Many first-time parents have questions about when to introduce solid foods and what foods are appropriate to give your infant at what stages. It’s not surprising since how your parents likely fed you is different from the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations and what you may see online.
“Many parents are nervous because of the conflicting information about when and how to introduce solid foods. We used to say no solids before six months of age, but now you can introduce pureed foods between four and six months – as long as your child is interested in it, has good head and body control and doesn’t gag or cough,” says Bryn Meredith, DO, pediatrician with CHI Memorial Pediatric Diagnostic Associates. “At this age, many babies are beginning to lose the iron they received from mom during the third trimester, and iron rich foods at this stage can help prevent an iron deficiency later in infancy.”
Dr. Meredith also notes that our understanding of hyper-allergenic foods – think peanut butter or seafood – has also shifted. The only food restrictions for babies include avoiding anything that could be a choking hazard as well as honey, which can lead to infant botulism.
“There’s a good body of research that says introducing a wide range of foods early doesn’t lead to food allergies and in some cases even offers a protective effect,” says Dr. Meredith. “ Only when there’s a strong family history of food allergies or your child has moderate to severe eczema, is it a good idea to talk with your pediatrician first before introducing certain hyper-allergenic foods that might be a cause of concern.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Meredith, call (423) 698-BABY (2229).