduce healthy food and be aware of what is in it.

Angela - posted on 01/18/2011

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Oh this article is a bunch of crap. My 18 yr old weaned himself at four months when I went back to work, I was heartbroken. Had I known then what I know now... I would have been more successful. He has some food allergies. My 9 year old breastfed until he was 15 months old... though that last few months was only a night feeding and then just finish up what was pumped. He has NO food allergies. Both boys did have solid foods ... they were introduced to them gradually from 3-6 months up ... I just do not believe in formula IF you are producing milk and can either breastfeed or can at least pump. This article is complete crap. I don't believe it. It is contrary to everything I've ever read, heard, seen...

Weaning too early creates mental, physical, emotional problems. It's bad nutritional guidance as well as bad child psychology... bad bad bad parenting advice from scientists that were probably not breastfed and are trying to justify their poor upbringing.

All babies are different. Some NEED solid food earlier than others. However, introducing certain foods too early is what causes food allergies. Period. As an example...you don't give children under 18 months old strawberries, blackberries, etc. It's just common knowledge they WILL develop food allergies to these foods. If they don't... it's sheer dumb luck.

Janine - posted on 01/18/2011

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You know hundreds of years ago we did not have gerber or docs telling us what to do. But I have a 6 foot son who is 18 that had 8 baby teeth by 6 months and got his first at 10 weeks. He was not breastfed as my milk did not come in. At 2 weeks he was drinking 6-8 ounces of formula every 2-3 hrs. I was going broke buying formula so started adding rice cereal to his bottle until by 2 months he figured out how to swallow and eat the cereal by a spoon. i did not get permission from my doctor I told him what i was doing afterwords. He did not tell me not to as the baby was healthy and not overweight he has always been a beanpoll like his dad. But i have a pic of him eating corn on the cob at 6 months which he grabbed off of my plate. He has no health problems or allergies. So, feed your kid breastmilk or formula -- jarred babyfood or homemade it does not matter as long as they get the nutrients they need. My son had some of everything. And do not read a book or be told what to do human instinct tells you what to do. As to all the research every kid i know has the same food allergies as the parent does or did so maybe it is more about genetics or where you live than what researches are saying.

Bettie - posted on 01/18/2011

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My seven year old grandson breast fed until he wanted to quit... around 8 or 9 months and this is the healthiest kid that I know (not bragging) bu this kid eats vegetables with no coaching and seemingly knows what foods are good for him... he doesn't like a lot of candy and he doesn't like fast-food that much. he likes home cooking and he is very atletic... I attribute this to the breast -feeding and do suggest breast-feeding to any mother because that was the original feeding method. If you love your baby as you proclaim too...them breast-feed because there is not a formula on this earth as good as mother's milk!!!

Kerrie - posted on 01/18/2011

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OMG WHAT THE HELL KIND OF IDIOT CAME TO THAT CONCLUSION! This is the dumbest thing I have ever read! Ween by 6 months? KISS MINE. This article should be flagged as blocked so people don't read and believe this. Its ridiculous. Women should be encouraged to breast feed longer if anything not stop at 6 months. And the reasoning in this article is just stupid. I breastfed my son till 16 moths and he has NO ALLERGIES. And he never was anemic or anything else. And my daughter is 7 months old and I am still breastfeeding and she certainly isn't lacking nutrients if you could see the size of her! This is ludacris!

Donna - posted on 01/18/2011

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my daughter nursed exclusively for the first six months. she will be 11yrs old this week. no food allergies. as a matter of fact she eats a huge variety of foods. she only skips the asparagus, black beans and avocados. everyone told me she would be too picky if I waited too long to introduce solids. bottom line, you are the mom, there are no absolute rules of thumb, you know your baby, follow the instincts God gave you and take every bit of advice and new study that comes out with a grain of salt.

Fiona - posted on 01/18/2011

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I meant to add:
The comments about correlation rather than causation are correct. So if there is a statistical association between age of weaning and obesity in later life this could be driven by any number of factors, it doesn't mean the age of weaning CAUSED the obesity.
Also, all this research gives average results in groups of babies and it is very difficult (or impossible) to draw conclusions about the risk faced by any individual baby in the population.
Epidemiological research can only give pointers as to possible reasons why some children develop allergies, etc, and should be considered the starting point for more in depth experimental research. Unfortunately it's often inappropriately reported as the final word in a subject, which is very often misleading and confusing.

Fiona - posted on 01/18/2011

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When I was thinking about introducting solids I decided to have a look at the original research that the WHO recommendations are based on. They reviewed a number of studies from developed and developing countries and found a slightly increased risk of health problems in groups of babies who had solids introduced between 4-6 months of age when compared to babies who had solids introduced from 6 months. NB This did not imply that breastfeeding stopped at this age, just that solids were introduced alongside breastmilk.
However, the differences between groups were driven by the studies from developing countries, where access to clean water and good quality weaning foods can be a problem. The studies in developed counties essentially showed no difference between groups who had solids introduced from 4-6 or 6 months of age. Because WHO wanted to give worldwide advice they recommended exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, because this is appropriate for developing countries.
So basically the research (the actual journal articles, not the advice based on it, political opinion, or media reports) found no difference between introducing solids at 4-6 months or waiting till 6 months. One less thing to worry about!

In response to the discussion about jarred foods: I work full time in research and do some additional work as a veterinary surgeon and writing/lecturing, and we rely on my income to pay the bills. I try to cook meals from scratch every evening but there are times that we end up using ready made baby foods. I permanently feel guilty that I don't have enough time or am too tired (I also have hypothyroidism) to do all the things that I want to do for my son and I resent some of the comments that just add to that feeling. Being objective I know it probably makes very little difference in the long term - even the worst Western diets are good in historical terms and it's actually very hard to develop nutritional deficiencies these days - but the judgemental comments from other Mum's can be quite upsetting. Making other people feel inadequate because they use foods that are marginally different from the 'gold standard' just comes across as moral one upmanship.

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

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Megan: The other problem is that they are finding that introducing solids earlier is leading to higher incidents of childhood obesity.

Megan - posted on 01/18/2011

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I have to wonder if this is a correlation rather than causality. Many parents who know that their child are at high risk of allergies will exclusively feed to 6 moths, so the chance of these children developing an allergy is already increased due to genetics before they even start looking at whether they were breastfed to 6 months or not.

My eldest starting reacting to foods in my breast milk from about 6 weeks old, so no matter how long I BF him, he was always going to have allergies.

I think we need to really look at the results in greater depth before we start making recommendations like this.

Rose - posted on 01/18/2011

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I actually do grow my own vegtables in the summer :)- Now that my kids are older, they help me plant tomatoes, zucchini, pepers, cucumbers, etc....well, they probably do it more to make a mess lol

It's not always easy for people to plant their own vegtables if they live in an apt., but many towns have a community garden that you can use or take fresh vegtables for free.

Kate CP - posted on 01/18/2011

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Kasha: The foods that are jarred have been cooked and when you cook a fruit or veggie you lose nutrients. They put vitamins and minerals into the jarred food to replace ones that are lost during the cooking and jarring process.

[deleted account]

Thanks for clearing up the word "weaning." Mothers don't need any more reasons to sabotage successful breastfeeding! That's why we have breasts, ladies.

Sherri - posted on 01/18/2011

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Emma not all children are messy by the way and how do I know this. I Now have a 14, 12 & 4 yr old. My children are not messy and were never messy. So I don't need to get used to anything. They also did amazing for on jarred food and now still eat all fresh veggies, fruits etc. Just saying just as some choose to formula feed vs breastfeed it makes them no worse or better then the mom that chooses breastfeeding. Same goes with jar food vs. pureeing your own.

[deleted account]

I breastfed both of my kids for 2 1/2 years. They also ate solids between 5 & 6 mos. My son is allergic to eggs but my daughter has no food allergies. I think the "experts" need to stop telling parents what to do & mothers should just do what they feel is right for them & their babies!

Emma - posted on 01/18/2011

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Cheating Babies: Nutritional Quality
and Cost of Commercial Baby Food
Daryth D. Stallone, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D.









Executive Summary

Conclusions and Recommendations
Parents expect baby foods to be just as nutritious as possible--to live up to Heinz' slogan "Only the best ingredients for the best nutrition." This report was intended to inform parents about nutritional differences among types and brands of commercial baby foods and to discourage them from paying high prices for baby food. While our study indicates that some baby foods are diluted, they do not appear to endanger the health of infants, inasmuch as most of infants' nutrition comes from breast milk, formula, or cow's milk.

I. Major Findings
Gerber and Heinz replace real food with water and thickening agents in many of their products for children over six months of age. Such adulterated products are nutritionally inferior to products made with more fruits and vegetables.
The single-ingredients foods made by all the companies differ only modestly as a result of adding somewhat different amounts of water. However, Gerber and Heinz add substantial amounts of water and thickening agents (flours and chemically modified starches) to more than half of their twenty-five most popular fruits, mixed and creamed vegetables, desserts, and dinners for babies over six months (second- and third-stage foods). Not only are those products a monetary rip-off, they are also nutritionally inferior to similar products made without fillers. Gerber and Heinz' bananas with tapioca, for example, contain less than half of the levels of nutrients found in their plain first-stage bananas. Gerber and Heinz' regular dinners, which contain at least two types of refined flour as thickeners, provide less than 50% of the nutrient levels found in comparable dinners made by Growing Healthy, which are made from whole foods and contain no starchy fillers. Many fewer products made by Beech-Nut and Earth's Best contain starchy fillers.

Baby foods are very high priced compared to similar regular foods. Baby foods cost far more per ounce than conventional national brands or supermarket brands. For example, parents often pay more than double for baby food fruit juices and applesauce. Gerber Graduates diced fruits and vegetables are also more than twice the price of comparable products available in the canned goods aisle. For the majority of puréed baby foods, there are no comparable regular products. However, judging from the instances in which direct comparisons can be made, these baby foods are also priced far higher than they would be in a competitive industry.

Makers of baby food encourage a mystique about their products. They want parents to think that commercial baby foods have special properties that make them particularly appropriate, if not essential, for infants.

Advertising campaigns promote the myth that commercial products are especially good at meeting the nutritional and developmental needs of infants. Gerber's public relations and advertising machinery has cultivated an almost sacred image in people's minds of Gerber products. Those perceptions are clearly untrue. Parents, armed with a food processor, blender, or mashing fork, can easily prepare safe, nutritious, and economical food for their infants at home. Of course, many commercial products are nutritious and do fill a need when convenience is desired.


II. What Parents Should Do
To give your baby the most nutritious and economical food:
Prepare your own baby foods whenever possible. With a blender or food processor it is easy to make a purée of most foods. Soft foods, like bananas, can be mashed with a fork. All foods, with the exception of bananas, should be well cooked. Refrigerate any foods that are not used right away. You can make large batches of baby foods, freeze them in ice-cube trays or small containers, and thaw them as needed.

This was written by 2 doctors whose income is not related to the outcome of their study.
No I don't grow my own vegetables yet although I have been thinking about it for a while. I also want to bake my own bread as they put so many additives in that these days. I'm raising my baby completely alone so I haven't got to the point where I can grow my own vegetables yet but we're not talking about doing something out of the ordinary here. Just give the baby a portion of what you're having, within reason. Or does your whole family eat out of jars?

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