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The Right Time To Introduce Baby Food

The Right Time To Introduce Baby Food

AnneCordelia says: I run my program like this:

Those in the ‘under 1’ category require 18-24oz of formula breast milk daily. Under 8mos only gets bottles from me…parents can do the 1 or 2 meals of solids that an infant needs between 6-8 months (every major medical organization recommends waiting until a minimum of 6 months before starting solids…4mo is outdated information).

I hope they extend that recommendations even further. In my experience, eight months is early enough. I’ve seen way too many situations of babies refusing formula or breast milk once they get a load of the baby food fruit, sugar filled yogurt, and the rice cereal.

Parents and child care workers need training on AMOUNTS especially for white rice and fruits. The serving size for infants is a very small amount. With newbie parents it’s good to actually make a bowl of what the serving size is and show them how little it is all mixed up. When I do this demo I show them the MAX they should have in a single serving. They are always shocked at how little it stirs up to be even with the maximum amounts. I also work with them to understand that the amount is maximum and most infants needs will be somewhere within the recommended ranges and most likely need less than the little amount I’m showing them.

It’s usually not that the parent wants to over do it. It’s that they really don’t know. They go by what the baby says “yes” to because they have been told by society and experts that the baby knows best. It’s helpful to them to talk about amounts specifically for their infant because the ranges for the amounts are pretty broad.

We also need to work with them on timing of introduction of white rice and fruits. I prefer to start out with veggies: the dark leafy greens, then greens, then orange, then yellow. I prefer the dark grains. Fruit and white cereal are the LAST thing I introduce and I stick to the guidelines when I give it. It’s not uncommon for parents to be offering a third or half cereal bowls of white rice cereal and applesauce to babies. When they get amounts that are four/five times what they are supposed to have and get the “cream of the crop” taste wise right off the pop then you can have issues of them refusing the formula and the higher fiber grains, veggies, and eventually meats. If you see a dramatic drop in total formula or breast milk you should be suspicious of the amounts they are receiving of these favorite and easy baby foods.

I had a baby years ago who had parents who believed in rice and fruit at day one of four months. By the time he was five months or so it was up to BIG amounts of each. Before long the total formula in was less than thirteen ounces per day. When met with my concern regarding the baby rejecting formula their solution was to give food because he liked it so much. I told them I will not feed an infant under six months baby food with or without a doctors note. I couldn’t even come close to getting enough formula mixed into the small amounts of cereal he could have. If they needed that for the baby they would need to move on.

The day to day consequences of this baby living off of such a small amount of daily formula and so much rice cereal and high sugar fruit and yogurt were unbearable: bowel issues, rapid weight gain, frenetic behavior and sleep issues. About two to three weeks into him nearly completely refusing bottles, he fell very ill and landed in the pediatric intensive care unit clinging for life for nearly a week.

The poor diet wasn’t even considered in the scheme of the illness. It was something that happened TO the baby not something they did. He wasn’t given food while he was hospitalized. They did IV’s first and then formula. The medical staff thought they were getting a sick baby to take formula as he began to get well. They didn’t realize they were trying to get a baby that didn’t like formula anymore to drink so he would get well.

There was no amount of counseling that would have the parents reconsider and start over with the child just having formula for a while. Within a few weeks of being out of the hospital the baby was back to drinking precious little a day. The family left shortly afterwards so the baby didn’t get to the age where I begin to offer solids.

The white rice, sugar yogurt and fruits are the predecessor to the treat based diet we see in our kids today. I hope that when the research of childhood obesity starts delving into what happens in infant feeding the government and food programs will start campaigns to teach anyone who feeds a baby not to do the food so early, start with the greens and darker rice, and not to overfeed when you do begin to offer it. The current recommendation to wait until the sixth month is a really good place to start.

  1. MommyMuffin07-25-11

    I completely agree. I had a happy but clingy daycare girl until mom and dad started feeding her so much food at 4 months. Lots and lots of it. Now she is fussy all the time, lot of gas and hiccups. Often refuses formula as well.

  2. Dominique08-07-11

    I see a lot of parents offering food because its cheaper than formula. Feeding so much to a 4 month old infant is just crazy as far as I am concerned.

  3. Wren11-06-11

    What do you recommend that I use as a source for the right amounts. With my last DC baby, everything I read was different. I had no idea which was right, so we just sort of averaged it. She was 6 months old then, so things were ok.

    I will be getting a 6 week old after the holidays. I’ve never had one this young, so I feel a bit out of my depth, and I’m not sure the new mom will be any better. 😉

    I’d love to hear what amounts you feel are right.

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