No matter how emphatic your mother-in-law is on the topic, American pediatricians say you should really, really wait before introducing solids to infants. Even if she insists your baby will sleep better with a belly full of rice cereal, a new study from the Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard concludes that solids before 4 months of age increases your child’s risk for obesity.
That risk is even great if you start giving solids too soon to formula-fed babies. And you already know how doomed they are! (Kidding …)
Researchers looked at 847 children. 568 of those kids were breastfed in their first months of life, 297 went straight to bottles. By age three, 9 percent of the entire group was obese. But here’s how it broke down, a summarized by the Los Angeles Times Booster Shots blog:
The researchers found, however, that bottle-fed babies who received solid foods before age 4 months were at much higher risk for obesity. Among babies who were breastfed for at least four months, the timing of solid food was not linked to obesity at age 3. Bottle-fed babies who did not receive solid foods until at least 6 months also did not have an increased risk of obesity.
The authors of the study say a lot of parents of large babies introduce solids too soon because of the child’s size or because they think the kid is still hungry. The say breastfeeding helps to not only teach kids to recognize when they’re full, but also help mothers understand hunger cries vs. satiety cries.