September 10, 2012

Three Common Myths About Feeding Solids to Infants

Feeding your baby can seem very complicated because so many conflicting arguments are presented to mothers of infants. Everyone, from your grandmother to total strangers, has advice and instructions on the best way to feed your baby. It was bad enough when your feeding options were limited to breast or bottle-feeding. However, once the baby approaches four months of age and you can choose to feed solid foods to him, more well-meaning suggestions will come your way. 

Being able to distinguish the truth from common misconceptions is the hallmark of a good parent. Additionally, you must be able to figure out what will work for your family. Each mother and child is unique and you must find feeding solutions that are best for your baby. Here are three common myths about the feeding of solids to young infants.

1. Solid food will help the baby sleep better at night.

By the time a baby is a few months old, most mothers are understandably tired of being awakened in the night by a hungry baby. They can’t wait for the day when they will wake in the morning completely rested after an uninterrupted night’s sleep. Some mothers mistakenly believe that the sooner the baby is eating “real food,” the sooner they will get six or eight hours of rest. 

However, studies have found no difference in the nighttime waking of babies that were introduced to solids and those who were only fed milk. In fact, babies who are younger than six months old may sleep worse upon the introduction of solids. The reason for this is that the digestive system may not be ready for food other than breast milk or formula. Infants fed solids too early may wake more frequently due to stomachaches. Therefore, even if your doctor says you can try solids with your infant at the age of four months, you may be better off to wait a few weeks.

2. Babies that are too big/small need solid food.

Ironically, the same people who tell you that your infant needs more nourishment than milk will provide will also claim that a tiny baby needs more than just formula or breast milk.
Weight and measurements are only tools to determine whether or not your infant is average. If your child is growing normally and seems happy, there is no rush to start solids regardless of his size. 

Ounce for ounce, breast milk and formula provide more calories than baby food. If your infant needs more to eat, starting solids early may not be the answer. Feeding solids will actually decrease the stomach capacity for nourishing milk. All that a baby needs to eat for at least six months is formula or breast milk. In fact, some cultures that breastfeed babies through the toddler years seldom introduce adult food until babies are well over a year old. 

3. Breastfed babies need baby food because they will not get enough iron.

It is true that human breast milk has lower iron levels than infant formulas. However, the iron that breast milk does contain is in a form that babies can absorb more easily than the iron that is in formula. Nature provides the perfect food for babies, and it is breast milk. However, after the age of six months, some babies may need additional iron as their bodies deplete the iron stores that they had at birth. Fortified baby food can help with this.

Mothers should research the reasons for everything that they do before and after baby arrives—researching the best health options before birth, like deciding whether to breast or bottle-feed, whether to invest in
umbilical cord blood banking, or which additional immunizations to have your baby receive, to infancy decisions like when to introduce solid foods to By knowing common myths about feeding babies, mothers can make the wisest decisions for their children. 

“This is a guest post written by Katie Moore. Katie is an active writer within the Mom-o-sphere of the blogging world. Just after becoming a Mom herself, Katie took to blogging to share her knowledge and passion for motherhood, pregnancy, children, fitness and overall health. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing and researching, and connecting with others! If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katie please contact by visiting her blog “Moore From Katie,” or her twitter @moorekm26."

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Mystic Misha said...

I always feel sorry for the young mother's of today. Everybody stands in line to lecture you, advised you and belittle you about your child care ways. IGNORE them and you your own mothering instincts!

jlapage said...

Thanks for the great info.! :-)

Nataly Carbonell said...

Thanks for the helpful info I remember my daughter once gave a tiny piece of pear to my 1 month baby, my baby almost choke! But I don't blame my daughter (she was very little and innocent.)
But I started feeding my baby solid foods by the time he started crawling.

Peggy said...

I don't have any children but I still love to educate myself on different subjects just in case they are needed. Thanks for sharing!

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